The Security Studies program, which leads to the M.A. degree, is professionally oriented and designed for students who intend to pursue a career in the security community. The program’s curriculum and standards are structured to encourage student development in those areas most likely to lead to a successful career in the field.

Our curriculum offers students the opportunity to specialize in six areas of security studies: intelligence, international security, military operations, science and technology, terrorism and substate violence, and U.S. national security policy. The concentrations are broad enough to allow students to tailor their course choices to meet their academic and professional interests. The program offers the option of attending part-time or full-time.

Instructors are drawn from the university’s graduate faculty and augmented by experts from the federal government, the private sector and non-profit organizations. Diversity in the classroom is furthered through the student body, which is a mix of military personnel, mid-career level professionals, international students and newly minted B.A. and B.S. degree holders.

Degrees Offered

  • M.A.
  • M.A./Ph.D. (Government)
  • M.A./J.D.
  • B.S.F.S./M.A.

Application Deadlines

Spring 2021

October 1, 2020

Fall 2021

January 15, 2021

Application Requirements

Please be sure to review the Graduate School Admissions How to Apply page.


Please be sure to review the program’s website for additional information on program application requirements.

Application Materials required:

  • Application Form
  • Non-refundable Application Fee
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Resume/CV
  • Transcripts – Applicants are required to upload to the application system copies of official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended. Visit our How to Apply page for additional details and FAQs.
  • Official Recommendations (3)
  • If your undergraduate degree is from an institution where English was the primary language of instruction, submit either:
    • Official GRE scores sent directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). See below for additional information on standardized testing.
    • Supplemental Analytical Writing Sample: Please answer the following prompt in no more than 600 words: What do you see as the biggest security challenge facing the United States or the international system? Why? What should be done to address it?
  • TOEFL/IELTS  (please see below)
  • Supplemental data form for active-duty military applicants, if applicable (form included in the online application)

The program admits students in both fall and spring semesters.  Applications for fall admission are reviewed in early February; applications for Spring admission are reviewed beginning in October.  Early submission of materials is strongly recommended.


The GRE is strongly recommended but not required. If you do not submit GRE scores, you must instead submit the analytical writing sample.

Applicants to the joint M.A./J.D. program can submit LSAT scores in lieu of GRE scores. GMAT scores will not be accepted under any circumstances.

There is no minimum required score on the GRE or LSAT. Test scores must be received by the application deadline date. Applicants should allow six to eight weeks from the test date for the reporting of scores to the institution. Information on registering to take the GRE can be found at:


All applicants are required to demonstrate a level of proficiency in the English language sufficient to meet the admission requirement of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Proficiency can be demonstrated by the receipt of a bachelor’s or advanced degree from an accredited institution of higher education in the United States or from a university where English is the primary language of instruction (please note that applicants receiving degrees at universities in U.S. territories, such as Puerto Rico, are required to submit the TOEFL or IELTS unless the primary language of instruction at the institution is English). All other applicants must achieve at least a minimum score on either the TOEFL or IELTS test. Test scores must be received by the application deadline date. Applicants should allow six to eight weeks from the test date for the reporting of scores to the institution. Applications will not be considered without GRE or TOEFL/IELTS scores.

TOEFL: A minimum score of 100 (iBT test) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).  TOEFL information:

IELTS: A minimum score of 7.5 from the International English Language Testing System. IELTS Information:

Degree Requirements

Students finish the program when they complete 36 hours of credit while maintaining at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average. The program does not accept any transfer credits.

To receive an M.A. in Security Studies, students must complete:

  • Theory and Practice of Security in the first semester of the program
  • Grand Strategy and Military Operations in the first semester of the program
  • The core course in the chosen area of concentration in the first year of the program
  • Three additional courses in the chosen concentration
  • One course from each of the following distribution categories: area studies; economics and security; and technology and security
  • 2 electives of the student’s choice, approved by the program
  • Research seminar in the final semester of the program (students graduating in the summer must take the seminar in the spring of their last year)
  • Students are also required to pass a four-hour written comprehensive examination given during the student’s final semester in the program.