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Graduate Studies Calendar 2014-2015 Program Descriptions Military and Strategic Studies CMSS
Military and Strategic Studies - CMSS
Contact Information

Location: 8th floor, Social Sciences Building
Program number: 403.220.4038
Fax: 403.282.0594
Email address:
Web page URL:

1. Degrees and Specializations Offered

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Master of Strategic Studies (MSS), course-based (including the co-operative education option) or thesis-based


  • Israel Studies (Interdisciplinary)*

*See the Calendar section on Interdisciplinary Specializations for further information.

2. Admission Requirements

In addition to the requirements of the Faculties of Graduate Studies and Arts, CMSS requires:

Master of Strategic Studies (MSS), course-based and thesis-based

a) A bachelor’s degree with a grade point average of at least 3.40 on a four-point scale.

b) A writing sample.

c) An agreement to supervise by a potential supervisor from applicants to the thesis-based program.

d) A research proposal from applicants to the thesis-based program.

Doctor of Philosophy

Applicants will be admitted only if the CMSS Graduate Committee is satisfied that adequate supervision is likely to be available for the duration of their studies. Successful applicants should be aware that admission to the program does not imply a Centre commitment to provide supervision for all research interests they may have. Students are also advised to consult the Faculty of Graduate Studies Handbook of Supervision and Examination.

Prerequisites for admission to the PhD program are:

a) A completed master's degree.

b) A GPA of 3.70 on a four-point scale over all completed graduate courses in the master's program; 3.40 in the undergraduate program over the last 20 half courses or two years of study.

c) A completed application to the Centre, along with supporting documentation.

d) A detailed statement of the proposed thesis research.

e) A representative piece of written work, normally a master's thesis chapter or major research paper.

f) The Centre requires a tentative agreement from a faculty member to supervise, so students need to contact potential supervisors at the beginning of the application process.

g) All students whose native language is one other than English are required to pass the TOEFL test with a minimum score of 600 (written), or 92 (Internet-based), or 7+ on the IELTS test, or 84 on the MELAB test, or 70 on the PTE test. The test must have been taken within the last two years.

h) Two letters of reference.

i) All post-secondary transcripts.

3. Application Deadline

Deadlines for the submission of complete applications:

January 15 for September admission and funding

4. Advanced Credit

In the course-based master’s program, advanced credit may be given for a maximum of two half courses at the senior undergraduate (500) level. The applicant must make advanced credit requests as part of the admission process. Credit will not be given for course work taken as part of another completed degree/diploma or for courses taken to bring the grade point average to the required level for admission.

5. Program/Course Requirements

Master of Strategic Studies

In addition to Faculties of Graduate Studies and Arts requirements, the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies requires:

a) Core Courses: All master's students take, in any sequence, the following three core area half courses:

Strategic Studies/History 655 Classics of Strategy
Political Science 681 Advanced Analysis of International Relations
Political Science 685 Strategic Studies

All master's students will also take the following course in the Fall Block Week preceding their first term:

Strategic Studies 603 Military and Strategic Studies: Questions and Methods

MSS students in the thesis stream are required to present their supervisor with a formal thesis proposal normally no later than the end of their second term (usually, the end of the Winter Term of their first year for students entering the program in the thesis stream; for students transferring from the course-based stream, where at all possible the same general timeline should apply).

b) Areas of Concentration: In any sequence, thesis-based students must complete three half-course equivalents; course-based students must complete nine half-course equivalents; and course-based Co-operative Education students must complete six half-course equivalents from the following:

(1) Arctic Security
Strategic Studies 662 Advanced Studies in Canadian Arctic Security

(2) Canadian Military Studies
Strategic Studies 609 Canadian Military and the Second World War
Strategic Studies 611 Canadian Military Studies
Strategic Studies 613 Canada and the First World War

(3) U.S. Security Policy
Political Science 633 U.S. Security Policy

(4) Domestic Security/Hemispheric Security

(5) Ethics and Morality in Conflict
Political Science 619 War and Interpretation
Political Science 684 Human Rights and Humanitarianism

