A Guide to Online Military Studies Degrees Accredited Online Degree Programs in Military Studies

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With the US defense budget coming in at nearly $700 billion – 15% of federal spending – it should be clear that there are ample career opportunities with a degree in military studies. In the United States, the military consists of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. All branches of the military have their own educational institutions and programs. For example, the Army has West Point and the Navy has the United States Naval Academy. All five branches of the United States armed forces have special training schools for non-commissioned officers who want to move up in the ranks and become officers in their respective military branches.

For other, non-military students, there are military studies programs at conventional colleges and universities that can prepare a student for a civilian career in the military, government, or private military contracting – highly lucrative and highly desirable careers.

What Is Military Studies?

The study of the military sciences includes learning military behavior strategies, and the application of tactics used in various types of warfare. It is the study of military processes and how to teach soldiers how to perform their duties. From the beginning ranks to the most advanced offices of leadership, military personnel continues to receive training that is suited to their station. In addition to military and national defense strategies, military personnel also learn about politics, economics, operations, technology, and psychological aspects of the military during both peacetime and wartime.

Military studies become more advanced as the student continues to move upward in the ranks. While non-commissioned officers and individuals in the lower ranks are taught strategies and combat techniques, those who have earned a higher rank may be introduced to leadership skills, negotiation strategies, and tactical maneuvering. This type of training is advantageous if the officer plans on making a career of their military services. Choosing to earn an online degree in military studies after they retire will allow them to become an educator, a consultant, an advisor, or supervisor in any one of the military branches of service or in the Department of Homeland Security.

It’s worth noting, for students who do not intend to go intoo the miliary, that military studies can often overlap with history, management, and public administration or policy.

Most Popular Schools with Online Military Studies Degree Programs

In March 2020, more than 2.1 million people served in the Armed Forces. More than 1.3 million were on active duty, including the following subtotals:
Army 479,233
Air Force333,167
Source: 2020 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2019-29 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Most Affordable Online Military Studies Degree Programs

What Can You Do with a Military Studies Degree?

There are several things that you can do with a military studies degree. If you are active-duty military in any of the branches of the United States military, you can use your education to move up to a commissioned officer. Non-commissioned officers will often go to school and earn a military studies degree when they feel they are ready to advance to the next level. In this situation, they have more than likely chosen to make a career out of the military. With a military studies degree, they can apply for an officers’ position or accept one that is offered to them.

After a person has left the military or transitioned out through retirement, earning a degree in military studies can be an excellent choice if they want to go into law enforcement or find work in a government department/bureaus such as Homeland Security, the FBI, or the CIA. Military studies degrees include courses involving organization, military theory, investigations, and strategic thinking on a variety of levels. These courses are designed to teach strict practices that allow for critical thinking and organizational best practices.

Military studies degrees go far beyond just teaching tactics and strategies. They are also beneficial for helping active-duty personnel and veterans work their way through the transition process once they choose to retire. The structured environment of military life is much different than that of a civilian. The transition process can be difficult. This type of degree program can help bridge that gap, reducing the effects of PTSD and allowing a decorated veteran to regain their footing on civilian ground.

Military Studies and Military Science Degree Types

Online Associate’s Degrees

Enrolling in an Associate’s degree in military studies program will provide you with all of the general courses you will need to start your education. Students will also learn about the economic, political, and social factors involved in a military organization. Students will receive a working knowledge of how the Department of Defense works as well as the role of the military in both peacetime and wartime. Students will gain an understanding of both the ethical and moral principles that determines how the military functions during different situations.

An Associate’s degree in military studies is the best way to start your education if you want to continue to advance up the ranks through your particular branch of military service. By starting out with this type of degree program, you gain the basic building blocks that can be used to advance your education, no matter what direction you choose to take. You can begin your education before you go into the military or while you are on active duty and continue to move forward.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees

A Bachelor’s degree in military studies goes beyond the basics found in an Associate’s degree, allowing you to move forward with your career. In addition to supporting the military at home and on foreign shores, you will also develop a strong sense of leadership and hone your ability to manage and organize projects of both military and domestic nature. You will gain an understanding of how cultural issues impact military strategies and how the military has evolved over time.

In addition to military policies, students are also introduced to subjects that include military intelligence, tactical maneuvering, and service-oriented topics that include transitioning from military service to civilian life after years of being on active duty. Entrepreneurship is also taught, especially when the student is considering a business that may be service-oriented or affiliated with the military in any way. A Bachelor’s degree will provide you with the education you need to become a commissioned officer in most branches of the military. It will also pave the way to continue to move forward with your education if that is a route you would like to pursue.

