Bachelor of Science in Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis

SSDA Program Curriculum

Norwich's Bachelor of Science in Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis (SSDA) curriculum includes four areas of instruction - general education, program-specific electives, field studies and a capstone project. Courses are taught by a faculty of defense strategy experts from around the world, and the program culminates in a series of independent research projects that focus on a country or region of your selection, taking into account the historical, economic and sociocultural influences at play in order to recommend methods of improving conditions in the region. This research is not simply relevant to your work in the field, but is also applicable to the military’s body of knowledge of regions around the world.

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.

  • 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

    In this course students will identify strategic considerations which have influenced the outcome of political and military conflict. Topics including the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, the campaigns of Alexander the Great and Napoleon Bonaparte, the Anglo-Afghan wars of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the rise and fall of empires around the world.

  • The Scientific Basis of Sustainability • SCIE310 3 credit hours

    Students examine how Sustainability Science has emerged in the 21st Century as a new academic field defined by the problems it addresses rather than by the individual disciplines it includes. They learn that, by addressing the complexity of the problems that threaten the survival of life on this planet, sustainability science combines the study of environmental, human and engineered systems to provide solutions to problems such as climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. Students examine how evidence-based, quantitative data is collected and used to define and monitor sustainability-related issues and problems, and discuss how critical thinking skills can be applied to an interdisciplinary understanding of problems and solutions, as well as how information networks can both supply important data and serve as a medium for communicating with other interested parties on a global basis. The course concludes by examining how sustainability science relates to an ever-widening range of decisions, strategies and activities in the private, public and military worlds, illustrating how an understanding of sustainability science will be critical to every future leader's toolkit of competencies.

Degree Electives

Students complete 18 credits of the following course options:

  • History of the U.S. Constitution • HIST210 3 credit hours

    A study of the political, economic, and social contexts of the creation of the Constitution and the significant amendments to it. Emphasis is on the role of the judicial branch in constitutional matters; the effects of social change in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries; and the impact of technology on contemporary constitutional issues.

  • Ethics in the Modern World • PHLS210 3 credit hours

    This course is a study of ethics and its application to problems in everyday life, society, and the broader world. The course examines the principal moral theories and ethical systems that have shaped our personal values and behavior, including consequentialist and non-consequentialist theories, virtue ethics, and feminist ethics. Students explore the connections between ethics and religion and examine the challenges to morals posed by relativism, subjectivism and emotivism, egoism. Students also evaluate positions, theories, and arguments as they apply them to concrete matters of personal, socio-political, and global concern.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Field Studies and Capstone
  • 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: ECON 310 Socio-Economics Studies or permission of chair of the department of continuing studies.

  • 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. 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.