Military service is a shared sacrifice. To safeguard security and liberty, the nation asks armed forces members to put themselves in harm’s way—sometimes at the price of physical injury and emotional damage, a price often shared by these individuals, their families, and communities.

Adler University’s fully online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Psychology: Specialization in Military Psychology degree program draws on our longstanding expertise in military cultural competency and commitment to social justice, producing psychology and mental health professionals with the specialized training to work effectively with active-duty military, veterans and their families. Online program graduates will be able to offer compassionate, evidence-based approaches to issues such as suicide, substance use and dependency, physical abuse, and the lingering effects of moral injury.

Nearly all of our faculty members are veterans, experienced military professionals with firsthand understanding of this unique culture and a deep commitment to Adler’s mission.

A comprehensive online curriculum immerses students in every aspect of mental health and the U.S. military, including operational psychology in the military, the psychology of conflict, trauma and loss, mental health law in the military, understanding the VA healthcare system,
and much more.

This online degree program is ideal for active-duty military personnel, veterans, retired service members and military spouses who want a new career, people currently working in military-focused support programs, and counselors and therapists who are interested in pursuing this specific field of study. Candidates are able to continue their existing professional and personal commitments as they complete assignments and coursework around a flexible online schedule.

All of our online programs are delivered with the academic rigor and personal attention that has distinguished Adler University for more than 60 years. Earn your Military Psychology master’s degree fully online from an institution that shares your values of social justice and community-based solutions.


Program Outcomes

Graduates of Adler University’s online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Psychology: Specialization in Military Psychology program are uniquely prepared to enhance the lives of active-duty military personnel, veterans, and their families. Upon completion of this online graduate program, students will be able to perform the following critical counseling and research functions:

  • Assess and improve the overall mental health of military personnel, veterans, and their families, including use of risk assessment tools for combat-related stress.
  • Explore prevention and intervention approaches that address suicidal ideation and/or alcohol and drug abuse.
  • Evaluate how the military interacts with larger social, organizational, cultural, and technological systems.
  • Provide research and evaluation for purposes such as selecting recruits for the armed forces and determining suitability for service.
  • Perform analysis on humanitarian and peacekeeping missions to determine procedures that can save military and civilian lives.
  • Enhance the training and leadership outcomes of noncommissioned and commissioned officers, especially as it relates to personnel management and organizational behavior.


Adler University’s fully online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Psychology: Specialization in Military Psychology is a 37 credit-hour program. Courses are eight weeks in length, and this program can be completed online in just over two years with scheduled breaks.

The M.A. in Psychology: Specialization in Military Psychology online program is offered in the following sequence of classes, including a final capstone course:

