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, approximately 40 double-spaced pages in length. The Research Seminar must be taken in the final semester in the program. Students students graduating in the summer must take the seminar in the spring of their last year in the program.
  6. A minimum of eight courses (24 credits) sponsored by SSP (usually designated “SEST”) as a part of their course of study.
  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.
  9. Pass a comprehensive examination during students’ final semester in the program, 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 SSP. Please note that SSP does not accept transfer credits.

Distribution Requirements

All students must take at least one course in each of the three substantive areas described below. Some classes may meet more than one core and/or distribution requirement. Students are authorized to double-count no more than one such course between their concentration and distribution requirements. Double-counting a course allows students to take an additional free elective.

Area Security Studies

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 allows students to approach security issues from a technology perspective and provides 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 on topics 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 cover energy security, developmental issues in areas of conflict, and the international arms trade. To meet this requirement, the course must address some relationship between an economic issue (e.g., finance, trade, development, budgeting) and a security issue.