william seaman at norwich campus

Professionally, I was able to take what I had learned during my studies and apply logical and strategic thought to enhance my performance and to help grow the Airmen whom I managed and the younger senior NCOs whom I mentored.

William Seaman
Norwich Graduate, Class of 2016

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Bachelor of Science in National Security Studies

A Comprehensive Approach to National Security

Global and domestic threats to the United States can take many forms and vary in their impact, and Norwich University’s online Bachelor of Science in National Security Studies program is designed to help you meet such challenges head-on. Develop your critical thinking skills, tackle advanced problem solving, and learn how to anticipate and plan for all manner of hazards with a faculty of seasoned experts who are here to provide you with personalized support throughout your education.

The national security studies curriculum builds upon the education and experience of Combat Arms and Combat support personnel in the military, as well as members of the intelligence and law enforcement communities. The program strikes a balance between core courses and electives, encouraging you to sharpen your skills in research and analysis, decision making, leadership and communication.


  • Bachelor of Science
  • Students select elective courses.

Why Norwich?

Transfer up to 90 semester credits and complete your degree in fewer than two years.

Coursework is rigorous, relevant, and immediately applicable to your career.

Several start dates per year offer you the ability to enroll when it fits your schedule.

Take advantage of a wide array of electives, including American Foreign Policy in the Twentieth Century, and Homeland Security and Intelligence.

Our experienced faculty of working experts provides insight into professional communication, leadership, utilization of technology and organizational structure.

Quick Info

100% Online

All classes taken online

30 Credits

Program entry requirement

18 Months

Typical time to program completion

30 August

Next Start Date

2 August

Application Deadline

Accreditation & Recognition

logo, new england commission of higher education

Norwich University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (formerly the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.).

National Security Studies Curriculum

The program strikes a balance between core courses and electives, encouraging you to sharpen your skills in research and analysis, decision making, leadership and communication. Whether you are looking to advance in your current career, or planning to transition to another role entirely, Norwich’s flexible virtual classroom allows you to focus on issues of national security and intelligence that are most relevant to the United States. For a Norwich bachelor's degree, you must earn at least 120 semester credits, including transfer credits.

The program consists of five curriculum areas:

  • Free elective courses are taken by all students who enter the program with fewer than 60 credits.
  • Core courses are designed to address the specific learning needs of national security and intelligence professionals.
  • Degree elective courses enable students to shape their studies by selecting courses that meet personal and professional goals.
  • Field studies put knowledge into practice by analyzing issues critical to national and international security
  • Capstone project requires students to synthesize program learnings with a focus on ethics and leadership related to national security issues.

Core Curriculum

Students are required to complete the following core curriculum coursework:

  • 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 equivalency.

  • American Foreign Policy in the Twentieth Century
    HIST425 3 credit hours

    In this course students will gain an understanding of America's rise as a global power in the twentieth century. Topics include the strategic elements of American foreign policy in the Western Hemisphere, American neutrality and subsequent involvement in World War I and II, and challenges faced by the United States during and after the Cold War. Students will examine the diplomatic, political and military aspects that determined the foreign policy of the United States as it has participated in and shaped world history. Through discussions, readings and research assignments, students will have the opportunity to think critically about the major foreign policy issues of the time period.

  • Elementary Statistics
    MATH232 3 credit hours

    This course covers the study of frequency distributions, averages and standard deviations, normal curve, probability, decision-making, sampling techniques, testing hypotheses, chi-square, students-t and F-distributions, correlation, and linear regression. Prerequisite: A college level mathematics course or equivalent as determined by departmental placement testing.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Law of Armed Conflict
    SSDA325 3 credit hours

    A study of the law of armed conflict and the legal use of force. Students review international law theory, including the primary sources of international law, and then evaluate the impact of international law on past, present and future operations. Topics include: international law formulation; rules of engagement; issues surrounding detainees, internees and prisoners of war; air, land and sea laws; and the application of international law as it pertains to military operations. Prerequisites: none.

Degree Electives

Students will choose to complete 18 credits from the degree electives listed in this section. 

  • 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.

  • The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
    HIST402 3 credit hours

    A unique feature of the course is its attention to diversity within both the Israeli and Palestinian political communities. This course provides an engrossing exposure to the themes and complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Its focus is historical and conceptual, and requires students to apply their learning through critical evaluation of contemporary events and conditions. Participants learn the conflict’s history and grapple with recurring obstacles to peace, including practical issues of security as well as abstract issues of culture, identity, and religion. Students are required to view the conflict from both national communities’ perspectives and to critically analyze different models for resolving the conflict.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • National Security Policy
    POLS302 3 credit hours

    This course introduces students to the issues and institutions of national security policy. Successful students will have 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. Pre-requisites: none.

