National Security and Intelligence Studies
Receive multiple-aspect training of homeland and international security issues.
Our degree emphasizes best practices, including an all-hazards approach to the field.
Complete your master’s degree in one to two years.
Advanced preparation for leadership in the field of National Security.
Increase the safety of your nation and go further in your career with the Master of Arts in National Security and Intelligence Studies offered by Notre Dame College Online.
A degree not commonly offered by other schools, our online master’s degree in national security and intelligence studies gives you the specialized training you need to enter leadership roles in the security field.
Our NSIS program is taught by doctorally-qualified faculty with exceptional experience in the classroom and backgrounds in the field, including in the FBI and NATO, and scholars with publications on national security.
Active or Reserve National Guard members are eligible for a 10% tuition discount and can submit NIMS certifications for up to nine credit hours toward this degree.
Rated one of the most affordable Online Master’s in Homeland Security Programs in 2020.
Topics of Study
Develop a comprehensive understanding of preparation and resilience on a national level as you study key topics like:
- Infrastructure resiliency
- Threat analysis
- Terrorism and counterterrorism
- Research methods
- Security policy
With the online master’s degree in national security and intelligence studies, you will have the advantage of learning from instructors invested in your success. Touting years of experience in the intelligence and national security fields, our professors are here to teach you professional decision-making skills, increase your understanding of processes and help you reach your career goals.
When you graduate, you will be well-prepared for any number of careers. Graduates of our program go on to work in federal government, professional intelligence, investigation, law enforcement and other areas of public service.
The Master of Arts in National Security and Intelligence Studies is offered online for your convenience. With only a few hours of on-campus weekend requirements, you will have the ability to study on a schedule that fits around your needs. The program can be completed in as little as one to two years.
This Program Is Designed For:
- Security and intelligence professionals who wish to advance into leadership positions
- Individuals seeking to change careers to enter the national security sector
- Working adults who want to earn an advanced degree in a flexible format
- Military and National Guard officers seeking promotion
Courses & Requirements
Your course of study with Notre Dame College Online will help you earn the credential you need to take the next step in your career. Our online M.A. in National Security and Intelligence Studies requires a total of 36 credit hours.
Course Description Credits SPS 500Each incoming student joins a study group of four or five students selected for diversity of skills and experience. During this course, students focus on how to motivate and lead teams as well as how to support the leadership of others. Students will undertake a critical evaluation of the ethical responsibilities of prospective senior leaders as well as how to think critically about strategic challenges in the current and future security environments. Student will analyze how to employ best available tools to lead solutions and learn about strategies for linking resources and capabilities with security objectives. This course also provides students with an overview of the rest of the program. 2 SPS 510This course is designed to instruct students in advanced methodologies of program analysis relevant to existing and developing challenges in risk management and program planning for security. Upon completion of this course students will be able to understand and apply risk assessment, risk management, program evaluation, future-threat forecasting and horizon scanning techniques and methodologies. 3 SPS 511Topics include: Threat, Threat Definition and Assessment; Means and Methods for Securing the Homeland; Introduction to Organization and Coordination Issues; and Law, Legal Institutions and Legal Constraints on Roles & Missions. Particular focus is provided on transportation security, border security and the full spectrum of CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive) detection strategies. 3 SPS 520This course examines terrorism as a contextual phenomenon produced by the manner in which individuals, organizations and the state are situated within larger surroundings. Case studies and use of primary documents are used to explore the multiple forms of and motives for terrorism. Students examine origins of terrorism in the splintering of social movements, followed by the strategic and operational choices faced by the splinter and its members. Works by key theorists are supplemented by in-depth examination of particular episodes of terror to emphasize that even agency (individual choice) is bounded by a host of social and personal factors and constraints. Counterterrorism response at the national and international levels is examined. Case studies and use of primary documents allow students to examine the implications for appropriate and comprehensive response. Students analyze strategic response by exploring the appropriate campaigns constructed to neutralize components of insurgent strategy. 3 SPS 530Critical Infrastructure protection is one of the cornerstones of homeland security. Presidential Decision Directive (PDD)-63 lists eight sectors, the National Strategy for Protection of Critical Infrastructure and Key Assets lists eleven sectors: Water, Power & Energy, Information & Telecommunications, Chemical Industry, Transportation, Banking & Finance, Defense Industry, Postal & Shipping, Agriculture & Food, Public Health and Emergency Services. For the purposes of this course, we have divided these into levels with Water, Power & Energy and Information & Telecommunications forming the first - or foundational - level. Chemical Industry, Transportation and Banking & Finance are assigned level 2 and the remaining sectors are designated level 3 infrastructures. These levels indicate dependencies - higher levels are dependent on lower levels. Thus we focus most attention on the most fundamental critical infrastructures. At the completion of the course, students will be able to apply the model-based vulnerability technique to any critical infrastructure within their multi-jurisdictional region and derive optimal strategies and draft policies for prevention of future terrorist attacks. In addition, students will be able to develop the necessary strategies to maintain the resiliency of these infrastructures to continue after a natural or man-made significant event. 