New Master’s Program Prepares Students for 21st Century’s Global Problems

By Buzz McClain

A new master’s program in international security at George Mason University will prepare graduates to analyze global challenges such as terrorism, regional threats, energy security, cyber warfare and the proliferation of emerging technologies.

Students in Mason’s International Security, MA program will learn from 12 veteran professors from the School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs.

“There will be a strong emphasis on public service and ethics, because many existing programs lack sufficient focus on how to make wise strategic decisions regarding the use of force and when to respond, when to intervene and not intervene,” says Audrey Kurth Cronin, director of the graduate program and also director of Mason’s new Center for Security Policy Studies.

“There will be some traditional defense planning and management, but this program will provide the cutting-edge skills needed for responding to the types of risks we’re facing in the 21st century.”

The program is designed for those who are not yet in a career, as well as for experienced mid-career students, says Cronin.

“This is the type of degree that makes [graduates] attractive to government and nongovernment agencies, defense contractors, aid programs, cybersecurity firms, and international organizations that deal with security. It’s designed for those who want a broad interdisciplinary study of everything related to security,” she says.

The school’s acting dean Mark Rozell says the professors in the program are the leading scholars and practitioners in the field.

“This program will prepare students for careers in both the public and private sectors in this critically important area,” he says.

The breadth of the multidisciplinary degree is remarkable, Cronin says.

“We address everything we consider security issues,” says Cronin, “defense, climate change, threats such as Ebola, how to respond to tsunamis, international relations and modern technologies, such as the use of drones. As we move forward, all of these things will become more relevant.”

Research is a key component in the program, and Cronin points out the advantage of having a research center in the same building as the classrooms. The program’s primary location on Mason’s Arlington Campus, close to Washington, D.C., is an obvious benefit not just for those looking for employment in the security field but also as a resource for speakers and events hosted by the center, she adds.

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