1. A minimum of 46 quarter units of acceptable graduate-level work, with at least 36 quarter units completed in residence at California State University, San Bernardino. Thirty-two quarter units must be in 600-level courses;
  2. A grade point average of at least 3.0 ("B") in all national security studies program courses taken;
  3. Choose Option A or B:
    1. Completion of acceptable comprehensive final written and oral examinations;
    2. Completion and defense of an original master's thesis;
  4. The graduation writing requirement will be satisfied by achieving a minimum grade point average of 3.0 ("B") in all three core courses. Each core course will allow the student to develop competence in three forms of writing traditional to the field:
    1. Critical book reviews (PSCI 600),
    2. Chapter length essay (PSCI 601),
    3. Article length essay (PSCI 602) and the process of "peer review";
  5. Any additional general requirements not cited above and listed on Page 368.

Classified graduate students in the Master of Arts program must complete their degree requirements within five years of admission to the program. Students in classified status who fail to register for at least one course in the program each quarter will automatically be declassified. PSCI 698. Continuous Enrollment for Graduate Candidacy Standing must be taken if another course is not taken during a given quarter.

The instructor in each 600-level course will complete an evaluation of each student's performance and potential to complete the program successfully. These evaluations will be reviewed by the program director and maintained in the student's file for early consultation with the student about his or her future prospects in the program.

The Master of Arts in National Security Studies is a thesis option course of study requiring either written and oral comprehensive examinations (to be taken in the last quarter of program course work) or a thesis. Students with less than a 3.0 grade point average in the program will not be permitted to take the examinations or propose a thesis. All students are required to take the prerequisite and core courses. In addition, students are required to select a Regional Field (e.g. Eurasia, Middle East) or a Functional Field (e.g. Terrorism, Intelligence, etc.) to be arranged between faculty advisor and student, and approved by the NSS Director.

Comprehensive Examination

Comprehensive examinations must be taken in the core and the regional field or functional field. The comprehensive examination committee for each candidate will consist of the core advisor, the advisor of the field and a third faculty member from the department. The examinations will be graded credit/no credit.

An oral examination by the student's committee follows successful completion of the written examination. The oral examination is open for public attendance, but not participation. Should the candidate fail one or more written or oral examination areas, the entire oral or written examination may be repeated one time after remedial course work or study is completed. The scope and deadline for completion of this remedial work will be determined by the student's examination committee at a post-examination conference.

Students must enroll in the Political Science Comprehensive Examination, PSCI 999.


The criteria for determining who will be allowed to choose the thesis option will be determined by the proposed thesis committee. Students are still required to develop a course of study consistent with the core and one field, as noted above. After completion of a minimum of 30 quarter units, the student will request three faculty to form a preliminary committee, at least two of whom have instructed a course that the student has taken in the program.

Prerequisite courses (12 units)

  1. MATH 110. College Algebra (4)
  2. PSCI 203. American Government (4)
  3. PSCI 484. National Security Policy (4)

Degree Requirements (46 units)

Core courses (16 units)

  1. PSCI 600. Theory and History of Strategy (4)
  2. PSCI 601. Strategic Systems and Strategic Thought (4)
  3. PSCI 602. International Security (4)
  4. Four units chosen from:
    • MATH 611. Operations Analysis (4)
    • PSCI 609. International Relations Theory (4)
    • PSCI 624. Politics of National Security (4)
    • Note: MATH 611 requires a prerequisite of a statistics course.

Field (12 units)

Students must take either A or B in consultation with their faculty advisor, courses to be selected from the list below and approved by the program director:

  1. Regional Area of Concentration (12 units)
    • Eurasia
    • Middle East
    • East Asia
    • Others, to be arranged between faculty advisor, students and approved by the NSS Director.
  2. Functional Area of Concentration (12 units)
    • Intelligence
    • Terrorism
    • Others, to be arranged between faculty advisor, students and approved by the NSS Director.

Electives (16-18 units)

  1. Eighteen units chosen from among courses not used for either the core or field requirements listed below. Students who elect to complete PSCI 699 must choose 16 units.
    • ECON 630. International Economic Issues (4)
    • ENG 631. Approaches to Professional Writing (4)
    • HIST 521. The Soviet Union (4)
    • HIST 556. Foreign Relations of the United States (4)
    • MATH 611. Operations Analysis (4) (if not taken as part of the core requirements)
    • PSCI 540. Seminar in Comparative Politics (4) when the topic is Central Asian Politics, East Asian Politics, Eastern Europe, or Middle East Politics
    • PSCI 581. Political Economy of Russia (4)
    • PSCI 590. Seminar in International Relations (4) when the topic is Political Intelligence, Seapower, or International Terrorism
    • PSCI 604. Seminar in International Law (4)
    • PSCI 605. Topics in Strategy (4)
    • PSCI 606. International Terrorism (4)
    • PSCI 609. International Relations Theory (4) (if not taken as part of core requirement)
    • PSCI 611. Regional Security of Eurasia (4)
    • PSCI 613. Middle East Security (4)
    • PSCI 614. Regional Security of East Asia (4)
    • PSCI 621. Strategic Intelligence (4)
    • PSCI 622. Arms Control (4)
    • PSCI 624. Politics of National Security (4)
    • PSCI 625. American Foreign Policy (4)
    • SSCI 695. Directed Graduate Studies (2 or 4) for a maximum of (10)

Culminating Experience

  1. Students must complete A or B below:
  2. PSCI 999. Comprehensive Examination (0)
  3. PSCI 699. Thesis (2)

Forty-four units of course work and two units of thesis must be completed before the degree will be awarded.


Some internships in government service are occasionally available on a competitive basis. Other nonprofit research internships are available.

Transfer Credit

A maximum of 10 quarter hours of acceptable postbaccalaureate credit taken at an accredited institution of higher learning may be applied toward the requirements for the M.A. in National Security Studies. Selected Department of Defense courses (War College, Command and Staff College and Squadron Officers School) have been approved for transfer credit. Determination of acceptability of transfer credit requests is made upon receipt of official transcripts by the Office of Records, Registration and Evaluations and upon recommendation of the director of national security studies.

For more information please visit our website. National Security Studies Office