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) in Breda, The Netherlands. The MSS curriculum and all assessments, to include all graded elements of the programme are in English. The programme 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 operations, (counter) terrorism and the evolving character of war are explored.

Structure of the master’s degree programme

The programme consists of a total of 60 ECs and is designed to be accomplished part-time within a 2 year time frame. It consists of a compulsory part of 4 joint core courses, which serves as the common foundation for the 3 distinct, yet interrelated, tracks of which students choose one. Each track consists of 4 courses. Subsequently, students take an elective course. A thesis research period completes the programme.

Each course consists of 10 sessions of which 9 are lecture sessions and the final one involves the examination session.

The lectures (6 hours a week) are given on Fridays in Breda. An obligation to attend lectures applies. The programme entails a substantial self-study load of approximately 20 hours a week. Each course is followed by a 2 – 3 weeks (lecture free) break.

Military personnel who have to interrupt their programme due to service obligations (for example a deployment) may suspend their study and continue the programme at a later stage.

It is also possible to attend one or several subject courses, each of which awards 5 ECs, and obtain a certificate for completion.

Components

The master’s degree programme consists of 4 compulsory core subjects, 4 grouped (track) subjects and an elective. Depending on preference, experience, prior education, aims and capacity, students are assigned to one of the following 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 practice-oriented military and (usually more) theoretically educated civilian students, and the mutual exchange of experience, knowledge and insights.

Target groups

The master’s degree programme is primarily designed for:

  • Dutch officers with a permanent employment contract.
  • The Netherlands Ministry of Defence civil servants with a permanent employment contract.

The master’s degree programme is also open to:

  • Military officers of allied or partner countries.
  • Dutch military reservists (including ‘Defensity College’ students).
  • Civilian students with a recent and relevant university degree (BA or MA).
  • Employees of other ministries of the Netherlands or NGOs with a permanent employment contract who work with military organisations by virtue of their professional duties.

Admission requirements

Military and civilian students must possess a university bachelor’s or master’s degree. Military personnel and MOD civil servants 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.

To ensure that students have a sufficient command of the English language to successfully participate in the programme applicants need to present an English language certificate that meets the language requirements as laid down in our ‘Teaching and Examination Regulations’.

In case you are working, as military or civilian, for a (NATO) Ministry of Defence an appropriate petition approved by your CO or authority is required.

In case you are not working for a (NATO) Ministry of Defence you are required to submit a ‘Certificate of Good Conduct’ (in Dutch: Verklaring Omtrent Gedrag) or national equivalent, available at your municipality.

Although all slides and literature are in English, and all examinations, to include all graded elements of the programme, and degree audits also take place in English, knowledge and skills of Dutch are essential. As this programme is primarily intended for Dutch officers, the vast majority of the lectures and discussions are held in Dutch. A good passive understanding of spoken Dutch (‘listening’) is, therefore, required. 

Costs

The programme is free of costs for the primary target group (the Netherlands Ministry of Defence employees with a permanent employment contract). Employees - military or civilian -  of a (NATO) Ministry of Defence are also exempted from paying tuition fees.

Other students are required to pay tuition fees. The statutory tuition fee for the academic year 2022 - 2023 is € 2.209. Students who have already obtained a master’s degree will be charged the institutional tuition fee (€  4.418). The statutory tuition fees are determined each year by the Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

Information session

Each year mid-April, we organise an information session (in Dutch). If interested, applicants will receive more information about date and venue when available.

Contact and enrolment

From February 1 to May 31, 2023, you can apply for the next master MSS programme (to start in September 2023). Enrolment forms become available from February 2023. In the preceding months, you may already show your interest or ask questions about the programme via master.mss@mindef.nl.

Additional information

More information can be found in the following documents: