Advanced Command and Staff Course - ACSC

Joint Services Command and Staff College
42 weeks residential plus 4 weeks block leave, total of 46 weeks

More information

Key information



Planned dates

Please contact us for information
on planned dates for this course.


About this course

The Joint Services Command and Staff College trains and educates UK officers from all three services and the civil service and civil and military students from 50+ other nation's armed forces around the world.  Our mission is to deliver first class education, which develops our people and our allies’ defence forces by giving them the skills they need to address future security and defence challenges at home and abroad.

The Advanced Command Staff Course (ACSC) represents a unique opportunity for both military and non military students with an interest or connection to the defence, national security or international relations fields, to study alongside military professionals in an open, enquiring and intellectually focused environment.

ACSC is a flagship course, running annually from early Sep to late July the following year (eleven months). 

What you will learn

The aim of the course is to cultivate officers and individuals for high grade assignments, including command by developing their effective intellect, with associated analytical decision making and communication skills, complemented by broadening of their professional knowledge and perspective through:
  • Applied Staff Work – giving training into effective communication in a vocational setting, including verbal and written briefing skills.
  • Understanding the World – giving a theoretical grounding in International Relations, security systems, policy and strategy, with a focus on Great Power competition and new international opportunities and threats including from social and climate change, disease, population growth and the impact of technology. 
  • Managing the Defence Enterprise – giving students a fundamental level of knowledge and awareness of the key tenets of managing the Defence Enterprise including in Cap & Acq. 
  • Applying the Military Instrument - developing the skills required to operate in the information age battlespace above and below threshold across all domains as part of an integrated force, with an emphasis on war (decision) gaming across the domains and Mil Tech content.
  • Command, Leadership and Ethics (CLE) - building the capability to manage and develop self, and lead and develop others.  Includes developing self-awareness, critical and creative thinking, effective communication skills and collaborative working.
  • Independent Research and Engagement Skills - providing a broad range of skillsets to enable students to engage in critical research and active debate during the Course and throughout their careers.
On completion, students should have developed a mind that is open, enquiring and confident of critically analysing information, conceptualising, effectively applying professional knowledge and offering original thinking.  This will foster an enduring capacity to make or support timely, logical and sound decisions that are cognisant of moral, ethical and legal considerations within a military context and in a demanding environment.

How will this course help my career?

The Course is designed to reflect best practices in professional military and postgraduate education and provides a valuable insight for military OF4, civil servant B2/C1s and personnel at that equivalent level of management.  Centred on the military operational level of warfare, the Course provides a postgraduate academic level of study linked to King’s College London (KCL) Masters programmes.  In preparation for more senior appointments, the Course seeks to develop students’ intellectual appreciation of the major issues facing Defence in the political, international, financial and multi-domain contexts and the confidence to question and offer original thought.

Kings College London – Students have the opportunity to register for one of three masters pathways with King’s College London subject to meeting the requirements, a successful application and of course completion of the required academic submissions.  These pathways are:
  • Master of Arts in Defence Studies 
  • Masters by Research in Defence Studies
  • Master of Science in Defence Innovation.
More detail on these can be found on the KCL website search for ACSC or Professional Military Education.

Personnel who do not opt for one of the masters pathways will be able, on successful completion of the course, to record Post Staff College (Joint) (PSC(J)) achievement on the JPA and HRMS systems.

Security and restrictions

Restrictions on who can attend:
  • civil servants and OGD grade: B2/G7  C1/SEO, or industry equivalent 
  • for non-native English speakers, students require English Language Standard IELTS 7 (academic) or NATO SLP 3333
Security caveats:
  • foreign military and civil servant personnel are nominated through their respective defence attache’ 
  • MOD civil servants can apply through the Defence Internal Notice application process

Before you attend

Pre reading material will be identified and is essential to personnel achieving good learning outcomes from attendance on the course.

You will be enrolled on the course Virtual Learning Environment to support engagement in the learning process.

Can I attend this course?

This course is suitable for the following type(s) of applicant.
  • Industry
  • Internationals
  • MOD Civil Servants
  • Partners Across Government (PAG)

How will I learn?

Classroom, Blended Learning

How will you be assessed?

Dependant on whether students take the option to undertake one of the masters pathways available with King’s College London, assessment is carried out by a series of:
  • examinations
  • essays
  • ongoing appraisal in relation to course work
  • Defence Research Project   
Personnel will also be required to deliver presentations as part of the course.

You may also be interested in...

Leadership Advanced Command, Leadership and Ethics
Command Managing the Defence Enterprise