Our students know that the master’s and doctoral degrees open doors for new career opportunities, real-world impact, and leadership in their fields. Graduate study requires you to master and apply the theories in your discipline, and these degree levels require focused, intensive, and rigorous study and evaluation. But in the end, you’ll be an expert in your field and will join only 8 percent of Americans who possess a master’s degree and less than 2 percent with a doctoral degree!

We know that for many of you, returning to school after years in the workforce can mean learning new technologies, new research methods, and new content in your discipline. That’s why our admissions teamacademic advisors, and career services counselors are here to support you from start to finish. And be sure to make plans to attend your commencement ceremony as a way to celebrate your achievements!

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Aspiring to Achieve Your Doctorate at American Public University?

Applications are being accepted for our Doctor of Global Security (D.G.S.) and Doctor of Strategic Intelligence (D.S.I.) programs.

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Why get a graduate degree?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers not only seek candidates with advanced knowledge in the field, but they also look for leadership potential with sophisticated communication and project management skills. Your master’s program can prepare you to take the next step in your career. In addition to the potential for increased job opportunities and professional growth, our students typically purse master’s degrees to explore an interest, find research opportunities, build a professional network, and enhance their personal growth.

End-of-Program Requirements

You might think a master’s degree means always having to write a long thesis, but you’ll have a variety of end-of-program options, depending on your program’s requirement.



Some programs require a practicum experience where you can expand your skillset through on-the-ground practice in a workplace setting.

Thesis, Creative Project, Portfolio

Your program might ask you to conduct extensive research and write a master’s thesis, complete an applied or creative project, or prepare a portfolio to bring disciplinary knowledge and professional practice together.


A comprehensive exam is designed to assess how you have mastered your program’s learning objectives. The exam varies by program, but in general, you should expect to answer a minimum of 4 questions in a 6-8 hour timed session.

Graduate Student Research & Resources

Your professional development is our priority. As a graduate student, you can collaborate with faculty members on research projects, both through coursework and independent study. Through capstone projects, you can contribute new knowledge to your discipline and create solutions for issues that affect your professional communities.

Institutional Review Board

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) reviews and approves all research involving human subjects to ensure that it is conducted in accordance with all federal, institutional, and ethical guidelines. Be sure to review all IRB guidelines before embarking on your research.

Graduate Studies Webinars

View us in the APUS Trefry library to register for a complete schedule of our Graduate Studies Webinars. These offer professional development in areas such as grant writing, preparing for your practicum experience, managing conflict in the workplace, and conducting research.

APUS ePress

The APUS ePress is an electronic academic publisher that provides access to specialty materials for the online classroom and for scholarly use. Within the APUS ePress is a repository that shares the academic work of university students and faculty. You can find examples of our master’s theses, student journals, and faculty scholarships at APUS ePress.

Three Minute Thesis Competition

Imagine hearing an 80,000-word thesis explained in less than 180 seconds! Graduate students from across the globe are doing just that in preparation for the Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT). Participation may help you cultivate your research, academic, presentation, and communication skills by condensing your research into a brief, engaging presentation using a single presentation slide. In addition, American Public University holds a virtual 3MT competition each year.


Academic & Professional Skills

The university is a partner and major sponsor of the Policy Studies Organization (PSO), a Washington, D.C.-based publisher of academic journals and book series, sponsor of conferences, and producer of programs. You can attend and present at PSO conferences to engage in academic dialogue and network with colleagues in your field. In collaboration with PSO, the university publishes two peer-reviewed journals, the Internet Learning Journal and the Journal of Global Security and Intelligence Studies.

Degree Qualifications Profile

At American Public University, we expect our graduates to translate their academic knowledge into real-world problem solving. To this end, our faculty works with the  Lumina Foundation to implement our degree qualifications profile (DQP) framework. DQP focuses on what you should be able to know and do when you graduate from your program. Our key learning outcomes are infused into all of our graduate programs to create a rich learning experience focused on real-world implementation.

Online Research Library

The Richard G. Trefry Library is the leader among online universities in helping to define a new era in information services. In addition to approximately 72,000 scholarly journals, 244,500 books/ebooks, and hundreds of research guides, the library houses our recorded graduate studies webinars. We encourage you to visit the library often; access is via your student ecampus.


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