MA in Global Security Studies Degree Details and Courses
This 36-credit Master of Arts degree is composed of 4 Required Core Courses, 4 Customizable Core Courses, and 4 Elective Courses. In addition, you can choose to pursue one of the three optional Areas of Concentration, including:
Energy and Environmental Security
Core Courses - Required
Complete all 4 courses.
• Schedule "Introduction to Global Security Studies" during your first semester.
This course introduces students to the basic concepts of global security studies, including theories of international relations, perception and misperception, theories of foreign policy, the varying concepts of security, and the elements of national power. It also includes a brief introduction to social movement theory. It applies these conceptual tools to selected security issues.
In the wake of the financial crisis, bank bailouts, and stimulus plans, the relationship between American economic power and national security is especially salient. In this course, students investigate core topics in international political economy, analyzing the security implications of each. Topics include trade relations, international finance, monetary relations, poverty, and development. (Core course for the MA in Global Security Studies. Recommended elective for MA in Public Management)
This course examines how states (primarily the United States) and other political entities harness military capabilities to pursue of policy objectives. It exposes students to levels of strategy—grand strategy, strategy, operations, and tactics—in a national security context. The course will then focus on the practical implications and unique characteristics of military strategy. Students will critically examine topics such as civil-military relations, land warfare, naval warfare, theories of airpower, insurgency and counterinsurgency, and nuclear warfare. The goal is to understand the embedded assumptions of the various theories, the characteristics of the military capabilities animated by them, and, through discussion and case studies, the strengths and limitations of each.
This course is the first in the Research Study sequence for the Global Security Studies program. The goals of this course are: 1) to help students be producers of scholarly knowledge, 2) to prepare students for later parts of the research study process, and 3) to prepare students to understand and critique others’ uses of various methods. The first part of the course will address fundamental issues, such as measurement, causation, and inference. The second part of the course will address research design, data collection, and analysis, focusing on specific methodological tools including case study analysis, interviews, content analysis, participant observation, survey research, etc.
Core Course - Customizable - Energy
Choose 1 of these courses:
This course provides an in-depth examination of how the effects of climate change could impact national security, international relations, and global stability. Students will begin by examining and discussing the current body of academic literature. As the semester progresses, students will learn and practice how to use cross-disciplinary resources and tools to envision potential relationships between climate change effects and security outcomes.
This course is a seminar-based overview of the role of energy in national security. Using a range of U.S. and non-U.S. case studies, students will review the roles of energy in grand strategy, the role of energy in conflict, and, finally, as a logistical enabler of military operations.
This course examines the nexus of energy, natural resources, and the environment with conflict, war, terrorism, crime, development, diplomacy, politics, and technology. Students critically examine the ways that increased competition for environmental and energy resources, strained resources, and changing conditions can threaten national security. The course also examines how such threats may be mitigated.
(Core course for the MA in Global Security Studies)
Core Course - Customizable - Research Study
Choose 1 of these courses:
Historians reclaim, recover, and revise what we know about the past. They enter a dialog with the dead to make sense of our world for the living, knowing full well that their hard-earned results may be overturned with new data, analysis, or insights. Yet questionable or flawed “history” is routinely to justify a range of experiences, policies, and events. In this course, we instill the key skills and analytical framework in which historians use to uncover and recreate the past, taking the journey from question, to research (onsite and online), to argument and revision (and revisionism). The importance of argument, objectivity, personal and temporal bias, evidence, narrative and cultural context are examined in detail, along with case studies of history being used, misused, and abused by historians and other actors.
The main purpose of this class is to train students to be informed consumers of quantitative studies, in addition to teaching the tools of basic statistical work. The emphasis in this class is on application and understanding of existing results, rather than on theory or derivations. The course material will cover basic descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, and data collection. The key learning objective is for students to finish the class with a better understanding of the statistical and econometric results they may encounter, both in papers they read in other classes, as well as in the course of their work. The second key objective is for students to have the skills to employ basic quantitative tools in their own work in the fields of public policy and global security studies. As much as possible, assignments and readings used in class will be drawn from the public policy and security fields. There is no mathematical or statistical pre-requisite for the class. (Core course for the MA in Public Management and the MA in Global Security Studies.)
