Online Master of Security Studies (M.S.S.)
The Master of Security Studies is a distinctive degree addressing the growing need for graduate-level study of national security issues to develop skills for military, intelligence, government and non-governmental employees. The M.S.S. is also open to all those with bachelor’s degrees in security issues or a related field who want to improve their cultural, regional, negotiation and security abilities in our complex world. To increase flexibility, the program has both a thesis and non-thesis option.
Security Studies Admission Formula
Requirements Test Scores None unless required by advisor All college and university transcripts Yes Essay Yes Résumé No Prerequisites
- Hold a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 2.75 or better, including all grades on repeated courses – or hold a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or better in the last 60 hours of undergraduate work
- At least two letters of recommendation
- An essay of no more than 750 words discussing an important issue of national security
Master of Security Studies (M.S.S.)
36 Credit Hours
SEC 6302 Introduction to Security Studies
SEC 6305 Research Methods in Security Studies
SEC 6309 Grand Strategy and National Security
SEC 6312 Globalization and International Security
Prescribed Elective Courses:
Students must choose nine semester credit hours from either the national security or regional security specialization areas.
Additional Elective* Courses:
Elective hours may be taken from the national security or regional security specialization area, or in some combination of each.
Students who choose the thesis option will be required to take 12 semester credit hours of required courses, nine hours of prescribed electives, a course for writing the thesis (SEC 6699) and an additional nine hours of electives. The additional nine hours must be taken in either the national security or regional studies focus, or in some combination of both.
Students who choose the non-thesis option will be required to take 12 semester credit hours of required courses, nine hours of prescribed electives and an additional 15 hours of electives. The 15 hours of electives must be taken in either the national security or regional studies focus, or in some combination of both. Students in the non-thesis option will be required to pass an oral comprehensive examination. This does not need to take place on the ASU campus and can be done via teleconference or other appropriate methods.
Elective courses in the national security affairs concentration include:
- SEC 6313 Intelligence and National Security
- SEC 6314 Terrorism and National Security
- SEC 6315 Rogue Nations and National Security
- SEC 6316 Peacekeeping and Stability Operations
- SEC 6317 Weapons of Mass Destruction, Proliferation, and National Security
- SEC 6318 Weak and Failing States and National Security
- SEC 6319 Homeland Security Studies
- SEC 6320 Human Rights and National Security
- SEC 6321 Energy Security Studies
- SEC 6322 Transnational Issues and National Security
Elective courses in the regional studies concentration include:
- SEC 6323 Security Issues in Europe I
- SEC 6325 Security Issues in Europe II
- SEC 6327 Security Issues in Asia I
- SEC 6329 Security Issues in Asia II
- SEC 6331 Security Issues in Latin America I
- SEC 6333 Security Issues in Latin America II
- SEC 6335 Security Issues in The Middle East I
- SEC 6337 Security Issues in The Middle East II
- SEC 6341 Security Issues in Africa I
- SEC 6343 Security Issues in Africa II
SEC 6343 Security Issues in Africa II (3-0). While Security Issues in Africa I focuses on issues of conflict and tension, this course is an introduction to the political economy of Sub-Saharan Africa. Students will explore the theory and practice of how economic motives affect political decisions and how most political decisions have economic repercussions, both domestically and in Africa. This course reviews and explores the key themes of Africa’s contemporary political economy and its deep historical bases. In doing so, the course concentrates on Africa’s relationship with the global political economy and raises questions about the nature of state action in African countries.
SEC 6341 Security Issues in Africa I (3-0). This course examines political, military, and social issues of the states of Sub-Saharan Africa. The focus of the course is on the impact these issues have on world politics and particularly United States national security interests in that region. The course addresses issues of the colonial legacy, the rise of African nationalism, and the emergence of independent Africa. It also addresses many of the difficulties of the post-colonial legacy. Finally, the course turns to the place of Sub-Saharan Africa in Washington’s national security policy, and potential outcomes for the future.
SEC 6337 Security Issues in the Middle East II (3-0). While Security Issues in the Middle East I focuses on issues of conflict and tension, this course is an introduction to the political economy of Middle East. Students will explore the theory and practice of how economic motives affect political decisions and how most political decisions have economic repercussions, both domestically and in the Middle East. This course reviews and explores the key themes of the Middle East’s contemporary political economy. In doing so, the course concentrates on the Middle East’s relationship with the global political economy and raises questions about the nature of state action in Middle Eastern countries.
SEC 6335 Security Issues in the Middle East I (3-0). This course examines the implications of key security issues affecting U.S. national interests in the Middle East. The course gives insights into the history, cultures, religions, geography, and demographics of the region. The course also examines the dynamics of interaction between the Middle East and the West. Key security issues for discussion include, but are not limited to, the Middle East peace process, Persian Gulf security, access to Middle East petroleum reserves, and the promotion of democracy. The course also explores the nature of jihad in the Middle East, the relationship between religion and state governments, and human rights issues.
