My Coast Guard
Commentary | Nov. 24, 2021

Education opportunities for Coast Guard civilian employees

By Nicole Bertrand, MyCG writer

Coast Guard civilians can explore several postgraduate courses through military higher learning institutions. Depending on where your passions lie, there’s a program for you. Several partner institutions have offerings ranging from media and visual technology, to classes in the field of intelligence.

The government-run and military institutions below offer varied program opportunities.

  • The National Intelligence University (NIU) is a federally chartered research university in Bethesda, Maryland, with other locations throughout the U.S. and around the world. NIU is the United States Intelligence Community’s institution for higher learning in fields central to the profession of intelligence and national security.
    • NIU’s Master of Science of Strategic Intelligence (MSSI) is a one-year program that covers the entire U.S. Intelligence Community and its mission, the environment in which it must function, and the potential adversaries it may deal with now and in the future. The program also focuses on the intelligence required to support the National Security Strategy and component strategies.
    • NIU also offers a one-year MSTI degree program which focuses on the impact of technological change on national security and intelligence.
    • NIU’s prestigious, 12-month, full-time, onsite Research Fellowship Program provides intelligence professionals with the opportunity for academically rigorous and innovative research on topics critical to intelligence and national security priorities. Fellowship participants benefit from a rich academic environment and access to NIU’s wide range of resources, including a large catalog of open-source research databases.
    • Applicants must be a GS-12 to GS-14 with a graduate degree from an accredited institution of higher education, have demonstrated superior achievement, a desire for professional growth, and commitment to the Coast Guard Intelligence Program. For more information, send an email. If you need more information, NIU will be hosting a virtual open house on Sunday, December 5, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. EST for fall 2022 programs.
  • The U.S. Naval War College (NWC) is located in Newport, Rhode Island. An education from NWC provides a framework in which military and civilian leaders gain an understanding of the nature and use of naval strategy and organization through its scholastic programs.
    • Civilians can earn masters degrees in the following programs: Defense and Strategic Studies; National Security and Strategic Studies; and the Graduate Degree Program. The Maritime Advanced Warfighting School offers a masters degree as well. Eligibility varies, with GS requirements ranging from GS-11 to GS-15, depending on the program.
  • The Army War College also offers advanced education courses for civilians. The online Defense Planners Course (DPC) is a 10-week program designed for majors and lieutenant colonels (or equivalent-level civilians) that operate in, and conduct joint operational planning. The 12-week, online Defense Strategy Foundation Course (DSFC) is designed for GS-14 and GS-15-level civilians from the Defense Senior Leader Development Program (DSLDP) focusing on the National Security Strategy policymaking process and the relationship of the national instruments of power to defense strategy.
  • The Defense Information School (DINFOS), under the Department of Defense (DoD), provides educational opportunities to civilians where you can earn credits towards a bachelors degree. DINFOS is located at Fort George G. Meade in Maryland. The school trains U.S. military, DoD civilians, international military, and interagency students in a variety of subject areas including public affairs, print journalism, photography, video production, broadcast journalism, broadcast equipment maintenance, and various forms of graphic design and digital media. The Coast Guard has enjoyed a decades-long partnership with the DoD in training some of the best public affairs practitioners in the world.
  • The Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) is a public graduate school operated by the United States Navy and located in Monterey, California. It offers masters and doctoral degrees in more than 70 fields of study to the U.S. Armed Forces, DoD civilians, and international partners. NPS’ masters degree programs are available to officers of all U.S. military services, civilian employees of the government, a limited number of DoD contractors, and selected international students from allied nations. A candidate entering any master's degree program must possess a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution or in the case of foreign students, a recognized institution. A detailed listing of the standards for admission can be found in the Academic Catalog. GRE Scores are required for some programs.

Point of Contact for NIU Programs: MSSI, MSTI, and research fellowships:

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