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Best Graduate Degrees for Military Officers

Jan 24, 2018

Getting a master's degree can be a strategic move for military officers, whether they want to pursue careers in the military or transition to civilian life. The degrees that are helpful vary widely, ranging from history to engineering.

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Military officers can often benefit from getting a graduate degree, whether they plan to serve throughout their entire career or transition to civilian life. Not only can these degrees enhance expertise and job prospects, but they also connect military personnel to their peers in the larger workforce.

Degree Comparison

The master's degrees discussed below are as varied as the interests and personalities of the people who serve as military officers, and the required number of credits for completion may also vary. Select programs might be available online or in hybrid formats. Admission requirements will include a bachelor's degree, and some programs look for a minimum undergraduate GPA and scores from the GRE or GMAT.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Cultural Studies
  • Ethnic and Gender Studies
  • Geography and Cartography
  • Human and Consumer Sciences
  • Human and Social Services
  • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
  • Military Studies
  • Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Religious Studies
  • Social Science and Studies
  • Social Studies and History
  • Theological, Religious, and Ministerial Studies

Graduate Degrees that Help Military Officers Advance Their Careers

The complicated nature of modern warfare means that within the top ranks of the military there need to be experts in socio-political affairs and the latest technology, alike. All the graduate degrees on this list have been selected because they provide skills and knowledge that will help military officers advance their careers.

Master of History

History gives context to the complicated way that the world is run. This is a helpful degree for military officers whose work requires them to understand complex political issues, both nationally and internationally. Graduate degrees in history are usually research-based and often involve some study of other chosen areas of focus within the liberal arts. This allows students to tailor their degrees to studying something that is both important to them and relevant to their careers.

Master of Public Policy

Military officers who wish to dedicate their careers more deeply to influencing public policy should consider this master's degree. The classes required to receive a master's in public policy teach quantitative analysis, statistics, and legal expertise. There is also a focus on how this knowledge can be applied to conducting surveys and studies of the public. This is a degree that teaches how to become someone who creates informed policy.

Master of International Relations

The impact of the global world we now live in is felt especially by our servicemen, who are often stationed in other countries for years at a time. A master's degree in international relations is therefore a great career move for military officers. High ranking members of the armed service need to be able to properly negotiate with the leaders of foreign communities. This involves being able to see the nuanced perspective of a culture, which is a skill that is honed while gaining this degree. Concentrations within international relations include diplomacy, international security, and financial regulation, among others.

Master of Business Administration and Management

This is a versatile master's degree that will allow military officers to hone their leadership skills. The material studied while taking classes in business administration cover the theories of business and critical thinking. Students are taught to think like entrepreneurs, taking charge while also looking out for the bottom line. Within military life this manifests as greater productivity and cohesion as a unit.

Master of Mechanical Engineering

For military officers with engineering knowledge, getting a master's in mechanical engineering can be a great way to bring their careers to the next level. Picking a concentration is a crucial step when starting this degree, since the applications of mechanical engineering are varied and quite technical. Areas of expertise range from bioengineering and nanotechnology to green energy and mechanical design. For engineering professionals, having an advanced degree can make a significant difference in terms of pay grade and job opportunities. This holds true within the military, as well as civilian life.

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