Course Descriptions

This page lists all courses offered under the rubric of the Science, Technology, and International Security Program. In addition, courses offered by partner programs can count toward the Certificate in Science, Technology, and National Security, as well. When in doubt, consult with your adviser.

Partner programs include:

State-specific Information for Online Programs

Note: Students should be aware of state-specific information for online programs. For more information, please contact an admissions representative.

  • Elective Courses

    406.661 - Technology and Terrorism

    This course explores the phenomenon of terrorism and its nexus with technology. Beginning with an emphasis on terrorist group factors most likely to influence terrorists’ perceptions and attitudes towards extant and emerging technologies, the course subsequently investigates cases of terrorist use, and noteworthy non-use, of various technologies. Students also receive a broad understanding of the evolution of technology with an emphasis on current and imminent technologies of acute security concern, including weapons of mass destruction, cyber, robotics, and nanotechnologies. The course then addresses counterterrorism technologies and potential terrorist response actions for overcoming such security efforts. Students operationalize all of these elements in the final phases of the course when engaging in Red Team exercises designed to demonstrate which types of terrorists are most likely to pursue certain types of technologies, the role of tacit versus explicit knowledge, likelihood of successful adoption, targeting options, and potential counterterrorism measures. Please note that students do not need to possess a technical background or prior knowledge of terrorism to succeed in this course.

    406.663 - Defense Policy

    This course describes the principal challenges facing the making of American Defense Policy and explains previous and current policies declared and practiced to meet them. The course is designed to inform students on the most pressing defense issues confronting the United States, and to present them a framework for defense policy analysis. It emphasizes understanding those defense policies, analyzing them, and considering and weighing alternative approaches to achieving national objectives of deterrence and defense. The course fosters an understanding of the array of U.S. military capabilities providing plausible responses to the use of military power in support of U.S. foreign policy objectives. It examines those policies in the areas of nuclear, conventional, and irregular forces, and weighs alternatives in shaping the size and structure of those forces to meet national objectives.

    406.682 - Nuclear Proliferation and Nonproliferation

    Since 1945, eight states have tested nuclear weapons, and perhaps two dozen others have started -- and stopped – nuclear weapons programs. This course considers why some countries pursue nuclear weapons and why others forgo them – an issue that bedevils both policymakers, concerned about the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and political scientists, attempting to explain and predict it. The class will delve into past and present examples, discussing and evaluating theories of why states pursue such weapons, the technologies that make it possible, and the policy tools available to prevent it. We will also draw on the parallel efforts to control chemical weapons, biological weapons, and ballistic missiles.