Sep 28, 2022  
USC Catalogue 2022-2023 
    
USC Catalogue 2022-2023

Global Security Studies (MA)


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Allen Hancock Foundation Building B55
(213) 740-5910
FAX: (213) 740-9687
Email: spatialsciences@dornsife.usc.edu

Director: John P. Wilson, PhD

The Master of Arts in Global Security Studies is an innovative two-year program designed to prepare individuals for careers in public service, the private sector or the non-governmental organization (NGO) arena to contribute in the ever-expanding global civil society. The Global Security Studies program leverages the interdisciplinary strengths of four world-class entities: the School of International Relations in the USC Department of Political Science and International Relations, the USC Shoah Foundation, the USC Spatial Sciences Institute and the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies.

Building upon a substantial undergraduate background in social sciences or relevant professional experience in domains such as international relations, political science, public policy, environmental science and geographic information science, the Global Security Studies program provides the background for professions in areas requiring an understanding of human conflict and threats to peace and security. Global security issues can arise from natural disasters, humanitarian crises, environmental vulnerability, public health issues, terrorist attacks, political violence, genocide, food/resource accessibility challenges and other natural and manmade occurrences.

The overarching goal of the curriculum is to provide students with the abilities to develop a deep, comprehensive understanding of the human impacts from socio-political and environmental crises, combined with cutting-edge analytical methodologies and technologies that support policy research, analysis and recommendations. Students delve more deeply into one of three concentration areas: Intelligence and Security, Global Security and Intervention or Environmental Security.

Hallmarks of this program include developing competencies to:

  • effectively identify, acquire and analyze data, especially geo-referenced data;
  • formulate policy strategies that support stability in contemporary global settings;
  • capture testimonies through real-time interviewing techniques and use the power of testimonial narrative in support of policy goals; and
  • develop briefing and presentation skills necessary for professionals at the forefront of policy change.

The program curriculum also emphasizes experiential learning approaches. During the summer semester bridging the first and second year of the program, students participate in a practicum that includes a problems-based learning (PBL) policy exercise, followed by a multi-week full-time internship. The internship options are identified by the program faculty and staff, and include organizations with long-standing relationships with the USC Shoah Foundation, the USC Dornsife Washington, DC Program and the Vrije Universiteit Brussels.

In the second year of the program, students apply policy skills mastered in their first-year courses, the PBL workshop and internship experience to identify a human security policy issue, provide a comprehensive review of related existing literature and current research and offer possible policy prescriptions aimed at mitigating the impact of the problem explored.

Throughout the program, students will work with faculty and advisers from the faculty program board, which includes individuals with distinguished careers in international relations, national security, geospatial intelligence and policy.

Concentration (8 units)


Selected in consultation with an adviser, students are required to take two courses in one of three concentration areas.

  • Intelligence and Security
  • Global Security and Intervention
  • Environmental Security 

Recommended courses are as follows:

Units Required: 40


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