JPME Phase I & Master’s Degree

The Graduate Degree Program (GDP) allows students who are currently enrolled in or have graduated from the Fleet Seminar Program (FSP) to pursue a Master of Arts degree. In addition to the required FSP core courses, nine semester credit hours of approved electives are required to fulfill the M.A. degree requirements.
Navy divers assigned to Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1, transit to the USS Arizona Memorial for a dive during the 2018 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise, July 7, 2018.

General Information


Applicants must have a Baccalaureate Degree (i.e., B.S./B.A.). Active or reserve officers in the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard must be grade O3 or above. Civilian federal government employees must be in the grade of GS11 or above (or equivalent). Selected staff in the federal Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary branches may also be eligible. All applicants must have at least one FSP course completed with no course grade below a B-.

Location & Duration

Core courses are taught annually at Naval bases and stations across the United States. Classes meet one evening per week for three hours, from September to May. Elective coursework will most likely need to be completed at non-NWC institutions as only a very limited number of elective courses are offered each year through the College of Distance Education’s Online Program. More information on location and duration is available on the FSP webpage.

Learning Format

Core courses are conducted at the graduate level and require appropriate initiative, research, writing, and oral commentary from each student. Elective coursework varies between institutions.


Students accepted into GDP from July 2015 forward are awarded a Master of Arts in Defense and Strategic Studies degree upon program completion. Those accepted prior to July 2015 and graduating after June 2015 can choose to be awarded either the M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies or the M.A in Defense and Strategic Studies.

Program Structure


Elective Courses

Required | Electives
Students must complete all nine semester credit hours for elective work under a single Area of Study to meet the degree requirements.

Student Selected Core Curriculum

Required | Core Course
Each academic year a student will take courses in the Core Curriculum, which may be completed in any order.

Core Curriculum

Joint Maritime Operations

Required | Core Course
The Joint Maritime Operations course prepares students on critical and creative problem-solving skills that pertain to decision-making and leadership in the maritime domain.

Strategy & War

Required | Core Course
The Strategy and Warfare course examines how the overall strategic environment shapes operational choices and outcomes. It also examines the strategic effects of operations, exploring how battlefield outcomes can change the strategic environment.

Theater Security and Decision Making

Required | Core Course
The Theater Security Decision Making course educates students on effective decision-making and leadership, focusing primarily at the theater strategic level.

Incoming Students

Contact Information

Graduate Degree Program

More Information

Students accepted into the GDP must complete nine semester credit hours of approved electives and 21 semester hours in core courses to be awarded the NWC M.A. in Defense and Strategic Studies degree.

Boatswain's Mate Seaman Alyssa Mullinax stands watch as a phone talker aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) while arriving at Naval Station Rota, Spain, April 14, 2019.