Psychology: Specialization in Military Psychology
37 credits
MAMP 001 (0)
Student Orientation
Student orientation provides new students with an overview of Adler University policies and procedures, systems, personnel, resources, and organizations. Newly admitted students are expected to complete this mandatory orientation prior to enrollment. Failure to complete orientation prior to the 10th day of their first course may result in dismissal from the program.
MAMP 500 (3)
Survey of Military Psychology
Military psychology addresses the behavioral health challenges of those who are serving or have served, and their families, whether in times of peace or conflict. This course will cover how the specialty of military psychology was historically established and evolved, and is distinguished from other branches of psychology. The various ways military psychology is applied to leadership, organizational behavior, human resources, and operational psychology will be explored as well.
MAMP 501 (3)
Operational Psychology for the Military
This course provides students with the opportunity to learn about how operational psychology is used in the military and the effects it has on those who are serving or have served, and their families. The specific aspects of operational psychology that will be discussed are unit cohesion, industrial and organizational psychology, psychological operations (PsychOps), human terrain intelligence, military intelligence, and the promotion of behavioral health and welfare, among others. Operational psychology practices will be analyzed with a social justice lens.
MAMP 502 (3)
Mental Health Law and the Uniform Code of Military Justice
This course is designed to provide a basic understanding of civilian mental health law, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), and the military justice system. Students will examine the history and evolution of both civilian mental health law and UCMJ, and their application into the military environment. Specific jurisdictional issues and case law will be reviewed.
MAMP 503 (3)
The Psychology of Conflict and Operations other than War
This course examines the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual impact of conflict and operations other than war. This course also provides students with an understanding of the psychological requirements (i.e. demands and consequences) of military operations ranging from the continuum of conflict (war, insurgency, and terrorism) to operations other than war (disaster response, humanitarian operations, and peacekeeping).
MAMP 504 (3)
Ethics, Morality and Social Justice in the Military
This course is a comprehensive study of ethical, moral, and socially just behavior within a military context. This course allows for an exploration of self and negotiation of various world views as they relate to the general subjects of just war theory, laws of war, rules of engagement, and the international community’s laws governing war and conflict. The course intends to promote both discussion and debate centered on addressing behaviors that uphold the principles of military ethics and social justice, particularly behaviors that challenge the status quo of organizations that deviate from these standards and codes of conduct.
MAMP 505 (3)
War, Trauma, Grief, Death and Loss
This course examines the impact of cumulative combat stress from a biological, psychological, social, and spiritual perspective. It focuses on the range of psychological distresses of those who are serving or have served, and their families. Causes of distress—such as combat exposure, being wounded or permanently disabled in conflict, exposure to weapons of mass destruction, being a prisoner-of-war, and sexual trauma—will be discussed. Students will learn how to distinguish between common and maladaptive reactions to the range of stressful events inherent in exposure to trauma, grief, death, and loss.
MAMP 506 (3)
Psychological Resilience and Positive Psychology
This course explores how resiliency theory and positive psychology can be applied to the military community in an effort to minimize the long-term impact of stress related to life in the military. Students will first review existing programs and then propose potential ways to institute resiliency frameworks in various settings. Students will explore the role of educational and prevention programming in mitigating psychological distress by better preparing military personnel for the impact their job can have on individual and family life.
MAMP 507 (3)
Research Methods
This course serves as the foundation for completing the Community Engagement and Capstone projects. Students will identify a current or emerging topic related to their Community Engagement and Capstone projects. To support completion of the required projects, this course introduces students to the basics of social science research methodology. Students will learn how to conduct literature reviews, generate research designs, and select variables and participants for study. Students are exposed to philosophical debates about ethical and culturally relevant strategies for studying human behavior, and receive guided opportunities to critique current research by identifying the research method and design, identifying and explaining design limitations, and making recommendations for improvement.
MAMP 509 (3)
Department of Defense and VA Health Care Systems
This course provides a comprehensive historic and current overview of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Administration’s (VA) healthcare delivery systems. It will provide a primer on the structure and functions of their medical and behavioral health delivery systems. The range of clinical services that will be examined includes battlefield care, critical care and long-term care, along with the battle injury specialties (e.g. traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, amputations, and burns). Other public and private medical care and behavioral health delivery systems for those who are serving or have served, and their families will be reviewed. Special focus will be on alternative and innovative outcome-oriented programming.
MAMP 510 (3)
Substance Use in the Military
This course examines alcohol and substance use and addictive use disorders along with other addictive disorders experienced by those who are serving or have served, and their families. The biological, psychological, social, and spiritual impact of use within the military will be detailed. Current research literature regarding substance use will be reviewed for evidence-informed models of education, prevention, intervention, and treatment. Information will be provided that will facilitate a basic understanding of the pharmacological, physiological, and medical aspects of substance use. Students will survey the common screening tools used to recognize the signs and symptoms of various forms of substance use within the military community. The historical patterns of alcohol and other drug usage, the introduction of self-help groups, and evolution of prevention, intervention, and treatment delivery systems will be surveyed.
MAMP 508 (3)
Culture and Diversity in the Military
This course provides an overview of the history and evolution of military culture. Particular focus will be paid to the psychological, sociological, and spiritual dimensions of the military. The impact on leadership, organizational structure, diversity, and military core values will be examined. Special attention will be given to the study of diversity and the cultural characteristics of race, gender, family, age group, ethnicity, religious beliefs, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation, and their influence on shaping today’s military culture. Specific milestones such as the desegregation of the military, opening up the military to women, and the repeal of “don’t ask–don’t tell” will serve as case examples for study and discussion. The aim of the course is to provide the learner with a better understanding of military culture in order to develop a greater sensitivity in communications and interactions with those who are serving or have served, and their families.
MAMP 511 (3)
Social Services and Behavioral Healthcare to Veterans, Retirees, Military, and their Families
(Taken concurrently with MAMP 512)
This course will specifically examine the social service and behavioral health systems that are responsible for providing psychiatric, mental health, substance use, and family care for those who are serving or have served, and their families. Following guidance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) the course will promote an understanding of promising, best, and evidence-based practices in suicide prevention, mental health, and substance use treatment. Students will learn about both government and nongovernment social and behavioral health services and programs (such as veterans courts and veterans homeless programs). They will also learn about strategies to increase appropriate use of various reimbursement methods and Department of Veterans Affairs resources.
MAMP 512 (1)
Capstone Project
(Taken concurrently with MAMP 511)
The capstone project will be the culminating product of the Research Methods Course, and a comprehensive review of programmatic learning. As such, it will include a summary of scholarship and practice related to an issue or phenomenon of primary interest to the student, and a proposal of future research to add to knowledge in this area.


