GSOIS offers curricula and degree programs to resident and non-resident degree students.


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Degree-Granting Programs

Graduate Certificate Programs (Resident and DL)


Defense Analysis (DA) Curricula

The Department of Defense Analysis is home to two very unique and highly respected graduate programs: 1) the USSOCOM-sponsored Special Operations and Irregular Warfare (SO/IW) program, and 2) the USDP-sponsored Information Strategy and Political Warfare curriculum. Both programs feature an interdisciplinary faculty representing a wide range of academic and operational specialties.

Masters of Science in Applied Design for Innovation (697)

Academic Associates: 
Leo Blanken, Ph.D.
CDR Justin Davis

The objective of this curriculum is to educate military personnel and civilian officials of the United States and its Allies to better defend the nation and prevent, prepare for, and prevail in conflicts by intentionally exploring, understanding, and attacking the problems posed by the future operating environment. This curriculum is designed to meet the changing needs of operators in the context of rapidly changing technology and Great Power Competition.

There are three sets of required courses for the 697 degree. One is the "common core" of DA courses (shared by DA 699 and 698); the second set of requirements are specific for 697 students. In addition to these curricula, the program includes customizable elective sequences for each student. These sequences draw on courses throughout the Naval Postgraduate School. Each customized sequence must be approved by the Academic Associate for the 697 curriculum.

The Chairman of the Defense Analysis Department and the Academic Associate of the Applied Design for Innovation curriculum approve each individual program.

Information Strategy and Political Warfare (698)

Program Officer: Jennifer Duncan
Academic Associate: Camber Warren

The Information Warfare & Political Strategy curriculum focuses on the strategic and operational dimensions of information—relative to the use of force—as an instrument of statecraft. Graduates will be able to develop information strategies to support military action by taking advantage of information technology, exploiting the growing worldwide dependence on automated information systems, and capitalizing on the near real time global dissemination of information to affect an adversary's decision cycles—all with the goal of achieving information superiority. This capability is dependent upon students acquiring a thorough understanding of the enduring nature of war. See the curriculum matrix here.

The curriculum is designed for both the specialist who will be assigned to an information operations position and the generalist who will be assigned to an operations directorate. The curriculum includes a core group of courses that address military art and operations, the human dimension of warfare (psycho-social), analytical methods, and a technical course sequence customized for each student. Additionally, each student will have an elective sequence designed to develop an in-depth understanding of joint information operations. Graduates are awarded a Master of Science in Information Operations. The program is 18 months long and requires a completed thesis.

This curriculum is open to officers, select NCOs, and civilian employees of the U.S. Government and other countries. U.S. officers and NCOs must be eligible for a TOP SECRET clearance with access to Sensitive Compartmented Information based on a Special Background Investigation completed within the last five years. A baccalaureate degree earned with above average academic performance and a minimum academic profile code (APC) of 265 are required.

Special Operations and Irregular Warfare (699)

Program Officer: Jennifer Duncan
Academic Associate: Robert Burks

The Special Operations/Irregular Warfare curriculum provides a focused curriculum of instruction in irregular warfare. Courses address counterinsurgency, terrorism and counterterrorism, unconventional warfare, information operations, and other "high leverage" operations in U.S. defense and foreign policy. The core program also provides a strong background in strategic analysis, decision modeling, organization theory, and formal analytical methods. See representative SO/IW course matrices here.

Student programs of instruction are built around a common set of core courses and a selected specialty track. The individual student, depending on his or her interests and academic background, chooses the specialty track. In selected cases, students are able to develop a tailored area of specialization to satisfy a particular interest or requirement. Graduates are awarded a Master of Science in Defense Analysis, with their specialty track so specified.

This curriculum is the only education program in DoD in which 100 percent of the instruction is dedicated directly or indirectly to the study of irregular warfare.

