Security Studies Field Requirements 

Choosing to minor in Security Studies requires successful completion of a number of substantive courses as well as significant additional reading outside of these courses. Students minoring in Security Studies should complete at least three courses in the field during their first four semesters. Students will then sit for their Qualifying Exams in the August following their second year in the program. Students who are pursuing advanced language training that is pertinent to their field of study may request modifications of this schedule. Changes for this or any other reason must be approved in writing by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Students who intend to seek academic positions upon completion of their dissertation should discuss with their advisor whether majoring in IR and minoring in Security Studies will unduly narrow the categories of jobs for which they will be competitive. All students pursuing the Security Studies minor must complete at least one course in at least two of the four conventional subfields of political science (American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Theory).

Course Work

Students who minor in Security Studies are required to take PSC 749: International Security Theory and at least two of the following courses:

  • PSC 700: Homeland Security – Federal Political and Implementation Challenges
  • PSC 700: Humanitarian Action
  • PSC 706: U.S. National Security: Defense and Foreign Policy
  • PSC 719: Fundamentals of Post-Conflict Reconstruction
  • PSC 754: International Conflict & Peace
  • PSC 759: Crisis Management
  • PSC 785: Comparative Civil-Military Relations
  • ANT 673: Peace & Conflict in the Balkans
  • ANT 701: Multilateral Peacekeeping
  • PAI 717: International Security
  • PAI 727: Responding to Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • PAI 730: U.S. Defense Strategy and Military Operations
  • PAI 730: Central Challenges in National Security
  • LAW 730: National Security Law
  • LAW 790: Counterterrorism and the Law
  • LAW 817: Military Law & Procedure
  • HST 600: History of the National Security State
  • HST 690: War in Modern History
  • HST 690: The Global Cold War

No course may be double counted for the Security Studies minor and for an additional field. Students should select specific courses in close consultation with their advisors and the Director of Graduate Studies.

Qualifying Examinations

Two faculty members in each field coordinate the written examination by contributing questions themselves and soliciting questions from other faculty. Faculty in other departments may be asked for questions if a student has listed their course(s) as relevant to either of their major or minor field concentrations. All relevant faculty will receive a copy of students’ answers and are encouraged to submit written comments. Students take the written exams over two days in one week. The exams are taken in a department-specified computer lab and is closed note/book (no books, computer files, internet, etc.) except for one note sheet. 

For Security Studies, each student must answer two of the available questions. Each essay will be weighted equally, and the faculty recommend that students devote roughly equal amounts of time to drafting each of them. There is no formal reading list, but all members of the faculty stand ready to offer guidance to students in identifying such works. Students who are minoring in Security Studies and majoring in IR may not answer a question from the International Security section on the IR exam.

Following the written exam is the oral exam – which includes field coordinators from students’ major and minor fields as well as a student-selected chair. Oral exams are generally scheduled within 30 days of students’ completion of both written exams and typically last 2 hours. Upon completion of the oral exam, the advisor will notify the Graduate Director in writing that the student has passed with distinction, passed, or failed. In the latter case, the student may retake the exam during the following semester. This option may only be exercised once. Students attain ABD (All But Dissertation) status after passing their qualifying exams, completing all coursework, and defending their dissertation proposal.