The resident class is in session for 10 months at Carlisle Barracks. The curriculum includes five core courses, multiple elective courses, a regional studies program, strategic research project, and national security staff rides to the Gettysburg battlefield, New York City, and Washington D.C., each with objectives tied to the curriculum.

Course Description:
Study the role of land power, as part of a unified, joint or combined force, in support of the U.S. national military strategy. Prepares selected military officers and civilians for leadership responsibilities in a strategic security environment during wartime and peacetime. Curriculum focuses on national security and strategy issues, concepts and processes; military strategy, plans and operations; theater level warfare and campaign planning; and command, leadership and management.

Course Prerequisites:

An Active Component officer must

  • be serving in the grade of lieutenant colonel, colonel, or Brigadier General.
  • have completed no less than 15 years and no more than 25 years of active federal commissioned service
  • be a graduate or have credit for completion of a command and staff intermediate level college.
  • be destined to move in position as a strategic leader

Details - to include course and program descriptions - are outlined from the USAWC's main page under the incoming class information. Click the Menu tab and then The Student Experience.

International Student Absence Request CBks (HRD) Form 300-R-E


Course Description: Distance Education Course is a co hort program consisting of a series of primary courses, an elective, and two resident courses, taken over a two-year period. Each course is composed of numerous lessons. The lesson is the basic unit of instruction and consists of selected readings and other educational materials that support accomplishment of course objectives. Course performance is evaluated through writing forum participation and exercise requirements. Individual student requirements are subjective in nature, based on required study and designed to ensure that course objectives are attained.
The program is closely parallels scope of resident course. Curriculum consists of eleven correspondence courses, two two-week resident phases, and an optional writing program. Like the resident course, it focuses on the study of the role of land power, as part of a unified, joint or combined force, in support of the U.S. national military strategy. Prepares selected military officers and civilians for leadership responsibilities in a strategic security environment during wartime and peacetime. Curriculum focuses on national security and strategy issues, concepts and processes; military strategy, plans and operations; theater level warfare and campaign planning and command, leadership and management.

Course Prerequisites:

  • Applicants will be Lieutenant Colonel or higher and will be a Regular Army Officer in active status, an Army Resident Component Officer on extended active duty, or a Reserve Component Officer not on extended active duty.
  • Applicants will have successfully completed ALL of the following:
  • The U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Resident or Nonresident Course, or equivalent.
  • At least 15, but not more than 25 years of service as of the course start date (years of service may be promotion list service).
  • The country equivalent of 4 years of education at a U.S. college or university (baccalaureate level).
  • Scored 83 or higher on the TOEFL iBT test (the TOEFL test minimum score is not waived).
  • NOTE:A copy of the university or college transcript will need to be submitted to the Army War College registrar with the TOEFL score before enrollment in the program.
    Request for waiver, if required, must be submitted for enrollment and be endorsed by applicable immediate commander. MOD agencies are invited to nominate career senior service civilians. The process is the same as military personnel.

    Course Notes: Family members are NOT authorized to accompany the IMS to the two resident courses held at the end of the first year of studies and at the end of the second year of studies. If the officer elects to have a family member join to attend the graduation at the end of the second residency, it must be at NO expense to the US Government. The First Resident Course includes a one-week administrative and field studies program itinerary and is MANDATORY. IMS should plan for a three-week First Residency (one week run exclusively by the IMSO and the following two-weeks executed by the Department of Distance Education). Department of Distance Education web site:


Qualifications & TOEFL Testing

Requirements for Resident and Distance Education Programs
Enrollment in the MSS degree program requires the possession of a baccalaureate degree or equivalent from a regionally accredited institution and a minimum score of 83 on the internet version of the TOEFL exam.
International Fellows seeking enrollment in the MSS degree program who do not possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited U.S. institution must submit their transcripts and supporting documentation to the International Fellows office for assessment by an outside review body to determine the equivalency of their degrees.

TOEFL: Prior to arrival International Fellows must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) test to qualify for participation in the MSS degree program. The USAWC requirement is a minimum score of 83 (internet version).
Include the institution code 8274 in the TOEFL registration mailing address.

The USAWC Memorandum 350-2, International Fellows Admission to the Master of Strategic Studies (MSS) Degree Resident and Distance Programs, outlines the USAWC's admission policy, requirements, including specific TOEFL test requirements, and procedures for entry into the USAWC's Master of Strategic Studies Degree program.