Online Master’s Degrees

Students who have chosen to continue with their education to the point of earning a Masters’ in military studies have chosen to make this field of study into a career. This can mean learning the laws and strategies of both war and various types of combat, as well as different strategies when it comes to logistics, supply chain, and leadership. With a Masters’ degree in military studies, students can pursue a career as an officer or in a national organization like the Department of Defense or a law enforcement agency. A Masters’ degree opens many doors to new opportunities both in and out of the military.

Students who are active duty military can go move from a non-commissioned officer role to a commissioned officer once they have proven themselves through both their service record and their desire to continue their education. A military officer who is transitioning from active duty to retired status may choose to enroll in a Masters’ degree program so they can continue to work with the military as a strategist, tactical trainer, or other types of consultant or educator.

Online Doctoral Degrees

A Doctoral degree in military studies is one that many graduates pursue if they are interested in teaching military students. Military officers who have received their degrees while serving their country can turn around and share their knowledge and expertise by becoming an educator either in a public university or college or a military institution of higher learning. Becoming a teacher in a military university that serves one of the five branches of the United States armed forces will allow them to continue to serve their country once they have retired.

With a Doctoral degree in military studies, a graduate can also act as an advisor or consultant to whatever military branch they choose. This gives them an opportunity to pass on the skills and abilities they learned during their career to those who are now actively defending our country. Graduates can use their doctoral degree to also teach new recruits the importance of the task they are undertaking. Receiving a doctoral degree provides a seasoned veteran with an opportunity to continue to serve their country long after they retire. With their many years of service and quality education, they can choose to follow almost any career path they desire. 

Accreditation for Military Studies Programs

Accreditation is extremely valuable if you are looking for a degree in military studies that you can rely on to provide you with the best possible education and credentials. For a university or its programs to be declared “accredited”, they must pass strict eligibility requirements and guidelines that prove the information being passed on to students is both accurate and of significant value. This means that once a student has received their degree, they will have the skills and knowledge to be proficient in whatever task they take on in their chosen career field. Accreditation is a good way to know whether or not a degree program has all of the information you may need if you plan on being certified or applying for a license.

There are two primary types of accreditation that should be considered, regional and national. Regional accreditation means that the university and its programs are considered to be of the highest quality for the region. National accreditation involves comparing a school to a much larger field and a much wider set of expectations. When it comes to degrees that involve military accreditation, a national review should be preferred. This means stricter standards and a more complete review process is used during the accreditation process. National accreditation standards are recognized on a much broader scale as well.


A degree in military studies can provide the information and skills that are needed to become an officer in the military. They can also be used to build a career in many areas where military training is beneficial. With the right military studies degree, a graduate can apply for certifications and licenses in a wide variety of fields. Becoming certified or licensed is just one way of showing that you meet your state’s or an organization’s strict standards when it comes to proving your abilities. Most certifications and licenses are offered at either a state or national level. It is up to you to determine which level best suits your needs.

Certifications and licenses do more than just prove you have the knowledge and experience you need to succeed. They also give you the additional credentials you need to be able to work in certain environments. This includes military areas where a security clearance is required to maintain confidentiality. Certifications and licenses are not always enough to guarantee access to these private areas but they do provide enough verification to get the process of clearance started. The right type of certification and licensure will also dramatically improve your ability to earn a higher salary depending on the type of career you choose.

Scholarships for Military Studies

Scholarships and grants are excellent ways to defer some of the cost of your education. Unlike student loans that have to be paid back over time and with sometimes incredibly high-interest rates, scholarships and grants are considered to be gifts. They do not have to be paid back and can be applied to almost any educational expense, including room and board, tuition, books, or other school supplies. While most scholarships are one-time gifts, grants can be given that will cover multiple years of study. Multiple year grants are often given to students who are completing post-graduate degree programs.

Scholarships are often given to eligible applicants who have proven themselves through community service, exceptional academic performance, and other humanitarian efforts. In most cases, students must apply for a scholarship and meet specific eligibility requirements in order to qualify. There are occasions, however, when a scholarship is offered to a student that has shown exceptional promise in one or more areas that are required for consideration. If this is the case, the student has more than likely been nominated by a member of the organization.

Scholarships can also vary in amount depending on what organization is offering them. Non-profit organizations may offer smaller scholarship amounts, while organizations that support military service may offer much higher gifts. In some cases, organizations like the VFW and American Legion may offer multiple scholarships each year to students who are considering going into the military or are enrolling in degree programs that involve military studies. There are specific scholarships that can be awarded for each of the branches of the United States armed forces. 


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