Core Courses - Customizable - Writing
Choose 2 of these courses:
This course provides an overview of the manifold challenges and opportunities for United States security in the current disordered and changing world. It aims to help students assess why events occur and what policies are developed in response. In that endeavor, the course has three major objectives. First, the course will review the major perspectives on, and debates about, U.S. security and the institutions through which policy is made and executed. Second, the course will review some U.S. security issues through scholarly, policy, political, and historical lenses. Third, the course will help students write for both policy and academic audiences. This course is not open to students who have had 470.606 American National Security.
The South Asian region, with its complex historical context, a large and diverse population, and contested national borders, especially between nuclearized countries, poses some of the toughest security challenges facing the world. This course highlights salient security challenges in South Asia, and draws out their implications for U.S. strategic interests. It examines the sources and implications of the rivalry between nuclearized India and Pakistan, and how it fuels Sino-Indian security competition. Attention is drawn to the sources of militancy in India, and to the threats to international and regional security arising from the conflict in Afghanistan. The Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger insurgency and its eventual defeat in 2009 are also discussed, alongside the rising Islamist militancy threats in Bangladeshi, and the history of Maoist insurgency in Nepal. Finally, some of the climate-based threats to which no South Asian country is immune will also be discussed.
Transnational organized crime often is not well understood because crime is most often conceptualized as a domestic legal concern. However, transnational organized crime is more than that. It is crime ordered into complex clandestine networks that operates transnationally with little regard for the borders of states. The gravity of the problem lies not only in the increasing complexity of these organizations, but more importantly, with the serious challenge they pose in their ability to penetrate and operate with relative impunity in several states simultaneously. These illegal enterprises not only threaten aspects of state sovereignty and security that traditionally have been taken for granted, but they prove the permeability of national borders and the vulnerability of state institutions. This course will examine a variety of transnational organized criminal groups, their modus operandi, and their illicit activities. It also will focus on some domestic organized crime groups both to provide a depth of understanding of the operations of organized criminal activity in different countries, as well as to show how international groups can make inroads into domestic markets if they cooperate with local groups.
This course focuses on transnational security issues and considers how many of these myriad challenges constitute threats to global peace and security. The combined effects of issues such as drug, weapons, and human trafficking, piracy, terrorism, infectious diseases, and deliberate environmental destruction, along with such critical enablers as corruption, and money movements, are not strangers on the world stage. What is new is their global reach and destructive potential. As a result, these issues have made policy makers consider different conceptions of security and, at times, to move beyond sole considerations of state sovereignty into the realm of human security. Not only are transnational security issues varied in nature and scope, but their effects often are obscured by the fact that many are nascent with gradual and long-term consequences. Further, while some transnational issues may not constitute direct threats to global security, they may threaten the world economy, and quality of life of its citizens. Still others compound and reinforce each other, generating mutations of the original threats. This course will examine a small number of these transnational security issues and relevant policy-making efforts.
The multiple crises plaguing the world today make evident the mutual inter-dependence and vulnerability of people and nations. The idea of human security has gained increasing significance within this increasingly complex and interconnected world. Human security places emphasis on the security needs of individual citizens, rather than being preoccupied by traditional, state-centric conceptions of security. It takes into account the impact of security threats such as economic crises, pandemics, and climate change on the lives of individuals within and across national boundaries. The course thus draws attention to alternative interpretations of what constitute security threats and how to contend with the underlying causes of volatility and human insecurity that prevail around the world.
This class examines the phenomenon of irregular warfare—of insurgencies and counterinsurgencies in particular—through a historical lens. The course will give you students insight into the origins, objectives, strategies, and tactics of irregular wars, as well as the principles of counterinsurgency theory and practice. Through the course, you will analyze current irregular wars, understand what caused them and whether they are likely to be successful or unsuccessful, and see how they can be combated.
This course examines the phenomenon of modern warfare through both a theoretical and historical lens. It will provide insight into the definitions, origins, objectives, strategies, and tactics of modern conflict. Throughout the course you will analyze recent and ongoing conventional, irregular, and hybrid wars and understand what caused them, how they were conducted, and why they ended the way they did. Through a combination of lecture and online discussion, students will analyze these conflicts from a variety of perspectives to include state security and military forces, insurgents, criminals, and terrorists.
You will choose 4 electives from the courses listed within any of the concentrations, or you may select additional Core Courses as electives.
Your academic adviser can also help you to optimize your Elective Course selections, or provide approval to pursue alternative Electives from a variety of Johns Hopkins University master’s degree programs, based on your educational objectives.
You may choose to pursue one of the three optional Areas of Concentration. To qualify, you must select all 4 elective courses from within that Area of Concentration.