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Department of Social Sciences : Prospective Faculty FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

The below questions are like your questions and others frequently asked:
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How long would this assignment be, to include both the schooling and teaching phases?

The whole experience is typically 5 years. It starts after you leave command when you become KD’d as a Captain. Then, you spend 2 years in Grad School and typically 3 years teaching at West Point.

How much time do you owe the Army after you finish teaching?

Essentially it is a 3 year ADSO for every one 1 year Grad School. So, it would be three years after your three year tour at West Point if you do the normal 2 year Grad School. By Army regulations, you owe 3 days for every 1 day of ACS funded schooling.  

What is the approximate number of applicants each year?

It varies, but each year we will usually have 120-150 files competing for anywhere between 8-18 slots.  

I won't be able to take the GRE before 1 NOV because it is not offered close to my post within the timeframe I have to take it. Subsequently, my application for the program will not be complete before the deadline. What do you recommend?

Start a file today! Complete as much of it is possible and take the GRE as close to the 1 NOV date as possible. THEN, as soon as you have taken the test and it gives you the score (automatically on computer based exams), upload those to your file and contact the personnel officer to let them know your scores are in and your file is complete!

I am not slated for command and it leaves me unavailable for a teaching assignment until an unknown date. Is this a major glitch? Given my current time line do you see any issues with me competing in the DEC 2017 board?

Regardless of your timeline, open a packet. We can’t communicate with you if we don’t have a file. Be sure to note any professional timeline issues in the “considerations” portion of the application.

If I receive a follow on assignment to the CCC, I run the risk of being assigned as a TRADOC Commander as my Branch Qualifying Command. Does this limit my chances for consideration to the USMA?

Our department seeks to hire officers who can educate, train, and inspire the next generation of Army officers. We do not care where you command, so much as you do an excellent job in command and/or whatever your branches KD required positions are.  

What type of scores would I need on the GRE/GMAT to be competitive?

To be competitive for entry into a Top 10 graduate school, you should aspire to achieve scores of over 160 on the verbal and 150 on the quantitative portions of the GRE, and scores of over 600 on both the verbal and quantitative portions of the GMAT. If you have scores below these levels, we suggest that you retake the test. Also, if your scores are more than five years old, you must retake the test. Contact your Education Center for more information on test administration. Again, we cannot give full consideration to an application without either GRE or GMAT scores. Regardless, your military performance is extremely important to us and that is reflected in OERs and LORs. We look at the complete officer, so be sure that your applications reflects that!

Are the selection boards held at the same time each year?

Yes, our primary selection board meets each December. Your goal should be to complete your file by 1 Nov.

I am dual military. Are there other opportunities for my spouse to be able to join me?

Absolutely. Sometimes here in the same department or in any other department or position at USMA. There are a number of dual military families at West Point.

I will complete a Master's degree from another university this fall. I do not know if this fulfills the requirement for advanced civilian schooling. Will I have to go to school again?

Well, that depends. We assume you want to have a shot at one of the nation’s top graduate schools. In doing so, it would have to be in a different academic area (the Army will not pay for a repeat degree). However, you might be eligible to start a PhD program to add to your already existing degree. Apply now and see what happens!  

I have masters in counseling, do I still qualify for another master’s degree or can you send me to receive a PhD and then instruct?

We will require a degree that allows you to teach in International Relations, Comparative Politics, American Politics, and Economics. If you don’t have a degree in one of those areas, we will send you for another Masters. If you do, we can perhaps send you for a PhD in that same field.

Where should I have my college transcripts sent?

Upload them first into EAST (see below) and then mail a copy to us.

Personnel Officer
Department of Social Sciences
Lincoln Hall, Room B115
U.S. Military Academy
607 Cullum Road
West Point, NY 10996

Should the recommendations be sent to the department head or should they be posted digitally on EAST?

We recommend at least 3 Letters of Recommendation for the Social Sciences Department Head. (Letters from your chain of command, former academic instructors, and former instructors in the Department of Social Sciences are all very helpful. Also, letters should be addressed to the department head: (COL Nielsen). You will then upload them into EAST.

I am gathering the final documents for my application, and was wondering if there was a specific format for the letters of recommendation?

We select first and foremost, strong military files. Therefore, the bulk of the LORs should discuss leadership performance and potential. Next, academic potential should be addressed. Finally, would he/she be someone that would educate, train, and inspire cadets for a lifetime of service to nation. There is no set format, but those are common themes in the best LORs.

Is the informal photo military or civilian?

Our requirement is informal. The formal photo already sits on your ORB.

Are you looking for transcripts from the graduating institution or all schools up to that point?

Yes, we need your undergraduate transcripts from where you graduated. It will usually include reference to your transfer credits. If you started and stopped college 2 or 3 times, that will likely need an explanation.