Will the non-observed fitness reports hurt my career?
No, this is a common fear, but the actual statistics from all communities show that earning a Master's Degree in resident graduate programs is never a detriment with respect to promotion rates. In many communities, it's a significant plus. In the 1800 community, almost all O-4 billets and above require the 6401P code and all officers are expected to come to NPS to earn their masters degree in Meteorology and Oceanography. Timing is a consideration, but almost all 1800 officers have a span of approximately 2 years of non-observed fitness reports during the earning of their masters degree.
What is it like to be a student at NPS?
There's no duty, and you wear your uniform once per week (Tuesdays). On other days, business casual is required. The course of study is quite challenging. Expect to spend most of your weekdays, Monday through Friday on campus attending classes and studying. Normally you will be taking four courses a quarter and each course usually meets three to four times a week for about an hour. Additional hours of study time outside of class is required to be successful but this is done at a time and location of your choosing which makes things more flexible than when at a regular military duty station. There is no underway time other than during a couple of the Oceanography courses, and then it is only a couple of days. Your weekends are free unless you need to use them to study or complete projects, and students get two weeks off during the summer (late June through 4th of July) and two weeks off during the Winter (Week before Christmas through a couple days after New Years). Leave is expected to be taken during that time if you plan any long trips. Leave is discouraged and sparingly approved (emergency and special circumstances only) when classes are in session.
What is Monterey like?
Monterey is a small town with temperate weather and wonderful natural beauty. It is not hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. The coastline is beautiful, but the water is cold. There is plenty for single people and families both to do in the area.
Can I complete JPME while at NPS?
Many students are interested in taking the Joint Military Professional Education (JPME) course sequence while they are here at NPS, since it is highly valued by the Navy and DoD, although not required for the METOC P-Code. Your primary assignment is to complete your PCode, so JPME work must be done on a not-to-interfere basis. One of the four courses in the sequence, NW3230, is required to be taken by all Navy NPS students before they graduate and URL officers are required to complete the entire four course sequence. The best way to accomplish this "little bit extra" (three additional courses) is to validate courses where appropriate, such as if you already have a meteorology or oceanography B.S., or significant forecasting experience, or you do not need the math refresher courses, etc. If you are able to validate three courses, you will have room to complete the JPME Phase I with no overload.
How do I validate courses?
The benefit of validating courses is to allow flexibility in your matrix, not to “get out of” some particular course. You will still be expected to carry a full load each quarter, but it is to your benefit to not repeat material that you show competence in. Instead you could take courses more directly related to your thesis work and/or your follow-on assignment or complete JPME. To validate a course, you will need to show proof of completing an equivalent course previously and/or demonstrate by means of a written or oral test to the instructor and/or department chair that you have a good understanding of the material. For information on how to validate math courses prior to arrival at NPS, go the following link http://www.nps.edu/Academics/GSEAS/AppliedMath/QLinks/Validation.html
If you are able to validate by passing the test, please notify the program officer prior to your arrival at NPS so you will be scheduled for the correct courses.
Can I overload?
Overloading is considered more than 17 units in a quarter. Lab units count for ½ in this calculation, so 13 lecture hours and 8 lab hours would be 17 hours.
Overloads are only approved where a student's QPR is high enough that they will clearly be able to do graduate level work in all courses, not just skim by.
There are a couple of exceptions to this overload policy: If you have to have the courses to graduate/finish P-Code, that would be a special circumstance, but it is best not to get into that situation if it can be avoided.