Acceptance of Transfer Credits
Due to the specialized nature of the curriculum, transfer of credits from other institutions will not be accepted

More Information is available from the USAWC main page under Student Experience.

Contact Emilio Montañez of the International Fellows Staff with questions.



Course Description: This course instructs International Fellows (IF) who have been selected to attend the US Army War College (USAWC) in the English and writing skills required for successfully completing the academic requirements for the US Army War College resident program. Attendees of this course must score a minimum of 75 on the English Comprehension Level test (ECL). Upon completion of the course, students must have accomplished a minimum score of 80 to be eligible for the USAWC resident course.

The USAWC International Fellows Program will provide two ECL testing opportunities during the 9 week course-one mid-way through the course and another at the end. The course commences with introductions and team building exercises in order to create a positive learning dynamic in the classroom.

The first two modules of the course will focus on English grammar, covering both basic and advanced fundamentals of the language. Week three will include practice in participating in group discussion and presenting material as a group and individually. The objectives for this module will prepare students for interaction in their respective core course seminars at the USAWC. Preparation for integration into the USAWC resident course continues with study and practice in reading effectively and thinking critically, skills that are necessary to negotiate the volume of reading required. The Research and Documentation module follows with a focus on exposure to research opportunities and help in understanding the process of research to be incorporated into writing, including proper documentation.

The course continues with two weeks of writing instruction focused on building a piece of writing from topic selection, through the writing process of developing an outline, to drafting an introduction. The next module will focus on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Students will become more familiar with the test itself, learn to manage the time restriction of the test, and practice the skills and exercises included within the test.

The final week is a culmination of all prior study and practice. This concluding module will help enrolled students understand the value of peer review and become familiar with academic support resources available to them throughout their year of study at the USAWC. It is also an opportunity for them to combine all they have learned into a final research paper-meant to mimic the requirements and standards of USAWC core course papers that they will be assigned throughout the year. This final week also includes a one-on-one student teacher conference which provides an opportunity for individualized feedback and allows for specific recommendations designed to aid student efforts to successfully integrate into the USAWC and complete required academic work. In addition to the respective core focus for each week, some activities will be completed on a continuing basis in order to cement skills and develop core competencies necessary for success in the USAWC resident course. An example of such activities is the reading of selected newspaper articles and discussion of current events of strategic interest. Short writing tasks will also be assigned on a daily or weekly basis.

Course Objectives:

  • Learn or relearn the fundamentals of English grammar and structure.
  • Practice of all four English language skills (reading, speaking, listening, and writing) to include a better understanding of usage of all four skills.
  • Identify and demonstrate standards of American academic work, specifically with regard to expectations at the USAWC.
  • Improve understanding of American English idiomatic expressions to include academic and military specific vocabulary and terminology.
  • Incorporate reading techniques and strategies to manage the volume of reading required for academic study.
  • Read actively to contribute to class discussions and seminars in core courses and electives.
  • Develop understanding of the writing process and build the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully complete USAWC writing requirements.
  • Conduct research and understand the requirement for accurate and complete source citation.
  • Understand plagiarism and recognize how to avoid it.
  • Complete a graduate-level paper or essay consistent with the strategic focus of the USAWC.
  • Practice and become comfortable with the TOEFL and the skills needed to complete the test successfully.

  • Course Notes: This course is not mandatory/required for entry into the Orientation Course/Resident Course. It is recommended that if an IMS selected for the USAWC Resident Course and scores lower on the ECL, hast not had any experience with writing research papers at the graduate level in English, or has not attended University in 10 plus years, he/she be enrolled in the Academic Prep Course to ensure successful completion of the Resident Course. Officers attending this course should be familiar with the requirements for the US Army War College Resident Course. Information for this course can be found at

    **Family members are NOT authorized to accompany the IMS to the Academic Prep Course.**

    IMS will be required to pass the course with an 80 ECL to matriculate to the Orientation and the resident Courses. Only after the officer is confirmed that he/she will enter the Orientation Course will family members be authorized to accompany the IMS. It is strongly recommended that IMS do not purchase private (civilian) Health Insurance (if required) until the officer will matriculate into the Orientation and Resident Courses. Temporary Lodging will be coordinated by the International Student Management Office. The Greater Carlisle Area has a limited Rental Housing Market, upon arrival for the Academic Preparation Course, there will be little, if any, permanent housing available.

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