Connor LaClair
Norwich Online Graduate, Class of 2018

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Master of Arts in Defense Policy

Grow your career in the interests of national defense.

Insightful and influential policymakers at the highest levels of national defense remain vital to the protection of the United States and its citizens and to the diplomatic presence of the U.S. abroad. Emphasizing both theory and practice, the Norwich University online Master of Arts in Defense Policy (MDP) prepares students to take on advisory and supervisory roles with the Department of Defense and other government agencies, independent contractors, think tanks and organizations in the defense industry. The program explores the relationship between defense policies and national power and provides students with the research, analytical and communications skills to think and act decisively in critical, real-world defense scenarios.

One of only a few master’s-level programs, the Norwich MDP is the crucial next step for military veterans, for professionals seeking to advance their current careers in non-combat military roles and for civilians working in the Department of Defense, the State Department and defense-related industries. Grounded in historical context, coursework equips students to evaluate significant trends in defense policy as it relates to human rights, international law, intelligence, kinetic operations, diplomacy, conflict management and interagency activities. Expert faculty with deep experience in the field guide students toward a graduate-level understanding of the current security environment, national and international defense policies, defense strategies and decision-making methodology.

  • Master of Arts
  • Students take elective courses

Why Norwich?

Learn from expert faculty—retired military and defense personnel, as well as academic specialists—who are dedicated to your career success.

Develop a professional understanding of national and international defense policies and strategies, as well as higher-level decision-making methods.

Prepare for advisory and supervisory roles with the Department of Defense and other government agencies, independent contractors, think tanks and defense-related organizations.

Advance your current career in a non-combat military role or as a civilian working for the Defense Department, State Department, government agency, independent contractor and more.

Balance school, work and military schedules with a flexible curriculum.

No GRE required

Quick Info

100% Online

All classes taken online

24/7 Access

Access the online classroom anywhere, anytime

11.2k Graduates

Over 11,000 previous online students

4 December

Next Start Date

22 November

Application Deadline

Accreditation & Recognition

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.).

We're Here to Help

Andrea  Thunberg, M.S.
Assistant Director of Admissions

Core Curriculum

Our M.A. in Defense Policy is one of a few master's-level programs in the country and is designed to prepare students for advisory and leadership roles throughout the defense industry. Some of the key courses are:

NT 510 -- Strategy and Policy
Students are required to think strategically and analytically in preparation for the course material that follows and positions of strategic leadership.  The course sharpens students' ability to assess a variety of situations and compare alternative courses of action to achieve overall national political purposes.  Students are asked to think in a disciplined, critical, and original manner about the international environment and a range of potential strategies involving joint, interagency, and multinational partners.  Strategy has been viewed traditionally as the relationship between war's purpose and the means to achieve a political end.  Strategy provides a theory of victory that explains how a state can translate the employment of the specific means of national power into the achievement of overall national objectives.

IR 520 -- American Foreign Policy
Encompasses the period from the late 19th century to the present and reviews critical cases in the history of US foreign relations.  Students examine US government actions in international affairs through various methodological contexts in foreign policy development and implementation.  Explanations are drawn from history, international relations theory, and area studies.  Special emphasis is placed on post-Cold War developments in America's foreign relations, especially focusing on the use of force, application of coercive diplomacy and the impact of global issues on US foreign policy.

Norwich’s online master’s courses are delivered over 11 weeks at a time, and the typical program completion time is 18 months.
Please view the course catalog for complete curriculum information. 

MDP Admissions Information

At a Glance

  • No GRE/GMAT required
  • Undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher

Admissions Requirements »

Next Start Date

Monday, December 4, 2023

Application Deadline

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Contact Admissions

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


Call: 1-866-684-7237


  • student writing in notebook
    Transfer Credits
    You may receive the equivalent of up to 12 semester credits for study conducted elsewhere. Norwich complies with VA regulations and guidelines as it pertains to transfer credits.
  • international student at graduation
    International Admissions
    Norwich University welcomes students from all countries who want to study through our online programs. You must complete all steps in the admissions process.
  • benjamin bragdon on norwich campus, graduate
    Norwich Alumni Benefits
    Reconnect with Norwich to complete your master's degree. As apart of our alumni community, you are eligible for a $2,500 scholarship and other benefits.

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


Norwich provides a top-notch educational experience; we also work hard to help make it affordable. There are many ways to get financial aid and several strategies to help you finance your education. Norwich is committed to making this often-difficult process easier for you.

Tuition at a Glance

  • Credit Hours: 30
  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $698; $550 (Military; Veteran; First Responder; and Active Duty, Guard, and Reserve spouses) 

Financial Aid Resources

Ways to Pay

2023-24 Tuition and Fee Schedule - Master's Programs

Rate Per Credit Term Tuition Additional Expenses Total
$698; $550 (Military; Veteran; First Responder; and Active Duty, Guard, and Reserve spouses) $3,300-$4,188

Technology - $300/term
Library - $75/term
Graduation - $150/one time


Careers & Outcomes

The demand for professionals with a broad understanding of national and international defense policies has never been greater. Norwich MDP graduates can expect to undertake a wide array of roles across government and defense-related industries, many of which are expected to see increased demand in the coming years. For example, employment for information security analysts, including intelligence analysts, is projected to increase 35% by 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (* 

Our graduates can be prepared for roles in:

  • Foreign Area Officer
  • Border Patrol Agent
  • Intelligence Officer
  • Federal Government Analyst
  • Department of Homeland Security Officer
  • International Research Specialist
  • Lobbyist
  • Policy Advisor
  • State Government Advisor/Analyst
  • Immigration Officer
  • Instructor
  • Military Officer
  • Veterans Affairs


Faculty & Staff

Academic 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

Jennifer Gagnon, MJA
Associate Program Director

Featured Faculty

James Dalton, MA
Program Manager
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