Marine Corps Cutting Scores, Composition Scores & Promotions

Written by Kevin Webb

Cutting Scores, Composition Scores & Promotions

Marines E1-E3 are promoted simply based on Time in Service (TIS) and Time in Grade (TIG). As long as you stay out of trouble, you will be promoted. The real work begins once you pick up Lance Corporal (E3).


E1-E3 Promotions
E1 Private – First Rank
E2 Private First Class – Promoted to PFC after 6 months
E3 Lance Corporal – Promoted to LCpl after 9 months

E3-E5 Promotions
Marines from the rank of E3-E5 are promoted one of two ways: meritoriously or via their composition score.

E6 & Up Promotions
Staff NCOs and above (E6-E9) are promoted based on their required PMEs and must appear before a promotion board for selection. We will discuss this in a later post.

How To Get Promoted

What is a Meritorious Promotion?
A Meritorious Promotion is typically granted when a Marine displays outstanding performance on a consistent basis and the command deems it necessary to ‘reward’ him/her by promoting them to the next rank.

What is a Composition Score?
The primary way that a Marine is promoted is based on his or her Composition Score. A composition score is compiled of several aspects of being a Marine including time in service (TIS), time in grade (TIG), rifle score, PFT score, CFT score, pros, cons, MCIs, college credits, and recruiting. A Marine’s composition score must reach the designated Cutting Score requirement for his or her particular MOS before being selected for promotion.

What is a Cutting Score?
A Cutting Score is MOS and rank specific, meaning that every MOS and every rank has their own Cutting Score, which is the score that must be reached for that particular MOS in order to be promoted. Cutting Scores generally range from 1200-1900. Cutting Scores are released by the Marine Corps quarterly for reservists and monthly for active duty. Marine Reservists compete within their entire MOS field for a cutting score, where active duty Marines compete only within their specific MOS. An 0311 reservist will be promoted based on a cutting score for the entire 03XX field, and active duty Marines will be promoted based on the cutting score for their specific MOS (0311 rather than 03XX).

You can view updated Cutting Scores for each MOS and rank by visiting MANPOWER.

Every Marine can easily look up their current Composition Score by logging into their Marine Online (MOL) account.

How to Find Your Composition Score on MOL

• Log into your MOL account.
• Click on “Tools” in the top left of the navigation
• Click “Composition Score Calculator” in the top left
• A page will display showing all of the items that are calculated for the Composition Score
• Make any changes that you know of in the fields
• Click “Predict” on the right of the page

Calculate Your Own Composition Score

If you so desire to calculate your own Composition Score, then you can do so using the below formula.

1. Your most recent rifle score=
2. Most recent PFT score=
3. Add lines 1 and 2.
4 GMP score (lines 3 divided by line 2)=
5. GMP score from line 4 x 100
6. Average Duty Profiency (x 100)=
7. Average Conduct (x 100)=
8. Time in Grade (months) (x 5)=
9. Time in Service (months) (x 2)=
(this is computed from PEBD for Reservists on your MOL)
10. DI/Recruiter/MSG Bonus=
11. Self Education Bonus:
a. MCI/Extension School=
b. College/CLEP/Vocational (x 10)=
12. Command Recruiting Bonus (you got someone to enlist in the Marine Corps=
13. Composite score (add lines 5 through 12)=_____

About the author

Kevin Webb

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