Security Studies

Delivering quality research and education across security fields.

With a faculty drawn from the alphabet agencies and think tanks of nearby Washington, D.C., the Schar School of Policy and Government’s security studies programs take students on an immersive academic experience unlike any other. Our programs prepare students to become leaders who face down the country's and the world’s largest challenges in policy, intelligence, terrorism, biodefense, emergency management, and diplomacy, among others.

No. 4 in the U.S. for security studies programs

In 2024 U.S. News and World Report ranked the Schar School No. 4 in the U.S. for security studies-related programs. Security studies includes the school’s international security and biodefense programs, as well as a concentration in emergency management and homeland security, and an emphasis in national security.

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Security studies-related programs are offered in the following areas:

    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.

    Photo of Andrew McCabe

    Andrew McCabe

    Distinguished Visiting Professor of Homeland Security,
    Former Deputy Director of the FBI

    Photo of Ellen Laipson

    Ellen Laipson

    Program Director, Master's in International Security 
    Director, Center of Security Policy Studies

    Photo of Michael V. Hayden

    Michael V. Hayden

    Distinguished Visiting Professor,
    Former Director of the NSA & CIA

    Photo of Gregory Koblentz

    Gregory Koblentz

    Program Director, Biodefense Graduate Programs


    As experts in their fields, the Schar School’s faculty are renowned for their active role in research, policy analysis, and recommendations on key issues that captivate the Washington, D.C. policy community. Whether related to an imminent issue or an overlooked topic, there is an expert at the Schar School who can address the most current research, regulations, and policies regarding the issue.

    Security Studies
    Global Politics Fellows photo

    World-Renowned Research Centers

    The Schar School of Policy and Government research centers, institutes, and initiatives focus on issues ranging from international security and policy studies to energy science. Each unit is headed by a distinguished Schar School faculty member, who harnesses the resources of the School as well as those of external sponsors to conduct a wide range of projects.

    Annette Prieto, Master’s in Biodefense '19

    “I chose to continue my education at the Schar School, because the program offered biodefense, security studies, and global health security. The classes cover accidental biothreats, natural events, and intentional acts of bioterrorism.”
    —Annette Prieto, Master’s in Biodefense '19

    Becca Cooper, Master's in International Security student

    "Ultimately, I wanted to get my Master's in International Security, focusing on conflict resolution, threat analysis, and intelligence. The thing that sets the school apart are the professors. They are at the forefront of their fields."
    —Becca Cooper, Master's in International Security student

    Rebecca Ames, Master's in International Security student

    “The [Master's in International Security] program has forced me to put things together in new ways. By combining practical application with theory, students are able to obtain the knowledge needed to work in the security field.”
    —Rebecca Ames, Master's in International Security student