SOCMAR is a system of college curriculum networks designed by SOC for Marine Corps servicemembers and their adult family members. Networks consist of groups of colleges that have agreed to accept each other's courses in a particular program of study. Students can move freely among the colleges in a network without being reevaluated or worrying about whether or not courses will transfer. SOCMAR-2 is the associate degree network program; SOCMAR-4 is the bachelor's degree network program.
SOCMAR-2 and SOCMAR-4 colleges provide students with the opportunity to complete college degrees without losing credit because of frequent changes in duty station. Curricula, or courses of study, are offered by colleges and universities on or accessible to most Marine Corps installations worldwide.
Colleges within SOCMAR act as "home colleges" for SOCMAR students. Students begin their studies at their home college where they complete the required academic residency. SOCMAR colleges and universities require no more than 25 percent of a degree program in residence, and courses taken from the college anywhere in the world at any time during study for a degree count toward residency.
After completing no more than six semester hours at the home college, SOCMAR students are eligible for an official evaluation and SOCMAR Student Agreement, which is a degree plan and contract-for-degree. The SOCMAR college includes on the official evaluation appropriate credit for any previous college courses and nontraditional learning, including Marine Corps MOSs, military training courses, and results of national examinations. Credit for nontraditional learning is based on recommendations of the American Council on Education.
SOCMAR colleges guarantee to accept in transfer courses listed in the transferability tables of the SOCMAR-2 and SOCMAR-4 Handbooks, which are used as manuals for the SOCMAR system by college and military counselors. These courses are transferred among network colleges without course-by-course prior approval for individual students. SOCMAR colleges also guarantee to accept college-level General Education elective courses in specified course areas. These guarantees are in effect only when a SOCMAR Student Agreement has been issued, and only for transfer back to the home college.
When SOCMAR students are transferred to new duty stations, they may continue to take courses from other SOCMAR colleges, and acquire credit for further military experience and tests. These credits are transferred back to the home college which will award the degree when all academic requirements set forth on the Student Agreement are met.
SOCMAR students can pursue their degrees though three delivery options:
- Traditional Delivery — Courses normally are delivered through classroom-based instruction with some academic residency required.
- Distance Learning — External-degree option that allows SOCMAR students to take courses without sitting in a traditional classroom. Courses may be by correspondence, computer, video, or other type of independent study.
- Learning Assessment Option — External-degree option that consists of approved curricula that do not require academic residency for graduation. Participating colleges and universities evaluate learning from nontraditional sources, and accept credit in transfer from other institutions.