SEC 6331 Security Issues in Latin America I (3-0). This course examines the dynamics of international security in Latin America. Key security issues to be examined include, but will not be limited to, conflict between states, insurgency and counterinsurgency, transnational crime, and terrorism. Students will also examine how the security environment in Latin America is seen in Washington and what influences that perspective. The course also examines closely the use of international organizations in addressing key security issues within the region.
SEC 6329 Security Issues in Asia II (3-0). While Security Issues in Asia I focuses on issues of conflict and tension, this course is an introduction to the political economy of Asia. Students will explore the theory and practice of how economic motives affect political decisions and how most political decisions have economic repercussions, both domestically and in Asia. This course reviews and explores the key themes of Asia’s contemporary political economy. In doing so, it concentrates on Asia’s relationship with the global political economy and raises questions about the nature of state action in Asian countries.
SEC 6327 Security Issues in Asia I (3-0). This course covers contemporary regional issues such as the influence of Japan, India, Korea, and China on regional and global affairs, with a particular focus on regional security concerns. The focus of this course is on the changing dynamics of contemporary international security in Asia. This course includes several important case studies that are central to understanding regional security in Asia. These include, but are not be limited to, the ongoing and hotly debated military rise of China and the implications for the region and the world; the nuclear stand-off on the Korean peninsula; contemporary security issues in Southeast Asia; the India-Pakistan conflict; and transnational security issues in Asia.
SEC 6325 Security Issues in Europe II (3-0). This course focuses on current, major issues within the European region. While engaging in critical analysis of current issues, the course examines the broader European cultural context as an analytic framework explaining interaction within the region and the international arena. While the first European course focuses on many of the issues that led to the formulation and continued existence of NATO, this course discusses the formulation and issues related to the European Union (EU). Because the EU is such an economic powerhouse, students will explore the theory and practice of how economic motives affect political decisions and how most political decisions have economic repercussions, both domestically and in Europe. This course reviews and explores the key themes of Europe’s contemporary political economy.
SEC 6323 Security Issues in Europe I (3-0). This course examines the historic, cultural, economic, social and geographic traits that distinguish this region and shape its domestic political processes and interstate relations. Students will engage in critical comparisons of the politics, governments, and orientations of European states and important regional powers. The course also covers contemporary regional issues such as democratization, arms control and regional integration, with a particular emphasis on security concerns. This class also examines the development of the Atlantic Alliance of 1949—known as NATO—into a military organization under United States leadership, and how that organization has affected security on both the regional and world stages. The course concludes with an evaluation of NATO’s status in contemporary times and the role that it may play in the future.
SEC 6322 Transnational Issues and National Security (3-0). With the advent of more societies around the world and more open trade, a variety of transnational issues have become important for American national security. The role of NGO’s in dealing with a variety of issues, the role of the many powerful transnational corporations, and the interesting aspect of transnational crime have changed the role of nation-states (somewhat) in how they deal with both state and non-state actors. This course examines the key transnational issues that are important for U.S. policy and also analyzes a series of case studies dealing with important issues such as transnational crime, transnational corporations, and other issues that cross borders between states and regions.
SEC 6321 Energy Security Studies (3-0). This course examines the relatively new concept of the importance of the relationship between energy and security in the 21st century. Students conduct analyses of important policy challenges including, but not limited to, economic, geopolitical, and environmental issues. The United States and its key allies (not to mention its competitors—such as China) have huge concerns about vulnerability to disruptions in supply, price volatility, and environmental degradation. U.S. national security interests also can potentially be in peril if such issues as unequal access to energy sources and instability in key energy-producing regions arise.
SEC 6320 Human Rights and National Security (3-0). This course gives students a clear understanding of what constitutes human rights. The course also explores why human rights and human security have become such major players in policy, as well as important aspects of the work that NGO’s and other non-state actors conduct. Of particular importance to this course is conducting an analysis of the role of civil society (human rights NGO’s, church groups, and grassroots groups). The course features important writings by practitioners and experts in the field.
SEC 6319 Homeland Security Studies (3-0). This course examines the key issues that the U.S. faces in protecting itself from terrorist attacks and will also analyze how policy has been formulated and implemented since 2001. While homeland security involves many issues, the main focus for this class will be on the key challenges to American society and government at home that have ensued because of the long war against terrorism in the 21st century. In this class, we will define homeland security, conduct an examination of the homeland security threats facing the United States, and discuss how the interagency and interstate aspects of government at various levels of jurisdiction (federal, state, local, and private) interact to protect the United States.
