Program Description

The Master’s in International Security , MA program prepares professionals to address enduring and emerging security challenges of the 21st century, by deepening conceptual knowledge of the field, learning in-depth about a range of current security issues, and mastering analytic and policy skills for a career in the field. The international security program provides strong background in theories of international relations and strategic thought, as well as electives on a wide range of topics, from great power competition to terrorism and WMD, and nontraditional threats from crime and corruption, cyberspace, food and natural resource insecurities, and more. The approach is inclusive and cross-disciplinary. Students will learn about leadership, decision-making, and the major national security institutions of defense, intelligence, and diplomacy.

What it costs

The total cost for this program is $893.25 per credit hour for VA state residents or $1,681.25 per credit hour for Non-VA residents. See the Cost tab below for a breakdown of tuition and fees. All of Mason’s tuition rates and fees can be found on our Student Accounts site.

Application Deadline

For admission in the fall Semester, the priority deadline is February 1, and the standard deadline is May 1. For admission in the spring Semester, the priority deadline is November 1, and the standard deadline is December 1. For more application information on how to apply, see the Admissions site.

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Program Summary

Hybrid OR 100 Percent Online

Program: International Security

Degree: MA

College/School: Schar School of Policy and Government

Credits: 36 total

Who should apply?

The program trains early to mid-career professionals who seek the analytical and substantive capabilities to address the security challenges of the 21st century. In addition to understanding the traditional military and diplomatic approaches that characterized the state-centric security framework of the last century, the program’s core courses will provide a firm grounding with regard to public-private and international collaborative responses to emerging and unconventional threats, ranging from transnational crime, terrorism, illicit trade, proliferation of emerging technologies and WMD, and corruption to state fragility and ethnic and sectarian conflict.

Why choose George Mason?

With George Mason University’s prime location in the Washington, D.C. area, Schar School students gain access to leading practitioners who are internationally recognized for their scholarship and advisory roles in the public and private sectors. These faculty bring real-world experience to the classroom, providing you with the mentorship and skillsets needed to advance in your career.

The Schar School as a whole has 80+ faculty members, as well as hundreds of adjunct faculty, allowing students to gain access to a variety of perspectives and subjects through elective courses. Notable faculty members in the international security program include program director Ellen Laipson, Retired General Michael V. Hayden, Gregory Koblentz, Louise I. Shelley, Sonia Ben Ouagrham-Gormley, Michael Hunzeker, David C. Williams, Robert Dietz, Ambassador Richard Kauzlarich, and many others.

Program requirements may change; please refer to the International Security, MA Program Page in the Mason Course Catalog for the most up-to-date requirements. This program can be completed completely online or in a hybrid format.

Requirements: 36 credits total

  • 21 credits core courses
  • 15 credits Electives and/or Concentration Courses

Core Courses (21 credits)

  • PUBP 504 Grand Strategy | 3 credits
  • PUBP 506 Ethics and the Use of Force | 3 credits
  • PUBP 505 Politics and Practice of International Security Policy | 3 credits
  • GOVT 540 International Relations | 3 credits
  • GOVT 745 International Security | 3 credits
  • BIOD 760 National Security Technology and Policy | 3 credits
  • Select one of the following:
    • POGO 511 Introductory Data Analysis for Policy and Government | 3 credits
    • or ITRN 501 Data Analysis for Global Political Economy | 3 credits

Electives and/or Concentration Courses (15 credits)

Students may pursue the program with or without a concentration. Focus area courses have been selected to provide additional breadth and depth on specific security challenges or areas of policy debate.

Elective Options For Students Not Pursuing a Concentration

Select five elective courses (15 credits), including at least one course (3 credits) from each of the three areas below. Exceptions must be approved by the student advisor.

  • Managing Global Risks
  • National Security Policy and Processes
  • Regional and Transnational Security Challenges

Managing Global Risks

  • BIOD 610 Advanced Topics in Global Health Security | 3 credits
  • BIOD 620 Global Health Security Policy | 3 credits
  • GOVT 739 Issues in Comparative and International Politics | 3 credits
  • GOVT 741 Advanced Seminar in International Politics | 3 credits
  • PUAD 631 Disaster Response Operations and Recovery | 3 credits
  • PUAD 637 Managing Homeland Security | 3 credits
  • PUBP 654 Analysis for Peace Operations | 3 credits
  • PUBP 655 State- and Institution-Building | 3 credits
  • PUBP 710 Topics in Public Policy | 3 credits
  • PUBP 714 Topics in Transportation Policy, Operations, and Logistics | 3 credits
  • PUBP 751 International Police Operations | 3 credits
  • PUBP 777 Critical Infrastructure Protection: Policy and Practice | 3 credits
  • POGO 750 Topics in Policy and Government | 3 credits

National Security Policy and Processes

  • BIOD 609 Biodefense Strategy | 3 credits
  • BIOD 610 Advanced Topics in Global Health Security | 3 credits
  • BIOD 705 Intelligence: Theory and Practice | 3 credits
  • BIOD 706 Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Weapons Policy and Security | 3 credits
  • BIOD 709 Nonproliferation and Arms Control | 3 credits
  • BIOD 751 Biosurveillance | 3 credits
  • GOVT 742 International Negotiation | 3 credits
  • GOVT 755 Seminar in Politics and Bureaucracy | 3 credits
  • GOVT 758 Homeland/Transportation Security Administration | 3 credits
  • PUAD 504 Managing in the International Arena: Theory and Practice | 3 credits
  • PUAD 520 Organization Theory and Management Behavior | 3 credits
  • PUAD 630 Emergency Planning and Preparedness | 3 credits
  • PUAD 634 Management of International Security | 3 credits
  • PUAD 636 The NGO: Policy and Management | 3 credits
  • PUAD 727 Seminar in Risk Assessment and Decision Making | 3 credits
  • PUBP 653 Interagency Operations in Conflict and Post-Conflict Settings | 3 credits
  • PUBP 710 Topics in Public Policy | 3 credits
  • PUBP 740 U.S. Foreign Policy: Formulation and Practice | 3 credits
  • PUBP 743 National Security Management and Policy | 3 credits
  • PUBP 759 National Security Law and Public Policy | 3 credits
  • PUBP 766 Modern Counterinsurgency: Theory and Practice | 3 credits
  • POGO 750 Topics in Policy and Government | 3 credits