3 SPS 531In this course students will explore the role of strategic intelligence methodologies and warning (or indications) intelligence. The course will explore different methodologies, the nature of indicators, surprise, deception and judgments. 3 SPS 540The purpose of this course is to help students interpret and analyze emerging strategic challenges from a perspective that is not U.S.-centric. Students will study selected nation-states and international regions, developing a familiarity with the role played by culture and history, as well as the key emerging trends in that region. They will analyze international trends and developments, compare and contrast regional contexts and national perspectives and recommend how best to prioritize US interests within and across regions. The course will also examine how non-state actors, transnational actors and global trends shape the strategic environment. Students will develop a working knowledge of the international security context that is essential for creating, analyzing and carrying out national security strategy and policy. 3 SPS 550 *The Analytical Crisis Exercise Program brings the students back to campus and provides them with an opportunity to undertake simulated intelligence analysis and crisis management on a real-world subject. The ACEP is designed to emulate the interdepartmental assessment methods of the security and intelligence community and gives students a chance to apply hands-on analytical principles and methods they have learned abstractly in the M.A. taught courses. 2 SPS 610Overview of security concerns that transcend state borders, including terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime, weapons proliferation, migration and environmental degradation. 3 SPS 620This course introduces students to the rationale for the emerging role of the public health and medical communities in the intelligence gathering, analysis and dissemination process. Focusing on early detection of emerging physical threats and novel/emerging infectious diseases it will give the students the requisite knowledge and skills to provide the homeland security community with threat indications and warnings. Students will be given the analytical tools to allow them to gauge the impact of physical threats that would result in mass casualties and novel/emerging infectious diseases. They will be expected to develop and recommend rational and viable courses of action to those threats. 3 SPS 630This course introduces students to the contributions of science and technology to U.S. security in military, intelligence, cybersecurity and homeland security activities. Students will explore developing and future technologies, life-cycle development and deployment implications to policy and strategy. 3 SPS 640Teams of students analyze specific operational problems or improvement opportunities in client organizations. Teams identify relevant issues, collect data, develop alternatives and make recommendations to the client. All projects are scheduled to be completed in two to four months. Capstone I allows for the initial analysis and development of the final deliverable which will include the following: Terms of Reference and Progress Report Memo. 6
*Denotes courses that are on-site intensive weekends (Thursday night to midday Sunday)
Students applying for the online M.A. in National Security and Intelligence Studies must meet the following requirements:
- Hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university and a minimum GPA of 3.0. (If your GPA is below 3.0, Notre Dame College Online may request documentation of relevant work experience and/or other qualifications.)
How to Apply
Students applying for admission to the online M.A. in National Security and Intelligence Studies must submit the following materials:
- A complete online application
- Official transcripts from all previously attended institutions
- An academic paper that best exemplifies your accomplishments in the field, such as a senior thesis. As an alternative, you may submit a 1,000-1,500 word personal essay. The first half of the essay should describe your personal and academic goals while the other half should discuss what you determine to be the most pressing national security issue facing the country.
Costs & Financial Aid
Notre Dame College Online features a high-quality education at a price you can afford. See how your past academic credentials can help you make the most of your college education.
Component Requirements Cost Per Credit Hour Total Tuition 36 credit hours $590 $21,240 Transfer Credits 6 credit hours $590 $3,540 Total with transfer credits (up to 6) $17,700
Discover federal financial aid, U.S. military benefits and other ways to make your education affordable.
Notre Dame College is a proud participant in the Yellow Ribbon Program. Learn more about how Notre Dame College Online seeks to help service members make the most of their education.
Outcomes & Resources
Learn more about potential careers available after you graduate. Some include:
- National security analyst
- Business analysts and project managers
- Financial analysts and investigators
- Security program manager
- Foreign affairs officer
- Security specialist
- Policy/defense analyst
- Infrastructure protection
- Information system security
- Emergency management
- Public Health
- Intelligence officers and analysts
Frequently Asked Questions
Online students are exceptionally self-motivated. They demonstrate determination, discipline and a willingness to fulfill their commitments. Be prepared to devote a significant amount of time each week to your classes. Engage in discussion, meet your deadlines and communicate with your advisor if you have questions or concerns. These habits will help you move successfully through our programs.
Yes! Notre Dame College Online recognizes the importance of an affordable education, and we strive to ensure your financial situation is not a boundary when it comes to your career success. Refer to our Financial Aid page to learn more about how to pay for your degree.
The Free Application for Free Student Aid determines your eligibility for financial aid programs, such as loans and grants. It helps identify the types of aid you may receive, such as federal and state grants, work study programs and low interest loans. We strongly recommend you fill out your FAFSA form each year to help identify which financial aid opportunities may be available to you.