M.S. in National Security Affairs and International Relations

The 36 credit M.S. in National Security Affairs and International Relations in the Department of Humanities and Politics is designed to provide students with theoretical, research, and applied skills in the emerging academic field of national security affairs. Students in this program will build a core understanding of critical issues informing the field of national security today, including the assessment and analysis of the threat of terrorism in the U.S. and beyond, and the analysis of intelligence collection. Students will also develop a deep understanding of the international context in which U.S. national security issues are shaped.

National Security Affairs is one of the fastest growing professions with positions open in the public sector in the federal, state and local governments and in the private sector. This program is designed both for professionals and those aspiring for careers in the field, as well as for students with a strong academic interest in security affairs and international relations. The program is offered in entirely online format and in hybrid format. Students selecting the hybrid format would take a combination of courses at the Fort Lauderdale/Davie Campus and online. A minimum of one campus-based course is offered each semester.

Program Information

The program consists of a core of 7 courses (21 credits). Pedagogically, the program core focuses on building the critical analytical skills graduates need to succeed professionally and academically in the field of national security affairs. The ability to critically analyze intelligence information and global security issues, interpret historical and contemporary issues informing the field, and perform textual analyses, defines the program core's most important learning outcomes. The program is offered in entirely online format and in hybrid format. Students selecting the hybrid format would take a combination of courses at the Fort Lauderdale/Davie Campus and online. A minimum of one campus-based course is offered each semester.

Following completion of the program core, students must complete 15 credits of coursework from the list of available electives. The majority of the elective offerings were developed specifically for the national security and international relations program, with a small number drawn from closely related fields. The elective list contains both courses that emphasize domestic security and courses that have a broader international focus, resulting in sufficient breadth of subject matter to allow students to tailor their choices around particular academic or professional interests.

Students interested in Cyber Security can choose to take a specific concentration in this area. Students who choose this option must complete 9 credits from the Cyber Security concentration and 6 credits from the elective list. Before choosing this option students must secure permission from the Department of History and Political Science. After a consultation, it will be determined whether the student can enter the cyber security concentration or if additional foundation courses will be required in order to enter and successfully complete the concentration.

(21 Credits)

Course Number

Course Name

Credit Hours

NSAM 5001 Current Issues in National Security 3
NSAM 5003 National Intelligence Collection 3
NSAM 5004 Border Protection and Military Issues 3
NSAM 5005 Research and Evaluation in National Security Affairs 3
NSAM 5010 U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security 3
NSAM 5014 Ethical Issues in National Security 3
NSAM 5015 International Relations: Theory and Practice 3

(15 Credits) 

Choose from the following:

Course Number

Course Name

Credit Hours

NSAM 5002 Terrorists and Terrorism: Theory and Practice 3
NSAM 5016 Civil Liberties and National Security 3
NSAM 5020 International Law and Institutions 3
NSAM 5030 American Government and Domestic Security 3
NSAM 5040 Cyber Conflicts and Statecraft 3
DEM 5090 Weapons of Mass Threat and Communicable Diseases 3
NSAM 5502 Directed Readings in National Security Affairs 3
NSAM 5650 Economic Statecraft in National Security Affairs 3
NSAM 6130 Practicum/Internship 3
NSAM 6690 Special Topics in National Security Affairs and International Relations 3
NSAM 6700 Directed Thesis in National Security Affairs and International Relations 6

(15 Credits)

Course Number

Course Name

Credit Hours

MMIS 0683 Fundamentals of Security Technologies 3
MMIS 0684 Information Security Management 3
MMIS 0685 Information Security Governance 3
MMIS 0686 Information Systems Auditing 3
MMIS 0687 Information Security Project 3

For the most up to date information on the Cyber Security concentration, please be sure to check the College of Computing and Engineering or contact their department.

In addition to successfully completing all course work, students must EITHER a) pass a comprehensive examination to be administered by the National Security Affairs and International Relations Program; or b) complete a 6 credit, directed thesis option.

When a student has completed all coursework, has maintained a minimum of 3.0 GPA with no "incomplete" grades, and is a "student in good standing" with no disciplinary actions pending or disciplinary tasks to complete, the student will be eligible to take the comprehensive examination. Alternatively, when a student has completed all other coursework in the program, has maintained a minimum of 3.0 GPA with no "incomplete" grades, and is a "student in good standing" with no disciplinary actions pending or disciplinary tasks to complete, the student will be eligible to begin the directed thesis option.

The comprehensive exam is an assessment of the student’s ability to integrate the knowledge and skills gained through course work and is designed to test the student’s written ability to critically analyze and apply course based knowledge to a range of issues. The comprehensive exam will be administered in two parts. Part one will focus on historical and theoretical knowledge acquired through course work, while part two will test student’s ability to apply knowledge and skills acquired through course work to hypothetical security situations. The comprehensive exam will be scored like all major assignments in the program, using a rubric and assessing students’ competencies in regards to program outcomes. Students must receive a grade of 70% or higher to pass the comprehensive exam. The comprehensive exam is a graduation requirement. Students who score below 70% on this requirement must retake the comprehensive exam. The comprehensive exam can be taken a maximum of three times. Students who cannot pass it in three attempts will not graduate. Students must finish all coursework and pass the comprehensive examination within 5 years. The comprehensive exam is offered three times a year: in January, May and August/September.

Faculty members are assigned to review the answers. Students are assigned an examination number. Thus, faculty members do not know whose answers they are reviewing. In order to fail a question, two faculty reviewers must award a failing grade.

The directed thesis serves as a capstone on the student’s experience in the National Security Affairs and International Relations program. As such preparation for this course began on day one of the student’s course of study of in the program. The theories, research methods and analytical skills, and substantive knowledge acquired by the student through the master’s curriculum provide the foundation upon which this thesis project is built. Working under the direction of a designated faculty member in the program students will be responsible for developing and planning an innovative project, crafting a viable thesis, engaging in research using appropriate primary and secondary resource material, and executing a polished work of analysis that contributes to knowledge in the field. In addition to submitting a written thesis, students are required to offer an oral defense of their project. Subject to departmental approval, students may choose to undertake the directed thesis as two, three credit options spread out over two consecutive terms, or as a single six credit option taken in one term.