National Security Studies Graduate Programs

Individuals who have an interest in national security studies may want to pursue a master's degree in the field. Within these programs, students will study the major theories behind national security, the various issues being dealt with today, and specific aspects of the United States' national security policy. We will discuss these programs in greater detail below.

Graduate Degrees in National Security Studies

Graduate degrees in national security studies are commonly offered as Master of Arts or Master of Science programs. Students who enroll in these programs often have the option of selecting a specialization in an area that interests them, like intelligence, terrorism, or security policy. Below are several courses that you can expect to encounter in a graduate level program in national security studies.

Research Methods

Master's level programs often include a research methods course that will focus on helping students develop their ability to conduct both qualitative and quantitative research. This course will highlight how research in the security community differs from research in other fields. Students can expect to focus on how to plan and design a research study, strategies for making sure the data they collect is valid, and how to compile and organize that data.

Intelligence Analysis

In this course, students will begin learning about the process of intelligence analysis. This includes learning how critical and analytical thinking are key parts of being a successful member of the security community, as well as how to develop hypotheses, arguments, and evidence to support these arguments. Common topics could also include target analysis, avoiding bias, and psychology.

Homeland Security

In this course, students will learn about the United States' Homeland Security policy and program. This includes discussing the various details about the program and how it is enforced in different security threat situations. The content will focus on some of the major issues that the Department of Homeland Security is trying to tackle today and how they are doing so.


These programs often include one or more courses that focus on terrorism, either as a broad topic or on a more specific type of terrorism like domestic terrorism or new terrorism. In this class, students may learn about how terrorism has developed over the years and the ways in which it is occurring today. They will learn about the strategies and methods that the government uses to counteract terrorism and how they are able to gather information in order to stop attacks from occurring.

International Security

In this course, students will gain a broad understanding of the international security scene and how domestic security is related and affected by it. The class may focus on the various security actors and organizations that exist globally and some of the security issues that may be unique to the international scene. Students will also learn how the United States is able to ensure the security of its citizens and interests around the world.

Admission Requirements for Graduate Programs in National Security Studies

Admission requirements for these graduate programs vary depending on the school that you plan on attending, as some have stricter requirements. However, you can expect that schools will require you to be on track for completing, or to have already completed, a bachelor's degree when you enroll in a master's level program. Many programs also require results from the GRE exam, in addition to letters of recommendation and official transcripts.

Graduate level programs in national security studies are relatively easy to find. They can help students gain both a broad understanding of the security landscape, as well as in-depth knowledge of the specialization that they select.

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