  • 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.

  • 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 and 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. Students will apply their 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. Pre-requisites: none.

  • 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.

  • History of Diplomacy I
    HIST411 3 credit hours

    This course provides students with a comprehensive overview and analysis of diplomacy and international relations from 1648 to 1914. The course focuses on the historical foundations of the modern state system and on the effects of globalization and its influence on decision-making in diplomacy. The course is offered three times per year and is eight weeks in length.

  • History of Diplomacy II
    HIST412 3 credit hours

    This course provides students with a comprehensive overview and analysis of diplomacy and international relations from 1914 to the present. The course builds on the material covered in HIST 411 – History of Diplomacy I and focuses on the historical foundations of the modern state system and on the effects of globalization and its influence on decision-making in diplomacy. The course is offered three times per year and is eight weeks in length. Prerequisite: HIST 411.

Field Studies

Students must complete two of the following courses to complete their field studies requirement.

  • Infrastructure Studies
    ECON401 6 credit hours

    Currently under course development.

  • Cultural & Anthropology Studies
    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: SOCI 335 Introduction to Cultural Competence, or permission of the department chair.

  • Geographic/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.


  • Capstone - National Security Studies
    NTSS400 6 credit hours

    The culminating academic activity for BS National Security Studies (NSS) students. Under the supervision of the instructor, students create a portfolio of work from previous courses to demonstrate achievement of the program outcomes. Students also analyze and synthesize program learning with a particular focus on ethics and leadership. Students analyze ethical scenarios and a tactical ethics text and present an in-depth ethical analysis. Students demonstrate how their work will contribute to the security of national objectives as they pertain to the topics under discussion throughout the program. Prerequisites: Completion of all NSS courses or permission of the program manager.


At a Glance

  • Military service requirement
  • An associate degree or minimum of 30 credits
  • Transfer up to 90 credits
  • Multiple start dates per year

Admissions Requirements »

Next Start Date

Monday, August 30, 2021

Application Deadline

Monday, August 2, 2021

Contact Admissions

Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT
Extended hours available by appointment


Call: 1-802-962-4330
Email: onlineadmissions@norwich.edu

  • transfer credit options at norwich university
    Use of military imagery on this page does not imply or constitute endorsement by the DoD or by the Military Services represented.
    Transfer Credits
    You may receive the equivalent of up to 90 semester credits for training and prior learning that meet specific course requirements in the program.
  • students
    What to Expect at Norwich
    From student support to classroom resources to exceptional faculty, Norwich has your online learning experience covered.
  • military transcripts
    Military Transcripts
    Your military transcripts will provide Norwich with the information needed to begin reviewing and evaluating your military experience and training for college credit.

Non-Discrimination Statement

Norwich University, in compliance with Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, or physical handicap in any of its policies, practices, or procedures.

Tuition & Fees


There are many ways to get financial assistance and many strategies that can help you achieve your goals. We work with military personnel each day to help them maximize their benefits – whatever your individual situation, we can guide you through the financial planning process.

Tuition at a Glance

  • Credit Hours: 30-90
  • Credits Per Term: 3-12
  • Rate Per Credit Hour: $375 or $250 (active military)

2021-22 Tuition and Fee Schedule - Bachelor's Degree

Rate Per Credit Tuition Additional Expenses Total
$375 or $250 (active military) $750-$4,500

Technology - $150/term
Library - $100/term
Graduation - $150/one-time

$8,400 - $35,900

Careers & Outcomes

A Program Rooted in a Legacy of Military and Public Service

An increasingly complex geopolitical landscape demands competent leaders with the critical thinking skills and tact to make difficult decisions for the greater good. The Bachelor of Science in National Security Studies program is backed by Norwich’s near 200-year history of developing leaders in the military, public sector, and private industry.

Norwich’s online national security studies program is ideal for those who wish to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the global and national security issues affecting the United States—as well as develop the skills necessary to combat any and all threats to the nation. The program can assist you in moving forward with your current job, forging a new career path, or going on to earn your master’s degree in a related field of study.

Example career paths for graduates:

  • Linguist/Foreign Language Expert
  • National Security Analyst
  • Cyber Security Specialist
  • Business Intelligence Analyst
  • Political Scientist
  • Criminal Investigator
  • Police Detective
  • Logistics Specialist
  • Intelligence Officer
  • Cryptologist
  • Security Officer
  • Immigration and Customs Agent
  • Infrastructure Analyst

Faculty & Staff

Program Director

James Dalton, MA

James Dalton is an experienced educator, with a focus on graduate and undergraduate military college program development and instruction. Earning the rank of commander with 27 years of active duty military experience in the U.S. Navy, Dalton has served as a naval flight officer and a professor at the Naval War College. As a military professor, he developed and managed military education programs for advanced warfare studies related to conventional and unconventional warfare across all phases. During his assignment as a joint experimentation officer, he designed and coordinated test programs for new systems to benefit all branches of the U.S. Special Forces and developed curriculum dedicated to unconventional warfare education. He has his master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College, as well as a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Missouri.

