The ten-month Master of Arts in Strategic Security Studies is comprised of three phases. Phase I, crafted based on the vision of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is an NDU-wide "Foundations of Strategic Leadership." This course introduces CISA's diverse student body to various critical and strategic thinking tools to analyze topics such as national-level strategy, joint doctrine and operations in order to anticipate and manage complexity, uncertainty, change, and surprise in the contemporary security environment. Phase II blends innovative principles of security studies and research methodology with an Area of Concentration: such as International Security Studies, Irregular Warfare, Counterterrorism, Homeland Defense, or South and Central Asia. Phase III gives students the opportunity to explore their functional or regional subject of interest by selecting elective courses, taking part in a capstone exercise, and researching and writing of a thesis. Eligible students who successfully complete the 10-month full-time program will receive a Master of Arts in Strategic Security Studies. CISA offers the Master of Arts Degree in Strategic Security Studies program both at its Fort McNair campus and at its Fort Bragg, NC campus, in coordination with the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School
Through seminar participation and independent study and research, students will develop strategies for working with other agencies, with the United States, and with other partner nations. Through the combination of theoretical and practical learning, the program prepares professionals to develop and implement national and international security strategies for use in conditions of peace, crisis, and war.
The National Defense University is accredited to award the master's degree by Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The MSCHE, established in 1919, is a voluntary, non-governmental, peer-based membership organization dedicated to educational excellence and improvement through peer evaluation and accreditation. NDU is a member of the Washington Consortium of Colleges and Universities.
CISA is also accredited by the J-7 to provide Joint Professional Military Education II to senior service college selectees.