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Student Program

Join Directly Out of Law School

The Navy JAG Corps’ Student Program (SP) is the most common way to become a Navy JAG Corps officer. It enables selected law students to commission in the inactive Navy Reserve while attending law school. Upon law school graduation, bar admission and successful completion of Navy Officer Development School (ODS), participants are appointed as active-duty Navy judge advocates, ready to start their adventure.

Who Is Eligible

To be eligible for the Student Program (SP) with the Navy JAG Corps, you must:

  • be a United States citizen of good moral character;
  • be younger than 42 years of age at the time you begin active duty;
  • have taken the Law School Admission Test (LSAT);
  • be a law student with at least one year of school completed, attending an American Bar Association (ABA)-accredited school, or a graduate of an ABA-accredited law school who has not yet had the opportunity to take the first available bar exam following graduation. Students who attend law school part time or intend to matriculate in a dual degree program must be within two years of completing all remaining degree requirements; and
  • meet the physical and medical requirements for commission in the Navy. If you have any questions about the medical qualifications or physical fitness standards, please contact a Navy recruiter.
    • The physical requirements include meeting Navy and DoD fitness standards, which are explained here.
    • Additionally, Navy officers are required to participate in at least one Physical Readiness Test each year. The test consists of completing as many curl-ups as possible in two minutes, pushups in two minutes, and a cardio test (typically a 1.5 mile run, but other options include a 500y/450m swim or 12-minute stationary bike). Additional information regarding the Physical Fitness Test can be found here.

    How it Works

    Becoming a judge advocate is a two phase process. The first phase is to apply for a Professional Recommendation to become a judge advocate. If you are Professionally Recommended you then apply for a commission as an officer in the U.S. Navy. Once accepted into the program, SP participants continue law school until graduation and take the first bar examination after law school. After the bar examination, SP participants begin their Navy training.

    SP participants first attend the five-week Navy Officer Development School (ODS) in Newport, RI. The next step in the training pipeline is the ten-week Basic Lawyer Course at Naval Justice School (NJS), also in Newport, RI. Upon graduation from NJS, new judge advocates report to their first duty station and are committed to four years of active duty. For more information, visit the Path of a Navy JAG Corps Officer.

    Application Deadlines

    The Spring 2018 Student Program application is now closed. The Fall 2018 application period will open in July 2018. If you have questions about the application process, please contact us.

    Tips for a Successful Application

    Application Process

    Student Program applicants can apply to both the Fall and Spring accession boards, as both a 2L and a 3L—there is no limit on how often you can apply. Application materials are not kept after selection decisions are final, so if you want to be reconsidered, you must reapply. Submitting an application doesn't mean you joined the Navy. Applicants are under no obligation whatsoever until they are offered and accept a commission with the Navy at the end of both phases.

    Phase One: Apply for a Professional Recommendation

    Prior to the application deadline you must complete three steps:

      1. Complete the online Navy JAG Corps Online Application by the deadline provided above. If you have difficulties accessing the online application click here.

      2. Complete a structured interview by the deadline provided above. You may schedule and complete your interview before you have submitted your application. Information for scheduling a Navy JAG Corps interview is available here. Your interview must be completed before the application deadline, and you are responsible for contacting the appropriate office to schedule your interview. Your application will not be considered without a completed interview.

      3. Ensure your letters of recommendation and all additional documents have been submitted by the deadline provided above. Letters of recommendation can be uploaded and submitted with your online application or they may be emailed separately to navyaccessions@navy.mil. Mailed transcripts and recommendation letters will not be considered. All letters of recommendation must be received by the application deadline. Letters should be addressed to the "President of the JAGC Accessions Board". The following address should ONLY be used for letterhead:
      Office of the Judge Advocate General
      Attn: JAGC Accessions Officer
      1322 Patterson Ave., Suite 3000
      Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374-5066

    Once applications are received, the accessions office completes a full review of all applications for completeness and ensures each applicant is eligible. The completed packages of all eligible applicants are then reviewed by a board of senior active duty judge advocates. The board typically takes place 4-6 weeks after the application deadline. The final selection of professionally recommended students must be reviewed and approved by the Judge Advocate General. Applicants that are professionally recommended will be notified individually, usually within 10 weeks after the application deadline. All applicants can check their applicant status on the application website.

    Note: If you are not selected, you may reapply by each deadline as long as you remain eligible. You must submit a new application. The structured interview does not expire, however you are not allowed to have a new structured interview within a three year period. After three years have passed, you may (but are not required to) request a new structured interview.

    Phase Two: Apply for a Commission in the U.S. Navy

    If your application is selected, you will be considered Professionally Recommended for commissioning and begin Phase Two. In Phase Two, the final selection of applicants is conducted by Navy Recruiting Command. During this phase the following things will occur:

      1. A Navy recruiter will work with you to complete the commissioning requirements, including a medical examination and security investigation. Upon successful completion of these requirements, you will be offered a commission.

      2. If you accept your commission, you will then take the oath of office for a commission and sign a Service Agreement.