Bachelor of Science in Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis

SSDA Program Curriculum

The Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis (SSDA) curriculum includes four areas of instruction:

  • General education courses required for a degree at Norwich University
  • Program courses designed to address specific learning needs of the SOF and related communities
  • Field studies in which students put their knowledge into practice by exploring a specific region’s economic, geographic, and cultural systems and making recommendations to help effect change within that region
  • Capstone project, supervised by a faculty member, intended to contribute to the military’s body of knowledge of regions around the world; it also serves as a tangible work product to enhance the student’s portfolio

More information about program requirements is available in our course catalog.

Core Curriculum
  • Military Literature • ENGL270 3 credit hours

    This course is a study of men and women in war and the military service: their ideals, experiences, and strategies as seen in foreign and American military literature of the 19th and 20th centuries. Prerequisite: EN102 or EN108 or equivalency.

  • Environmental Science • SCIE301 3 credit hours

    Most of the world’s crucial environmental issues and many regional conflicts are related to the degradation and/or overuse of the Earth’s basic resources, including air, water, soil, and energy. This course focuses on the physical and chemical processes associated with the degradation of these resources, as well as an examination of potential solutions. The course addresses and integrates into scientific studies two themes that underlie all environmental issues: sustainability and human population dynamics.

  • Elementary Statistics • MATH232 3 credit hours

    This course covers frequency distributions, averages and standard deviations, normal curve, probability, decision-making, sampling techniques, hypotheses testing, chi-square, T and F distributions, correlation, and linear regression. Prerequisite: MATH 102 or approval of the program manager.

  • Science and Technology of Visual Augmentation Defense Systems • SSDA306 3 credit hours

    This course provides a working knowledge of the science and technology associated with visual augmentation systems, including design constraints as defined by target spectrum and atmospheric properties. You will examine the physiology of human vision and the unique phenomenon of perception. Utilizing the tenets of the scientific method, you will learn to characterize, hypothesize, and predict system performance through experimental observation and quantitative analysis in preparing to become critical operators and informed customers capable of providing valued feedback to system designers. Prerequisites: none.

  • Comparative Religion • RELG300 3 credit hours

    Based upon myth and built upon ritual, religious thought affects politics, economics, international relations, and security. In this course, you will explore and analyze the similarities and differences among world religions to better understand the impact of belief systems and religious themes on culture, human history, and current affairs. Prerequisites: none.

  • Historical Studies • HIST310 3 credit hours

    This is an overview of the historical development of political, cultural and economic behavior and institutions within a specific geographical context. Students will focus on a specific region, e.g., the Middle East, Latin America, Sub-Sahara Africa or Asia. Students will understand the history of a region and its impact on current events. Pre-requisites: none.

Degree Electives (Students complete 18 credits of the following)
  • Socio-Economic Studies • ECON310 3 credit hours

    In this course, you will explore tenets and characteristics of various economics systems, analyze economic indicators, conceptualize problems, and recommend possible solutions. Economic factors are explored in the context of the U.S. Army’s Political-Military-Economics-Social Infrastructure-Information Systems framework.

  • National Security Policy • POLS302 3 credit hours

    This course introduces the issues and institutions of national security policy. Students gain an appreciation of strategic thought and strategy formulation, the ability to assess national security issues and threats, and an understanding of the political and military institutions involved in the making and execution of national security policy.

  • Comparative Politics • POLS306 3 credit hours

    This course introduces the basic methods, concepts, and substance of comparative politics and focuses on institutions and behaviors as well as development and modernization theories. Issues covered include: the nature of political systems; the different varieties of democracies and authoritarian regimes; and the impact of geography on the political, economic, and social development of a region.

  • International Terrorism • POLS318 3 credit hours

    This course addresses the effects of a variety of forms of sub-state violence on world affairs. Topics include sources of terrorism, its major characteristics, the problems it poses for global peace and stability, responses to terrorism by countries and international organizations, and the problem of balancing public safety and personal freedom in dealing with terrorism.

  • Military Sociology • SOCI330 3 credit hours

    This course provides a sociological perspective of the military as both an institution and as an occupation. It examines the social structure and functions of the military and the social factors that influence behavior in and of the military. In terms of function, it examines the changing purposes of the military in view of changing national and international conditions. In terms of structure, it examines the norms, values, traditions, organizations, and culture of the military. The course will provide insight into the routine life within the military and contemporary issues confronting the military.

  • Introduction to Cultural Competence • SOCI335 3 credit hours

    This course presents key concepts in the study of cultures and explores how culture and cultural contexts and language influence values, expectations, behavior, communication styles, and conflict resolution.

  • Emergency & Disaster Relief Operations • SSDA310 6 credit hours

    This course examines how emergency managers respond to national, state, or local disasters. Students gain a broad understanding of the functions, challenges, key concepts, and organizing principles of U.S. emergency management. Emphasis is placed on how emergency management is structured and organized by examining the National Response Framework (NRF), the National Incident Management System (NIMS), and the Incident Command System (ICS), as well as other standards that govern emergency management in the United States. You will apply your learning to develop an emergency plan capable of addressing identified threats. This course requires broad knowledge, in-depth understanding, analysis, synthesis, and creativity in regard to the topics addressed. Prerequisites: none.

  • Insurgency and Conflict • SSDA315 6 credit hours

    In this course students compare and contrast selected insurgencies and counter-insurgencies from across the globe. Students acquire both broad knowledge and in-depth understanding of the practice of insurgency in various regions and nations.

  • Information Operations • SSDA320 6 credit hours

    This course introduces the overall concept of Information Warfare (IW) and Information Operations (IO), particularly with regard to the U.S. federal government and the Department of Defense. Pre-requisites: none.

