Strategic Studies

International Staff Ride 2015

In March 2015, students and faculty will travel to Colombia to study the conflict with the FARC and the political process for its resolution.

Academics

Eliot Cohen, Director of the Strategic Studies Program and of the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies

Staff Rides

SAIS strategic studies students traveled to Vietnam to 'relive' historic conflicts.

Activities

Strategic Studies students visit Quantico and learn about the Marine Corps' perspective on leadership

The Strategic Studies Program explores the relationship between politics and the many kinds of military power—from the use of terror by small, non-state groups to the threatened use of nuclear weapons. Building on core concepts taught in the course Strategy and Policy, the program allows students to pursue interests in diverse aspects of security while developing a variety of analytic and practical skills.

The study of national security issues at SAIS dates back to the founding of the school in 1943, but gained its greatest impetus under the direction of Professor Robert Osgood, who established a formal program in the field in 1980. The program is directed by Professor Eliot A. Cohen, who came to the school in 1990 and founded the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies. He is assisted by Professor Thomas Keaney, who is also the Associate Director of the Merrill Center and a senior adjunct professor of Strategic Studies.

For additional information, follow the links:
- Information about a Ph.D. in Strategic Studies;
- Some thoughts on writing;
- A few good books on reading, writing, and presentation;
- The Strategic Studies Core Reading List (which is optional);
- A paper prospectus format;
- And guidance for receiving a recommendation from Professor Cohen.

Upcoming Events

  1. Offshore Control: A Strategy for the United States Rebalance to the Asia-Pacific 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM Oct27

Recent Photos & Video

Curriculum

 

STRATEGIC STUDIES | M.A. Requirements

Strategic Studies Program Learning Goals and Objectives

Entering Class 2014-2015
 
Students must take the equivalent of 16 non-language courses (64 credits) in order to graduate. Those students who are approved for dual degree or advanced standing may only need to take 12 or 14 courses as approved by Academic Affairs.

Students concentrating in Strategic Studies (STRAT) must take a minimum of 5 courses (20 credits) within this program-including those that are cross-listed with STRAT. One of those courses must be Strategy and Policy (SA.660.740) and must be taken in their first semester.

The following worksheets are provided to assist students in planning their course requirements:

- Strategic Studies Course Requirements worksheet

Strategic Studies Alternate Course Requirements worksheet (for students who matriculated in 2013-2014 and are completing the IR requirements)

 

 

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS

Students must complete 4 courses within this program.
·         Microeconomics
·         Macroeconomics (prerequisite or concurrent Microeconomics)
·         International Trade Theory (prerequisite Microeconomics)
·         International Monetary Theory (prerequisite Macroeconomics)
 
Eligible students who pass the waiver exams in these subjects or who pass Micro and/or Macro in Pre-Term must replace those courses with alternate economics courses. Many students choose to pursue an International Economics Specialization in one of four areas of economics and therefore use electives to meet these requirements. Students may also choose to specialize in Emerging Markets.

 

QUANTITATIVE REASONING

Students must complete one course from the list below.
·         Statistical Methods for Business & Economics 
·         Econometrics (prerequisite Statistical Methods for Business & Economics)
·         Applied Econometrics (prerequisite Econometrics)
·         Macro Econometrics (prerequisite Econometrics)
·         Risk Analysis and Modeling
·         Corporate Finance (prerequisite or concurrent Microeconomics)
·         Quantitative Methods in International Relations (prerequisite Statistical Methods for Business & Economics)
 
Students may not double-count a Quantitative Reasoning requirement as one of the four required International Economics courses and vice-versa. Eligible students who pass the statistics waiver exam or pass the statistics course in Pre-Term are still required to take an alternate Quantitative Reasoning course from the list above.

