The BA in International Security and Law is among the first programs in the country to combine the study of security with international law. The international security and law program:

  • Teaches students to analyze enduring and new security challenges related to intelligence, cybersecurity, terrorism, migration, and environmental and technological change.
  • Prepares students to apply these risk-assessment skills to be successful in positions in government, business, and international organizations.


See Undergraduate Admission Policies for more information.


See AP.5 Undergraduate Policies for more information.

Banner Code: PP-BA-ISLW

This page was edited on March 29th, 2024. The total required credits for Additional Coursework were corrected to align with the SCHEV approved program requirements. The Additional Coursework credit requirement for the 2023-2024 catalog previously stated a total of nine required credits and it has been changed to twelve required credits.

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 120

Major Core

GOVT 103Introduction to American Government (Mason Core)3
GOVT 132Introduction to International Politics (Mason Core)3
GOVT 133Introduction to Comparative Politics (Mason Core)3
Total Credits9

Advanced Core

Select one of the following (with director approval):3
Grand Challenges to Human Security (Mason Core)
Introduction to Global Affairs (Mason Core)
GOVT 342Diplomacy3
GOVT 346American Security Policy3
GOVT 347International Security3
GLOA 387Human Security, Globalization, and Development3
GOVT 441Grand Strategy3
GOVT 443Law and Ethics of War3
GOVT 446International Law and Organization3
GOVT 490Synthesis Seminar (Mason Core)3
Total Credits27

Professional Skills Core

GOVT 300Research Methods and Analysis (Mason Core)4
GOVT 435Data Analysis for Comparative and International Politics3
Select 3 credits from the following:3
Issues in Political Analysis (3 credits selected within areas of Game Theory, Textual Analysis, Discourse Analysis, Data Visualization, or as approved by program advisor)
Introduction to Computational and Data Sciences (Mason Core)
Modeling and Simulation I
Introduction to Social Network Analysis (Mason Core)
Scientific Information and Data Visualization
Scientific Data and Databases
Scientific Data Mining
Introduction to Public Relations
Mass Communication and Public Policy
Argument and Public Policy (Mason Core)
Introductory Statistics II
Introduction to Exploratory Data Analysis
Total Credits10

Additional Coursework

Select 12 credits from the following: 112
Issues in Government and Politics 2
Government and Politics of Latin America
Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa
Government and Politics of Asia
Government and Politics of Europe
Government and Politics of Russia
Central Asian Politics
Chinese Foreign Policy
American Foreign Policy
Islam and Politics
Introduction to Environmental Policy
Intermediate Environmental Policy
Issues in International Studies 2
Human Rights
Revolution and International Politics
Ethics and International Politics
Justice and Reconciliation
Global Conflict Analysis and Resolution (Mason Core)
Social Dynamics of Terrorism, Security, and Justice
Human Rights and Inequality
Introduction to Homeland Security
Human Rights and Justice
Introduction to the Intelligence Community
Law and Justice around the World (Mason Core)
Theory and Politics of Terrorism
Global Health (Mason Core)
Sustainable World (Mason Core)
Introduction to Global Affairs (Mason Core)
Conflict, Trauma and Healing
Topics in Global Affairs 2
Social Justice and Human Rights (Mason Core)
Human Trafficking and Smuggling
Ethics and the Cybersociety (Mason Core)
Global Environmental Ethics (Mason Core)
Total Credits12

At least six of the twelve credits must be from GOVT courses.


Topics to include Law and Security, Technology and Security, National Security Budgeting, or at the program director's discretion.


Topics included at the program director's discretion.

Applied Skills Requirement

Competence-based coursework6
Total Credits6

Students must complete 6 credits of competence-based coursework taken from any combination of:


Any remaining credits may be completed with electives to bring the degree total to 120.

Mason Core 

Some Mason Core requirements may already be fulfilled by the major requirements listed above. Students are strongly encouraged to consult their advisors to ensure they fulfill all remaining Mason Core requirements.

Students who have completed the following credentials are eligible for a waiver of the Foundation and Exploration (lower level) requirement categories. The Integration category (upper level) is not waived under this policy. See Admissions for more information. 

  • VCCS Uniform Certificate of General Studies
  • VCCS or Richard Bland Associate of Science (A.S.), Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Arts and Sciences (A.A.&S.), or Associate of Fine Arts (A.F.A.)
Foundation Requirements
Written Communication (ENGH 101)3
Oral Communication3
Quantitative Reasoning3
Information Technology and Computing3
Exploration Requirements
Global History3
Global Understanding3
Natural Science7
Social and Behavioral Sciences3
Integration Requirements
Written Communications (ENGH 302)3
Writing-Intensive 13
Synthesis/Capstone 23
Total Credits40

Most programs include the writing-intensive course designated for the major as part of the major requirements; this course is therefore not counted towards the total required for Mason Core.


Minimum 3 credits required.

Honors in the Major

Highly qualified students majoring in an undergraduate Schar School program may pursue advanced work leading to graduation with honors in the major. Those students selected for participation in this program take a two-course sequence: GOVT 491 Honors Seminar (Mason Core) and GOVT 496 Directed Readings and Research. To graduate with honors in the major, students must complete these courses with a minimum GPA of 3.50.