Frequently Asked Questions
The special M.A. program in National Security Studies at CSUSB began in 1986.
Security Studies started as a sub-field of International Relations, itself originally a sub-field of Political Science. The field began as a way to introduce students to the growing body of literature on the politics and policies associated with national and international security issues, including arms control, nuclear security and deterrence policy, alliance management, peacekeeping and enforcement, terrorism, etc.
CSUSB’s National Security Studies program is one of about three or four such programs across the country, and the only one west of the Mississippi River. Our program provides close interaction between student and professor, has a proven track record of alumni working in federal service related to national and international security, and a strong faculty.
NSS alumni work in a wide variety of positions in federal and state service associated with national and local security. Alumni have positions in the intelligence community (e.g., Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Office of Naval Intelligence, Army Intelligence, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency), as personal and professional staff for members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, the Defense, Foreign Affairs, and Homeland Security divisions of the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the Department of Defense, the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Peace Corps, on staff of the California State Assembly, in local and state law enforcement, and in federal law enforcement (Treasury, Secret Service, FBI, ICE, DEA); many alumni teach in High School and Community Colleges; a few have gone on to get Ph.D.s. Much depends on student interest and commitment.
Our goals for students who work hard include an M.A. degree that will provide lifelong learning skills. Though the course content is related to national security issues, we believe in the importance of teaching students to think critically, present clearly, and write well. To enhance student skills for the long term, we also encourage students to present their research at student and professional conferences, take a foreign language, take an internship where possible, participate in student-run organizations, and devote some of their time to team building projects, such as our annual competitive National Intelligence Estimate project.
We received a five-year, $3.75 million grant from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) in September 2006 to establish an Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence. Our proposal was to establish a seven-campus Consortium that would help the ODNI achieve its objectives of diversifying and increasing the talent pool of eligible applicants for service in the intelligence community. The grant is housed in the National Security Studies program at CSUSB, and includes undergraduate programs at six other CSU campuses, including CSUs Bakersfield, Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, Long Beach, Northridge, and Cal Poly Pomona.
The NSS program will retain the designation as an Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence after the grant expires. This designation allows us the opportunity to give our students greater visibility with representatives of the various intelligence agencies, furthering our already strong record of placement of alumni in intelligence careers.