 

CORE COURSES/EXAMS

All SAIS students must pass 2 core exams and/or courses. If the core courses/exams are not completed by the start of the final semester, a student must enroll for credit in the core course(s).
·         American Foreign Policy Since World War II
·         Comparative National Systems
·         Evolution of the International Systems
·         Theories of International Relations

 

LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY

MA candidates must pass exams to demonstrate proficiency in a second language. This language must be offered at SAIS. Students whose native language is not English may use English as their proficiency language. All non-native English speakers are required to pass an English placement exam upon entering SAIS, even if not using English for proficiency.

 

CAPSTONE

Strategic Studies concentrators must complete ONE of the following capstones:
 
1.     Successful completion of Strategic Studies Research Seminar (SA.660.751)
2.     Leading or directing research for the international staff ride, or leading one of the domestic staff rides
3.     An oral exam conducted by two Strategic Studies faculty members at the end of the final semester
4.     MA Oral Exam (to compete for honors—if eligible)
 
Students concentrating in Strategic Studies may not pursue an additional concentration beyond International Economics. For further information, please read the department's statement on dual concentrations.

 

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS BY ACADEMIC YEAR

Entering Class 2013-2014
Entering Class 2012-2013
 

 


 

Curriculum

 

STRATEGIC STUDIES | M.A. Requirements

Strategic Studies Program Learning Goals and Objectives

Entering Class 2014-2015
 
Students must take the equivalent of 16 non-language courses (64 credits) in order to graduate. Those students who are approved for dual degree or advanced standing may only need to take 12 or 14 courses as approved by Academic Affairs.

Students concentrating in Strategic Studies (STRAT) must take a minimum of 5 courses (20 credits) within this program-including those that are cross-listed with STRAT. One of those courses must be Strategy and Policy (SA.660.740) and must be taken in their first semester.

The following worksheets are provided to assist students in planning their course requirements:

- Strategic Studies Course Requirements worksheet

Strategic Studies Alternate Course Requirements worksheet (for students who matriculated in 2013-2014 and are completing the IR requirements)

 

 

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS

Students must complete 4 courses within this program.
·         Microeconomics
·         Macroeconomics (prerequisite or concurrent Microeconomics)
·         International Trade Theory (prerequisite Microeconomics)
·         International Monetary Theory (prerequisite Macroeconomics)
 
Eligible students who pass the waiver exams in these subjects or who pass Micro and/or Macro in Pre-Term must replace those courses with alternate economics courses. Many students choose to pursue an International Economics Specialization in one of four areas of economics and therefore use electives to meet these requirements. Students may also choose to specialize in Emerging Markets.

 

QUANTITATIVE REASONING

Students must complete one course from the list below.
·         Statistical Methods for Business & Economics 
·         Econometrics (prerequisite Statistical Methods for Business & Economics)
·         Applied Econometrics (prerequisite Econometrics)
·         Macro Econometrics (prerequisite Econometrics)
·         Risk Analysis and Modeling
·         Corporate Finance (prerequisite or concurrent Microeconomics)
·         Quantitative Methods in International Relations (prerequisite Statistical Methods for Business & Economics)
 
Students may not double-count a Quantitative Reasoning requirement as one of the four required International Economics courses and vice-versa. Eligible students who pass the statistics waiver exam or pass the statistics course in Pre-Term are still required to take an alternate Quantitative Reasoning course from the list above.

 

CORE COURSES/EXAMS

All SAIS students must pass 2 core exams and/or courses. If the core courses/exams are not completed by the start of the final semester, a student must enroll for credit in the core course(s).
·         American Foreign Policy Since World War II
·         Comparative National Systems
·         Evolution of the International Systems
·         Theories of International Relations

 

LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY

MA candidates must pass exams to demonstrate proficiency in a second language. This language must be offered at SAIS. Students whose native language is not English may use English as their proficiency language. All non-native English speakers are required to pass an English placement exam upon entering SAIS, even if not using English for proficiency.

 

CAPSTONE

Strategic Studies concentrators must complete ONE of the following capstones:
 
1.     Successful completion of Strategic Studies Research Seminar (SA.660.751)
2.     Leading or directing research for the international staff ride, or leading one of the domestic staff rides
3.     An oral exam conducted by two Strategic Studies faculty members at the end of the final semester
4.     MA Oral Exam (to compete for honors—if eligible)
 
Students concentrating in Strategic Studies may not pursue an additional concentration beyond International Economics. For further information, please read the department's statement on dual concentrations.

