GPC Details

GPC Certificate (Curriculum 255)

In response to Navy requests in the summer of 2020 for additional distance-learning (DL) opportunities, the NSA Department created a 13-unit GPC DL certificate (curriculum 255).  The first cohort started this series in January 2020, and a second cohort started in July 2020.  The certificate can be taken alone or be folded into an in-residence NPS degree.

Please note that all courses in the certificate (except NS 4000) have a two-hour, required, synchronous discussion section with the professor and other students. Synchronous sessions will be held on Fridays for two hours (mid-day Pacific time), with students typically having a choice of one of two section times.




Points of Contact


Selection Criteria

  • Qualified students will be prioritized based on the following criteria:
  • Balance among communities and service
  • Service/Sponsor inputs
  • Deployment status/location during studies – non-deployed CONUS preferred
  • Potential to return to NPS to complete a full degree


Selection will be done by a panel of military officers and academic faculty at the Naval Postgraduate School.

GPC Accordion

Program Structure

This thirteen-credit distance learning certificate is completed over nine months, with the following class structure:

*Courses alternate by cohort. See NPS course catalog for differences between the two classes.

  • Quarter 1:  NS4000 – GPC:  Current Policy/Strategy (1 credit)
  • Quarter 1:  NS3005 – Great Power Conflict in Modern History (4 credits)
  • Quarter 2:  NS3661/4642 – Chinese Politics and Foreign Policy (4 credits)*
  • Quarter 3:  NS3401/4425 – Russian Politics and Foreign Policy (4 credits)*

Sample Course Structure

NS4000 – GPC:  Current Policy/Strategy

  • One-credit, pass/fail course with 20 lectures
  • ~2 hours per week
  • 35-minute lectures followed by short quizzes
  • Optional readings

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the core motivations behind Chinese and Russian political, economic, and military policies.
  • Understand the tools China and Russia use to further their interests in various regions of the world and in critical competitive domains, such as cyberspace.


NS3005 – Great Power Conflict in Modern History

  • Four-credit course
  • ~8-10 hours per week

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the history of great power conflict in the 20th century, emphasizing the role of great powers in the evolution of the modern international system.
  • Understand core concepts in the following areas:
    • The role of great powers in the creation of international order.
    • The origins of great power wars.
    • The economic dimensions of great power conflict.
    • Great power conflict and revolutionary war.
    • The distinctive requirements of peace-making among great powers.


NS4642 – Chinese Foreign Policy

  • Four-credit course
  • ~8-10 hours per week

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the historical legacies of the People’s Republic of China.
  • Acquire a deeper knowledge of Chinese foreign policy during the Cold War.
  • Understand the development of China’s relations with the United States, East Asia, and the world during China’s rise.
  • Explore the main drivers for China’s grand strategy and foreign policy, and understand Chinese perspectives on the international environment.
  • Conduct in-depth research and analysis on a topic of interest related to Chinese foreign policy.


NS4425 – Russian Foreign Policy

  • Four-credit course
  • ~8-10 hours per week

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand Russia’s foreign policy traditions, interests, patterns of behavior, current trends, and possible future directions.
  • Understand the range of policy tools used by the Russian leadership in the pursuit of the country’s foreign policy.
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of Russia’s priorities in its relationship to the United States as well as options for U.S. policy-makers in dealing with Russia.
  • Conduct in-depth research and analysis on a topic of interest related to Russian foreign policy.