Core Requirements

Academic Requirements

To receive an M.A. in Security Studies students must complete 36 credits meeting the following requirements:

  1. Theory and Practice of Security (SEST-500) in the first semester of the program;
     
  2. Grand Strategy and Military Operations (SEST-501) in the first semester of the program;
     
  3. The core course in the chosen area of concentration in the first or second semester of the program;
     
  4. Three additional courses in the chosen concentration;
     
  5. Research Seminar (SEST-710) in the final semester of the program. The Research Seminar is a course devoted to the production of a major capstone research paper, usually 30-40 double-spaced pages in length. Students are expected to make useful contributions to the understanding of the issue they are researching. The Research Seminar must be taken in the final semester (students graduating in the summer must take the seminar in the spring of their last year). Students may not substitute seminars offered by other programs for the SSP research seminar requirement;
     
  6. A minimum of eight courses (24 credits) sponsored by the SSP (usually designated "SEST") as a part of their course of study. Occasionally, an SSP course will be designated “INAF" (for example, INAF-546). Students with questions regarding the program designation of a course should ask the SSP Director of Academic Affairs before registering;
     
  7. One course in each of following three substantive areas:
    Area Security Studies
    Economics and Security
    Technology and Security
     
  8. Two SSP-approved free electives.
    Students are authorized to double count one course between their concentration and distribution requirements; this allows students to take an additional free elective. Students with questions regarding the distributional allocation of a course should ask the SSP Director of Academic Affairs before registering.
     
  9. Pass the comprehensive exam.
    Students must pass a  comprehensive examination to graduate from the program. The comprehensive exam tests broad substantive knowledge of national and international security problems, along with the student’s analytic abilities. The exam poses questions that address each of the primary concentrations. Students take the comprehensive examination during the final semester in the program (Fall or Spring; Summer graduates will take the comprehensive exam in the Spring concurrent with their enrollment in SEST-710: Research Seminar). This is a four-hour typed exam which is taken on campus.
     
  10. Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

There is no language proficiency requirement for the SSP.  Please note that the SSP does not accept transfer credits.

Distribution Requirement Description

Area:  This requirement provides students the opportunity to approach security issues from a regional perspective .  It includes issues of conflict and politics as well as economics, energy, finance, health, the regional arms trade and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  Students gain a thorough understanding of a major international region and the countries within it so that they will be able to incorporate that knowledge into future analysis and policy making.  To meet the area distribution requirement the class must focus on a major country (e.g., China, India, Russia) or key geographic region that includes two or more countries with an emphasis on regional security challenges.

Technology and Security:  This requirement permits students to approach security issues from a technology perspective and provide the future analyst, policy maker or scholar with an appreciation of the wide range of technology issues affecting all of the core SSP concentrations.  Students can take classes ranging from energy and resource scarcity to health, biotechnology, and environmental issues, or from cyber and information warfare to unconventional weapons and net assessment as well as emerging technologies.  To satisfy the technology requirement these courses must all demonstrate a relationship between some form of technology, environmental, resource or health subject with issues of national and/or international security.

Economics and Security:  This requirement enables students to examine the economic instruments of national power and their relationship to strategy and policy so that future analysts, policymakers and scholars are able to integrate economic considerations as national security policies and strategies are developed.  Students may take classes ranging from defense resourcing and budgeting to terrorist financing and illicit economies.  Classes may also include energy security, developmental issues in areas of conflict and the international arms trade.  To meet this requirement the course must evidence some relationship between an economic (e.g., finance, trade, development, budgeting) and security issue.

Note:  Some classes may meet more than one core and distribution requirement, which in turn can allow students the opportunity for an additional free elective. However, students may only double count once.

 

 

Full-time versus Part-time

SSP students have the option of enrolling in the SSP either as full time or part time students. Students are able to change from full time status to part time status on a semester-by-semester basis depending on their professional obligations. All students are expected to complete the SSP in at most 3 years from their matriculation.

Full Time

Students completing the program full time are expected to enroll in 3 or 4 courses each semester. Typically, full time students complete the SSP in 4 semesters.

Part Time

Students completing the program on a part time basis are expected to enroll in a minimum of 2 courses each semester. Part time students are given up to 3 years to complete the program.

Sample Schedules

The sample schedules below are meant to provide a "picture" of the SSP degree progress from start to finish. The course requirements listed are not required to be taken in the order they are presented, with exception to SEST 500 and SEST 501 (which must be taken in the first semester in the program), your Core Concentration course (which must be completed in the first year) and SEST 710 and the Comprehensive Exam, which are both completed in the final academic year semester.

 Full Time, 4 Semesters
Semester 1 Semester 3
SEST 500 (Theory and Practice of Security)
SEST 501 (Grand Strategy and Military Operations)
Concentration Elective Course
Concentration Elective Course
Distribution Course (Economics and Security)
Free Elective Course
Semester 2 Semester 4
Core Concentration Course
Distribution Course (Area Studies)
Concentration Elective Course
Distribution Course (Technology and Security)
Free Elective Course
SEST 710 (Research Seminar) + SSP Comprehensive Exam
Full Time, 3 Semesters + Summer
Semester 1 Summer Semester
SEST 500 (Theory and Practice of Security)
SEST 501 (Grand Strategy and Military Operations)
Concentration Elective Course
Free Elective Course
Free Elective Course
Semester 2 Semester 4

Core Concentration Course
Concentration Elective Course
Distribution Course (Area Studies)
Distribution Course (Technology and Security)

Concentration Elective Course
Distribution Course (Economics and Security)
SEST 710 (Research Seminar) + SSP Comprehensive Exam
Part Time, 6 Semesters
Semester 1 Semester 4
SEST 500 (Theory and Practice of Security)
SEST 501 (Grand Strategy and Military Operations)
Concentration Elective Course
Economics and Security Course
Free Elective Course
Semester 2 Semester 5
Core Concentration Course
Concentration Elective Course
Technology and Security Course
Free Elective Course
Semester 3 Semester 6
Concentration Elective Course
Area Studies Course

Free Elective Course
SEST 710 (Research Seminar) + SSP Comprehensive Exam

Part Time, 4 Semesters + 2 Summers
Semester 1 Semester 3
SEST 500 (Theory and Practice of Security)
SEST 501 (Grand Strategy and Military Operations)
Economics and Security Course
Concentration Elective Course
Semester 2 Semester 4
Core Concentration Course
Concentration Elective Course
SEST 710 (Research Seminar) + SSP Comprehensive Exam
Concentration Elective Course
Summer 1 Summer 2
Free Elective Course
Area Studies Course
Free Elective Course
Technology and Security Course