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Security Studies

Security Studies


Kansas State University
101D Calvin Hall
802 Mid-Campus Dr. South
Manhattan, KS 66506

Kansas State University
117D Calvin Hall
802 Mid-Campus Dr. South
Manhattan, KS 66506


Fort Leavenworth
Education Center

Audrey Ayers

M. A. in Security Studies

This is a rigorous, interdisciplinary, and professionally-oriented program of graduate studies. The resulting degree provides a broad, analytical perspective on national and international security issues. Coursework concentrates on issues of strategy, politics, economics, and society from both historical and social science perspectives.

Degree requirements

The M.A. in Security Studies requires 30 hours of graduate-level work, consisting of 18 hours of required courses and additional graduate-level electives.

Up to 12 hours of transfer credit from other graduate-level work may be applied. Students at Fort Leavenworth for ILE can normally transfer those 12 hours from their ILE work. The Security Studies admissions committee will evaluate the suitability of transfer credits from other institutions.

The M.A. program is now open to distance students through Global Campus. Distance students must be available to "attend" scheduled classes via VTC (video teleconference) connection.

Required Courses

  1. Foundations of Security Studies (3 hours)--HIST 812 / POLSC 812

    This cross-listed, interdisciplinary course will introduce students to major themes covered in the MA program. It is designed to provide students with foundations for the MA’ s four core courses. It should generally be completed in the first semester in the program, or in the summer prior to starting courses in the fall. Its content will be largely the same from year to year, though individual instructors may tailor it to some degree. Students will read key texts on international security, military history, and strategy, as well as works on the theory and research practice of history and political science. They will write essays on the assigned readings, participate in on-line synchronous and asynchronous discussions, and compose a final paper or take a final exam on the issues raised by the course.
  2. History and Security of Pivotal Regions (6 hours).

    Students will take at least two courses on the history of regions of central importance to international affairs. These courses may focus, for example, on East Asia (HIST 850), Latin America (HIST 851), the Middle East (HIST 852), Russia and Central Asia (HIST 853), India and South Asia (HIST 854), or Modern Africa (HIST 855).
  3. International Security and Transnational Security (6 hours)--POLSC 813 and 814

    POLSC 813--International Security--focuses on traditional issues of the causes of war, deterrence, the relevance/role of international institutions, arms proliferation, the politics of international intervention, and conflict resolution. POLSC 814--Terrorism and Transnational Security--covers less traditional security issues which have become increasingly prominent in recent years. Examples include the unique context of security problems in the developing world, demographic developments and internal/external conflict, environmental issues and their relation to security, economic globalization and security, post-conflict reconstruction, and humanitarian emergencies.
  4. Methodology and Research Design (3 hours)--HIST 810 (2 hours)/815(1 hour)OR POLSC 810(2 hours)/815(1 hour)

    These interdisciplinary courses, which are team-taught together by history and political science faculty, are intended to prepare students to do research in security studies and assist them in executing a research project. HIST 810 / POLSC 810 covers theories, methods,and research design; HIST 815 / POLSC 815 is the culminating experience of the MA program and involves the research and writing of a publishable quality research paper of roughly 30 pages in length.

HIST 810 and POLSC 810 are pre-requisites for HIST 815 and POLSC 815, respectively. Students register for either HIST or POLSC 810 in their first or second semester, and then register for the corresponding 815 course in their final semester in the program.


Students choose elective courses so that their required courses, transfer credits, and electives total 30 hours. Those electives are primarily chosen from among history and political science courses at the 700-level or above. Courses from other departments, and courses below 700-level, may only be taken with permission of the student's supervisory committee. For advice on electives, students should consult with the Director of Security Studies or their supervisory committee.

Supervisory committees:

Each student will be supervised by a master's committee consisting of three members of the Security Studies graduate faculty. As in any graduate program, adjunct professors are eligible to serve on committees. For students at Fort Leavenworth, the MA committee will normally be made up of the Director of Security Studies and the two faculty members teaching 810 / 815. Students in Manhattan may organize their committee the same way, or alternatively may establish a committee made up faculty of their choosing who agree to serve.