Minors & Certificates

Security Studies

What is Security Studies?

Security studies is an interdisciplinary certificate anchored in the department and courses of political science. It integrates scholarship in the social and behavioral sciences and the humanities in order to analyze contemporary threats to human, national, and international security. It develops conceptual frameworks to understand these issues and it offers policy solutions. The research in the discipline is especially relevant for individuals, businesses, local, state and national governments, and international organizations working on or simply seeking to understand contemporary security issues. Additionally, the field is particularly important in our contemporary globalized world as it provides guidance on how to improve personal and human security, regulate successfully and manage the flow of local and international commerce, and rebuild regions and societies torn by instability and underdevelopment. 

The certificate in security studies provides students with the substantive knowledge and analytic skills necessary to understand the changing nature of contemporary security. Courses cover two distinct but related tracks: (1) homeland and national security and; (2) regional and international security. Within the first track students can complete a variety of courses focusing on public administration and intergovernmental relations, civil rights and liberties, constitutional and national security law, citizenship and terrorism, emergency preparedness policies and disaster management. The second track offers courses on a broad array of international security problems such as terrorism, civil wars and nationalism, international conflict and crisis management, human right violations, the enforcement of international law, the relevancy of alliances and institutions, and broader prospects for international security cooperation.

For those interested in the policy-oriented aspects of international security, the certificate includes classes on the topics of U.S. foreign policy, national and international security policies, and the regional politics of Africa, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, South Asia, and East Asia. Security studies courses are also available from other disciplines such as history, geography, sociology, criminal justice, communications, economics and business and others. Knowledge of cultures of certain regions and foreign languages (especially Arabic, Pashto, Farsi, Dari, Hindi, Mandarin-Chinese, and others) is considered especially valuable for those who plan to work in the field. Similarly, technical and research skills such as data processing and programming are important for successful careers in homeland and informational security.

Success factors vary and can be customized to students’ individual skills and interests. Those who are interested in information technologies can develop a variety of skills needed by public and private entities to analyze imminent threats and develop response strategies to homeland and cyber threats. Alternatively, those with visual and verbal learning style can concentrate on learning critical foreign languages as there is a demand for such skills in government, the private sector and international organizations. Those interested in research careers can focus on research and writing on security issues. Strong interpersonal skills, love of travel, and cross-cultural communication are essential for successful career in international security.

Career Possibilities

Students with a certificate in security studies may pursue careers in government, non-governmental sector, private businesses, and academic and policy research centers. Those who are interested in homeland and national security should consider joining federal agencies (e.g. Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, FBI, CIA), local governments or private contractors operating in this area. Alternatively, students of international security can pursue careers in the foreign service and in security-related government units. Others choose careers in the non-governmental sector (e.g. advocacy groups, lobby firms) and private companies with global outreach. Finally, many graduates continue their education and join research teams, think-tanks and academia.


UC Advantages and Special Opportunities

The Political Science Department specializes in security studies and has a long tradition of scholarship in the field. The department integrates courses from other departments into the security studies curriculum, and works with other disciplines and offices on campus to expand the breadth and depth of security studies at UC. Some of our students have pursued senior projects on security issues, won prestigious university and national awards, and been awarded competitive grants to research homeland and international security. Similarly, our faculty have excelled in and won awards for their service and contributions to the field.

Special Programs

The department offers, jointly with UC’s Center for Cooperative Education Research and Innovation, substantial experiential learning though internships for academic credit and a semester in Washington, D.C. We also work closely with UC International to expand existing and provide new study abroad opportunities. These programs help the students improve their language skills and also learn about political, economic, social and cultural challenges facing different countries. Those who are interested in continuing their education at UC can also pursue a joint JD/MA degree as a part of a partnership between the Political Science Department and the College of Law.

 Additionally, our vibrant campus offers numerous extracurricular and social activities that impact students’ understanding of contemporary security. Our students participate actively in Model United Nations, UC Mock Trial Team, Students for International Security, and Amnesty International. Model UN and Mock Trial delegates compete nationally and often win competitive awards.

Admission Requirements

Students already pursuing a degree in any college at UC can add the certificate to their program. Be sure to submit a declaration of the certificate program using our online form.

In addition, you must meet with the program director so that they are aware that you are pursuing the certificate and can advise you appropriately. Do this early enough to avoid delay in obtaining your certificate.

Students not currently pursuing a degree may declare the certificate after establishing non-matriculated status.


The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Quick Facts

Undergraduate Certificate Degree in Security Studies

Full-Time Program Duration

1.5 Years


Uptown Campus West


Department of Political Science, University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0375
Phone: (513) 556-3318
Ivan Ivanov