 

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS BY ACADEMIC YEAR

Entering Class 2013-2014
Entering Class 2012-2013
 

 


 

Waiver Exams

Faculty

Pages

Featured Courses

Program Activities

 

Simulations

The program’s Seminar in Crisis Simulation explores the literature and concepts surrounding simulated crisis enactments, leading to a voluntary school-wide exercise. The seminar seeks to develop scenarios and use them to uncover the dynamics of national decision-making and policy response. The one-semester-credit course meets across both semesters, and students design and manage the simulation in early March. Non-seminar students from all programs may participate in the spring crisis simulation exercise.

 

Extracurricular Activities

Extracurricular activities such as film seminars, speaker series, Defense Against the Dark Arts, You Were There Series and field trips to military installations are an important supplement to the program.

 

Staff Rides

The Strategic Studies program has planned and executed a large number of trips and staff rides since 2000. Our many excursions allow on-site views of military operations, historical events, and museums that offer perspectives a classroom may not deliver.

The staff ride tradition stretches back to the 19th century Prussian General Staff, and concentrates on more than just operational history; rather a staff ride will focus on important issues of leadership and decision-making that have applications well beyond the field of strategic studies. Students, faculty, and distinguished guests examine battles, campaigns, and occasionally entire wars in order to actively engage in a dialogue with history.

Click here for more information on staff rides and to see what campaigns we have studied in the past, and watch this video of Dr. Cohen discussing what a Staff Ride is all about:

 

Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies

The Phillip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies conducts workshops and seminars for scholars, teachers and practitioners in the security studies field.

Program Activities: Washington, D.C.

Program Activities: Europe

Program Activities: Nanjing

Events



2014

  1. Offshore Control: A Strategy for the United States Rebalance to the Asia-Pacific 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM Oct27

    Thomas Hammes, retired colonel in the United States Marine Corps, will discuss this topic. Note: This event is off the record.

2014

  1. A Conversation with Madeline Albright 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM Oct8

    Madeline Albright, former Secretary of State, will discuss this topic. Note: This event is off the record.

     

  2. Working in Washington: Thoughts on Effectiveness and Survival 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM Sep29

    John McLaughlin, distinguished practitioner-in-residence at the Merrill Center for Strategic Studies and former acting director of the CIA, will discuss this topic. Note: This event is off the record.

  3. Strategic Studies Speaker Series: Major General H.R. McMaster 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM May2

    Major General H.R. McMaster, commanding general at the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia, will discuss this topic. Note: This event is off the record.

  4. The FBI and National Security 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM Apr16

    Robert Mueller, former director of the FBI, will dicuss this topic. John McLaughlin, distinguished practitioner-in-residence at the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies, will moderate the event. Note: This event is off the record.

  5. Military Ethics 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM Mar25

    Lieutenant General (Ret.) John Sattler, distinguished chair for ethical decisionmaking at the U.S. Naval Academy, will discuss this topic. Note: This event is off the record.

2013

  1. Cyber War Will Not Take Place: A Discussion With Thomas Rid 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM Sep10

    Thomas Rid, reader in war studies at King’s College London, will discuss his book titled, Cyber War Will Not Take Place.

  2. The History and Future of Guerrilla Warfare: A Discussion With Max Boot 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM Apr24

    Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare From Ancient Times to the Present, will discuss his new book.

  3. Being the President’s Voice 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM Apr15

    John McConnell, former senior speechwriter for President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, will discuss this topic.Note: This event is open to the SAIS community only, and the speaker’s comments will be off the record.

  4. Reflections on Washington: A Journalist’s Perspective 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM Apr8

    Bob Woodward, associate editor of The Washington Post and author of The Price of Politics, will discuss this topic. Note: This event is open to faculty, staff and students only, and the speaker’s comments will be off the record.

