Marine Corps University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award masters degrees. Questions about the accreditation of Marine Corps University may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (www.sacscoc.org). The following degrees are awarded:
• Master of Strategic Studies
• Master of Operational Studies
• Master of Military Studies
The Commission’s contact information is provided above so that interested constituents may learn about the accreditation status of the institution, file a third-party comment at the time of the institution’s decennial review, or file a complaint against the institution for alleged non-compliance with a standard or requirement. The Commission is to be contacted only if there is evidence that appears to support Marine Corps University’s significant non-compliance with a requirement or standard. Normal inquiries about Marine Corps University, such as admission requirements, educational programs, etc., should be addressed directly to the registrar and not to the Commission’s office.
Academic Programs and CIP Codes
The educational programs of Command and Staff College (including the Command and Staff College Distance Education Program) and Marine Corps War College are also accredited by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff through the Process for Accreditation of Joint Education. Both programs meet the requirements for Joint Professional Military Education Phase I and Phase II, respectively.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Principles of Accreditation, Standard 8.1 (Student Achievement) requires institutions to identify, evaluate, and publish goals and outcomes for student achievement appropriate to the institution's mission, the nature of the students it serves, and the kinds of programs offered. It also indicates that the institution should use multiple measures to document student success.
Per the mission of Marine Corps University (MCU), the University prepares leaders for service to the nation. MCU’s student achievement criteria for its master’s degree-granting programs reflect its mission and role as a federal military institution. They also set high expectations for achievement, as completion of the resident PME programs is a requirement for the continued professional advancement of selected students. MCU’s four student achievement criteria are:
Student achievement of Curriculum Review-Board-approved learning outcomes;
Graduate performance; and
Student satisfaction with academic courses and programs.
The sections below highlight MCU’s performance relative to each of these criterion. The three degree granting programs include the Master of Strategic Studies (MSS; Marine Corps War College), the Master of Operational Studies (MOS; School of Advanced Warfighting), and the Master of Military Studies (MMS; Marine Corps Command and Staff College).
Completion of an MCU program is important for a student’s continued professional advancement. The goal of each program is to graduate 100% of enrolled students. Graduation rate is calculated as the percentage of enrolled students who receive a degree at the end of their 10-month academic program (See Table 1).
The degree track is the only option for students at Marine Corps War College (MCWAR) and the School of Advanced Warfighting (SAW). Until AY21, Marine Corps Command and Staff College (CSC) students had the option of pursuing either a diploma or an MMS degree to fulfill their professional requirement. Aligned with the institutional goal for graduation, nearly 100% of CSC students successfully completed either the diploma or degree track each year; however, there was attrition from the degree to the diploma track across the course of each year. Based on MARADMIN 434/20, dtd 29 July 2020, all eligible CSC students are now expected to complete the degree program. More information on MCU enrollment and completion rates across all its programs is available in the MCU Factbook.
Table 1. Graduation Rates by Degree-Granting Program
MCU has a robust process for the assessment of learning outcome achievement that connects to both student and institutional effectiveness evaluation. The goal of each program is that all students achieve all learning outcomes at the 80% level. Effectiveness in achieving these outcomes is captured through faculty assessment of student performance across a wide range of assignments throughout the academic year that are purposefully aligned with learning outcomes. Faculty assessment is both formative and summative, focusing on student demonstration relative to the discrete learning outcomes and identifying areas for improvement based on that analysis. These assessments are published in the Institutional Effectiveness Annual Report.
The performance of MCU graduates once they graduate and return to the operating forces is the ultimate measure of student achievement. MCU surveys both graduates and their supervisors 18-months following graduation. Stakeholder satisfaction is examined in two ways: 1) the percentage of graduates who indicate that their educational program successfully prepared them for their future assignments (See Table 2); and 2) the percentage of supervisors who indicate satisfaction with the preparedness of the University’s graduates (See Table 3). The goal is to achieve ≥80% of responses in either the “strongly agree” or “agree” categories, indicating favorable levels of satisfaction.
Table 2. Graduate Satisfaction with Own Preparation
[My program] prepared me for follow-on assignments.
I believe my year at [my program] was valuable.
I would recommend [my program of study] attendance to my subordinates and peers.
Note: Low response rates from graduates limit the generalizability of these indicators. Percentages reflect the proportion of graduate responses that strongly agreed or agreed with the statement.
Table 3. Supervisor Satisfaction with Graduate Preparation
Program graduates are prepared for [key performance competencies]
I would recommend [this program] to my subordinates
Note: Low response rates from supervisors limit the generalizability of these indicators. Percentages reflect the proportion of supervisor responses that strongly agreed or agreed with the statement. Calculations include responses from resident CSC, SAW, and MCWAR students.
The perspectives of students while in residence and as they are graduating from their academic programs are another important indication of the program’s value and stakeholder satisfaction. MCU surveys students at the end of their academic program to assess six key indicators about quality of the educational programs and program achievement. The goal is to achieve ≥80% of responses in either the “strongly agree” or “agree” categories, indicating favorable levels of satisfaction. The Table below depicts the aggregate response from MCU’s three degree-granting programs.
Table 4. MCU Student Satisfaction Survey Data AY16-AY20
MCU is committed to academic achievement.
The quality of instruction I received was excellent.
I accomplished my educational objectives.
The MCU faculty were well-prepared for each class of instruction.
The MCU faculty were qualified to teach the material in the curriculum.
The MCU faculty were able to provide learning experiences that promoted peer interaction.
Note: Percentages reflect the proportion of student responses that strongly agreed or agreed with the statement. Calculations include responses from resident CSC, SAW, and MCWAR students.