Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) secure gear following a replenishment-at-sea with the Henry J. Kaiser-class fleet replenishment oiler USNS Kanawha (T-AO 196), Nov. 17, 2019.
Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) secure gear following a replenishment-at-sea with the Henry J. Kaiser-class fleet replenishment oiler USNS Kanawha (T-AO 196), Nov. 17, 2019. Carney, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is on its seventh patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of regional allies and partners as well as U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Fred Gray IV/Released)

Graduate Degree Program

The U.S. Naval War College’s (NWC), Graduate Degree Program (GDP) provides an opportunity for students or graduates of NWC’s Fleet Seminar Program (FSP) to earn the NWC Master of Arts in Defense and Strategic Studies degree. Students accepted into this program must complete a total of 30 semester credit hours of coursework: 21 in the core courses and nine in the electives.

Course Highlights

  • FSP students can apply after completing one core course.
  • Students earn a Master of Arts degree in Defense and Strategic Studies.
  • Accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Apply to Graduate Degree Program
GDP is an online application, please ensure that you meet all eligibility requirements.

Who is Eligible

U.S. military officers and federal government employees only may be eligible to apply and take part in the GDP.

  • Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard officers, active or reserve, must be in the grade of O3 or above.
  • Officers, active or reserve, in the other military services must be in the grade of O4 or above.
  • Civilian federal government employees must be in the grade of GS11 or above (or equivalent). Selected staff members in the federal Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary branches that are eligible to take part in FSP may also be eligible.

For more information please visit our Eligibility & Overview page.

What to Expect

Students interested in pursuing the M.A. degree must complete 30 semester credit hours of coursework—21 hours from FSP core courses and nine hours from electives.

  • FSP courses are conducted at multiple Naval bases and stations across the United States.
  • FSP courses are conducted in a seminar-style and include research, writing, and class discussion.
  • Elective coursework will most likely need to be completed at a non-NWC regionally accredited institution.

For more information please visit our Electives & Area of Study page.

How to Enroll

Students applying for GDP must meet the required employment criteria, have completed one or more FSP courses with no course grade lower than a B- and possess a baccalaureate degree, preferably from a regionally accredited institution. Applicants must:

  • Apply to the GDP using the online application.
  • Request official transcripts be sent from each previously attended undergraduate or graduate institution directly to the GDP office.
  • Have two letters of recommendation on their behalf sent to the GDP office–at least one must be from an NWC faculty member.

For more information please visit our Enrollment page.

More on This Program

Continuing Students

All elective courses, including courses offered by U.S. Naval War College, must be approved by the GDP Manager prior to the student registering for or enrolling in any elective course.

More Information

Electives & Area of Study

Students must complete all elective work under a single Area of Study. Elective courses must be graduate level and will most likely have to be taken at non-NWC regionally accredited institutions.

More Information

Program Outline

Students admitted to the GDP must complete the required core courses and an additional nine semester hours of approved electives under a single Area of Study to fulfill the GDP requirements.

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