Bachelor of Science in Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis
Bachelor of Science in National Security Studies
Master of Arts in Strategic Studies

Meet James »

Program Staff

seth jackson portrait
Seth Jackson, M.Ed.
Associate Program Director
Moe Bradley, M.Ed; M.S.
Senior Student Support Advisor

Featured Faculty



Meet graduates from our bachelor's programs.

portrait of steve

From the very beginning of submitting my application to graduation day, the one-on-one interaction with the faculty and staff made me feel a part of the Norwich family.

Steve Gonzalez
Class of 2016
Bachelor of Science in Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis

The way the SSDA program was tailored to the Special Operations community appealed to me because the courses were all applicable. I could use the first-hand knowledge I gained from working in the Special Operations community and apply it directly to my studies and class discussions.

Sean Freitag
Class of 2013
Bachelor of Science in Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis
portrait of julie

One of the key things to me for having a Norwich education is the name that comes with it; there’s pride and tradition that comes with having a Norwich University diploma. It’s finishing what I started here many years ago and I wanted something I can be proud to hang in my office.

Julie Scribner
Class of 2015
Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Online Learning

How do you fit an online program into your busy life?

Norwich has developed online programs that provide a gateway, not a barrier, to maximize your career potential. Get to know a few graduates -- with busy schedules -- and how they made their education fit.

Stephan Liapis

I am married to a wonderful woman who I credit as a large part of why I was able to complete my master’s. We have a 2-year-old who is the light of our lives, and who was my inspiration for going back to school.

My background
I work for a private, non-profit organization that serves vulnerable populations in Orange County, CA. My role involves working with former dependents of Orange County who have been emancipated, to assist them with scholarship funding for their higher education pursuits. I assist around 350 youth per year.
How I succeeded at Norwich
What worked for me was being as flexible as possible when scheduling my day to be able to successfully complete my work, family and school commitments. This meant that some days I would finish school work first thing in the morning; other days I would stay up late. By being flexible, I was able to balance all of my priorities.

Residency at Norwich

While not required for completing your bachelor's degree, the Residency Conference is a unique educational and social experience that culminates your time at Norwich.

michael esch, residency

Residency was enjoyable. It presented so many opportunities to meet and talk with people who have very different life stories, but I often found they have many of the same drives and desires. You get out of it what you put into it. Go all in.

Michael Esch
Class of 2015
Master of Science in Information Security & Assurance

Frequently Asked Questions

National Security Studies FAQs

What does the national security studies bachelor’s degree completion program entail?

The Bachelor of Science in National Security Studies program is designed to help those protecting the United States from threats ranging from hurricanes to terrorists attacks. With a U.S.-centric perspective, the program expands on students’ training and knowledge in vital areas such as sociology-anthropology, geography, cultural awareness, regional politics as well as general education areas. Principles of critical thinking, ethical decision making, and leadership are interwoven throughout the curriculum.

Is the program entirely online?

Yes. Norwich has built a leading-edge online learning environment that promotes networking, peer support, and one-on-one interactions with faculty and student support staff. Classrooms are virtual, accessible from your home military base or in a theater of operations, and filled with extensive online learning resources.

What are the admission requirements for the program?

You must meet the following requirements to be eligible for the program:

Applicants must be one of the following:

  • Member or former member of Combat Arms, Combat Support or Combat Service Support MOS in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard or Marine Corps
  • Federal, State or Local law enforcement personnel
  • Federal, State or Local government employees
  • Member of the military or civilian intelligence community

An associate degree or a minimum of 30 credits from a combination of:

  • Prior college courses, completed with a grade of C or better, from regionally or nationally accredited institutions of higher learning, or the equivalent from a foreign institution, as evaluated by WES, IERF, SpanTran, or CED.
  • ACE-reviewed military or professional training for which college credits are recommended.*
  • Other military or professional training reviewed by Norwich University for which college credit has been assessed, or is stipulated in an MOU.
  • Credit recommended based on scores on standardized tests such as CLEP.

*Courses in these areas are offered for students who may need them.

To apply, you must submit the following items:

  • Application form
  • Letter of Intent (1-2 pages) outlining your experience, prior learning, and educational/career objectives.
  • Resume or ERB
  • Official military training transcripts (Joint Services Transcript/CCAF), mailed to the address below
  • Proof of English language proficiency if applicable (TOEFL).
  • Official transcripts from all colleges previously attended.

