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Squadron Officer School (PDE) Distance Learning


PDE / SOS Distance Learning Curriculum Flow

The Squadron Officer School distance learning (SOS DL) program is the Air Force’s primary developmental education (PDE) program and is designed to advance the professional development foundation provided by the accessions programs. The SOS DL curriculum is based on Air Force and Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) publications for subject matter content in leadership, communication, profession of arms, warfare, and international security areas of study. As an Air Force program, SOS DL seeks to provide an “air-minded” curriculum that prepares graduates for greater responsibilities at the squadron level while also building critical thinking skills in the application of airpower for national security goals and objectives. 

The SOS DL 2.0 program includes a robust mix of self-paced and asynchronous facilitated courses. This program continues the transformation of officer PME and the SOS DL experience to “…develop Airmen who are critical and creative thinkers by implementing an agile, individually tailored approach to life- long education….” (USAF Strategic Master Plan, May 2015). The SOS DL 2.0 curriculum provides students with peer-to-peer interaction and collaboration opportunities, facilitation by DL-certified faculty, and the ability to customize the program to suit personal and professional needs.


Student Handbook

Student Handbook

The SOS distance learning program produces graduates who are able to… 

1. Apply critical-thinking and communication skills to address contemporary military issues; 

2. Understand the moral foundation of military service and how this informs ethical leadership in the profession of arms; 

3. Apply leadership theories and models to the practice of leading teams/units in complex, dynamic, and ambiguous tactical environments; 

4. Understand the historical context of military and airpower theory, and how these inform the employment of joint forces in the international security environment; 

5. Analyze how airpower contributes to military operations in the joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational (JIIM) environment, in support of national security aims; and 

6. Comprehend concepts (theories, models, analytical frameworks, etc.) and issues relevant to the military profession. 


The eligibility criteria for the SOS distance learning program are found in Air Force Instruction (AFI) 36-2670, Total Force Development​.

• Active-duty line-of-the-Air Force (LAF) captains are prohibited from enrolling in the SOS DL course until seven years TAFCS. 

• Active-duty LAF-J, HC, NC, MSC, BSC, MC, and DC officers may enroll in SOS DL on or after their date of rank to captain. 

• Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve officers may enroll in SOS DL upon their selection to captain. 

• Department of the Air Force civilian employees in the grades of GS-9 to GS-12, DCIPS PB2, and NAF 4 who possess regionally-accredited baccalaureate degrees. 

• Officers who complete the resident SOS program are prohibited from enrolling or reenrolling in the SOS DL course. 

  1. If you meet the program eligibility, you must create an AU Portal account before enrolling. A CAC card is required to create the account.

    1. Go to AF Portal and login

    2. Under QUICK LINKS, scroll down to EDUCATION/TRAINING/FORCE DEVELOPMENT, and click on Air University Portal.

    3. Go to the silver bar that reads "Click here to login or create a new account," and click on "Create Account." (if you already have an AU Portal account skip to step 6)

    4. Finish creating the account by filling in the applicable information.  We strongly recommend using a civilian email address.  The military email filters may block the onboarding email in step 11 below.

    5. Once you have established an AU Portal account, go down to the menu bar on the left side of the AU Portal page and hover over "Distance Learning," then hover over “SOS DL 2.0” and select "Apply."

    6. On the Apply for Admission page, select “SOS” the Eligibility criteria.  If you do not meet the criteria do not apply, the system will prevent entry, but it will waste manpower to review flagged applications.

    7. If you meet the eligibility criteria, select “Check for Eligibility”.  This does not actually check eligibility, it only allows you to update your profile information.  Please ensure you provide a civilian email address that you can access.  Once your profile is updated, go to step 2 and select “next”.

    8. Step 3 confirms your contact information has been updated.  Then click “Submit Application”

    9. If you are military, the system will run checks and automatically enroll you in the program if eligible.  You should receive an email notifying you of your status.  If the email confirms you are admitted to the program, then expect another email from within 2 business days to initiate the onboarding into the SOS DL 2.0 program. 

    If you are not able to create an account for any reason, please email your request to

Civilian Enrollment Instructions

For course descriptions and requirements, see the current Air University Catalog.

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Maxwell AFB, AL 36112

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