Overview of Military Leadership Bachelor's Degree Programs
Military leadership programs provide practical knowledge and skills training in leading complex military systems. Some programs only accept active military personnel or veterans, and some are open to anyone contemplating military service or just looking for military training. Coursework in these programs covers leadership topics such as communication and management as well as military education like tactics and policy. Read this article to learn more about military leadership programs, and get practical advice on how to choose a program and which career options you might consider.
Admission Requirements for Military Leadership Programs
Some programs require you to be a commissioned officer in the military, or a veteran, to enroll. Others are designed to prepare students to be eligible for a commission, and though not required, those seeking a commission will likely be given preferential admission. You may also need to pass medical checks and age requirements to be accepted and have a minimum grade point average from high school or a GED program. Some programs require you to have completed a minimum number of foreign language credits at the high school or college level.
Military Leadership Program Coursework
Military leadership programs are designed to give broad coverage to military academic topics while honing students' leadership skills for potential officer or civilian leadership positions. Here are descriptions of some courses offered by these programs.
Students in this course are taught the duties and responsibilities of a military officer and the principles of training and training management. Topics include combat operations, logistics, readiness and leadership ethics. The goal of this course is to teach students how to train, mentor and evaluate subordinates, which will likely be achieved around the particular methods and regulations of the branch of military the program focuses on.
This course prepares the student to be an effective small group leader. It covers the fundamentals of leadership including ethics, delivery techniques and military doctrine, as well as practical topics such as first aid, cultural awareness and navigation. This course might be set up in a way that addresses these topics through the planning and execution of simulated military exercises run by the students.
How to communicate effectively in cross-cultural, international, small group and high-stress situations are all critical skills in military leadership. This course attempts to address all of these, as well as how to apply skills such as listening and persuasion to any situation. Topics may be specific to military scenarios, or the course may be within the school's business or communications departments, offering a more general education that could be applicable in the military or civilian worlds.
Military Science and Tactics
This course can be seen as more of a practicum than a knowledge-based course. By the end of it, students will have planned, coordinated, led and evaluated multiple small-team tactical operations, receiving ongoing feedback from instructors. The course might also involve the opportunity to rotate through leadership positions on campus, such as with the ROTC program or in organizing military outreach events. Field skills introduced in teambuilding and other foundation courses, like navigation and motivation, will be further honed throughout this course.
US Military History
Military history could cover any time period in the history of the US, but it is likely to focus on more modern times. This might include the World Wars, the history of US foreign relations, and special topics like diplomatic or economic history. Various military history courses are often available as electives within military leadership programs, offered through the school's department of history.
How to Choose a Military Leadership Program
Military leadership programs typically train students for a particular military career path, even if they accept non-commission-seeking students. You should therefore have a solid idea of which branch of the military you are interested in, and look at whether the program caters to current or future military members. If you are not interested in being commissioned, look for a program that offers coursework in more broadly applicable skills like general leadership and communication, rather than one that primarily teaches specific military styles and policies.
Career Options for a Degree in Military Leadership
A degree in military leadership will likely leave you eligible to be commissioned into the military, though it could also prepare you for a civilian government or industry job. The pay structure for a commissioned officer is complicated, but the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that a level one officer with less than two years of experience earns $3,034.80 per month in basic pay. There are typically numerous benefits in addition. Below are some civilian careers you could also consider.