The application window for the Winter 2022 Cohort closed on November 21.


U.S. Army War College Graduate Certificate Program (GCP)

The U.S. Army War College is offering a new distance education certificate program for U.S. government (USG) national security professionals. The Graduate Certificate in National Security Studies (NSS) provides working professionals the flexibility to take online classes that help prepare them for future national security positions. The certificate program broadens students’ understanding of contemporary national security topics and helps students improve the knowledge, skills and attributes needed for positions. During the past year and a half, the U.S. Army War College has offered select students the opportunity to participate in pilot courses and earn course certificates. Starting in January 2022, students are eligible to earn the Graduate Certificate in NSS once they complete all requirements.

NOTE: There are currently no tuition or fees charged for courses, however, students may be required to purchase up to $100 in textbooks per course. In the future and as yet undetermined, students may be required to pay tuition and fees during registration for courses.

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Who Can Apply?

Applicants must be a USG civilian or military employee and possess a bachelor’s degree to enroll in the program. Applicants who are USG civilians in a grade equivalent to GS 12-14 and Service Members in the grades of O4-5, CW3-5, E8-9 are given preference. Others may apply if they are in a mid-grade national security positions as determined by the Admissions Committee. Until the program reaches full capability, the number of applicants selected will be limited.

Requirements to Earn the Certificate in NSS:

Students must successfully complete four eight-week “core” courses (2 credits each) and one 2-credit hour elective course chosen from a wide variety of disciplines. Instructional modality is distance and courses can be a mix of asynchronous and synchronous delivery. The courses reinforce each other but remain independent so they can be taken in any sequence. Students can enroll in the program with intent to take one course or complete all courses to earn the Certificate in NSS. Elective courses provide students the opportunity to choose an area that interests them and/or advances their professional knowledge on a specific topic.

NOTE: Please click below to expand descriptions of each course offering.

DE1401 - Art and Science of Effective Communication

Art and Science of Effective Communication reintroduces adult learners to practical elements of effective communication, including skills, strategies, and resources to both critique written and spoken presentations, and construct and deliver their own clear, persuasive, and memorable products to a variety of audiences.

DE1402 - Critical Thinking & Argumentation

This course equips students with the critical thinking and argumentation tools needed to make sound decisions or support courses of action based on logic, rationality, and coherence. We make explicit use of historical case studies to illustrate critical thinking and argumentation skills.

DE1403 - Introduction to Defense Strategy

Introduction to Defense Strategy focuses on improving student understanding of the elements and concepts of national security policy, national strategy and policymaking processes, and the relationship of the national elements of power to a nation’s defense strategy.

The course concentrates on improving student understanding of the elements and concepts of national security policy, the national strategy and policy making process, and the relationship of the national elements of power to a nation’s defense strategy. The curriculum provides a survey of a variety of topics that inform policy and its development. Strategic Theory, Military Schools of Strategic Thought, Strategy Formulation, DoD Strategy Process, Interagency Framework, Homeland Defense Security, Uses of History in Policymaking, Globalization and Economic Development, and the Current Strategic Environment are all topics that will be covered in the course. Moreover, Introduction to Defense Strategy addresses the national security policymaking process and the relationship of the national elements of power to defense strategy.

DE1404 - Contemporary Security Issues

Contemporary Security Issues focuses on the depth and breadth of the myriad national security challenges, such as great power war, nuclear proliferation, climate change, and artificial intelligence, in the context of the philosophical perspectives and historical development of the world in which we live.

NOTE: Please click below to expand and view additional course details.

Graduate Certificate Electives

Additional 2 credit hours of Graduate Level Courses

  • DE1450 - Organizational Communication
  • DE1452 - Leader Resiliency
  • DE1454 - Advanced Critical Thinking
  • DE1456 - Strategic Culture: Warp & Woof of War
  • DE1458 - Complex Security Operations: Iraq and Afghanistan
  • DE1460 - Competition Below the Level of Armed Conflict

How to Apply:

Admissions. New Students click on the “Apply Here” link anywhere on this webpage and complete the online application. When your application is complete, click on the “submit” button. Incomplete applications or applications without a transcript will not be considered. NOTE: Applicants email an official or unofficial copy of their undergraduate transcript to the GCP Director and Program Manager until the upload function is available.

Students already enrolled in the pilot program are not required to submit an application but must still email a copy of their undergraduate transcript to the GCP Director and Program Manager to meet accreditation standards.

The U.S. Army War College will enroll students into the Graduate Certificate Program twice a calendar year in a winter cohort and a summer cohort. The 2022 Winter Cohort application window will close on 21 November 2021. The 2022 Summer Cohort window will open in April 2022 and close in May 2022. Once students are admitted in the certificate program, they must email the GCP Director and Program Manager requests to register for courses. Students enrolled in the pilot program must contact the GCP Director and Program Manager to request courses needed to complete the Certificate in NSS.

Schedule of Courses:

The Graduate Certificate Program uses a four-term system to offer courses. The schedule for 2022 follows:

Graduate Certificate Program poster.

  • Students Notified of Admissions: ~2 Weeks after Admission Window Closes
  • Selection of Courses: ~2 Weeks Prior to Term
  • Courses Available in BlackBoard: ~1 Week prior to Start of Courses

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