Military Studies Degree Programs

This article contains descriptions and information about a degree in military studies or military science. Find out about admittance requirements, common coursework, and employment opportunities.

General Overview of Military Studies Degree Programs

Generally speaking, military studies/military science degrees prepare students for a career in the military, but the degrees have applications in the private sector as well. The upper-level courses in these programs often require a decision about an obligation to a future in the military. Non-military applications of this degree include positions in education and advisory positions.

Program Admittance Requirements

The lower-level courses may not require that you commit to the military; however, all students will need a high school diploma or GED. Many schools have individual academic standards that applicants much reach, such as a minimum GPA or score on the SAT or ACT. Some schools also require that students have studied a certain number of years in a foreign language. Always check the specific admission requirements of the school you are interested in before applying.

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Common Courses in Military Studies Programs

Coursework in military studies programs is well rounded and usually covers a broad spectrum of fields. ROTC involvement is common.


Principles of communication, whether in dealing with a group or an individual, are vital to the success of the military. Expect to take several courses in communications, from basic to advanced, including journalism and technical writing. Students will also need to take a speech class.


Students will learn the skills needed to effectively lead others, including critical thinking, problem solving, and conflict resolution. More advanced leadership classes will include practical skills, such as map reading and basic tactical principles. Courses aim to prepare students for officership in the military, as well as management positions in the private sector.

Military Skills

These classes will help prepare students for a successful career in the military. Areas of focus will include physical fitness, stress management, and army operations. Courses may also be accompanied by a lab, including lessons on land navigation and weapons marksmanship.

Military History

Students will study the history of armed conflict and its causes. The aftermath of war and its impact on humanity will be covered, including cultural and economic repercussions. Technology, strategy, and logistics will be emphasized.

Military Tactics

Courses in military tactics will help prepare students to lead a team of soldiers in the field. Coursework will emphasize planning, coordinating, and navigating, as well as leadership and team motivation. Ethical aspects will also be covered, including personal growth and military values.

Military Science

Military science classes focus on military operations. Students will learn principles of training, the role of officers, and administrative actions. The course is often accompanied by a lab, and students will learn how to manage their career in the military as well as assist their cadre in the evaluation and management of cadets.

How to Choose

When choosing a school in which to pursue a degree in military studies, students may want to decide in advance whether they plan to enter the military. Beyond that, students should consider their academic standing and how it affects their likelihood of acceptance based on the school's admission standards. Scholarships and financial aid sometimes vary by school, so that is something to keep in mind, as well. Many schools also offer graduate degrees in military science, which will be of interest to students who intend to advance their careers even further.

Careers to Pursue after Graduation

Graduates of military studies programs primarily pursue a career in the military, although many military positions also have their civilian counterparts. Salary in the military is based on rank and years of service, and retirement becomes available after 20 years of service. An officer of the highest pay grade with 20 years experience is expected to earn over $186,000 annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2016. The BLS also predicts that qualified men and women should have good opportunities in the military through 2026. Positions will open up when members receive promotions, leave the service, or retire. Possible civilian careers include:

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