While the curriculum is sponsored by US Special Operations Command, the curriculum actively solicits students from across the services, regardless of branch, MOS, or AFSC.  In addition, international students are considered an important asset of the program. Students are encouraged to apply for an admission beginning with either the Winter or Summer Quarter, thereby permitting them to take maximum advantage of the program's sequenced course of instruction. The program extends for 18 months and requires a completed master's thesis prior to graduation.

The Special Operations/Irregular Warfare curriculum is open to officers, select NCOs, and civilian employees of the U.S. Government and other countries. U.S. officers and NCOs must be eligible for a TOP SECRET clearance with access to Sensitive Compartmented Information based on a Special Background Investigation completed within the last five years. A baccalaureate degree earned with above average academic performance and a minimum academic profile code (APC) of 265 are also required.


The Department of Information Sciences Curriculum

The Department of Information Sciences provides in-residence graduate education, as well as a continuum of career-long learning opportunities, in support of defense requirements in the areas of information sciences, systems, and operations. The Department maintains an internationally respected research program in selected areas of information sciences, systems, and operations, and has the capability of developing research programs in additional areas of information sciences that are required to support graduate education.

The IS Department offers the following curricula:

326 - Cyber Systems and Operations

336 - Applied Cyber Operations (MACO)

365 - Joint Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) Systems

370 - Information Systems and Technology

474 - Doctor of Philosophy in Information Sciences

386 - Network Operations and Technology (NWOT)

475 - Master of Science in Remote Sensing Intelligence (closed to new admissions)

595 - Information Warfare



Most of the courses in our curricula cover topics similar to courses in civilian O.R. programs, such as computational methods, statistics and data analysis, stochastic models, linear and non-linear optimization, network flows, simulation, and decision analysis. But in our program, all of these are enriched with examples that relate to student experiences and faculty research. We also study and teach military-relevant topics that are not commonly found in other programs, including combat modeling, campaign analysis, wargaming, cost analysis, and search theory. These topics are critical to our sponsors and are in keeping with the foundational roots of operations research. These courses help directly prepare our graduates to be military practitioners of OR.

Most resident students complete a curriculum that consists of one quarter of “refresher” courses, plus seven quarters of instruction. Navy students completing Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) will stay for eight quarters.

In addition to coursework, each resident student is required to complete a Master’s thesis under the supervision of at least one advisor on the OR faculty, and with the review of a second reader.

Experience Tour

An important piece of our approach to education is an internship that we call the “experience tour.” This is a three-week period that provides each student with an opportunity to apply theory from the classroom to a problem in the real world. After completing core coursework for the first five quarters, each student has an opportunity to participate in an experience tour at a relevant DoD organization. The student then spends the remaining time at NPS in advanced coursework and thesis research under the direct supervision of a faculty member. This combination of an experience tour with a thesis helps the student understand how to conduct independent analytical studies of military problems, provides low-cost support to various interested analytical organizations, requires the student to produce a complete, coherent document describing the work accomplished, and connects us with the military analytical community. The unique set of circumstances we have created at NPS makes this all possible and does much to prepare our graduates to be practitioners.

This last point is essential because our graduates will frequently fill an analysis position immediately upon graduation, perhaps without any interaction with their predecessor. On day one, this graduate is expected to be a fully capable and mature analyst, and will also likely supervise the work of contractors and/or junior analysts, which means our graduates have to be prepared not only to function as individual analysts, but they must also be capable of supervising a team of operations research analysts.

A wide variety of experience tours is available to our students. These experience tours generally fall into three broad categories: First, some experience tours are based on long-standing relationships between our department and various analytical agencies; second, some tours are based on the student’s past experience. Many students arrive at NPS with a desire to improve some aspect of a past assignment, or an early classroom topic coupled with their fleet/work experience suggests atopic; and third, some tours are based on faculty research efforts. NPS faculty conduct DoD-sponsored research for a wide range of organizations and frequently send students they advise tothese organizations to develop a thesis topic that supports their broader research efforts.