Missouri State University's Department of Defense and Strategic Studies (DSS), located in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area, provides professional, graduate-level education in national security policy; cyber security; WMD proliferation; international terrorism; military operations; global security challenges; foreign policy; arms control; missile proliferation; international security affairs; defense policy analysis, planning and programs; and intelligence analysis. The Department offers a Master of Science degree in Defense and Strategic Studies with the successful completion of 36 semester hours of study, and students may choose the traditional Defense and Strategic Studies option or Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction option.

A high degree of flexibility is permitted in course selection, and most courses are offered during the afternoon and evening for the convenience of traditional students and working professionals who wish to continue their education in their chosen field.

Unlike most academic programs, the DSS program is highly practical in its orientation. Educational emphasis is placed on the practical analysis of U.S. policies, programs, and options as well as on theoretical comprehension. Our students acquire the tools needed to address national and international security questions in specific terms. Direct experience in policy development and academic credit is offered through student participation in professional internships in government, defense-related industries, and non-profit organizations. (See the section on Internships.) These internships provide valuable experience, academic credit, and professional contacts for students pursuing a career in government, the defense industry, academia, or policy and research institutions. In addition, some internships are paid.

Some graduates continue their studies by pursuing a PhD in a related field, but most pursue professional careers in government, defense industry, companies engaged in defense research and analysis, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations with a focus on defense issues and national security policy. The DSS program is highly demanding, but we have found that the great majority of students relish the challenging environment that we offer. We demand excellence, and we are proud to say that our students rise to the challenge.

The DSS graduate program began in 1971 and our graduates are among the finest and best qualified professionals in their fields; many occupy senior positions in government, industry, the research sector, and academia.  We believe they have and will continue to have a direct and major positive impact on U.S. national security policies and defense programs for years to come.


This program is certified by the
State Council of Higher Education in Virginia.


Missouri State University
• Copyright 2007 Board of Governors, Missouri State University • DisclaimerAccessibilityEO/AA
Contact Information • Maintained by: Defense and Strategic Studies • Last Modified: October 22, 2014