International Security Studies


This concentration prepares students to consume and contribute to the debate about vital international security issues, including: why states fight wars, when should and do states intervene in other states' internal conflicts, how states make choices among alternative security strategies, how to balance state security and democratic/privacy ideals, the influence of energy on foreign policy, other economic aspects of international security, civil-military relations, cyber threats, and the dynamic between terrorists and governments.


Security is the core purpose of states. For this reason, the interactions of states—their international relations and affairs—focus heavily on security issues. At the same time, security issues are deeply intertwined with other concerns, such as energy, economic, industry and technology, migration, and identity. Together these topics create a dense and intricate web of policy challenges, the study of which requires understanding both a wide variety of topics and how they interact to influence global security.


Students wishing to receive attestation certifying the depth of their specialization in this particular area will be required to successfully complete at least four of the courses listed below.

Please note that this list will be reviewed from time to time depending on the available course offerings at any given time. Students should check the availability of these courses with the SIA academic advisor and the individual course instructors. Students should also determine if there are pre-requisites for enrolling in a particular course.


  1. Strategy, Conflict, Peace — INTAF 505 (3 credits)
  2. Domestic Influences on Foreign Policy — INTAF 508 (3 credits)
  3. Weapons for Mass Destruction and International Security — INTAF 597* (3 credits)
  4. Dealing with Dictators — INTAF 597* (3 credits)
  5. Deception and Counterdeception — INTAF 897* (3 credits)
  6. Grand Strategies of Established and Rising Powers — INTAF 597* (3 credits)
  7. Diplomacy and Statecraft in a Changing World — INTAF 597* (3 credits)
  8. Energy, International Security, and the Global Economy — INTAF 810 (3 credits)
  9. The Role of Intelligence in International Relations — INTAF 812 (3 credits)
  10. U.S. Policy in the Middle East — INTAF 814 (3 credits)
  11. Dynamics of International Economic Order: Law, Politics, and Power — INTAF 815 (3 credits)
  12. War and Peace — INTAF 816 (3 credits)
  13. U.S. National Security — INTAF 818 (3 credits)
  14. National Security Law I (Foundations) — LWPER 947*** (3 credits)
  15. National Security Law II (Leadership is Crisis Simulation) — EXPR 947*** (3 credits)
  16. The Military, Law, and National Security Seminar — ULWR 905*** (2 credits)
  17. Psychology of Terrorism — PL SC 439 (3 credits)
  18. Dictators and their Demise — PL SC 414 (3 credits)
  19. Seminar on State-Making — PL SC 597* (3 credits)
  20. Psychology of Terrorism — PL SC 571 (3 credits)
  21. Terrorism — PL SC 567 (3 credits)
  22. Counterterrorism — PL SC 569 (3 credits)
  23. Multinational Corporations — CCLAW 968 (3 credits)
  24. Social Conflict — SOC 425 (3 credits)
  25. Introduction to Homeland Security — HLS 401 (3 credits**)
  26. Homeland Security Administration — HLS 801 (3 credits**)
  27. Violence, Terror, Threats, and Insurgencies — HLS 805 (3 credits**)
  28. U.S. Homeland Security Law — HLS 875 (3 credits**)

* Frequency and availability of Special Topics courses will vary each semester.

** World Campus class; must discuss with the SIA Director of Academic Advising prior to course enrollment.

*** Penn State Law class; must discuss with the SIA Director of Academic Advising prior to course enrollment