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National Security Studies

Master of Arts

The Master of Arts in National Security Studies provides executive-level education in national and international security policy with concentrations in homeland security, intelligence analysis, cyber security, terrorism studies, and regional security studies. Knowledge gained in this online master’s program is useful for careers in the defense industry, military, U.S. and foreign governments, and the private sector.

The program includes a solid foundation in agency operations and theory, and studies the complex problems found in today’s uncertain security environment. You will be taught by experienced faculty who remain active in the national security arena, helping to ensure relevancy in this continuously expanding field.

Graduates of the program are career professionals found across the national and international security community as civilian and military leaders, policymakers, action-officers, analysts, instructors, and consultants. This program also provides a strong academic stepping stone for our doctoral programs in global security and strategic intelligence.

Program Courses

The curriculum for this program follows industry trends to help ensure relevancy to today's marketplace. View all courses.

The national securities studies capstone seminar will be your culminating requirement to earn this degree. Through the capstone, you will create a research proposal and write a thesis to prove your proficiency in the subject.

Program Objectives

In addition to the institutional and degree level learning objectives, graduates of this program are expected to achieve program specific learning outcomes and be able to:

  • Appraise classic and contemporary theories, strategies, doctrines, and procedures related to the causes, conduct, and termination of armed conflict and the maintenance of peace.
  • Assess and predict traditional and non-traditional threats to national and international security.
  • Compare the structures, functions, capabilities, and activities of national and international security community members.
  • Conduct advanced research and compose professional and academic analyses on issues critical to national and international security.

Degree at a Glance


Concentrations are designed to help you group courses together so you can further specialize in your field and pursue a more focused path to degree completion. You will be asked to select a concentration when you enroll in this program.

Explore the concentrations available for this program.



Analyzes the cyber discipline from a multidisciplinary perspective. Topics include: current cyber policy and strategy for non-practitioners in a national security framework; laws related to intellectual property, civil litigation, criminal prosecutions, and cybersecurity; and the privacy, ethical, economic, and societal issues that face today’s information-entrenched society.

Sample Courses

  • LSTD517 - Law, Ethics and Cybersecurity
  • NSEC506 - Cyber Policy and Practice in National Security
  • ISSC630 - Advanced Cybercrime Analysis
  • ISSC631 - Cyber Ethics: Privacy and Intellectual Property


This general concentration allows you to select from more than two dozen different concentration courses offered within this program, enabling you to create your own focused area of study.  View course catalog for details.  

View other concentrations in this program to see sample courses.


Homeland Security

Explores contemporary threats to the U.S. and the organizations, capabilities, and activities of America’s homeland defense community. Covers the efforts to prevent, prepare, and respond to the use of weapons of mass destruction, the role of risk management in the prevention of loss, and the development of drug cartels and their organization, production, and distribution networks.

Sample Courses

  • CMRJ526 - Drug Cartels and the Narcotics Threat
  • HLSS502 - Homeland Security and Defense
  • HLSS505 - Security Risk Management
  • HLSS522 - Weapons of Mass Destruction and the New Terrorism
  • HLSS523 - Domestic Terrorism and Extremist Groups
  • INTL613 - Intelligence and Homeland Security

Regional Security Studies

Examines the forces reshaping world politics and analyzes the institutions that are fostering new forms of global governance. Topics include the role of diplomacy in national security policy development and implementation, and the strategic, operational, and tactical elements required for conducting peace operations.

Sample Courses

  • HIST572 - History of East Asia
  • NSEC608 - Regional Security Cooperation
  • HIST670 - History and Culture of Latin America
  • MILH669 - Arab-Israeli Conflict: Contemporary Politics & Diplomacy
  • IRLS613 - International Negotiation
  • IRLS615 - Peacekeeping: Structure and Process
  • IRLS631 - Government and Security in Korea
  • IRLS655 - Latin American Security Issues
  • IRLS660 - Seminar in Middle East Politics and Security
  • IRLS662 - Middle Eastern Culture
  • HIST573 - History of the Middle East
  • NSEC612 - National Security and Diplomacy

Security and Intelligence Analysis

Covers advanced security and intelligence analysis methods used to convey issues critical to national and international security. Examines the forces reshaping world politics, analyzes the institutions that are fostering new forms of global governance, and discusses the current structure, function, capabilities, and contributions of individual U.S. national intelligence community members.

Sample Courses

  • IRLS600 - Strategic Geography and Geopolitics
  • INTL501 - Strategic Intelligence
  • INTL502 - Collection
  • INTL507 - Intelligence Operations
  • NSEC608 - Regional Security Cooperation
  • INTL508 - Intelligence Analysis

Terrorism Studies

Evaluates the causes of and threats from domestic and international terrorism, as well as the organizations, capabilities, and activities of the international security community in the global war on terrorism. Also analyzes U.S. and international policies for combating terrorism, terrorist tactics worldwide, and the scope of terrorism.

Sample Courses

  • INTL650 - Counterterrorism
  • INTL652 - Terrorism: Assessing the Past to Forecast the Future
  • MILS671 - The Non-State Soldier
  • NSEC614 - Political Psychology of Terror Groups
  • HLSS522 - Weapons of Mass Destruction and the New Terrorism
  • HLSS523 - Domestic Terrorism and Extremist Groups

Admission Requirements

Please be prepared to submit a legible copy of your valid government-issued photo ID (civilian students) or government issued JST or CCAF transcript (military students) upon request.

An APU admissions representative will contact you with further details about how to submit the required documentation after you complete the enrollment application.

Need help?

Selecting the right program to meet your educational goals is a key step in ensuring a successful outcome. If you are unsure of which program to choose, or need more information, please contact an APU admissions representative at 877-755-2787 or

Graduate Tuition Rates 

Per credit hour: $350 | $325 with military grant*

View Tuition and Fees Details  

*To help minimize out-of-pocket costs, APU offers a tuition grant for U.S. active-duty servicemembers, Guard, Reserve, military spouses and dependents, and veterans. See all military-affiliated student benefits.

Paying for School

Because our university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), (the same as the Ohio State University, Univ. of Chicago, and U.S. Air Force Academy, to name a few), we can accept the following forms of financial aid and payments:

Ways to Save

Transfer Credits 

Accelerate your degree completion by taking full advantage of our transfer credit options, including credit for your previous college courses, military service schools, American Council on Education (ACE) and College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests, and prior learning experiences.  

Employer Contributions

APU has educational partnerships with many employers and associations. Be sure to accurately enter your employer information when you complete our admissions application. Your employer might also offer a tuition reimbursement plan as one of your benefits.