The Schar School Announces New Undergraduate Degree Program: International Security and Law

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Heba El-Shazli: ‘Organizations need people who understand the myriad threats out there and potential solutions.’
Heba El-Shazli: ‘Organizations need people who understand the myriad threats out there and potential solutions.’

A new, one-of-a-kind undergraduate degree program at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University will prepare students to help organizations and agencies assess risk and propose policy solutions to international threats based on knowledge of law and diplomacy.

Students can apply now to begin their degree in International Security and Law in fall 2023. The bachelor of arts degree program joins the Schar School’s existing undergraduate programs, Public Administration and Government and International Politics.

The new program was created to respond to the increasingly complex relationships among traditional threats such as war and nuclear proliferation, and nontraditional, including cyberattacks and forced migration crisis. The courses within the new program will provide students with the skills to identify threats to international security, understand laws which enable and inhibit methods to address these threats, and to apply methodological tools to evaluate solutions.

“Leaders around the globe need policy analysts capable of navigating a range of challenges,” said George Mason University Provost and Executive Vice President Mark R. Ginsberg in describing the program. “Security threats of all kinds take on new urgency and lethality in today’s digitally connected world. Security practitioners require access to a range of innovative tools and diverse policymaking frameworks to cope with these challenges.”

“In a complex world where nations’ actions can have serious consequences to human security, organizations need people who understand the myriad threats out there and potential solutions,” said associate professor Heba El-Shazli, director of undergraduate programs at the Schar School.

In this program, she said, “students will graduate with sharp critical thinking and analysis skills and be able to contribute to the risk and security departments of private industry as well as, for example, the United Nations; international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund; various security-focused research think tanks; and government contractors. We have already had prospective students contact us about pursuing this path, and our faculty are just as excited to launch this program.”

“We are gratified that in approving the program the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia agreed the world needs educated and motivated practitioners who are prepared to address the most significant challenges facing modern times,” said Mark J. Rozell, dean of the Schar School. “It’s telling that nearly half of prospective students we surveyed indicated they intend to continue their education at the graduate level. We believe this will be a very popular major.”