Admission Requirements

Application deadline

Next semester for doctoral program admission consideration: Spring 2025. 
Application dealine:  November 1, 2024 to begin in Spring 2025 semester. 

The Defense and Strategic Studies Professional Doctorate (DDSS) degree program is now accepting applications for a spring 2025 semester start. Applications MUST be submitted via the GradCAS application portal ( with all required materials by November 1, 2024. Please direct all DDSS program questions to

You can complete this program via online asynchronous couses and/or virtual courses via ZOOM or MS Teams.  

Get started

Apply to this program through a central application: GradCAS. Review the sections below before you begin.


Guidance to doctoral program applicants

Applicants to MSU’s doctoral program in Defense and Strategic Studies should adhere to the following guidance:

  1. Letters of Recommendation: Letters of Recommendation should be submitted on the letterhead of the organization of the person writing the letter if possible. At a minimum, letters must contain their writers’ contact information and be signed. Recommenders should be advised that they may be contacted by DSS as part of the evaluation process. Ideally, letters should be written by the applicant’s former professors and/or by individuals who supervise the applicant professionally or once did. 

  2. Personal Statements: Personal Statements of no more than 500 words should summarize the applicant’s academic and professional background and explain how the applicant intends to apply a professional doctorate in Defense and Strategic Studies in their professional pursuits. Personal statements should be carefully composed and consistent with accepted manuals of style.

  3. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required, but applicants are encouraged to take the GRE to demonstrate their readiness for top-level graduate education.

  4. Applicants can expect to receive a call from a member of the faculty admissions board to discuss their background, goals, and expectations of the doctoral program.

  5. A minimum GPA of 3.0 in previous college-level work is required for admission to the doctoral program. Historically, the average GPA of admitted students has been closer to 3.5.