International Security, MA

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The latest U.S. News & World Report ranks the Schar School No. 4 in Homeland Security studies.

Prepare to Address the World's Greatest Threats

The Master of International Security program prepares students to address enduring and emerging security challenges of the 21st century, by deepening conceptual knowledge of the field, learning in-depth about a range of current security issues, and mastering analytic and policy skills for a career in the field.

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Security for whom?​

In the 21st century, security means many different things: It's not only how defense and law enforcement protect citizens and other national assets, but how security is addressed by international organizations, and by communities and individuals within societies.​ The Schar School's Master of International Security program provides a three-dimensional view of the international security challenges of our time.​

Dana Crigger


“My studies at the Schar School have really expanded my intellectual lens to the strategic challenges facing the nation today.”

Dana Crigger, Master of International Security


Program Highlights

  • Offers a policy-relevant, intellectually rigorous grounding in international security.
  • Provides a solid foundation for students aspiring to work in an array of civilian and military institutions with an international security mission.
  • Engages students directly with faculty and staff in a supportive and collegial environment.


A Degree That Works With Your Schedule

You can earn this degree:

  • On-campus
  • Entirely online in a synchronous format
  • Through a combination of on-campus and online classes
  • Part-time or full-time

Classes are offered in the evening to accommodate working students.

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No GRE required to apply

D.C. and Maryland Pricing Discount

Master's or certificate students who reside in Washington, D.C., and Maryland can qualify for a tuition rate is equivalent to the in-state rate! This new policy applies to Schar School students who begin their degree in fall 2023 or later. 

DC skyline from Arlington at night

Where Our Recent Graduates Work

Pie chart showing graduates' employment industries: Private Sector (Consulting) 41%, Federal Government 31%, Private Sector (General) 14%, NGO/Nonprofit 11%, Multilateral/International 1%, Local Government 1%, Academia 1%

Data gathered from recent graduates from from 2017-21

Top Employers of Recent Graduates

  • BAE Systems
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • The Cohen Group
  • Deloitte Consulting
  • Leidos
  • National Nuclear Security Administration
  • Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)
  • U.S. Central Intelligence Agency
  • U.S. Department of Defense
  • U.S. Department of Education
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • U.S. Department of the Navy
  • U.S. Department of State
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

The median salary of 2020-21 program graduates surveyed after graduation was $80,000.

ISEC Alumni Student: Becca Cooper


“Ultimately, I got into the Master of International Security to focus on conflict resolution, threat analysis, and intelligence. The thing that sets this school apart are the professors. They are at the forefront of their fields."

Becca Cooper
Master of International Security '21


The Master of Arts in International Security program requires 12 courses (36 total credits), including six core courses:

  • International Relations
  • Politics and Practice of International Security Policy
  • Ethics and the Use of Force
  • International Security
  • National Security Technology and Policy
  • Grand Strategy

“A combination of deep academic preparation and insight into the practitioner’s world helps our students have access to the people with the careers they want."

Ellen Laipson
Director of the Master of International Security degree program

ISEC Program Director Ellen Liapson

Practitioner Faculty

With the Schar School's prime location in the Washington, D.C. area, students gain access to leading practitioners who are internationally recognized for their scholarship and advisory roles in the public and private sectors. These faculty bring real-world experience to the classroom, providing you with the mentorship and skill sets needed to advance in your career.

Notable faculty members in the international security program include program director Ellen Laipson, Retired General Michael V. Hayden, Gregory Koblentz, Louise I. Shelley, Sonia Ben Ouagrham-Gormley, Michael Hunzeker, David C. Williams, Robert Dietz, Ambassador Richard Kauzlarich, and many others.

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