(6) Intelligence and Security
Strategic Studies 657 Intelligence, Information Operations and Command, Control, Communications and Computers

(7) Israeli Security Studies
Israel Studies 601 Modern Israel

(8) Military Anthropology
Anthropology 641 Graduate Seminar in Civil Military Relations

(9) Sea Power
Strategic Studies 659 Sea Power

(10) Unconventional Warfare
Political Science 689 Unconventional Warfare
Political Science 675 Special Topics in Comparative Politics

(11) Causes of War
Strategic Studies 663 War – Causes and Aftermath

(12) Military History
History 637 Topics in Military History

(13) Special Topics in Military and Strategic Studies
Strategic Studies 649 Special Topics in Military and Strategic Studies

(14) With the approval of the Graduate Director, thesis-based students may take one half course from the following and either course-based students or course-based students with Co-operative Education may take one or more half courses from the following:

Strategic Studies 651 Reading Seminar I
Strategic Studies 653 Research Seminar I

(15) With the approval of the Graduate director any other graduate course pertinent to the student's studies may be taken. Consult the Program website for a list of other recommended graduate courses.

c) Co-operative Education: The Co-operative Education option is only available as part of the course-based MSS program. Students will complete an 8-month work placement during their second year, which will replace three other non-core half courses. Thesis-based MSS students will be permitted to transfer to the course-based co-operative education option during their first year of study. For further information interested students should contact the CMSS faculty co-operative education advisor or the Centre website.

Doctor of Philosophy

a) Course Work:

Each student must normally take six half-course equivalents including three core courses:

All PhD students will also take the following course in the Block Week preceding their first term:

Strategic Studies 603 Military and Strategic Studies: Questions and Methods

For candidacy examinations, students will have two major fields of study. One of these will be strategic studies and the other the dissertation area. Students will be required to take at least one half course in each field, namely Political Science 685 and an appropriate elective.

b) Written and oral candidacy examination.

c) Doctoral thesis proposal.

d) Written doctoral thesis.

e) Oral thesis defence.

6. Additional Requirements


7. Credit for Undergraduate Courses

With the approval of the Graduate Director, students enrolled in the thesis-based MSS program may apply to take one 500-level half courses for graduate credit, but will be required to complete additional requirements for the course. Students in the course-based program may apply to take one 500-level half courses for graduate credit, but will be required to complete additional requirements for each course.

8. Time Limit

Expected completion time for the thesis-based and course-based Master of Strategic Studies is two years. Maximum completion time is four years for the thesis-based Master of Strategic Studies and six years for the course-based Master of Strategic Studies.

Expected completion time for the PhD in Military and Strategic Studies is four years. Maximum completion time for the PhD in Military and Strategic Studies is six years.

9. Supervisory Assignments

Students must contact a possible supervisor before admission. Agreement from a supervisor must be included in the application package.

10. Required Examinations

For the PhD program, all course work must be completed before the candidacy examination can be taken.

There will be two three-hour written examinations, one in each field, as well as the single oral examination covering the content and questions on both of the written exams. There will normally be two fields – a major field and a second field. The major field will always be strategic studies, while the second field will be in an area closely related to the student’s dissertation research. Military and Strategic Studies is an interdisciplinary program, and our doctoral students will draw upon a wide variety of disciplines for their second field.

A candidacy examination consists of both written and oral components. CMSS requires that the written component be taken after the completion of course work and no later than 28 months of initial registration into the program, although completion within 16-20 months is encouraged by the Centre. For CMSS purposes, this component will consist of written examinations in the two major fields of study. The oral examination will be held no later than one month after the written examination.

Final thesis oral examinations are open.

11. Research Proposal Requirements

The dissertation proposal is submitted to the members of the student's Supervisory Committee, normally no later than eight weeks after the successful completion of the oral candidacy exam. After the proposal is successfully defended in a meeting of the Supervisory Committee, the student can go on to the dissertation research phase.

12. Special Registration Information


13. Financial Assistance

Not applicable.

14. Other Information


15. Faculty Members/Research Interests

Faculty members and their areas of interest may be found at