National Security Master's Degree Program Information

Oct 19, 2019

Students who are interested in academic research related to government affairs and crisis prevention may consider earning a master's degree in national security. Learn more about these programs and future options for graduates.

Essential Information

A master's degree program in national security involves interdisciplinary studies in a wide range of subjects, including psychology, comparative government and criminal justice, with a specific focus on issues in international affairs, such as diplomatic relations, terrorism and economic theories. Most programs are offered by colleges and universities that have substantial political science and foreign affairs programs, and these schools are often affiliated with the military. At the end of these four-year programs, students must give a research-based presentation. In order to apply, students must hold a bachelor's degree and submit GRE scores. Some schools also require an admissions interview.

Master's Degree in National Security

In a master's degree program in national security, student may have the opportunity to take some of the following courses:

  • Intelligence studies
  • Media studies
  • Foreign relations
  • Political warcraft
  • Collecting intelligence
  • U.S. international relations
  • Public diplomacy
  • Contemporary geopolitics

Popular Career Options

Graduates of these programs often seek employment in industries related to weapons manufacturing or government relations. Possible job titles include:

  • Educator
  • Government bureaucrat
  • Intelligence analyst
  • Security consultant
  • Military officer

Career Outlook

According to O*Net Online, intelligence analysts (which were grouped with detectives and criminal investigators) could expect slower than average (2% to 3%) in employment opportunities from 2018-2028. These professionals earned median annual pay of $81,920 as of 2018. Security management specialists (who were categorized more broadly as business operations specialists) made a median annual wage of $70,530 as of 2018, with average expected job growth of 4% to 6% over 2018 to 2028 decade.

Continuing Education

After earning a master's degree in national security, a graduate may decide to pursue an additional graduate degree. Many public and privately supported colleges offer master's, doctoral and professional degree programs in areas associated with national security, such as economics, law and business.

For students who are looking to pursue advanced studies and conduct research in the area of national security, a master's degree is a great place to start. From there, students may seek careers in the industry or further graduate study in the field.

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