Psychology and mental health professionals with specialized training in military counseling and combat-related mental health issues are in high demand in both military and civilian settings. Graduates of Adler University’s M.A. in Psychology: Specialization in Military Psychology online program can choose from the following career paths and more (please note that additional training requirements may apply):

  • Medical Service Corps Officer
  • Behavioral Health Specialist
  • Mental Health Technician
  • Military Research Psychology Assistant
  • Family Support and Advocate
  • Behavioral Health Educator
  • Sexual Trauma Advocate
  • Military Gender and Diversity Officer
  • School Veterans Counselor

Joe Troiani

Joseph E. Troiani, Ph.D.
Program Director


  • Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, Fielding Graduate University
  • M.A., Clinical Psychology, Fielding Graduate University
  • M.A., Health Services Administration, Governors State University
  • M.S.S.I., Strategic Intelligence, National Intelligence University
  • B.A., Psychology/Sociology, Northeastern Illinois University
  • Post-Graduate Fellowship, Illinois Public Health Leadership Institute, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Diploma from the Naval War College, College of Naval Command and Staff
  • Certified Relapse Prevention Specialist, Center for Applied Sciences (CENAPS)


  • President of the Illinois Psychological Association
  • President, Chicago chapter, Association of Threat Assessment Professionals
  • Vice President, Board of Directors, Mental Health America of Illinois
  • Vice President, Board of Directors, Illinois Council on Problem Gambling
  • Director, Behavioral Health, Will County Health Department
  • Chief Financial Officer, Board of Directors, The Tahoe Institute, California
  • Commander, U.S. Navy (Retired), Naval Reserve Intelligence Program
  • Instructor, Crisis Intervention Team Program, Chicago Police Department
  • Faculty, National Defense Intelligence College, Washington, D.C.
  • CEO, Community Psychiatric Center Inc., Old Orchard Hospital, Illinois
  • Psychologist, Illinois Youth Center, Illinois Department of Corrections
  • Consultant/Trainer, Center for Applied Sciences (CENAPS)
  • Director, Training and Organizational Development, Employee Resource Center Inc.
  • Consultant/Trainer, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
  • Administrator/CEO, University Hospital, Chicago
  • Consultant/Trainer, Employee Assistant Program, Occupational Program Systems Inc.
  • Trainer, Illinois Prevention Resource Center
  • Administrator, Care Unit of Parkside Lodge of DuPage, Parkside Medical, Lutheran General Hospital, DuPage County, Illinois
  • Program Consultant, Norridge Nursing Center, Illinois
  • Therapist/Trainer, Seven Springs Health Resource Center, Forest Health Care Systems
  • Director/Supervisory Psychologist, Addiction Program and Education Center (APEC), Loretto Hospital, Chicago
  • Program Advisor, Drug Free Project, National Association of Music Merchants
  • Biofeedback Therapist, Psychosomatic & Biofeedback Clinic of Chicago
  • Consultant, Illinois Central Community Hospital
  • Program Coordinator, Alcoholism and Drug Treatment Program, Forest Hospital, Illinois
  • Trainer, RAP Center, Department of the Army
  • Staff Psychologist, Outpatient Mental Health Clinic, Loretto Hospital, Chicago
  • Rehabilitation Counselor, Drug Cure Program, West Side Veterans Administration Hospital (now Jessie Brown VA Medical Center), Chicago
  • Alcoholism Counselor, Chicago Alcohol Treatment Center, Grant Hospital of Chicago
  • Psychiatric Aide, Department of Psychiatry, Grant Hospital of Chicago

