Defense and Strategic Studies Major

Defense and Strategic Studies Major

Defense & Strategic Studies

Major

Defense and strategic studies gives cadets the skills to succeed anywhere. Graduates can incorporate elements of national power, civil-military relations, strategic decision-making, and theories of international relations to analyze U.S. and foreign defense strategies.

Defense and Strategic Studies (DSS) is an interdisciplinary major focused on understanding conflict, war, security, and defense by emphasizing a wide array of methodological approaches from the fields of military science, political science, international relations, economics, history, anthropology, and sociology to frame and analyze national and international security issues. Graduates are well-versed in the geographic security areas of interest to the Nation such as Africa, the South China Sea, Eastern Europe, the Arctic, the Middle East, and South America. 

To learn more about this area of study, visit the Department of Military Instruction.

Required Courses

DS320 INTRO TO STRATEGIC STUDIES 

DS370 STRATEGY AND POLICY 

DS495 RESEARCH METHODS STRAT STUDIES

DS498 LEADERSHIP IN FUTURE WAR

 

Sample Electives

DS345 MILITARY INNOVATION 

DS350 PERSUASIVE COMMUNICATIONS 

DS360 SPECIAL OPERATIONS: THEORY AND PRACTICE

DS399 STRATEGIC STUDIES INTERNSHIP  

DS455 COMPARATIVE DEFENSE POLICY  

DS460 REBELLION, INSURGENCY, AND CIVIL WAR

DS475 STRATEGIC DECISION MAKING 

DS485 DOMAINS OF WAR

DS489 ADV IND STUD-DEF/STRAT STUDIES 

DS490 SPECIAL TOPICS: STRAT STUDIES 

DS496 STRATEGIC STUDIES THESIS 

DS497 STRATEGIC STUDIES CAPSTONE

 

This major offers an honors track. 

 

To learn more, view the full Defense and Strategic Studies Major Curriculum.

Cadets in this major have the opportunity to apply for a summer Academic Individual Advanced Development (AIAD) program, USMA-run academic enrichment experience with the U.S. Special Operations Command; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; and others. They can also apply to join an annual staff ride to Germany over spring break to interact with British, French, and German counterparts. Finally, majors can choose to engage with peers at other elite institutions like Princeton, Yale, and New York University for crisis simulations, conferences, and symposia. 

 

To learn more about enrichment for this area of study, visit the Department of Military Instruction, the Modern War Institute, or the West Point Simulation Center.