SEC 6318 Weak and Failing States and National Security (3-0). For many years following the end of the Cold War, weak states, failing states, and failed states, received little or no attention from the United States. With the exception of the Somalia case study (a failed state), the United States tended to ignore states that were either weak or on the brink of being failed states. The events of 9/11 ended this for the most part. Because Afghanistan was essentially a failing state and supported terrorism, this issue has now become one that is ripe for examination. What constitutes a weak state? A failing state? A failed state? Are failed states a threat to U.S. security? If so, why is this the case? Which states are these, and what can be done to remedy the ominous (and often unique) threats they pose? All these issues are examined in this course, which will provide current and recent case studies as a method for conducting analysis of an issue that has only recently come to the forefront of Washington’s foreign policy.
SEC 6317 Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), Proliferation, and National Security (3-0). As the United States looks to an uncertain future in the 21st century, control of weapons of mass destruction and their proliferation have become two of our most important national security issues. Because many nations are not transparent about either their capabilities or intentions, this is also a very difficult issue to analyze for American policy makers and their staffs. This class examines important case studies such as the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), the role of the IAEA and other elements of the UN in countering WMD and proliferation, and key state actors that pose the greatest threat to American security because of their pursuit of WMD capabilities and/or proliferation.
SEC 6316 Peacekeeping and Stability Operations (3-0). Stability and peace operations have become an integral part of United States foreign and military policy. This course analyzes several concepts, including nation building, stabilization, and reconstruction. The course also examines the roles of various groups that have become important to these types of operations in the 21st century, including nongovernmental organizations, intergovernmental organizations, and governmental organizations. The course examines the roles and missions of the many new players who have become integral to stability and peacekeeping operations.
SEC 6315 Rogue Nations and National Security (3-0). The end of the Cold War brought in a new era of world politics and security issues for the United States. But with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Soviet Union also came a new phenomenon—Rogue States. Countries such as Iran, North Korea, Syria, Cuba, and others have refused to change their governments in modern times and continue to conduct policies that are hostile to the United States and its allies. This course examines exactly what it is that makes up a rogue state, why the politics of rogue states are dangerous to the United States and its allies, and how these hostile policies can be countered. The course also examines several important recent case studies.
SEC 6314 Terrorism and National Security (3-0). This course examines the impact of terrorism on national security policy. The course profiles terrorists and terrorist groups, and also analyzes potential future forms of violent action that could be taken by non-state actors. The course also examines and outlines the past practices of counterterrorism in other countries. Finally, students focus on United States policies and the roles and missions of both military and interagency commanders who are currently dealing with or have in the past dealt with terrorism as part of their assigned tasks.
SEC 6313 Intelligence and National Security (3-0). The intelligence reform mandated following the attacks on 9/11 created the most fundamental structural change in the National Intelligence Community in its history. The National Intelligence Strategy (NIS), as updated, will provide the framework of analysis for this course. The integration of the National Intelligence Community, and the complexities this integration brings, will be analyzed. This course covers the intelligence cycle (planning and direction, collection, processing, analysis, and dissemination). It also covers key aspects of intelligence such as warning and surprise; denial and deception; covert action; oversight and civil liberties; role of policymakers; and intelligence reform. Students will evaluate how changes in the national intelligence community are meeting the objectives of the war on terrorism and contributing to more effective intelligence. (Credit may not be earned for this course and ISSA 6300.)
SEC 6312 Globalization and International Security (3-0). This course examines how globalization affects the policies, economics, societies, and militaries of both state and non-state actors on the regional and world stage. While globalization has had many benefits since the end of World War II, it has also created “haves and have nots,” radical religious and political ideologies, and ethnic conflict in regions affecting the national security of the developed world. This course will conduct studies examining how the interconnected world creates differing realities for different nation-states and regions and what the potential is for the future.
SEC 6309 Grand Strategy and National Security (3-0). This course gives students key insights into the basic elements of grand strategy and how these tie into Security Studies. The course gives students a unique baseline of knowledge that will be important as students move into the other aspects of the Security Studies program. Key issues addressed in detail include: 1) The national security decision making process, particularly as it relates to issues of international and homeland security; 2) Civil-military relations as applicable in the development of strategy and statecraft; 3) An analysis of how nation-states develop military operational capabilities and readiness; and 4) The differing strategies for international conflict, including both conventional and unconventional warfare.
SEC 6305 Research Methods in Security Studies (3-0). Research methods with application to intelligence, homeland security, criminal justice, and other security-related interests. (Credit may not be earned for this course and ISSA 6305, BOR 6334, or CRIJ 6334.)
SEC 6302 Introduction to Security Studies (3-0). This is a basic introduction to the field of security studies. This course will help the student examine the recent history of security studies. The student will learn about many of the theoretical approaches and debates relating to world politics. The studies will include the origination and causes of conflict, deterrence and coercion (in both theory and practice), diplomacy and international dynamics, and an examination of the growing list of transnational issues. The course deals with many of the theoretical works in the field as well as numerous case studies that deal with the national security issues impacting current world politics and international security.