Areas of expertise, academic & research interests

  • Clinical psychology
  • Military psychology
  • Substance use disorders such as alcohol, drug, and gambling addictions
  • Behavioral health administration
  • Behavioral health disaster response
  • Political psychology
  • Strategic intelligence
  • Operational psychology
  • Psychology of terrorism
  • Police psychology
  • Relapse prevention

Professional memberships

  • American Psychological Association (APA)
  • APA Society for Military Psychology (Division 19)
  • Illinois Psychological Association (IPA)
  • IPA Military Psychology Section
  • International Society of Political Psychology
  • Mental Health Summit, Illinois
  • Public Policy Committee, Mental Health America of Illinois
  • Illinois Joining Forces
  • Illinois Certification Board, Inc.
  • Illinois Council on Problem Gambling
  • Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (ATAP)

Select awards

  • Karl F. Heiser Presidential Award for Advocacy, American Psychological Association, 2015
  • Military Hero Award, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois, 2015
  • Mental Health America of Illinois Program Innovations Award 2013
  • Defense Meritorious Service Medal
  • Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
  • Joint Service Achievement Medal
  • Navy Achievement Medal
  • Joint Meritorious Unit Award
  • Navy “E” Ribbon
  • National Defense Service Medal (two awards)
  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
  • Armed Forces Reserve Medal (third award)
  • Navy Pistol Marksmanship Medal (Expert)

What experience do you bring to the Military Psychology program?

I have 45 years of experience as a mental health and substance abuse counselor, clinical psychologist, and behavioral health programs administrator, including serving more than 32 years in the U.S. Navy Reserves. I have taught graduate-level classes for the past 35 years.

What types of prospective students would benefit from this program?

The Military Psychology program is appropriate for a wide range of professionals, including military service members—active duty, Reserves, and National Guard. This includes enlisted behavioral health specialists in all branches of military service, medics and corpsmen, allied health professionals, military social workers, military clinical psychologists, officers and senior enlisted personnel in leadership positions, chaplains, and military substance abuse counselors.

This program is also relevant for professionals at government and military organizations:

  • Civilian behavioral health clinicians and healthcare professionals working for the Department of Defense
  • Behavioral health clinicians and healthcare professionals working for the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
  • Members of the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Coast Guard
  • Foreign military service members working in military healthcare programs
  • Clinicians currently employed in the Veterans Health Administration’s healthcare system

There is also a place for mental health practitioners outside of government. Examples are civilian clinicians, counselors, and specialists employed in public, not-for-profit, or private settings that include but are not limited to hospitals, mental health centers, community health clinics, family and social services centers, the college system, and the criminal justice system.

How unique is Adler’s Military Psychology program?

One of the largest-growing fields in the area of behavioral health services is in the realm of military psychology. There are hundreds of thousands of troops returning to civilian life who are facing unprecedented challenges, whether that is reintegration into society or recovering from traumatic injury, while other service members are preparing for additional deployments.

Traditionally, the only specialized option for military psychology existed within the Uniformed Services University of the Health Services. Adler’s M.A. in Psychology: Specialization in Military Psychology program is a pioneering civilian-specific option.

What does ‘community’ mean in the context of this program?

In order to develop ethically competent providers in the realm of military psychology, our program focuses on the issues specific to those who are serving in the military, those who have served (veterans and retirees), their families, and their community.

