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Master of Arts in Defense Policy

Grow Your Career in the Interests of National Defense

You know that 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. Prepare 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 with the Norwich University online Master of Arts in Defense Policy program. Gain the research, analytical and communications skills to think and act decisively in critical, real-world defense scenarios from one of only a few master’s-level programs. 

Norwich is dedicated to your career success. Learn from expert faculty of retired military and defense personnel, as well as academic specialists. You will be able to easily balance school, work and military schedules with a flexible online learning platform.

If you are a military veteran, a professional seeking to advance your current career in non-combat military roles or a civilian working in the Department of Defense, the State Department or defense-related industries, a master’s in defense policy is a crucial next step to achieving your goals. Learn to evaluate significant trends in defense policy as it relates to human rights, international law, intelligence, kinetic operations, diplomacy, conflict management and interagency activities with coursework grounded in historical context. You will gain a graduate-level understanding of the current security environment, national and international defense policies, defense strategies and decision-making methodology.

You, at 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

Accreditation & Recognition

NECHE 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.).

Next Master's Session Start Dates: 

FALL: August 26, 2024

WINTER: November 18, 2024

SPRING: February 17, 2025

Program & Details

At a Glance

No GRE/GMAT required Undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher



Contact Admissions

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

Call: 1-866-684-7237

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. 
Learn more »

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. 
International Admissions »

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. 
Connect with our advisors »

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.

Eligibility Requirements

  • A bachelor's degree from a regionally or nationally accredited U.S. institution, or an equivalent degree from a foreign institution, as evaluated by a NACES approved agency. 
  • If English is not your first language, proof of English language proficiency is required. This can be demonstrated in one of three ways:
    • TOEFL - a minimum score of 550 (paper-based test) or 80 (Internet-based test) is required.*
    • IELTS – a minimum composite score of 6.5 is required.*
    • The applicant holds a baccalaureate or master’s degree from a college/university/institution in which the primary language of instruction was English.

Please Note:  All eligibility requirements are expected to be met unless noted in specific articulation agreements or memoranda of understanding (MOUs).

Application Process

We encourage you to contact an admissions advisor (see below) if you need help at any stage of the application process. You will be required to submit the following items:

  • Application form
  • Official transcript of your undergraduate degree from a regionally or nationally accredited university, mailed to the address below.
  • Proof of English language proficiency if applicable (TOEFL)

Transcript Links

Mail transcripts to:
Norwich University
College of Graduate and Continuing Studies
P.O. Box 367
Northfield, VT 05663

For electronic delivery, we accept transcripts delivered from Parchment, National Clearing House, and other services if sent to via password protection.

To contact an admissions advisor:

Call: 1-866-684-7237

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.

To view additional program details such as course offerings, requirements, and curriculum maps for the Defense Policy program, visit the Norwich University Course Catalog using this link.

Online Master's

When applying for a graduate program at Norwich University, there are two essential factors to consider: what does it cost, and how can you pay for it? There are many ways to get financial assistance and several financial strategies that can help you achieve your academic and professional goals. We are here to help you identify and pursue the options that are best for you.

Tuition at a Glance
Credit Hours: 36
Cost Per Credit Hour: $698
Additional fees & discounts may apply.

Financial Aid Resources
Paying for your Education

Quick Info



Courses completed entirely online



Access the online classroom anywhere, anytime



Over 11,000 previous online students

Alumni Testimonials

Hartley 2016 Computer Security & Information Assurance Major

In high school, Joshua Hartley defended attacks on the gridiron as an offensive lineman. At Norwich, the computer programming phenom studied network defense for malware, cyber attacks, and other malfeasance as a CSIA major.

Joshua Hartley

'16 Computer Security & Information Assurance

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Benjamin Robert Bradley headshot

As the tagline for Norwich University says, "Expect Challenge. Achieve Distinction," do expect challenge, but also expect to be supported by your fellow classmates and instructors along the way.

Benjamin Robert Bradley

'24 Master of Science in Cybersecurity

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Thomas Sittmann

Because of my education at Norwich, I was very fortunate to learn topics that I was actually applying (to my job). I could take the concepts and the work from the labs we did in class and apply them to real-world scenarios.

Thomas Sittmann

'21 Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity

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Kyle Hippley headshot

I felt comfort in knowing that most of the online program's leadership and administration are the same professionals working at the traditional Norwich campus.

Kyle Hippley

'22 Master of Science in Nursing

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I was looking for a school with mature, highly ranked course. I wanted the curriculum to be certified by the NSA/DHS.

Michael Esch

'15 Master of Science in Information Assurance Computer Forensics and Incident Response Management

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Hartley 2016 Computer Security & Information Assurance Major

Joshua Hartley

Benjamin Robert Bradley headshot

Benjamin Robert Bradley

Thomas Sittmann

Thomas Sittmann

Kyle Hippley headshot

Kyle Hippley

hero image

Michael Esch

Faculty & Staff

Careers & Outcomes

Career Opportunities for Defense Policy Graduates

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 have pursued a variety of roles, including:
    Career Roles

    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,