JPME Phase II & Master’s Degree

The Naval War College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education to award qualified resident U.S. graduates the College of Naval Warfare with a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. The college is also accredited by the chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff to award JPME Phase II credit for this senior level program. The academic program consists of a core curriculum, consisting of Joint Military Operations, National Security Decision Making, Strategy and Policy, prescribed academic conferences, the Speakers Program, and an elective course of study consisting of three elective courses.
U.S. Naval War College students in the National Security Affairs department participate in the Theater Security Decision Making Final Exercise in the college's Spruance auditorium in Newport, Rhode Island.

General Information


Resident military students of the College of Naval Warfare are Lieutenant Colonels, Colonels, Commanders, and Captains, from all Services with approximately sixteen to eighteen years of commissioned service. Student selection is made by each Service based on professional performance. In the Navy, candidates for attendance are chosen from officers selected for promotion to Commander and Captain. Subject to rank waiver approval by the Navy Personnel Command, a limited number of Lieutenant Commanders can attend the College of Naval Warfare provided they have already completed JPME I requirements. In addition, every academic year, selected departments and agencies are invited to nominate civilian applicants in the grades of GS-14 and GS-15 or equivalent for admission.

Location & Duration

The 10-month curriculum for resident students is divided into trimesters of three to four months and taught at the Naval War College in Newport, RI.

Learning Format

Core Courses are primarily conducted in seminar format but include capstone exercises, wargame participation, and comprehensive writing assignments.


U.S resident students in the CNW who earn a final grade of B- or above in each core course (or an approved Advanced Research Program in lieu of one of the core courses), and who pass three elective courses, are awarded the M.A. degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. Graduates are also eligible for JPME Phase II certification.

Program Structure

Fall Trimester

Joint Military Operations (JMO) - 13 weeks

Required | Core Course
The Joint Military Operations (JMO) Senior Level Course (SLC) is an in-depth study of the theater-strategic and operational levels of war across the spectrum of conflict.

Student Selected Elective - 10 weeks

Required | Elective
The electives program offers graduate level courses that expand treatment of subjects covered in the core curriculum, explore subjects not available in the core curriculum, and provide specialized areas of study for those students desiring to focus on a certain subject. Each elective counts for two credits and meets for ten three-hour sessions.

Winter Trimester

National Security and Decision Making - 13 weeks

Required | Core Course
The senior-level National Security Decision Making (NSDM) course focuses on strategic level issues, including the effective selection and leadership of military forces in the context of constrained national resources, strategic planning and selection of future military forces and their potential use as an instrument of national power.

Student Selected Elective - 10 weeks

Required | Elective
Students may take courses from various areas of study throughout the year, or they may choose to remain with a specific area of study for all three trimesters. Some areas of study offer an Additional Qualification Designation (AQD) to U.S. Navy students that can be identified and tracked by the Navy’s personnel system.

Spring Trimester

Strategy and Policy (S&P) - 13 weeks

Required | Core Course
The senior-level S&P course emphasizes grand strategy. It employs distinct case studies to consider the long-term effectiveness of all instruments of national power, the importance of the ability to adapt in strategic leadership, and the strategic success and failure of great and regional powers as well as non-state actors over long periods of time.

Student Selected Elective - 10 weeks

Required | Elective
The NWC offers over one hundred different elective courses annually, and most are conducted in a dynamic small-seminar environment. The lineup of courses evolves annually, and NWC professors are encouraged to offer electives in their various specialties.

Incoming Students

Contact Information

Dean of Students Office

More Information

Next Steps
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Upcoming Events

February 12, 2019
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U.S. Naval War College’s McCarty-Little Hall
College of Naval Warfare Curriculum

Core Teaching

The Naval War College has three core teaching departments: Strategy and Policy, National Security Affairs, and Joint Military Operations, each with separate faculty. Each department teaches one intermediate level course (ILC) and one senior level course (SLC).

See Core Curriculum
Student using an iPad for studies at Naval War College
Attending CNW as a Civilian

Civilian Application

Every academic year, selected departments and agencies are invited to nominate civilian applicants in the grade of GS-14/15 or equivalent for admission to the College of Naval Warfare. Admission for civilian students nominated to the resident program requires a formal application to the Naval War College along with additional information.

More on Applying to CNW