University of Texas at El Paso Academic Catalog

Academic Catalog

Master of Defense and Strategic Studies Online

The Master of Defense and Strategic Studies is designed to provide an in-depth, critical examination of the major defense and security challenges facing the United States now and in the future.  Particular attention will be placed on the development of strategy, both in theory and practice, to address defense-related problems.  Offered in a distance-learning/online format, this will be a distinctive degree tailored to improving the competence of military and civilian personnel engaged in strategic planning, the inter-agency process, military operations, diplomacy, budgeting, legislative affairs, defense program management, research and development, and a myriad of other staff activities and specialties.

The program is offered online through UTEP Connect. 

Admissions Requirements 

  1. Completion and submission of a graduate admissions application.
  2. Submission of official transcripts in accordance with the requirements of the Graduate School.
  3. A Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.
  4. A brief statement of purpose (1-2 pages) that addresses educational and career goals and reasons for pursuing the degree.
  5. Three letters of recommendation from individuals that can evaluate the ability to succeed in a rigorous graduate program, such as former instructors.  Letters of recommendation from employers or work supervisors are also acceptable.  Please contact the DSS Director for any questions regarding letters of recommendation.
  6. Note: Admission packages are evaluated utilizing all of the requirements listed above, there are no "minimum scores" required for the test.
  7. Applicants from countries where English is not the first language are required to demonstrate English proficiency. Please consult the graduate school website for required scores.

Degree Requirements

Master of Defense and Strategic Studies - 36 semester hours

The online program consists of twelve (12) required courses (36 semester hours), completed over a period of approximately one  year.  Students are strongly advised to take two courses at a time, each with duration of seven weeks.  There are six courses focused on strategy, conflict, and security in the modern world, complemented by five courses outlining the strategic relevance and challenges of specific world regions such as the Middle East and Asia.  This sequence leads to a final seminar or finishing course focused on the likely character of future warfare.  Educational goals include students gaining desired skills such as the ability to synthesize large amounts of information and credibly and persuasively present a concise analysis both verbally and written form.  The curriculum fosters greater cross-cultural competence and an understanding of related U.S. strategic interest and capabilities.

Academic Standards

Students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better in order to earn the Master's degree.  Students with a semester GPA below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation.  Students will have only nine semester hours (three courses) to return to "good" academic standing with a GPA of 3.0 or better.  Those students failing to return to good academic standing after nine semester hours may be dismissed from the program.

Degree Plan

Required Credits: 36

Defense & Strategic Studies (All courses require a grade of C or better)
Required Courses (15 hours):
DSS 5300U.S. National Security3
or DSSX 5300
DSS 5301Strategic Theory & Modern War3
or DSSX 5301
DSS 5302Global Security3
or DSSX 5302
DSS 5306U.S. Grand Strategy3
or DSSX 5306
DSS 5320Future Warfare3
or DSSX 5320
Elective Courses
Select 21 hours from the following: 21
DSS 5303Low Intensity Conflict3
or DSSX 5303
DSS 5304Information Operations3
or DSSX 5304
DSS 5305Cyber Warfare3
or DSSX 5305
DSS 5310Strategic Survey-Americas3
or DSSX 5310
DSS 5311Strategic Survey-Africa3
or DSSX 5311
DSS 5312Strategic Survey-Europe3
or DSSX 5312
DSS 5313Strategic Survey-Middle East3
or DSSX 5313
DSS 5314Strategic Survey-Indo Pacific3
or DSSX 5314
DSS 5315Strategic Survey-North America3
or DSSX 5315
DSS 5319Space Strategy3
or DSSX 5319
DSS 5321Selected Topics in DSS3
or DSSX 5321
Total Hours36