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Master of arts
Defense strategies influence national intelligence and homeland security operations — and further shape the United States’ relationships with countries across the globe. Prepare to take on an indispensable role in U.S. intelligence and security with an online master of arts in defense and strategic studies from the University of Missouri (Mizzou).
Mizzou’s online master’s in defense and strategic studies caters to a diverse student body with similar aspirations. An exploration of international policy and strategy prepares current military personnel for leadership. For veterans thinking about the next step, the focus on security and intelligence builds a bridge between their field knowledge and a civilian career.
For civilians, courses in political and military strategy, diplomacy and deterrence pave the way toward in-demand roles in government agencies and think tanks related to national security, policy or intelligence.
About the online master’s in defense and strategic studies
Whether as a civilian, current military member or veteran, you aim to protect our world. Mizzou’s flexible, customizable and fully online program guides you along this mission, immersing you in a multifaceted study of military systems and effectiveness.
Gain the skills to maintain national security in today’s complex, globalized society. The master of arts in defense and strategic studies from Mizzou delivers the knowledge to strengthen international relations, manage conflicts and develop defense strategies. Learn why and how disagreements emerge between and within states. Explore military history and tactics and analyze the use of intelligence, policy and diplomacy in both peacetime and war.
Students enrolled in the online master’s in defense and strategic studies examine:
- Military history, particularly related to the Napoleonic revolution in warfare, World War I, World War II and modern wars in the Middle East and Asia
- The causes of international conflict, including topics such as power, territory, alliances and democratic peace
- Civil war and insurgency, including the onset, dynamics and legacies of violence in intrastate conflict
- The process and history of American foreign policy
- The history and applications of strategic theory, from classical theorists such as Sun Tzu and Clausewitz to modern theorists
- Strategic threats and opportunities around the world, including in the South China Sea, the Korean Peninsula and the Middle East
- The patterns, causes and effects of military innovation in both peacetime and warfare
Official nameMaster of arts in defense and strategic studies
Program typeMaster's degree
Academic homeCollege of Arts & Science | Truman School of Government and Public Affairs
Delivery mode100% online
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
*This cost is for illustrative purposes only. Your hours and costs will differ, depending on your transfer hours, your course choices and your academic progress. See more about tuition and financial aid.
For current military members, the online master’s in defense and strategic studies equips you to make stronger decisions, informed not just by your grasp of international relations theory but also your understanding of the severity and impact of current conflicts across the globe. This knowledge base allows field-grade military officers to advance into one of the following positions: Battalion Commander; Battalion, Brigade and Division Staff Officer; Squadron Commander; Squadron, Group or Wing Staff Officer; Ship Commander; Division Officer or Joint Staff Officer.
For civilians, the program’s dive into military tactics enriches a foundation in international relations, public policy or political science. Potential job titles include military analyst, intelligence officer, project manager, strategic planner, policy analyst, research associate, targeting analyst or senior analyst.
Mizzou’s Truman School of Government and Public Affairs designed the master’s in defense and strategic studies as a 30-credit-hour, fully online program using an accelerated schedule. Courses last eight weeks, allowing students to take two classes, one at a time, during a semester.
Full-time military members typically sign up for three courses per term and finish the program in one year. Part-time civilian students usually enroll in two courses per term to complete the program in two years.
Adding to the efficiency, Mizzou accepts up to 12 hours of transfer credits from current or former U.S. military officers who completed their Intermediate Level Education (ILE) at select military command and staff colleges.
For all candidates, the online master’s in defense and strategic studies starts with three core courses. From here, students select from an array of electives to customize the degree according to their interests and career goals.
The program’s core sequence introduces you to:
- Theories and models of international conflict and war
- The dynamics and impact of violence in the context of civil war
- Military theories and history in relation to outcomes, effectiveness and strategy
Calendar system8 weeks
Typical program length1 or 2 years
Typical course load2 or 3 classes each semester
The University of Missouri is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States.
Dr. Quackenbush is associate professor of political science at the University of Missouri. He received his PhD in 2003 from the University at Buffalo, SUNY. He is the director of the strategic studies program at the University of Missouri, and he served as president of the International Studies Association – Midwest from 2016–2017. His research focuses on international relations, specifically three areas of international security: deterrence, recurrent conflict and strategic studies.
Dr. Reeder is an assistant professor of political science and an affiliate of the Truman School of Government and Public Affairs. He earned his doctorate and master’s from the University of Illinois, and his bachelor’s from Boise State University. His research centers on political violence, conflict management and the consequences of wars for civilian populations.
Dr. Ba’s interests include international political economy, U.S. foreign policy and the American presidency. Within the field of international political economy, her research focuses on systemic causes of financial crises, as well as the politics of global finance, and the role of credit and debt as a dimension of countries' structural and financial power. Her research on U.S. foreign policy examines the linkages between international relations theory and the conduct of U.S. foreign policy, as well as U.S. foreign policy crisis management, and the role of presidential advisory systems in U.S. foreign policy decision making.
Susan Brockhaus is an Adjunct Professor of the Practice in the Defense and Strategic Studies program at the University of Missouri. She earned an MS in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University in Washington D.C. in 2017, and an MA in Political Science from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2001. She has worked as an analyst for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) since 2002, with extensive experience in counterterrorism and foreign influence. She was selected to serve as Senior Duty Officer in the White House Situation Room, worked in the 2012 London Olympics Threat Integration Center, and has personally briefed senior US government officials to include the President, Attorney General and FBI Director. She currently serves as an adjunct faculty member for the FBI Academy at Quantico. She received Meritorious Citations from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in 2012 and 2015.
LTC (Ret) Rob Boone is an Adjunct Professor of the Practice in the Defense and Strategic Studies program at the University of Missouri. He also serves as Associate Vice President for Columbia College Global Military. He holds a BA in History from Sam Houston State University and an MA in Military History from American Military University, with a focus on Special Operations in Low Intensity Conflict. He is also a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College and the Joint Advanced Warfighting School. His assignments the United States Army included Rifle Platoon Leader, 25th Infantry Division, Hawaii; Service Detachment Commander, 3rd Special Forces Group; Company Commander, 82nd Airborne Division, Ft. Bragg, NC; Deputy Brigade Commander, 198th Infantry, Ft. Benning, GA. His final assignment was the Professor of Military Science at the University of Missouri. His deployments include Egypt, Tunisia, Haiti, and two tours in Iraq.