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Defence & Strategic Studies (DSS) is a department in the Quaid-i-Azam University; Islamabad. It is the only civil-military educational institute in Pakistan that deals with the study of defence and strategy.

The faculty building


The department was founded in 1980 by the scholar Dr. Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema, former Chairperson of the Department of International Relations (IR), QAU, and President of the Islamabad Peace Research Institute. Because of Dr Cheema's previous close association with the IR department the department of DSS is considered as extension and brain child of IR department. However, since its inception the two departments have been rivals. Former students are employee with various organizations in Pakistan.


Dr. Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema (1980)
Brig. Abdul Basit (1981)
Brig. SK Malik (1984)
Dr. Shirin S Mazari (August, 1988)
Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema (1994)
Dr. Syed Rifaat Hussain (2000)
Mr. Rasheed Khalid (Caretaker/In charge-chairperson; April 2002 to August 2003)
Dr. Syed Rifaat Hussain (September 2003 to February 2004)
Mr. Rasheed Khalid (Caretaker/Incharge-chairperson; August 2003 to October 2005)
Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema (2005–2008)[He is also Dean of Social Sciences took over as Chairperson of the Department.]
Dr. Syed Rifaat Hussain (Dec 1st, 2008-2012) Mr. Rasheed Khalid (Caretaker/In charge-chairperson; March 2012 - till now)


The Department offers M.Sc, MPhil & PH.d degrees to both civilians & military personnel. M.Phil programs started in 1998-1999 and PhD programme was first advertised for HEC-qualified candidates as well as the general public in December 2004. The Department now offers admission in M.Sc, M.Phil and Ph.D programmes twice a year on the basis of a semester system.

MSc & MPhil are based on 2 year programs (4 semesters).

The academic training imparted by the Department's degree program is geared towards the development of requisite academic knowledge, analytical ability for evaluation of national, regional and international strategic environments and policies.

Civil-military institute

The Pakistan armed forces form a small but significant representation in as well as for the department. Professional soldiers join as students and also as teachers. The presence of armed forces personnel provides better understanding of military affairs to the civilian students while the civilian presence redirects minds of military personnel to civil & political affairs. The Department Faculty, in addition to its regular teaching, contributes research articles to various professional journals and delivers lectures at the National Defense University, Foreign Services Academy, Joint Services Staff College Islamabad and Staff College Quetta.


Some of the faculty members include:

  1. Dr. Syed Rifaat Hussain Chairperson/ Professor Ph.D. (USA)
  2. Dr. Nazir Hussain Associate Professor Ph.D. (Pakistan) M.Sc. (DSS) QAU
  3. Mr. Rasheed Khalid Assistant Professor M.Phil (U.S. Studies) QAU; M.Sc. (I.R.) QAU
  4. Mr. Jamil Raza Assistant Professor M.Phil (U.S. Studies) QAU; M.Sc. (DSS) QAU
  5. Dr. M. Nasrullah Mirza Assistant Professor Ph.D. (Germany), M.Phil (I.R.) QAU; M.Sc. (DSS) QAU
  6. Ms. Shabana Fayyaz Assisatnt Professor M.A., Birmingham, UK; M.Sc. (I.R.) QAU
  7. Dr. Muhammad Tehsin Assistant Professor Ph.D., Austria; M.A., UK; M.Sc., QAU
  8. Ms. Salma Malik Lecturer M.Phil (DSS), QAU; M.Sc. (DSS) QAU
  9. Ms. Saira Yamin Lecturer M.Sc. George Mason University, USA
  10. Ms. Andlib Hussaini Lecturer MLitt, Kings College, University of Aberdeen, UK;M.Sc. (DSS) QAU
  11. Mr. M Sadiq Lecturer M.Phil (DSS) QAU
  12. Mr. Mohammad Naveed Lecturer M.Phil (DSS) QAU

In addition, various scholars, former students, research fellows from prominent research organizations & military personnel teach as visiting faculty.

Courses offered

Core Courses (Not the complete list):

  • War
  • Evolution of Strategic Thought
  • International Politics Since 1945
  • National Power & Threat Perception
  • Research Methodology
  • Dimensions of Modern Strategy
  • Dynamics of Pakistan's Foreign & Defence Policy
  • Economics of Defence
  • Nuclear Proliferation
  • Arms Control & Disarmament
  • Use of Force & International Law
  • Conflict Analysis & Conflict Resolution
  • Terrorism
  • Peace Studies
  • Military Geography
  • Guerilla Warfare
  • Crisis Management

Regional Study Courses (Not the complete list):

  • Strategic Dynamics of South Asia
  • Regional & Extra Regional Powers in Central Asia
  • Internal Dynamics of Central Asia*Strategic Dynamics of West Asia
  • Making of Arab & Israeli Defence Policies
  • The Making of Indian Defense & Foreign Policies
  • The Making of Pakistan's Defense & Foreign Policies

Special Offered Subjects (offered occasionally):

  • Media, Information Technology & Security Policy
  • War & Strategy in Islam
  • Military Intelligence/Counter Intelligence
  • Revolutionary Warfare
  • Warfare on Land, Sea and Air
  • Technology and Warfare
  • Information Warfare

Seminar on Contemporary Issues in Defense and Strategic Studies:

  • Seminars involve study methods and students selecting a subject of their own choice and presenting a thesis and presentation on it at the end of their degree program.


The department arranges two forms of seminars. One is by guest scholars, experts, military personnel & other professionals on weekly basis, while the other is conducted by students of MSc program at the end of their final semesters where each student has to submit his/her thesis paper & give presentations.

Some of the seminars made by scholars, experts, military personnel & other professionals include (1999-2000 list):

  • "Globalization: Challenges and Opportunities" by Ms. Amra Saeed, Senior Research Analyst, Institute of Regional Studies on September 30, 1999.
  • "China in South Asian Security" by Dr. Maqsood ul Hasan Nuri, Senior Research Analyst, Institute of Regional Studies on October 21, 1999.
  • "Indian Elections 1999: Implications and Prospects" by Prof. Khalid Mehmood on October 28, 1999.
  • "Europe in an Emerging World Order" by Prof. Francisco Leita, Faculty of Law, University of Bologna, Italy on December 17, 1999.
  • "Changing American Interests in South Asia" by Prof. Rodney Jones on February 26, 2000.
  • "Nuclear Command and Control: Lesson from Cold War" by Dr. Shaun Gregory on February 29, 2000.
  • "Biological and Psychological Theories of War" by Dr. Tariq Rehman, Associate Professor, National Institute of Pakistan Studies on May 3, 2000.
  • "Soviet Military Intervention in Afghanistan Revisited" by Afrasiab Khattak, Chairman, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on May 11, 2000.
  • "Democracy?" by Robert D. Kaplan, Contributing Editor, THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY, on May 13, 2000.
  • "Pak-US Relations" by Mr. Zamir Akram, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Pakistan, Washington DC on May 25, 2000.

The Department organized an International Conference on "Peace and Security in South Asia After India Pakistan Nuclear Tests" in collaboration with Hains Siedel Stiftung (Germany) December 3–05, 1998

Study trips

Apart from regular teaching & seminars the department also takes its students to study trips to various military facilities & related areas. Some of the trips have included visits to Pakistans Navy submarines, Heavy Industries Texila (HIT) (where Pakistan produces its main battle tanks), and air force bases.

In addition, students are encouraged to attend seminars in other departments of QAU as well as other universities & research institutes.


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