Mail official transcripts to: Norwich University College of Graduate and Continuing Studies – ATTN: NSS, PO Box 367, Northfield, VT 05663

How many credits will I take, and can I transfer additional credits to apply toward my degree?

To complete your national security studies degree, you must earn 120 credits. As an admissions requirement, 30 of those credits must be earned prior to enrolling in the program through military training, CLEP, or college courses completed at another institution. You may transfer up to 90 additional semester-credit equivalents from other accredited institutions of higher education for courses that meet specific SSDA requirements.

How much does the program cost?

The per-credit cost for the national security studies program is $375 for non-military members and $250 active duty military members. The federal government’s Tuition Assistance (TA) program covers the per-credit cost for active duty military personnel. For detailed information about program costs and fees, visit the tuition information page.

I would like to use my VA benefits. What is the process, and whom do I contact for more information?

The national security studies program is approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs. As such, all GI Bill® and other military payment options will be available to students applying for admission to the program. For consolidated information about specific programs, visit our Veterans Benefits page.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.

Is this program covered under federal financial aid?

The National Security Studies program is eligible for Federal Student Aid, including need-based (i.e., Pell Grants and Direct Subsidized Loans), and non-need based (i.e., Direct Unsubsidized Loans) programs. To get started on your Federal Student Aid application, you will need to complete the FAFSA.

How long is each trimester, and how long will it take me to finish the program?

Each trimester is 16 weeks long and made up of two eight-week sections. There is a one-week break between trimesters. There is no break between sections within the trimester. Full-time students (meaning they must take at least 12 credits per term) may complete the program in less than two years. This estimate does not factor in planned or unplanned leaves from the program, which may occur from time to time. Part-time enrollment will take longer. 

How many hours a week must I commit to my studies?

You should plan to spend approximately 15 to 20 hours each week on readings, discussion postings, and written assignments. This will vary depending on the number of courses and the types of courses you’re taking. Students new to the program will spend more time as they get used to online learning and delivery.

What happens if I am suddenly deployed and need to withdraw from a course or the entire program?

The program is designed with the duties of military personnel in mind and can be flexible to accommodate the needs of students in the field. Unexpected interruptions won’t impact your learning plan. Your student services advisor will work with you so you are able to leave and return to the program as needed.

When can I begin the program?

There are several start dates per year, please speak to your admission advisor for more details.

How large will my class be?

Approximately 15 to 25 students will be in your class. You will break into groups of six or fewer so that discussions and projects are productive and manageable.

How do I plan my curriculum and program schedule?

Once accepted into the program, you will work with one of our student services advisors to outline your degree plan, which will determine the courses you need to graduate.

What credentials will my instructor have?

Norwich University’s College of Graduate and Continuing Studies recruits from a national market and cultivates a very selective faculty. Most national security studies instructors have a PhD and significant experience teaching in face-to-face and online environments. Many have direct military and law enforcement experience and experience educating service members. They are devoted to students and passionate about teaching and learning. All complete specialized online teaching training and are held to the college’s high standards with regard to quick turnaround on communications and grading of assignments.

What Norwich University resources will be available to me?

You will have access to vast online resources through Kreitzberg Library, including our dedicated distance learning librarian. You will also receive academic support from your instructor, administrative support from program staff, and technical support for the online learning platform.

Is Norwich University accredited?

Norwich University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (formerly the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.).

Accreditation of an institution of higher education by the Commission indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of institutional quality periodically applied through a peer review process. An accredited college or university is one which has available the necessary resources to achieve its stated purposes through appropriate educational programs, is substantially doing so, and gives reasonable evidence that it will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Institutional integrity is also addressed through accreditation.

Accreditation by the Commission is not partial but applies to the institution as a whole. As such, it is not a guarantee of every course or program offered, or the competence of individual graduates. Rather, it provides reasonable assurance about the quality of opportunities available to students who attend the institution.

Inquiries regarding the accreditation status by the Commission should be directed to the administrative staff of the institution. Individuals may also contact:

New England Commission of Higher Education
3 Burlington Woods Drive, Suite 100, Burlington, MA, 01803-4514
Phone: (781) 425-7785
E-Mail: info@neche.org


Will there be a graduation ceremony when I complete the program?

Graduating students are welcome to attend the College of Graduate and Continuing Studies residency in June, where they can participate in a commencement ceremony with other graduating students at the College, and an academic recognition ceremony with their program peers. Due to the nature of our students’ commitment to service obligations, participating in residency events at Norwich University is optional, not required. Once students have fulfilled their degree requirements, Norwich University will confer the degrees and send them to students not participating in the commencement on campus. Degree conferrals take place in June and December.

How can I help you?