  • Strategic Planning • MNGT320 3 credit hours

    This course is designed to enhance the critical and creative thinking skills needed to solve complex and ill-defined problems. Key themes are problem framing, operational art, leadership, and the outcomes for human security. You will examine historical and contemporary examples of strategic-level planning in highly complex operations and use this learning as a framework for problem solving within and across agencies. You will complete a major team project on a complex problem vignette that requires creating a course of action a leader must follow to meet the desired end state.

  • Leadership • MNGT315 3 credit hours

    In this course, you will learn key theoretical models of leadership and strategies for applying them in a range of situations, both military and non-military. You will identify key functions and skills of effective leaders, explore leadership styles through study of selected leaders, and evaluate the role of communication, negotiation, strategy, purpose, and ethics in leadership. You will evaluate your own leadership effectiveness and develop a leadership tool kit.

  • Strategic Communications • COMM305 3 credit hours

    This course introduces the principles of strategic communication and provides a detailed understanding of the important role of participatory Web media in strategic communication. Topics include understanding and defining strategic communication, public diplomacy, with whom responsibility lies in conducting strategic communication, challenges of U.S. strategic communication, improving strategic communication, and the future of strategic communication. You will apply the tenets of strategic communication by reviewing and critiquing high-profile cases from the war in Iraq and other significant events. Prerequisites: none.

  • Operations and Project Management • MNGT311 3 credit hours

    In this course students will learn about operations management and project management within a military setting. They will learn how to analyze and apply theory to address strategic and operational challenges. Students will address the role of leadership in effective operations and project management. Pre-requisites: none.
    Please note: This course is still under development.

  • Homeland Security and Intelligence • INSC311 3 credit hours

    This course explores the background and evolution of homeland security in the post- 9/11 era. Students learn about the public and private infrastructure and functioning of homeland security operations, technology used to explore threats and enhance safety, innovative solutions to threats, risk prevention and management, and critical incident management of terrorism threats, natural disasters, and other threats to homeland security. Pre-requisites: none.

  • Global Security and Intelligence • INSC313 3 credit hours

    This course examines a range of contemporary international issues – from questions of realism versus idealism in foreign affairs to changes in the nation-state, the rise and influence of member states in the Pacific Rim, and overall global security objectives. It will explore the uses of strategic intelligence by world leaders in shaping policy and the effects of strategic intelligence on world events. Students will be required to closely follow international developments and learn how to discuss them objectively and analytically. Areas of emphasis include science, technology, and globalization as the environment in which concepts of international security evolve and change over time. Pre-requisites: none.

  • Security Coordination and Collaboration • INSC315 3 credit hours

    This course focuses on the significance of sharing and coordinating information across all levels of government to support homeland security partners in preventing, protecting against, and responding to crime and terrorism. It explores the role of fusion centers and how these centers serve the specific needs of their jurisdictions while supporting the broader homeland and national security enterprise. Fusion centers overlay national intelligence with local, state, and regional information, enhancing understanding of the threat environment across all levels of government.  They augment the federal government’s analytic capability and enhance situational awareness in order to protect the nation. Pre-requisites: none.

  • Criminal Justice Ethics • PHLS324 3 credit hours

    This course provides a short introduction to general ethics, with applications to practices and problems in the criminal justice field. It uses the case study method to focus on immediate decisions that involve common, ethical dilemmas faced by criminal justice professionals in the police, courts, and corrections. It also studies a selection of more general issues involving the criminal justice system that are of common public concern, as well as the deeper question of why certain forms of behavior should or should not be criminalized.

Field Studies and Capstone (24 Credits)
  • Economic Studies • ECON401 6 credit hours

    In this course, you will complete a field study project to analyze and evaluate the economic indicators and infrastructure of a country or region of interest, exploring its local, regional, and global challenges and opportunities. The study will include recommendations for strengthening the region’s economic institutions and infrastructure. The course culminates in a substantive research paper or academic project that reflects broad knowledge, in-depth understanding, analysis, synthesis, and creativity in regard to the topics addressed. Prerequisites: SSEC 310 Socio-Economics Studies or permission of chair of the department of continuing studies.

  • Cultural Field Study • SOCI401 6 credit hours

    In this course, you will complete a study of a country or region in relation to a key aspect of its culture. Within this broad framework, you will explore an issue related to an aspect of cultural conflict or cross-cultural communication by addressing the region’s cultural competence: the ability to navigate complex cultural environments in pursuit of mutually satisfactory outcomes. The course culminates in a substantive research paper or academic project that reflects broad knowledge, in-depth understanding, analysis, synthesis, and creativity in regard to the topics addressed. Prerequisites: SSSO 335 Introduction to Cultural Competence, or permission of the department chair.

  • Area Studies • SOCI406 6 credit hours

    In this course, you will study the geography of a region of interest and how geography relates to implementation of a project or to the cause of or resolution to a problem in the region. You will examine natural resources and resource challenges, paying particular attention to mineral, oil, water, and other highly valued assets in the region. Your study will address future geographical or resource challenges of the region and include recommendations for infrastructure changes that would help maximize effective use of resources. The course culminates in a substantive research paper or academic project that reflects broad knowledge, in-depth understanding, analysis, synthesis, and creativity in regard to the topics addressed. Prerequisites: SSHI 310 Historical Studies or permission of the department chair.

  • Capstone Project • SSDA400 6 credit hours

    You will analyze and synthesize program learning with a particular focus on ethics and leadership. You will analyze ethical scenarios and a tactical ethics text and present an in-depth ethical analysis paper. For full credit, you must address how your work will contribute to the U.S. Army’s body of knowledge about the topic(s) under discussion. Prerequisites: Completion of all SSDA courses or permission of the department chair.