GENERAL INFORMATION - GRADUATE EDUCATION DIVISION (CIG)
The Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), through the Civilian Institution (CI) Programs Directorate, Graduate Education Division (CIG), sends selected Line of the Air Force (LAF and LAF-J) Officers and some Enlisted NCOs to institutions across the United States and occasionally overseas to earn degrees at the masters and doctorate levels, and/or to engage in non-degree professional development programs (e.g., Education with Industry). Advanced educational requirements or “quotas” are primarily established through the Air Force Education Requirements Board (AFERB) process based on Air Force needs and are advertised annually to the field by the Air Force Personnel Center (AFPC) in the March-April timeframe through the Advanced Academic Degree (AAD) and Special Experience and Exchange Duties (SPEED) Selection Process Guide which can be found on MyPers. Officers apply by following the guidance in the AAD-SPEED Guide and are selected by their career field Development Teams. Officers and enlisted members selected for AFERB-approved AAD quotas that are not offered by the AFIT Graduate School of Engineering and Management, or are otherwise waived to a CI, will be placed at a civilian institution approved by the AFIT CI Programs Directorate. Selected members will coordinate on potential school options with one of the Program Managers in the AFIT CI Directorate, CIG Division.
Special programs such as the CSAF Captains Prestigious PhD Program, Dr. Heather Wilson STEM PhD Program, and the Olmsted Scholar Program are advertised on MyPers in separate announcements. Officers selected for these three programs will fall under AFIT and the CI Programs Directorate during their programs.
Some students selected for a CI program (e.g., most Foreign Area Officers, some Contracting Officers, others) will attend the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, CA. While at NPS the student is under AFIT; however, they will receive local direction and support from the Air Force Element Commander at NPS who is attached to AFIT.
FACULTY PIPELINE PROGRAMS
Officers interested in teaching undergraduates or graduates at an Air Force school may be interested in pursuing a graduate degree sponsored by one of the Schools/academic departments at the Air Force Institution of Technology (AFIT), the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA), or Air University (AU). Each year AFIT, AU, and USAFA will select applicants to pursue either a masters or PhD degree with a follow-on faculty tour at their institution. Opportunities for AFIT and USAFA Faculty Pipeline sponsored degrees are advertised annually to the field by the Air Force Personnel Center (AFPC) in the March-April timeframe through the Advanced Academic Degree (AAD) and Special Experience and Exchange Duties (SPEED) Selection Process Guide which can be found on MyPers. Candidates for Air University sponsored PhD quotas are selected by the individual PME schools at AU.
Officers selected for a Faculty Pipeline AAD quota where the degree is not offered by the AFIT Graduate School of Engineering and Management, or the selectee is otherwise approved to waive to a CI, will be placed at a civilian institution approved by the AFIT CI Programs Directorate. Selected members will coordinate on school options with one of the Program Managers in the AFIT CI Directorate, CIG Division.
NON-FACULTY or “REGULAR” DEGREE PROGRAMS
AFIT students come from across the spectrum of Air Force career fields. Opportunities for officers to pursue a graduate degree (Masters and PhDs) sponsored by the Air Force (AFIT) as a full time assignment are advertised annually to the field by the Air Force Personnel Center (AFPC) through the Advanced Academic Degree (AAD) and Special Experience and Exchange Duties (SPEED) Selection Process Guide, commonly referred to as the AAD-SPEED Guide, which can be found on MyPers. The call for applicants will normally be released in the March-April timeframe with applications due in May-June and selections made by AFPC in October.
The degree opportunities listed in the AAD-SPEED Guide are based on Air Force needs and priorities as approved through the Air Force Education Requirements Board (AFERB) process. Officers selected for a degree specialty that requires placement at a civilian university will work directly with one of the Program Managers in the AFIT/CI Directorate, Graduate Education Division. Most students will start their degree program in the fall term of the year following their selection (e.g. selected in Oct 2019, starts program in Fall 2020).
CSAF CAPTAINS PRESTIGIOUS PHD PROGRAM
Applicable to Active Duty Captains only. Each year the Chief of Staff of the Air Force sponsors three captains to obtain PhDs primarily in the area of strategic studies in order to build a cadre of strategic thinkers. Intellectual development of officers, especially in critical thinking skills relatively early in a career, will result in AF and joint leaders who have the ability to communicate at a strategic level with civilian leadership across enterprises. The program exposes rising officers to a unique learning opportunity at top-tier universities.
Interested officers should review the Call for Nominations guidance posted on MyPers. The deadline for applications is typically in July with the selections announcement in September. Selectees then apply to school(s) and will begin their PhD studies in the following fall term. Officers selected for the program will be managed by the AFIT/CI Directorate.
DR. HEATHER WILSON STEM PHD PROGRAM
Launched in 2019, the Dr. Heather Wilson STEM PhD program sponsors three active duty captains per year to obtain PhDs in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The program’s intent is to build a cadre of strategic thinkers in the STEM disciplines which align with the National Defense Strategy. Intellectual development of officers, especially in critical technical thinking skills relatively early in a career, will result in AF and joint leaders who have the ability to communicate at a strategic level with civilian leadership across enterprises. This program will expose rising officers to a unique learning opportunity at top-tier civilian universities.