Community engagement is achieved by developing a collaborative partnership with our armed services that fosters that community, works to decrease mental health stigma, and gives students a unique training opportunity.

To work toward equal distribution of resources, it is imperative that our program prepare students for client presentations as well as the command hierarchy—with resistance to mental health—that they will probably encounter while working with this population.

How do the concepts of social justice and social responsibility apply to Military Psychology? How is the Adlerian ideal expressed?

Adler University continues championing the work of the first community psychologist, Alfred Adler, by graduating socially responsible practitioners, engaging communities, and advancing social justice.

Our University values—social interest, pluralism, courage, excellence, and pragmatism—are woven into the program.

  • Social interest: We are part of and invested in community, and we act and collaborate with compassion and social responsibility. In being involved in a community that has been engaged in military conflicts for the better part of the last decade, it is important to address the lack of competency in military psychology training that exists in social services, educational systems, behavioral health, and primary care programs today.
  • Pluralism: We respect and celebrate human diversity and difference. We offer students a unique opportunity in training, as the military represents a diverse cross section of the population of our country. Military psychology involves work not only with our military personnel but also with their community and families as well as the veterans and retired military community.
  • Courage: We encourage leadership, innovation, and creativity, act on principle, and challenge the status quo. There is no better way to support and honor the courage of those willing to defend our country than to assist them in their struggles after returning from combat. In striving to build a culture of innovation, this program takes the lead in filling the gap for military psychology services. While there is some change within the current status quo of mental health services within the Department of Defense, our program puts us at the forefront of fighting stigma and acting on the principle that all those in the military are entitled to mental health services with people who are specifically trained in their unique presentations in order to address their distress in life.
  • Excellence: We embrace the highest level of quality, rigor, and integrity for education, scholarship, performance, and outcomes. There is no better way to strive for excellence and ensure leadership in the global context than through a program that serves to influence those in global leadership positions. Not only does this program train clinicians to work with our military personnel, but clinicians also work within foreign leadership systems to foster understanding and better support psychology in foreign armed services.
  • Pragmatism: We are outcome-oriented and evidence-based, and we pursue real-world solutions and measurable results. Practical education for military psychology has immediate benefits and the possibility for immediate implementation. Our strategic plan states that “we are out to change the world for the better.” This program continues that trend of training within our school.

How are students supported as practitioners?

Our faculty provides support to our students and graduates in many ways:

  • Career counseling. Our faculty is career-diverse, which provides students with opportunities to learn about the wide range of career options open to them.
  • Letters of recommendation for our graduates entering doctoral programs or other master’s level programs.
  • Passing on information about job opportunities.
  • Providing job references for prospective employment opportunities.
  • Introduction to the various professional organizations and advocacy groups that are related to students’ interests.
  • Professional networking among faculty and graduates.
  • Introduction to other graduates’ and faculty’s professional networks.
  • The opportunity for professional collaboration on grants, publications, and presentations.

How is this a career-enhancing program?

For uniformed services members, both officers and enlisted, an advanced degree is critical for promotion or advancement to the next rank. The specialization in military psychology also is invaluable to the mental health specialist, counselor, or licensed clinician working or wanting to work with the military or veterans.

Is there a course you’d like to highlight?

Operational Psychology for the Military, which teaches students how to:

  • List the dimensions of operational psychology applied in a military environment, evaluate the effectiveness of operational psychology in the military, taking into consideration both historical and current practices
  • Summarize the history, ideology, and current manifestations of systemic inequalities and how they have historically reinforced themselves in the military environment on individual, interpersonal, cultural, and structural levels
  • Analyze the integration of social justice in various aspects of operational psychology, including the equitable evaluation and consideration of social, political, and military-civil affairs

Select presentations

  • American Psychological Association
  • Illinois Psychology Association
  • Association of Threat Assessment Professionals, Chicago Chapter
  • Illinois Certification Board, Inc.

Program Faculty

Bart Buechner
Brent Calderwood
Bret Moore
Donna Fournier
John Blattner
Mary Gardner
Michael Lombardi
Patrick Brady