Military leadership group working on a computer

Bachelor of Science in Military Leadership

Transfer up to
113 Credits
A median of 77 credits accepted
Receive credit for military training

Advance Your Military or Civilian Career with an Online BS in Military Leadership

The Military Leadership degree exposes students to relevant theories of military and strategic leadership and leaders throughout history. Students explore the diplomatic, information, military, and economic (DIME) aspects of war and peace, among other domains of military operations and strategic leadership. Students are encouraged to leverage their existing skills to examine leadership traits and practices in various contexts, and to compare traditional and modern leadership styles throughout history and across the globe.

The program addresses ethical and cross-cultural aspects of leadership and creates an environment where students will improve their abilities to think critically and creatively. Students will build on their prior experiences and learning to sharpen their strategic decision-making skills. This program is not designed only for active-duty military servicemembers — it applies to anyone who may be considering leadership or strategic studies, particularly those students who are on track to be leaders in the public or private sectors.

Fast Facts:

Employment of police and detectives is projected to grow 7 percent from 2016 to 2026 (Source: BLS)

Bachelor’s degree holders can work in defense contracting, analysis, and project management (Source:

91% of the net increase in jobs held by those at least 25 years old are filled by those with at least a bachelor’s degree (Source:


credit hours

Online BS in Military Leadership Program Details

120 credits are required for the Bachelor of Science in Military Leadership. A total of 30 credits must be earned at the upper level. As part of these credits, for the core component, a minimum of 33 credits must be earned in the field of military leadership, of which 18 credits must be at the upper level. A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required in the core component.

  • Cornerstone Course
  • Written English Requirement
  • Ethics
  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences/History
  • Natural Sciences/Math (must include at least 2 credits in each area)
  • INL 102Information Literacy

Core Military Leadership Courses

Military Leadership: Skills for the 21st Century

This course introduces you to contemporary military leadership skills with an emphasis on ethical decision-making and the importance of diversity, inclusion, and cultural competence in the military workplace. Instructional material includes topics in strategic communication, team management, and conflict resolution skills; the impact of history on current military operations; and the role of diplomacy, information, military, and economics (DIME) in governance of the global commons.

National Security Ethics and Diversity

Discover your own leadership type indicator as you learn about issues of moral judgment in public service. Take a closer look at case studies of wrongful obedience, loyal dissent, and whistleblowing; accountability and mitigation; human and ecological interventions in foreign and international affairs; and the benefits of diversity and inclusion in government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and businesses with a global reach.

War and Peace after the Cold War

Analyze key actors and trends in international relations during and after the end of the Cold War. Learn how cooperation changed to rivalry by studying the Balkans Wars; Islamic fundamentalism and the War on Terror; competition between Russia, China, and the United States; national response to terrorist threats and global health and climate dilemmas; and the role of the United States in world politics and the global economy. Pending approval, another international relations course might satisfy this requirement.

Great Military Leaders

This course examines personal characteristics of great military leaders such as George Washington, George Patton, and other historical mavericks, to define the qualities of different types of leadership styles. You come to identify various qualities needed to successfully lead teams in contemporary military operating environments.

Military Leadership Capstone

Become an agile and adaptive leader and decision maker in this advanced course that addresses all aspects of military science and leadership. Class material explores the diplomatic, economic, political, and social aspects of conflict and war, and the ways leaders eliminate obstacles to successful U.S. military operations in global political environments. Assignments require you to evaluate DIME (diplomatic, information, military, economics, cultural/social) power struggles in real-world military endeavors related to the provision of humanitarian aid, disaster relief, and noncombatant evacuations. Other material covers: the impact of the military industrial complex on the U.S. economy; special operations; methods of establishing unit cohesion; and approaches to ensure the well-being of women in combat and diverse populations across all sectors of the armed forces.

Two courses in one of three categories:

Military Intelligence/National Security

  • Introduction to National Security
  • Comparative National Security Analysis
  • Analyzing Intelligence, Terrorism, and National Security
  • Emergency Management
  • Infrastructure Security and Policy

Diplomacy/Foreign Affairs/Culture

You may use advanced foreign language credit and credit for Defense Language Institute or Defense Language Proficiency Exams to satisfy requirements in this area.

  • Comparative National Security Analysis


  • International Terrorism
  • Domestic Terrorism
  • Counterterrorism
  • Unconventional Weapons Preparation and Response

Two courses in military history or politics:

Sample courses include:

  • U.S. Military History
  • Crimes Against Humanity
  • U.S.-Vietnam War
  • Global Cold War
  • World War I

Two courses in applications of leadership:

Sample courses include:

  • Organizational Behavior
  • Conflict Management
  • Human Motivation

The curriculum requires 53 credits beyond the general education credits  and the major requirements that can be satisfied with applied professional and additional arts and sciences credit.

Explain theories and characteristics of military leadership.

Evaluate the elements of DIME in national power and military operations (diplomatic, information, military, and economic).

Evaluate decision-making in an ethical dilemma.

Assess military leadership during conflict and peacetime operations.

Analyze strategic leadership characteristics in geopolitical environments (regional or global).

Deliver written communication with appropriate content, organization, syntax, mechanics, and style for the audience and purpose (GECC 1.2).

View additional details about programs and courses:

Download the Undergraduate Studies Catalog

Common Careers with an
Online BS in Military Leadership

All Defense Industries and Positions



Defense Contracting

Department of Defense Civilians

Military Leaders/Managers

Willie Short
Bachelor of Science in Military Leadership, 2018

“I know my bachelor’s degree will help me broaden my career in the military...If [other soldiers] can see me—husband, two beautiful kids, traveling all over the world, deployed—if I can do it, there’s no excuse.”

Recognitions & Accreditations

Middle States Commission on Higher Education logo

Institutional Accreditation

Excelsior College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. (267-284-5000) The MSCHE is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Phase: Accredited
Status: Accreditation Reaffirmed
Accreditation Granted: 1977
Last Reaffirmation: 2017
Next Self-Study Evaluation: 2021-2022

All of Excelsior College’s academic programs are registered (i.e., approved) by the New York State Education Department.