Bachelor of Science in Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis

Associate Dean 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 credit 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 30 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 

The Bachelor of Science in Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis consists of four curriculum areas:

  • Core Courses
  • Degree Electives
  • Field Study Courses
  • Capstone
Core Courses
Students must complete all of the following:18
ENGL 270Military Literature3
HIST 310Historical Studies3
MATH 232Elementary Statistics3
RELG 300Comparative Religion3
SCIE 301Environmental Science3
SCIE 310Scien Basis of Sustainability3
Degree Electives
Students must complete 18 credits from the following:18
ECON 310Socio-Economic Studies3
HIST 210History of US Constitution3
HIST 402Israeli-Palestinian Conflict3
HIST 425AmericanForeignPolicy 20thCent3
INSC 311Intro Homeland Security Intell3
INSC 313Global Security & Intelligence3
INSC 315Security Coordin&Collaboration3
MNGT 311Operations & Project Mngt3
MNGT 315Leadership3
MNGT 320Strategic Planning3
POLS 302National Security Policy3
POLS 306Comparative Politics3
POLS 318International Terrorism3
SOCI 335Intro to Cultural Competence3
SSDA 310Emergency and Disaster Relief Operations6
SSDA 315Insurgency and Conflict6
SSDA 320Information Operations6
SSDA 325Law of Armed Conflict and Legal Basis for Use of Force3
Field Studies
Students complete 18 credits from the following:18
ECON 401Economic Studies6
SOCI 401Culture and Anthropology6
SOCI 406Area Studies6
SSDA 400The Capstone Project6
Total Cr.60

Pre-Program Education and Training

Students accepted into the Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis degree program must have earned a minimum of 60 credit hours from college courses, military training, or other educational experiences such as CLEP tests. A maximum of 90 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.

General Education

Students are required to meet general education competencies in writing, literature, history, arts and humanities, science, social science, and math and may do so by transfer credit or enrollment in courses offered through the College of Graduate and Continuing Studies.

Transfer Credit and Student Progress in the Program

CLEP and DSST exams may be accepted for transfer credit by the program manager, depending on the requirements of the Norwich course for which credit is sought. CLEP and DSST transcripts must be applied to a student’s record by the time they have earned 100 credits in their program. No credit derived from CLEP or DSST exams will be applied to the student’s record after this point.

Students must complete all core and elective coursework, including any courses necessary to fulfill required general education competencies, before being enrolled in a field study course unless given prior written approval by the program manager.

Students must complete all required coursework including any required field study courses before being enrolled in a capstone course, unless given prior written approval by the program manager.

All transfer credit must be applied to the student’s record before the student can be enrolled in a capstone course.

Faculty Member Institution at which highest degree was earned
Edwin (Leigh) Armistead, PhD Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia
Jack Covarrubias, MA University of Southern Mississippi
John Covell, MS Troy State University
Allison Greene, PhD Old Dominion University
Victoria Greene, MS University of Vermont
John Jennings, PhD University of Hawaii
R. Alan King, MA Webster University
Cynthia Levy, PhD Zriayi Miklos National Defense University (Hungary)
Charles Lynch, MS Naval Post Graduate School
Martin McMahon, MLitt Middlebury College
Greg Makuch, MS Troy University
Randall H. Miller, MA Norwich University
Brett Morash, MA US Naval War College
Darlene Olsen, PhD State University of New York, Albany
Robert Pauly, PhD Old Dominion University
Russell Ramsey, PhD University of Florida
Robert Greene Sands, PhD University of Illinois
Shawn White, PhD University of Georgia
Lea Williams, PhD University of Oregon