Defense and Strategic Studies

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Doctor of Defense and Strategic Studies

This program operates in Fairfax, Virginia, and is certified by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

John Rose, Program Director
9302 Lee Hwy, Suite 760, Phone 703-218-3565

Program description

The Doctor of Defense and Strategic Studies (DDSS) program provides knowledge and skills in the field of international security studies with an emphasis on countering the threat posed by Weapons of Mass Destruction to U.S. and allied national security. This program will prepare national and international security professionals to work in various settings, including civilian and military public service, non-governmental “think tanks,” and commercial defense industry. Graduates specialize in various global or regional international security issues and are able to assess specific security challenges, formulate prospective options for addressing those challenges, and identify the prospective policy and other requirements needed to help implement those options to strengthen U.S. and allied security conditions.

Entrance requirements

To be considered for admission to the Doctorate of Defenses and Strategic Studies (DDSS), a student must meet the requirements listed below.

  1. Completion of the baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  2. Cumulative GPA of 3.00 over the last 60 hours of academic work taken.
  3. A personal philosophy statement that addresses the applicant's professional career goals and how the program will help accomplish these goals.
  4. Two letters of recommendation from graduate faculty or professionals acquainted with the student’s academic work or research and analytical skills.
  5. A brief C.V.
  6. Students for whom English is a second language must earn a minimum score of 79 (internet-based) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or a 6.0 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Retention requirements

Consistent with Graduate College policy, students may not accumulate more than 9 hours of grades below a B- and remain in the program

Degree requirements (30 or 66 hours)

Foundation Courses (36 hours)

Foundation courses may be taken from the school’s master’s degree program (courses listed below). Students who hold a master’s degree in a related field can be admitted with advanced standing and may not be required to complete additional foundation courses.

  • DSS 601 Seminar on Nuclear Strategy and Arms Control
  • DSS 632 Seminar on International Security Affairs
  • DSS 700 Strategy and U.S. Defense Policy
  • DSS 707 Congress, National Security, and WMD
  • DSS 710 Seminar on International Terrorism and Security
  • DSS 719 Strategic Culture
  • DSS 720 Internship Training in DSS Policy
  • DSS 721 Missile Defense, Proliferation and Contemporary Warfare
  • DSS 722 Emerging Strategic Challenges
  • DSS 723 Counterproliferation
  • DSS 725 Seminar on Instruments of State Power
  • DSS 727 Chemical and Biological Warfare
  • DSS 796 Directed Reading and Research in Defense and Strategic Studies
  • DSS 797 Special Topics: Cyber Warfare/Security

Core Courses (15 hours)

  • DSS 720 Internship Training in DSS Policy (3 hours)
  • DSS 801 Advanced Nuclear Strategy, Deterrence, and Arms Control (3 hours)
  • DSS 832 Advanced Survey and Writing in International Security Affairs (3 hours)
  • DSS 896 Doctoral Capstone Project (6 hours)

Advanced Seminars (15 hours)

Advanced seminar courses focus on application of foundational knowledge. Students work with their advisor to choose courses that are relevant for their focus of study. Course options are listed below.

  • DSS 702 Seminar on Regional Security Problems
  • DSS 705 NATO Security Issues
  • DSS 708 Seminar on Contemporary Security Issues in the Former USSR
  • DSS 713 Intelligence, Counterintelligence, and Covert Action
  • DSS 724 Leadership in National Security Policy
  • DSS 726 Chinese Military Power
  • DSS 728 Terrorism: Advanced Research Topics
  • DSS 737 Advanced Studies in Chemical and Biological Warfare
  • DSS 797 Special Topics: Security Challenges in Latin America
  • DSS 840 Seminar on National Security Strategies