Regional and Transnational Security Challenges

  • BIOD 722 Examining Terrorist Groups | 3 credits
  • BIOD 725 Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction | 3 credits
  • BIOD 726 Food Security | 3 credits
  • GOVT 530 Comparative Politics | 3 credits
  • GOVT 631 Seminar in Comparative Politics and Institutions | 3 credits
  • GOVT 731 Advanced Seminar in Comparative Politics | 3 credits
  • GOVT 733 Islam and Politics | 3 credits
  • GOVT 741 Advanced Seminar in International Politics | 3 credits
  • GOVT 743 International Political Economy | 3 credits
  • PUBP 710 Topics in Public Policy | 3 credits
  • PUBP 764 Transnational Crime and Corruption | 3 credits
  • PUBP 769 Political Violence and Terrorism | 3 credits
  • POGO 750 Topics in Policy and Government | 3 credits

If desired, a student can declare one of three concentrations: Intelligence (IN), Peace Operations (PO), and Transnational Challenges (TC). Select four courses of the 15 elective credits within the area of concentration. Preapproved courses include the following. Additional courses must be approved by the student’s academic advisor.

Concentration in Intelligence (IN)

  • BIOD 722 Examining Terrorist Groups | 3 credits
  • BIOD 725 Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction | 3 credits
  • BIOD 610 Advanced Topics in Global Health Security (Specific topic approved by advisor) | 3 credits
  • PUBP 570 Policy Writing Fundamentals | 3 credits
  • PUBP 710 Topics in Public Policy (Specific Topic Approved by Advisor) | 3 credits
  • PUBP 754 Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis for Public Policy | 3 credits
  • POGO 750 Topics in Policy and Government (Specific Topic Approved by Advisor) | 3 credits

Concentration in Peace Operations (PO)

  • PUBP 650 International Conflict and Crisis Response | 3 credits
  • PUBP 651 Peace and Stabilization Operations | 3 credits
  • PUBP 652 Strategies for Peace and Stabilization Operations | 3 credits
  • PUBP 655 State- and Institution-Building | 3 credits
  • PUBP 710 Topics in Public Policy (Specific Topic Approved by Advisor) | 3 credits
  • PUBP 751 International Police Operations | 3 credits

Concentration in Transnational Challenges (TC)

  • BIOD 722 Examining Terrorist Groups | 3 credits
  • PUBP 710 Topics in Public Policy (Specific Topic Approved by Advisor) | 3 credits
  • PUBP 751 International Police Operations | 3 credits
  • PUBP 763 Illicit Trade | 3 credits
  • PUBP 764 Transnational Crime and Corruption | 3 credits
  • PUBP 765 Human Smuggling and Trafficking | 3 credits
  • POGO 750 Topics in Policy and Government (Specific Topic Approved by Advisor) | 3 credits

Tuition (2021-2022)

TUITION CLASSIFICATIONCOST PER CREDIT HOUR
Virginia Resident$743.00
Non-Virginia Resident$1,531.00
Mandatory Student fee$150.25
Total Cost per Credit for Virginia Residents $893.25
Total Cost per Credit for Non-Virginia Residents$1,681.25
Graduate New Student Fee$60 (non-refundable, one-time fee)

Please Note: In addition to the tuition and fees described above, various course and lab fees may be assessed depending on the course(s) in which the student is enrolled. Please refer to the Students Accounts Office website for more information on tuition and fees.

Financial Aid

For information on loans and scholarships, visit the Office of Student Financial Aid. For information regarding grants, tuition waivers and other merit aid, please inquire with your graduate department. Additionally, visit the Office of Military Services for information about Armed Forces Tuition Assistance (TA), a benefit for eligible members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard.

In addition to university-wide resources, the Schar School has a dedicated team of student services and career development advisors to assist you in your academic and professional plans.

The Master’s in International Security program prepares students for a range of industries and roles in the public and private sectors, including with the government, think tanks, defense contractors, and NGOs. Top employers of international security graduates include the Department of Defense, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, Lockheed-Martin, Northrup-Grumman, BAE Systems, the Department of State, Department of Energy, SAIC, and the Brookings Institution, among others.

USEFUL RESOURCES 
Program ContactEllen Laipson
Email: elaipson@gmu.edu
Program Website https://schar.gmu.edu/programs/masters-programs/masters-international-security
School Contact Schar School Graduate Admissions
Phone: (703) 993-8099
Email: schar@gmu.edu
Schar School of Policy and Government Websitehttps://schar.gmu.edu/

Application Requirements

  • Graduate application and fee
  • 750-1,000 word written statement of your goals and interest in the program
  • Current resume
  • Unofficial transcripts from all previous institutions attended in the U.S. For international institutions, transcripts may be unofficial but should include cumulative transcripts, degree certificate, individual semester marksheets (if applicable), and diploma (if applicable)
  • Two letters of recommendation. At least one recommendation should be from an individual who is qualified to attest to the candidate’s academic potential
  • Additional requirements for applicants with international credentials

Scholarship Requirements

The Schar School of Policy and Government awards merit-based scholarships based on an applicant’s academic achievements.

If you have any questions during the application process, please contact schar@gmu.edu or (703) 993-2280.