First, to be eligible, Marines must meet the minimum Time-in-Service (TIS) and Time-in-Grade (TIG) requirements:
- Corporal (E-4) - 12 months TIS and 8 months TIG
- Sergeant (E-5) - 24 months TIS and 12 months TIG
Composite Scores are calculated each quarter (every 3 months). Each quarter, the Marine Corps announces how many Marines in each MOS, will be promoted to E-4 and E-5. To determine who gets promoted, "Composite Score" points are awarded from each of the following areas:
GMP Score. The GMP Score is determined from promotion points awarded for Qualification Scores on the rifle range, and Qualification Scores from the Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test. First, Rifle Range Scores are converted to Promotion Points. The Rifle Score Promotion Points are then added to the Promotion Points determined from the Physical Fitness Test Score. The result is then divided by 2.
Average Duty Proficiency Marks. Each enlisted Marine is rated periodically on their duty performance by their superior(s). These ratings are then used as part of the Promotion Composite Score system. All ratings are used since the last change in rank (promotion, demotion, etc). First, the ratings are averaged. The average of duty proficiency marks are then rounded off to the nearest 10th (4.44 would be 4.4; 4.45 would be 4.5). Finally, the result is multiplied by 100 to determine the Average Duty Proficiency Marks Composite Points.
Average Conduct Marks. Like the Average Duty Proficiency Marks, each enlisted Marine is rated periodically on their duty conduct. All ratings are used since the last change in rank (promotion, demotion, etc). First, the ratings are averaged. The average of duty conduct marks are then rounded off to the nearest 10th (4.44 would be 4.4; 4.45 would be 4.5). Finally, the result is multiplied by 100 to determine the Average Conduct Marks Composite Points.
Time-In-Grade. Composite points are received for each month served in their current rank. Time in Grade (months) is multiplied by 5 to determine TIG Composite Points.
Time-In-Service. Composite points are received for each month of total active duty federal military service. Time in Service (months) is multiplied by 2 to determine TIS Composite Points.
Self-Education Bonus Points. Certain college courses, and credits, and military training courses result in composite points. Points are only awarded that were earned since the last change in rank (promotion, reduction, etc). The maximum number of "Self-Education Points" that can be used is 75.
Drill Instructor/Recruiter/Marine Security Guard Bonus Points. Commanders can award 100 bonus points for Marines who are serving as Drill Instructors, Recruiters, and Marine Security Guard assignments. Points are valid for one year after completion of the DI/Recruiter/MSG assignment, but once bonus points are used in a composite score and the Marine is promoted, those points may not be applied for subsequent consideration for promotion. The 100-point bonus will be revoked in the case of Marines who fail to perform duty successfully or complete their assigned tour of duty.
Command Recruiting Program Bonus Points. This is an interesting aspect of the Marine Corps Enlisted Promotion Program that isn't shared by any other service. In the Army, one can earn advanced rank by referring individuals who ultimately enlist in the Army. However, to earn this advanced rank, one must be in the Delayed Enlistment Program (DEP). The Marines take this a step farther. Lance Corporals and Corporals get promotion points for referring applicants who ultimately enlist in the Marine Corps DEP, into the Marine Corps Reserves, or on active duty in the Marine Corps. 20 points are awarded for each individual referred while serving in their current rank. The maximum number of points is 100.