The Programs of Study

The CWMD Graduate Fellowship Program is divided into two parts:

  • The first year of study leads to a Graduate Certificate in WMD Studies.
    • All accepted students are initially enrolled into the Graduate Certificate Program.
    • Applicants can apply to the Graduate Certificate Program only; completion of the Master's Degree Program is not required.
  • Upon successful completion of the first year of study, the most competitive candidates may apply for the second year of study, leading to the Master of Science degree in WMD Studies.
    • There is no requirement to submit a new application; an internal Center review will take place among faculty to select second year candidates who express interest in pursuing the Master's Degree Program.


The Graduate Certificate in WMD Studies: Phase 1

During the first Phase, students will complete a year-long Graduate Certificate Program in WMD Studies. The majority of the coursework can be completed online or in-residence with the Missouri State University (MSU) Defense and Strategic Studies (DSS) program located in Fairfax, VA. The Graduate Certificate Program consists of the following:

  • August Colloquium (3 credits)
    • The week-long intensive August Colloquium must be completed in-residence at the National Defense University from 10-14 August 2020. The August Colloquium acts as a strategic foundations course that provides context and lays significant groundwork for understanding topics covered in the WMD Studies Graduate Certificate Program.
  • After the colloquium, students will attend evening classes at MSU or online to complete the mandatory core curriculum (12 credits) covering:
    • Nuclear Strategy & Arms Control
    • Chemical & Biological Warfare 
    • Counter-proliferation
    • Emerging Strategic Challenges or Instruments of State Power

These classes can be completed over the Fall of 2020 and Spring 2021.

Total: 15 credits


Master of Science in WMD Studies: Phase 2

The most competitive candidates from the Phase 1 Graduate Certificate Program will be selected to participate in Phase 2, the Master of Science in WMD Studies program. The Master's Program is an additional year of in-residence study that consists of the following:

  • Colloquium II: Capstone Course (3 credits)
  • WMD Internship
  • WMD Electives (12 credits)
  • Intensive Professional Writing Course (3 credits)
  • Master of Science Research Project and Oral Exam or Thesis (3 credits)

These classes can be completed over the Fall of 2021 and Spring 2022. Special considerations can be given to students who need to complete the program outside of the traditional time frame.

Total: 21 credits


To complete the Master of Science in WMD Studies program students must earn a total of 36 credits. Together the 15 credits earned from Phase 1 and the 21 credits earned from Phase 2, equals the required 36 credits to complete the Master of Science in WMD Studies. Completion of either the Graduate Certificate or Master's Degree program will equate completion of the CWMD Graduate Fellowship program.


Please visit our application page for more information and for instructions on how to apply.