  5. The Role of Congress in Civil-Military Relations 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM Feb13

Research

Our Alumni

 

Alumni Facebook Group - "SAIS Strategic Studies Alumni"

Join the group by visiting the new SAIS Strategic Studies Alumni page and "Request to join".  You will need to have a Facebook account to login and join. 
 
The group is focused on connecting SAIS Strategic Studies Alumni - and friends - and updating them on all lectures, programs, and fund raising events hosted by the Strategic Studies Department.

 

Alumni List Serve and Newsletter

To join the Strategic Studies alumni listserve, please e-mail stratdistro@gmail.com and provide your name and year of graduation.

For bi-annual updates on the Strategic Studies department, please check out our recent newsletters:

Volume 6 Issue 2: July 2014
Volume 5 Issue 2: Decembe 2013
Volume 5 Issue 1: July 2013
Volume 4 Issue 1: December 2012
Volume 3 Issue 2: December 2011
Volume 3 Issue 1: June 2011
Volume 2 Issue 2: December 2010
Volume 2 Issue 1: June 2010
Volume 1 Issue 2: November 2009
Volume 1 Issue 1: May 2009
 

 

Alumni Literary Forum

The SAIS Strategic Studies Alumni Literary Forum is currently suspended. Future dates will be announced as guest authors are scheduled.
 
Previous Discussions:

External Resources

 

Gateways and Portals for Strategic Studies Research

The Federation of American Scientists has good collections on military subjects. It is a good place to start learning about military nuts and bolts. More up to date material can be found at the GlobalSecurity website created by John Pike, who built the FAS site.

Defenselink is the Defense Department’s main website, but its easier to go directly to other places in the .mil domain. The Foreign Military Studies Office of the United States Army has excellent publications and external links. Note too the Military Domain Search engine at Fort Leavenworth – a big help in searching the vast American military web. The Defense Technical Information Center (US) has links to lots of useful sites. Library of Congress Country Studies usually have lots of background material on armed forces and politico/military history. But remember that students also have access to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s country surveys from the SAIS library.

For bibliographies go to the Air University Library, the Marine Corps Research Center (one of the best), the Army Heritage and Education Center is a great way into a variety of Army sources, the Naval War College Library, the National Defense University library or the Dudley Knox Library at the Naval Postgraduate School, which has links to other bibliographies. In general, the military library sites can be extremely valuable, as is the Military Education Research Library Network, or MERLN, best accessed through the NDU. Start at these locations for most of your research.

The World Wide Web Virtual Library historical section is useful; so, more broadly, is the International Relations and Security Network out of Switzerland. Facts on International Relations and Security Trends is a combined effort of the Stockholm
International Peace Research Institute and the International Relations and Security Network. Very useful for basic data. The
Social Sciences Information Gateway (SOSIG) project in the UK is a bit quirky, but not a bad place to go.

If you want a directory the Scout Report archives is a great way to roam through a decade of the Scout Report, which is the best review service of Internet sites. Librarians' Index to the Internet is a big help too, though less comprehensive.

You cannot understand wars without maps. Three great resources are the Perry Castaneda library at the University of Texas, the Department of History at the US Military Academy (West Point) and the American Memory site at the Library of Congress.

Three professors have particularly useful websites to work from: Marc Trachtenberg of UCLA (especially helpful on how to do historical work); Charles Lipson of University of Chicago (see his contemporary international relations material); Richard Jensen of University of Illinois with his Scholars’ Guide to the WWW; see also his Web Sources for Military History.

The New York Times’ Cybertimes Navigator has many great resources – it was designed for their correspondents, but it can help you with searching, as well as some very odd but interesting corners of the Net.

Contact Us

Eliot Cohen
Director

twmckell@jhu.edu
202.663.5774

Thomas Keaney
Associate Director

tkeaney@jhu.edu
202.663.5886

Thayer McKell
Program Administrator

twmckell@jhu.edu
202.663.5774

Address & Phone

Strategic Studies
1619 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington D.C., 20036
  • 202.663.5774