Royal College of Defence Studies programme
The Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS) is a world-renowned institution committed to developing strategic thinkers and leaders.
In an international environment, which provides perspectives and insights from around the world, we seek to inspire study, stimulate thinking and stir debate on contemporary strategic issues. Our aim is to prepare graduates who understand the strategic context, are skilled in analysis and able to work intuitively across national, cultural and ideological boundaries to lead on or contribute to developing strategy at the highest level.
The RCDS course is a post-graduate-level course in international strategic studies, focusing on political, diplomatic, security, social and economic issues at the grand strategic level – the level at which governments take decisions on these issues both nationally and within the international community. Issues are analysed for their implications in terms of strategy and leadership. The focus of study on the main course is practical rather than theoretical.
The RCDS mission is:
To prepare selected senior military officers and government officials as well as appropriate individuals from the private sector, from the United Kingdom and elsewhere, for senior leadership and management roles. We do this by developing strategic understanding and the capacity for strategic thinking through rigorous analysis of:
- the international security agenda
- the levers that provide for security, stability and prosperity
- the key tenets of leadership at the national strategic level
Course outcome - at the conclusion of the course our aspiration is that:
“The RCDS graduate understands the international strategic context, is skilled in analysis and able to work intuitively across national, cultural and ideological boundaries to lead or contribute to developing strategy at the highest level."
View the full RCDS syllabus for 2021.
Attendance on the RCDS course is solely by invitation.