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Defense Civilian Training Corps

National Security Leaders Today and Beyond

DCTC logo

The Defense Civilian Training Corps (DCTC) is a new program for students that will build civilian careers in the Department of Defense relating to acquisition, digital technologies, critical technologies, science, engineering, and finance and more. DCTC is a scholarship-for-civilian-service award.
Department of Defense DCTC website

Endless Opportunities to Make an Impact

The Defense Civilian Training Corps is a congressionally-mandated talent development program that provides a multidisciplinary, active-learning curriculum with summer internship projects at DoD organizations. DCTC is a highly selective pilot program that provides a 100% tuition scholarship and prepares scholars for a direct pathway into DoD acquisition-related careers.

  • High achieving students with a demonstrated interest in making a meaningful difference as part of an innovative, interdisciplinary team, are selected from majors such as finance, engineering, sciences, business, and public policy to join a DCTC cohort at host universities across the United States.
  • The curriculum is presented in an active learning environment where DCTC scholars engage in multi-disciplinary classroom activities to develop critical and creative thinking skills.
  • Summer internships with DoD acquisition, labs and other DoD organizations embed DCTC scholars within the DoD civilian workforce for first-hand experience collaborating with dedicated, results-oriented teams working on complex challenge projects that draw on major acquisition-related functions from program management, business, engineering, sustainment, finance and supply chain management.
  • Upon graduation, scholars join the DoD full time with the support and accelerated career advancement opportunities necessary to achieve their professional ambitions.

Building National Security Leaders Today and for Tomorrow

Recruit and develop resilient DoD leaders who bring innovative ideas, diverse backgrounds, and a collaborative mindset to enable and secure the defense ecosystem.

  • The Defense Civilian Training Corps (DCTC) will educate and develop exceptional scholars to become digitally literate future leaders, capable of collaborating across disciplines and with the private sector to procure and protect strategically significant technologies.
  • DCTC launches scholars onto a career pathway full of exciting opportunities for growth, mentorship, and advancement.
  • DCTC scholars represent the highly prepared, innovative, agile and dynamic workforce of the future and will be empowered to make an immediate impact on the world.

Development and Curriculum

Targeted Development for Success

The development and integrated curriculum approach is a hallmark of the DCTC program. The approach is designed to provide DCTC scholars with the skills and experience to jump-start their professional careers and be productive members of the DoD acquisition community immediately upon graduation. The four elements of the development and integrated curriculum are: the (1) core curriculum, (2) immersive learning experiences, (3) summer internships, and (4) innovation capstone project.

  • Core Curriculum - The DCTC pilot, starting with juniors, consists of four, 2-credit semester courses that begin with an introduction to the acquisition process and community followed by courses that dig deeper into DoD acquisition systems, critical technology needs, and other topics important to the DoD mission.
    • DCTC 301 ‐ Fundamentals of Civilian Public Service in the DoD
    • DCTC 302 - The DoD Acquisition Environment
    • DCTC 401 - Overview of DoD Missions and Community Functions
    • DCTC 402 - Capstone and Leading as part of the Acquisition Team
  • Innovation Capstone Project (2 semesters) - The innovation capstone project is the final project required of the DCTC curriculum. STEM and non-STEM scholars will form multi-disciplinary teams to design important prototype solutions needed by DOD organizations. Capstone students will engage with military and non-military mentors to develop solutions to real DoD challenges. Capstone projects are typically completed throughout your Senior year.
  • Summer Internship (8 wks) - Multi-disciplinary, cohort- and project- based summer internships at DoD organizations allow DCTC scholars to solve real-world DoD problems with experts in the field.
  • Immersive Learning Experiences – Throughout the academic semester, DCTC scholars will use simulations, gamification, and targeted team workshops for student deep learning on acquisition innovation, technologies, digital literacy, leadership and more.

DCTC Benefits

  • 100% tuition + fees + stipend
  • Summer Internship placement at DOD organizations, labs and other federal agencies
  • Job placement, career development for success and future pathways across:
    • DOD organizations and laboratories, other federal agencies; start-ups, industry, academia
  • Gain practical knowledge and skills for successful application of major field in real world institutions and challenges:
    • Multidisciplinary teaming
    • Organizational leadership skills
    • Change management & transformation skills

DCTC Program Information

  • U.S. Citizenship required; Apply for a Security Clearance during your undergrad period.
  • All majors are considered for the DCTC program.
  • Applications for cohort 1 (expected graduation date of May 2026) are now open. Please use the link below to apply. Applications close March 31st.


Student FAQs

Is the Defense Civilian Training Corps (DCTC) like ROTC? Will I be in uniform?

The DCTC program is a talent pipeline to recruit top talent for the civilian workforce. Similar to the military ROTC program, the curriculum includes a summer internship component, and students joining in Fall 2024 and beyond will incur a civilian (non-military) service obligation with their scholarship. Upon graduation, DCTC Scholars will be placed in DoD labs or command organizations to begin their career in federal service. Civilians wear business or business casual dress in the workplace.

What are the benefits of working for DoD as a civilian?

The DoD employs 950,000 civilians, many serving in critical positions worldwide.

  • There are a multitude of opportunities requiring a diverse range of skills.
  • If a competitive salary, great benefits, unsurpassed training, and the pride of defending our Nation interests you, then your future is with DoD.
  • Across DoD the key principles of employee engagement, results-driven, honor, duty and integrity, teamwork, family-oriented, and diversity and inclusion foster a supportive and productive culture and environment.
  • DoD civilian employees are committed to the national security mission and their cutting edge, innovative, and impactful work motivates them every day.

How do I know if I’m eligible?

  • DCDC Cohort 1 scholarships are open to students with an expected graduation date of May 2026 are currently enrolled at one of the DCTC pilot universities.
  • Students must be in good standing with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship and the ability to obtain and maintain a DoD security clearance are required.

What are the requirements for participation?

  • DCTC scholars are expected to maintain good standing with the University and DCTC pilot program. Cumulative grade point averages will be used to assess annual academic performance for continued eligibility
  • Completion of all requirements for bachelor’s degree under college/university rules and regulations
  • Continued pursuit of the academic major for which the scholarship is offered.
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Participation/attendance in required DCTC programs, such as courses, guest lectures, facility visits, summer internships, DOD Challenge Projects, DCTC program support activities and program feedback.
  • Completion of necessary credits specified by the DCTC program.

How do I know about my ability to obtain a DoD security clearance?

Please visit the below websites for additional information on eligibility guidelines for obtaining a security clearance:

What materials do I need to apply?

To apply for a DCTC scholarship, you must submit a transcript, resume, and short statement of interest. The DCTC representative at each pilot university will provide an application. Email to obtain an application.

Is it okay that I’m a non-STEM major?

Yes, DCTC is designed for students pursuing an undergraduate degree relating to acquisition or finance, as well as digital technologies, critical technologies, science, or engineering. Students in majors such as business, supply chain management, contracting, and pre-law are encouraged to apply. The DCTC curriculum is designed for interdisciplinary, project-based learning; an environment in which students from varied academic backgrounds will collaborate to solve complex, real-life problems.

How will my current financial aid be affected if I receive a DCTC scholarship?

Check with your university Financial Aid office to address questions concerning the impact to existing tuition aid, housing, etc.

Will I receive a minor or a certificate for completing DCTC curriculum?

The process for evaluating the DCTC curriculum for consideration as a minor or certificate program will be university specific.

What if I have more questions about the program or application?