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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. Students will supplement their core courses by taking electives from each of three focus areas:

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


See Graduate Admission Policies for general information on graduate admission to George Mason University. Specific information on application requirements and deadlines for the MA in International Security program may be found on the Schar admissions website.

Completed applications for fall and spring semesters are reviewed on a rolling basis, with late applications considered on a space-available basis. Students may be admitted for nondegree study and apply a limited number of credits toward the master's degree should they choose to apply to the degree program later, in accordance with university policy.


Students admitted to a Schar program will be terminated from Schar upon receiving one grade of F and are no longer eligible to take courses in Schar. Per university regulation, students are terminated from the university after accumulating grades of F in two courses or 9 credits of unsatisfactory grades in graduate courses. For additional information, see Graduate policies.

Banner Code: PP-MA-INLS

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 39

International Security Core Courses

GOVT 540International Relations3
PUBP 505Politics and Practice of International Security Policy3
PUBP 506Ethics and the Use of Force3
GOVT 745International Security3
GOVT 744Foundations of Security Studies3
PUBP 504Grand Strategy3
GOVT 511Problem Solving and Data Analysis I3
or PUBP 511 Statistical Methods in Policy Analysis
Total Credits21


Focus area courses have been selected to provide additional breadth and depth on specific security challenges or areas of policy debate.

Select six elective courses (18 credits), including at least one course (3 credits) from each of the three areas below. Exceptions must be approved by the student advisor.18
Managing Global Risks
National Security Policy and Processes
Regional and Transnational Security Challenges
Total Credits18

Managing Global Risks

BIOD 610Advanced Topics in Global Health Security3
BIOD 620Global Health Security Policy3
GOVT 641Global Governance3
GOVT 734Democratization3
GOVT 739Issues in Comparative and International Politics3
GOVT 741Advanced Seminar in International Politics3
PUAD 631Disaster Response Operations and Recovery3
PUAD 637Managing Homeland Security3
PUBP 654Analysis for Peace Operations3
PUBP 655State- and Institution-Building4
PUBP 710Topics in Public Policy3
PUBP 714Topics in Transportation Policy, Operations, and Logistics3
PUBP 751International Police Operations3
PUBP 777Critical Infrastructure Protection: Policy and Practice3

National Security Policy and Processes

BIOD 609Biodefense Strategy3
BIOD 610Advanced Topics in Global Health Security1-4
BIOD 705Intelligence: Theory and Practice3
BIOD 706Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Weapons Policy and Security3
BIOD 709Nonproliferation and Arms Control3
BIOD 751Biosurveillance3
GOVT 713The Constitution, Criminal Procedure, and Security3
GOVT 742International Negotiation3
GOVT 746Media and International Affairs3
GOVT 755Seminar in Politics and Bureaucracy3
GOVT 758Homeland/Transportation Security Administration3
GOVT 759Issues in Public Administration and Management1-3
GOVT 841Ethics and Human Rights in International Affairs3
GOVT 843Diplomacy3
PUAD 504Managing in the International Arena: Theory and Practice3
PUAD 520Organization Theory and Management Behavior3
PUAD 630Emergency Planning and Preparedness3
PUAD 634Management of International Security3
PUAD 636The NGO: Policy and Management3
PUAD 727Seminar in Risk Assessment and Decision Making3
PUBP 653Interagency Operations in Conflict and Post-Conflict Settings3
PUBP 710Topics in Public Policy1-3
PUBP 740U.S. Foreign Policy: Formulation and Practice3
PUBP 743National Security Management and Policy3
PUBP 759National Security Law and Public Policy3
PUBP 766Modern Counterinsurgency: Theory and Practice3

Regional and Transnational Security Challenges

BIOD 722Examining Terrorist Groups3
BIOD 725Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction3
BIOD 726Food Security3
GOVT 530Comparative Politics3
GOVT 631Seminar in Comparative Politics and Institutions3
GOVT 641Global Governance3
GOVT 731Advanced Seminar in Comparative Politics3
GOVT 733Islam and Politics3
GOVT 734Democratization3
GOVT 741Advanced Seminar in International Politics3
GOVT 743International Political Economy3
GOVT 746Media and International Affairs3
PUBP 710Topics in Public Policy3
PUBP 764Transnational Crime and Corruption3
PUBP 769Political Violence and Terrorism3

Bachelor's Degree (any)/International Security, Accelerated MA


Highly-qualified undergraduates in any major may apply to the accelerated MA degree program in International Security. If accepted students will be able to earn a bachelor's degree in their major and an MA in International Security with a reduced number of overall credits and within a reduced time frame, sometimes within five years. More information on bachelor's/accelerated master's programs may be found in AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees.

Students in an accelerated degree program must fulfill all university requirements for the master's degree. See AP.6.9 Requirements for Master's Degrees.


Please see Graduate Admission Policies for general information on graduate admission to George Mason University. Specific information on application requirements and deadlines may be found on the Schar admissions website.

To be considered for this accelerated master's program, applicants must have completed a minimum of 75 credits, including at least 12 credits of Government, Economics and/or Global Affairs courses, and have a minimum GPA of 3.50 in all coursework applied to the degree.

Accelerated Option Requirements

While undergraduate students, accelerated master's students complete two graduate courses (six credits) that may be counted toward both the bachelor's and master's degrees. In addition, students may take another two courses (six credits) to be held as reserve graduate credit and count only toward the master's degree. The courses are:

GOVT 540International Relations3
PUBP 504Grand Strategy3
PUBP 506Ethics and the Use of Force3
GOVT 511Problem Solving and Data Analysis I3
or PUBP 511 Statistical Methods in Policy Analysis
or PUAD 511 Problem Solving and Data Analysis I

Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 in these courses and in coursework applied to their major.

Upon completion and conferral of the undergraduate degree in the semester indicated in the application, students must submit the Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition Form to apply credits to the master's degree. Students must begin their master's program the semester immediately following conferral of the undergraduate degree (excluding summer).