Bachelor of Science in Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis

Program Overview

Chair, Department of Continuing Studies: Mark L. Parker 
Program Manager: James Dalton

The Bachelor of Science in Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis (BSSSDA) is a degree-completion program designed to build upon the military education and experience of Special Operations Forces (SOF) in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. The BSSSDA program of study fulfills general education competencies needed to complete the bachelor’s degree while developing a soldier’s knowledge in vital areas such as sociology-anthropology, geography, cultural awareness, regional politics, and international conflict. The program is open to those who are active duty or retired from the U.S. Army Special Operations Forces, including reserve and National Guard components, as well as to other service members who are assigned to Special Operations Units.

Instruction in Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis at Norwich University is designed to be highly experiential through an integration of the operational and international experiences of SOF soldiers into the curriculum. A soldier will apply course work and study to initiatives and field exercises related to his or her deployment area. Students will conduct research concerning a region’s conflicts and opportunities and will incorporate both their research and field experiences into their program of study, thus potentially enhancing the U.S. Army’s body of knowledge of that region. Principles of critical thinking, ethical decision making, and leadership interweave throughout the curriculum.

Students entering the Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis degree program may receive the equivalent of up to 60 semester hours for courses in military training, leadership preparation, and/or language study upon credit review by the American Council of Education or a similarly recognized organization. Students may also transfer up to an additional 24 semester-credit hour equivalents from other accredited institutions of higher education. Transfer courses must meet specific course requirements in the SSDA program. Students complete the remaining credits through Norwich University in a structured program that will typically require two to four years to complete, depending upon a student’s full-time or part-time enrollment status and military deployment schedule.

Students in the Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis degree program will graduate with the major competencies needed to implement the U.S. Army’s Special Operations Forces agenda in a specific region of the globe. These competencies include the ability to:

  • Identify, describe, and explain the geographic features of the region.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the history of the region and its impact on current events.
  • Identify various cultures of the region, explain similarities and differences among them, and apply this knowledge to develop problem solving strategies within a range of contexts.
  • Identify political figures in the region, analyze their positions on various issues, and apply this knowledge to develop effective collaborative relationships and/or intervention strategies.
  • Understand the economics of the region, analyze a range of economic factors, and formulate recommendations for economic activities.
  • Appraise and articulate the role of the United States within the region.
  • Appraise and articulate the role of the US Army within the region.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills related to cross cultural competence.
     

The Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis degree curriculum is divided into four areas of instruction. The first area, core knowledge, ensures that students complete general education courses required for a bachelor's degree at Norwich University. The second area, program courses, addresses specific learning needs of the SOF and related communities. The third area, field studies, allows students to put their knowledge into practice by exploring a specific region’s economic, geographic, and cultural systems and making recommendations to help effect change within a region. The program culminates with a Capstone Project that is supervised by a faculty member. The Capstone Project is intended to contribute to the U.S. Army’s body of knowledge of regions around the globe including Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America.

Curriculum Requirements  

Pre-Program Education and Training

Students accepted into the Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis degree program must have earned a minimum of 60 semester credits from college courses, military training, or other educational experiences such as CLEP tests. A maximum of 84 semester credits may be transferred into the program. General education courses listed below are required unless applicants transfer in approved coursework or training from other institutions.

Number of Semester Credits

General Education Courses
ENGL 270Military Literature3
HIST 310Historical Studies3
MATH 232Elementary Statistics3
RELG 300Comparative Religion3
SCIE 301Environmental Science3
SSDA 306Science and Technology Visual Augmentation Defense Systems3
Program Courses
Students complete 18 credits of the following:18
Tech-Mediated Communication3
Strategic Communications3
Socio-Economic Studies3
History of US Constitution3
Operations & Project Mngt3
Leadership3
Strategic Planning3
Critical Thinking3
National Security Policy3
Comparative Politics3
International Terrorism3
Military Sociology3
Intro to Cultural Competence3
Emergency and Disaster Relief Operations6
Insurgency and Conflict6
Information Operations6
Field Studies
Students complete 18 credits of the following:18
Economic Studies6
Culture and Anthropology6
Area Studies6
Capstone
SSDA 400The Capstone Project6
INDE 490Selected Topics6
Total Credits60
Faculty Member Institution at which highest degree was earned
Edwin (Leigh) Armistead, PhDEdith Cowan University, Perth, Australia
Laurette Brady, MBASt. Joseph's University
Jack Covarrubias, MAUniversity of Southern Mississippi
John Covell, MSTroy State University
Allison Greene, PhDOld Dominion University
Victoria Greene, MSUniversity of Vermont
John Jennings, PhDUniversity of Hawaii
R. Alan King, MAWebster University
Cynthia Levy, PhDAcademy of Sciences/Zriayi Miklos National Defense University (Hungary)
Charles Lynch, MSNaval Post Graduate School
Martin McMahon, MLittMiddlebury College
Greg Makuch, MSTroy University
Randall H. Miller, MANorwich University
Brett Morash, MAUS Naval War College
Darlene Olsen, PhDState University of New York, Albany
Robert Pauly, PhDOld Dominion University
Russell Ramsey, PhDUniversity of Florida
Robert Greene Sands, PhDUniversity of Illinois
Shawn White, PhDUniversity of Georgia
Lea Williams, PhDUniversity of Oregon