Military Strategic Studies master’s degree programme

The Military Strategic Studies (MSS) master’s degree programme starts each year in September at the Faculty of Military Sciences (FMW). This academic master’s degree programme is taught in English and is completed on a part-time basis. Intake is limited to 45 students a year.

Content of the master’s degree programme

This broad-based programme in strategic studies focuses on the role of the military instrument in the context of today’s security policy issues and provides a thorough analysis of modern strategic security issues.

Areas addressed include the role of intelligence and intelligence organisations in security policy, the relationship between security issues and the strategic concept in this regard. Attention is also given to the ethical and legal aspects associated with legitimacy and the deployment of armed forces. In addition, current issues such as cyber security and the role of the media, including social media, are explored.

Structure of the master’s degree programme

The part-time programme lasts for 2 years. The 1st year consists of 3 10-week academic terms. 2 subjects are covered in each term. The 2nd year consists of 2 semesters in which a total of 3 subjects on which the thesis will be based are covered and a thesis period. The programme entails a substantial self-study load of approximately 20 hours a week. The lectures (6 hours a week) are given on Fridays in Breda.

Target groups

The master’s degree programme is primarily intended for:

  • Dutch officers who are employed on the basis of a permanent employment contract.
  • Netherlands Ministry of Defence civilian employees who are employed on the basis of a permanent employment contract.

The master’s degree programme is also open to:

  • Military officers of allies or partner countries.
  • Civilian students.
  • Employees of other ministries of the Netherlands or NGOs who are employed on the basis of a permanent employment contract and who work with military organisations by virtue of their professional duties.
  • Individuals who have a significant interest in the content and associated issues described.

Admission requirements

Officers and civilian employees of the Netherlands Ministry of Defence must hold at least a bachelor’s degree awarded by an academic university or must have completed a Royal Netherlands Military Academy/Royal Netherlands Naval College long-model training programme or the Advanced Defence Studies programme. These officers and civilian employees must have a few years of work experience.

Civilian students and other candidates must hold at least an academic university bachelor’s degree in a relevant field.

Proof of proficiency in English is required for admission to the master’s degree programme.


The programme is free of costs for Netherlands Ministry of Defence employees who are employed on the basis of a permanent employment contract. The programme is also free of costs for foreign military students.

For other participants, such as reservists, civilian students and students who join through Defensity College, the statutory tuition fees as determined each year by the Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science apply.

If these students attend parts of the master’s degree programme and are already paying statutory tuition fees at a university, they must pay € 100 per credit (EC).

Transfer programme

Candidates who do not hold an academic university bachelor’s or master’s degree in a relevant field (candidates who hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a university of applied sciences, for example) can still gain admission. If you are such a candidate, ask the MSS Examination Board for admission to a transfer programme to make up for the academic deficiency. The MSS Examination Board can be contacted by e-mail to

The board may admit candidates whose academic deficiency is no more than 36 ECs. 2 standard programmes are available to make up for the academic deficiency. These programmes are completed on a self-study basis. The programmes are free for students who, having made up for the academic deficiency, may attend the master’s degree programme free of costs. Other students must pay € 30 per EC.


The master’s degree programme consists of 4 compulsory core subjects, 4 grouped (track) subjects and an elective subject. Depending on preference, experience, prior education, aims and capacity, students are assigned to one of the following 3 tracks:

  • War Studies;
  • Intelligence & Security;
  • Managing and Organising in the Military.

The student completes the programme with a thesis of 10.000 words.

The instructional model is based on active participation, interaction between military and civilian students and the exchange of experience, knowledge and insights.


The programme consists of a total of 60 ECs. It is also possible to attend one or several subject courses, each of which awards 5 ECs, and obtain a certificate for completion. The courses consist of 10 sessions of which, in principle, 9 are lecture sessions and 1 is an examination session. An obligation to attend applies. There are 2 to 3 weeks of ‘rest’ between the academic terms.

Military personnel who have to interrupt their studies because of a deployment can simply continue where they left off after they have returned.

Questions and enrolment

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