Interested officers should review the Call for Nominations guidance posted on MyPers. The deadline for applications is typically in July with the selections announcement in late August/early September. Selectees then apply to school(s) in coordination with the AFIT Civilian Institution Programs Directorate and will begin their PhD studies in the following fall term. Officers selected for the program will be managed by the AFIT/CI Directorate.
- LEGAL MASTERS (LLM): Each year the Air Force Judge Advocate General (JAG) selects up to around 30 Active Duty JAGs (Capts & Majs) to earn a LLM focused in a specific area of the law. Specialties typically include Air & Space Law, Cyber Law, Environmental Law, Government Procurement Law, International Law, and Military Justice. The AFIT CI Directorate, Graduate Education Division, coordinates with HQ JAX on the designated schools selectees for the LLM program will attend.
- FUNDED LEGAL EDUCATION PROGRAM (FLEP): The FLEP is an opportunity for current active duty Line-of-the Air Force (LAF) officers interested in changing career fields and becoming a JAG to attend law school full time, earn a Juris Doctor degree, take the Bar Exam, and be accessed into the JAG Corps. Officers selected for the FLEP attend law school full time, receive their full military pay and allowances, and have their tuition paid for by the Air Force (i.e. AFIT). There are limits to the amount of tuition AFIT will fund. Many selectees over the years have been awared merit-based tuition scholarships or tuition waivers that significant offset the high cost of law school. Interested officers should review AFI 51-101.
- EXCESS LEAVE PROGRAM (ELP): Similar to the FLEP, the ELP is a separate opportunity for current active duty LAF officers interested in becoming a JAG in the Air Force to pursue a law degree full time. However unlike FLEP, the Air Force does not pay tuition and officers selected for the ELP do not receive their active duty pay during the program except during the summer months when interning at an Air Force base legal office. Students in the ELP must secure their own funding to pay for law school. Interested officers should review AFI 51-101.
OLMSTED SCHOLAR PROGRAM
“The greatest leaders must be educated broadly” General George Olmsted
The Olmsted Scholar Program provides an opportunity for Line of the Air Force officers to study in a foreign language at an international university abroad for a 2-year period. The purpose of the Olmsted Scholar Program is to provide officers with an in-depth understanding of foreign languages and cultures so they will be knowledgeable and sensitive to the viewpoints and concerns of people around the world as they progress with their Air Force careers. The program involves cultural immersion for an officer and his/her family (if applicable), as well as study at the university in the native language.
The Call for Nominations can be found on MyPers. Applications are typically due in August and selection results released the following March. Selected Olmsted Scholars will receive up to one year of language training at the Defense Language Institute prior to the overseas assignment. During the overseas assignment, Olmsted Scholars fall under AFIT and the AFIT/CI Directorate.
Additional background and descriptive data about the program may be found at the Olmsted Foundation’s website (http://www.olmstedfoundation.org/).
USAFA GRADUATE SCHOOL PROGRAM (GSP) & NATIONAL COLLEGIATE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM (NCSP)
Applicable to graduating USAFA Cadets only. Each year the United States Air Force Academy selects a number of their top graduates to pursue graduate degrees at either the AFIT Graduate School of Engineering and Management or at a civilian university as their first active duty assignment following commissioning. The number of GSP and NCSP candidates allowed each year is determined by the Air Force Education Requirements Board.
The GSP is designed to educate selected graduating cadets at the master’s level with the intent that they will someday return to the Academy as an instructor. GSP candidates selected to attend a civilian university will have all or a portion of their tuition paid for by AFIT.
The NCSP is a program that allows selected graduating cadets who have been awarded a full-ride scholarship to attend graduate school as their first assignment. Scholarship recipients have included Rhodes Scholars, Marshall Scholars, and Fulbright Scholars.
The AFIT/CI Directorate, Graduate Education Division (CIG) coordinates directly with the USAFA Graduate Studies department and briefs selected candidates for this program in April of each year prior their commissioning.
AFROTC STEM GRADUATE SCHOLAR PROGRAM (AFROTC GSP)
Applicable to graduating AFROTC cadets only. Launched as a new program in 2019, the AFROTC STEM Graduate Scholar Program selects up to 10 graduating AFROTC cadets each year to pursue a Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) focused graduate degree. In an effort to better align the Air Force’s Graduate Degree program with the National Defense Strategy, special consideration will be given to candidates applying for degrees (or degree concentrations) focused in areas such as Advanced Computing, Big Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Autonomy, Robotics, Directed Energy, Hypersonics, and Biotechnology. The program with application instructions is advertised through AFROTC channels to the individual AFROTC Detachments.
AFROTC EDUCATION DELAY PROGRAM
Applicable to graduating AFROTC cadets only. The AFROTC Education Delay Program offers a potential opportunity for graduating AFROTC cadets to pursue a graduate degree, law degree, or medical career field related education before they enter active duty. Interested cadets will work with their supporting AFROTC Detachment to apply. Information on Education Delays and roles and responsibilities can be found in AFMAN 36-2032. Cadets interested in pursuing a law degree under the Education Delay Program can also refer to AFI 51-101.