Online Military Science Degrees: Program Overviews

Find out about online military science courses and in which degree programs they're most commonly offered. Get course descriptions, program info and online requirements to make an informed decision.

Essential Information

Several schools offer online programs in military science, or military studies, but some programs are available only to military personnel and may require prerequisite training classes. Associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs in military studies are offered, and students can often complete them entirely online, although some master's degree programs have a brief residency requirement. Students can access archived lectures and class assignments over the Internet at their convenience, and they can interact with instructors and other students through chat rooms, online forums and e-mail.

Undergraduate degree programs in military studies give a general overview of military operations, including the history of warfare, foreign relations, strategies and leadership. A master's degree program may allow students to specialize in an aspect of military studies such as military history or military science.

Military Associate's Degree

Students of online military associate's degree programs study international relations, political science and history. Prerequisites typically include fundamental math and English coursework. Graduates are awarded either an Associate of Science (A.S.) in Military Studies or an Associate of Arts (A.A.) in Military History. Upon completion, some programs also allow students to apply coursework towards a bachelor's degree program.

Program Information and Requirements

These online programs consist of approximately 60 required credits in general education, military concentration and elective courses. All classes are accessed via the Internet. To learn how to access online courses, students may be required to take a prerequisite training class. Some programs require a 15 credit-hour residency at the culmination of the program.

Common Courses

Associate's degree-level courses in these online programs focus on military history, foreign policy, war and politics. General education requirements usually include communication, science, math, psychology, humanities and basic history. Some of the classes are listed below.

Military History

This class focuses on the history of the military forces from colonial times to present. The curriculum also covers operations and strategies, military and societal relationships, traditions, technology, and tactics used in both war and peace.

U.S. Foreign Policy

This course focuses on the institutions, forces, tools and actions affecting foreign policy. Students also explore regional and bilateral relations, economic and military issues, policy problems, national security issues, and domestic forces that affect foreign policy.

Civilization and War

This class surveys national and international war and peace, and the effects on security, policy, and strategy formation and changes. Students also examine society and technology, and the global changes due to war or peace.

Military Bachelor's Degree

Online military degree programs at the baccalaureate level move on to broader historical perspectives and literature, research methods and diplomacy studies. Concentrations are available in military studies or military history. Prospective students must possess a high school diploma or its equivalent, and some schools have a minimum age and English language requirement. For students continuing their education after graduation, some schools offer a track that allows up to nine credits in courses that apply to both bachelor's and master's degree requirements.

Program Information and Requirements

These programs are offered entirely online. Some have specific monthly start dates, and each course may last from 5 to 16 weeks, depending on the school. Assignments typically have weekly due dates. Transferable coursework or experience credits are allowed for up to a maximum of 90 to 99 hours.

List of Common Courses

The curriculum of these online bachelor's degree programs include standard general education requirements. Courses in the concentration focus on all aspects of war, military history, diplomacy and politics. Some examples of typical classes are listed below.

Military Leadership

Students study the ancient and modern leadership techniques of successful military commanders. The class emphasizes solutions, principles, practices and burden of command related to war.

Society and War

This class studies the relationship of war and society, and the military strategy advances made over time. The course also examines how these advances influenced political, technological and economic changes during war.

Peacemaking History

The class examines behaviors of aggression, avoidance, threats, obedience, prejudice and conformity. Activities focus on strategies in negotiation, and students also learn common United Nations Peacekeeping Operations terms and origins.

Military Master's Degree

Master's degree programs are offered online in concentrations of military studies or military history. Some schools also offer specializations in strategic leadership, as well as in air, asymmetrical, joint, land or naval warfare. Students in these programs learn advanced theory, concepts and frameworks behind military trends, events and operations that have affected history. They also learn about military theory and strategic planning, and they explore the tactics of great military leaders of the past. In other classes, they learn to examine case studies of war and hone their research skills. Requirements for entry consideration typically include a letter of intent, essay, resume, letters of recommendation, and a bachelor's degree with transcripts from an accredited university. Some programs do require a week-long residency.

Program Information and Requirements

These programs use online platforms to deliver assignments, participate in virtual discussions and communicate with other students or faculty. They consist of approximately 18-24 months of study, depending on a student's start date and schedule. Transfer credits are evaluated for consideration. Some programs have specific start dates, four times per year. Others offer students more flexibility to start and end at their own pace, and semesters in either eight or sixteen week increments. Testing is also completed online; however, some professors require a proctor for exams. Proctored testing requires students to be online at a specific time for monitoring.

List of Common Courses

Courses in these online graduate degree programs include advanced study in research, philosophy, tactics, strategy and operations related to warfare. Some courses and their descriptions are listed below.

Military Strategy, Thought and Theory

Students learn how to use military power to develop related strategies. The course studies methods used by theoreticians and strategists such as Clausewitz, Mao Tse-Tung, Jomin, Mahan and Douhet. Students also examine theories used in deterring nuclear war and revolutionary warfare.

Military Research in History

This course provides advanced historical research skills and methodologies. Students use case studies to formulate and apply research questions, evaluate historical evidence and refine critical thinking skills.

Ways of Warfare

U.S. and global conflicts are studied in this class along with experiences and characteristics of war. Students also examine the effects of strategy, technology, operations, tactics and doctrine on warfare throughout history.

Career Information

In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that all branches of military require at least a high school diploma or its equivalent for personnel, and other training and education requirements vary by specialty ( The BLS also stated that in 2015, over 2.3 million served in the military. This number was expected to remain stable through 2024, depending on political changes or events.

The BLS reported in 2015 that military personnel need a bachelor's or master's degree for officer ranking. Four-year college degree programs were offered at federal service academies and award a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree upon completion.

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) reported salary ranges for military personnel for 2015 were based upon cumulative years of service, individual age, pay grade and additional drill training ( DFAS also reported different pay structures based on active, retiree, inactive, out-of-service, wounded warrior and special leave status.

Continuing Education Information

Military personnel who are college graduates can attend further training through programs offered in the Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Army and National Guard, according to the BLS. These programs include weeks of intensive academic, leadership and physical officer training and require active duty upon completion.

Military science programs are available completely online at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels, but some programs may only be available to military personnel. Students and graduates of these programs may work for various branches of the military, and will develop their knowledge of military strategy, leadership and more throughout the programs.

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