The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) is where all officers in the British Army are trained to take on the responsibility of leading their fellow soldiers. During training, all officer cadets learn to live by the academy’s motto: ‘Serve to Lead’.
Training at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst lasts for 44 weeks, broken down into three 14-week terms. Between each term, there are adventurous training exercises and 2-3 weeks of leave.
Beyond the everyday
Life at Sandhurst is challenging, stimulating and, above all, rewarding. The standard is exceptionally high, and not every officer cadet will make the grade – but those who do will leave Sandhurst knowing that they’ve excelled at one of the world’s toughest and most revered military training academies.
The Army Officer Selection Board identifies leadership potential, and the purpose of the 44-week Commissioning Course is to develop this by expanding an Officer Cadet's character, intellect and professional skills.
At the end of the course a newly-commissioned Officer will be qualified to lead and manage soldiers while at the same time upholding the British Army's core values of selfless commitment, respect for others, loyalty, integrity, discipline and courage.
Male and female cadets are trained together in integrated platoons and the majority come from state-funded education, with around 90% holding university degrees.
Military training is infantry-based so that everyone, no matter what their eventual regiment or corps, will have mastered the core essentials before they go on to more specialised training after Sandhurst.
Overall, the core objectives of the Commissioning Course are:
The Commissioning Course is accredited by various academic and professional institutions.
The Professionally Qualified Officer (PQO) course at Sandhurst is for new British Army Officers who hold professional qualifications, such as doctors, vets, lawyers, dentists, nurses, physiotherapists and chaplains. The course is designed to familiarise PQOs with military life and to prepare them for operational deployment.
The course (Commissioning Course Short) takes eight weeks to complete and is based directly on the Regular Commissioning Course. The focus is on officership, command and leadership, and the syllabus includes field training, physical training, weapons training and, of course, drill. When not out in the field PQOs will find themselves in the classroom, learning, for example, about global security, aspects of leadership psychology and the history of warfare.
Some of the most exciting parts of the course are the tactical exercises, a week on the ranges firing the Army's latest weapons systems, learning how to use the latest digital communication equipment and the physical challenge of core survival skills. The Final Exercise centres around operating in a contemporary environment and contains elements of peace support operations, war fighting, negotiation and media operations.
The final hurdle is the preparation for the Passing Out Parade. The night before, a formal dinner is held in the magnificent surroundings of the Indian Army Memorial Room in Old College, where everyone wears mess kit for the first time. The next day the PQOs march out to pay their last visit to the parade square with the support of a military band and the parade commander on horseback. Afterwards, family and friends are invited into Old College to join in the celebrations at the parade lunch.
Every Army Reserve Officer in the British Army commissions from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. However, there are two different routes to the Academy.
One is through the University Officer Training Corps (UOTC) for university students as an Officer Cadet; the other is through a local Army Reserve unit. Both involve the completion of the same three qualifying modules before applying for the Commissioning Course at Sandhurst.
In order to be accepted onto the course, applicants first have to pass an Army Officer Selection Board (AOSB) at Westbury, which is identical in all respects to the Regular AOSB. Initial Officer training is a series of modules to develop your military, leadership and tactical skills and enables you to learn the same skills as Regular Army officers. Each of the first 2 modules are either broken up into 7 weekends with an Officer Training Corps or each done as a consolidated 2 week module at Sandhurst. The third module, also lasts for 2 weeks and takes place at Sandhurst. The fourth module is the Reserve Commissioning Course at Sandhurst, which is considered to be the culmination of Sandhurst’s world class leadership and management training. The 2 week course is designed to further develop your leadership ability and give you the key military skills required to have a successful Reserve career. All four modules are run back-to-back at Sandhurst, allowing you to complete all of your Reserve Officer training in a single eight week package if appropriate. The course ends with an impressive, formal Commissioning Parade in front of Old College to which family and friends are invited.
Someone who holds an Army Reserve commission will have learned a wide range of valuable leadership and managerial skills that can also be used in the civilian workplace. For that reason, many employers actively support employees who wish to become Army Reserve Officers.
A Late Entry (LE) Officer is someone who has been awarded the Queen's Commission after a number of years' prior service in the Army as a soldier.
The Late Entry Officers Course (LEOC) is designed to develop the new LE Officer's understanding of the "big picture". Lasting four weeks for Regular Officers and two weeks for Reserve Officers, it covers:
Leadership is a key theme of LEOC and students are encouraged to develop new knowledge and skills while building on their previous experience in the Army. A highlight of both the Regular and Reserve courses is a day-long private visit to the Houses of Parliament and the Ministry of Defence in order to carry out research as part of a DIA project.
The role of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst is to prepare potential officers for the responsibility of leading their fellow soldiers, and to instil in them the core values of the British Army: courage, discipline, selfless commitment, integrity, loyalty and respect for others.
With an illustrious history stretching back more than 200 years, it has moulded generals, heads of state and captains of industry – many of whom are drawn from foreign militaries. The academy continues to be a global centre of excellence for leadership to this day.
The Sovereign's Parade at the end of each term marks the passing out from Sandhurst of Officer Cadets who have completed the Commissioning Course and is the result of many hours of hard work. It is the grandest day in the Sandhurst calendar as friends, family and VIPs gather before Old College Square to watch the cadets take part in their final challenge.
During the ceremony, the Sword of Honour, the Overseas Sword and the Queen's Medal are awarded by the Sovereign's Representative to the top Officer Cadets. The parade traditionally ends with the Adjutant riding his horse up the steps of Old College as he follows the graduating Officer Cadets through the Grand Entrance.
The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) is in Camberley, Surrey – about 30 miles from London.
The nearest railway station is Camberley, on the London Waterloo line.
The postcode for satnav users (which should not be solely relied upon) is GU15 4PQ. The main entrance of the Academy, the Staff College gate, is on the A30.
The nearest airport is Heathrow.
Our postal address is:
Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
The Camberley military operator’s telephone number is 01276 63344.
If you are sending something to an officer cadet, make sure you include their number, full name and company above the address.