Master of Science and Graduate Certificate in Intelligence and National Security Studies (INSS)

The Master of Science in Intelligence and National Security Studies and the Graduate Certificate in Intelligence and National Security Studies (INSS) provide a highly-rigorous interdisciplinary graduate program intended for students seeking employment or career advancement in the United States Intelligence Community (IC). The INSS graduate program is also suitable for students interested in security-related jobs in the private sector or with applied research institutions (think tanks). The INSS graduate program is also ideal preparation for advanced graduate study at the doctoral level in international relations, political science, public administration, public policy, history, or other closely related fields. The INSS graduate curriculum focuses on specific intelligence and security competencies that are delivered across the spectrum of academic disciplines at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Degree/Certificate Requirements

MS in Intelligence and National Security Studies - 39 hours total

Core Courses (Required) - 12 hours
INSS 5302 - Seminar in Intelligence (3)
INSS 5304 - US Intelligence and National Security Policy, Structure, and Process (3)
INSS 5305 - Introduction to Intelligence Analysis (3)
INSS 5306 - Contemporary Security Studies (3)

Quantitative Methods (Required) - 6 hours
INSS 5300 - Research Methods for Intelligence and National Security Studies (3)
INSS 5361 - Applied Statistics for Intelligence and National Security Studies (3)

Free Elective Courses - 18 hours (Non-thesis Option), 15 hours (Thesis Option)
INSS 5301 - Historical Development of the Intelligence Community (3)
INSS 5303 - Legal Issues in Intelligence and National Security (3)
INSS 5307 - Open Source Intelligence Analysis (3)
INSS 5308 - Propaganda and Influence Operations (3)
INSS 5309 - Technical Intelligence (3)
INSS 5310 - Intelligence and Counterterrorism (3)
INSS 5315 - Intelligence and Counterproliferation (3)
INSS 5320 - Counterintelligence and Security (3)
INSS 5325 - Political Economy of Terrorism (3)
INSS 5330 - Conflict Analysis (3)
INSS 5335 - Transnational Criminal Organizations (3)
INSS 5340 - Seminar in Homeland Security (3)
INSS 5341 - Legal Issues in Homeland Security (3)
INSS 5342 - Risk Analysis (3)
INSS 5343 - Crime and Border Security (3)
INSS 5344 - Emergency Management (3)
INSS 5346 - Public Health Issues and Homeland Security (3)
INSS 5347 - Critical Infrastructure Protection (3)
INSS 5351 - Professional Skills (3)
INSS 5363 - Intergovernmental Relations (3)
INSS 5366 - Security Studies Internship (3)
INSS 5380 - Selected Problems in Intelligence and National Security (3)
COM 5335 - Intercultural/International Communication (3)
PAD 5350 - Organizational Theory and Behavior (3)
POLS 5330 - Seminar in International Politics (3)
POLS 5347 - International Security (3)

Students may also take appropriate graduate courses with the graduate advisor’s approval from any university department or program (i.e., anthropology, business administration, history, linguistics, political science, women’s studies, etc.) and apply these courses toward the free elective requirement. Students may also develop, in consultation with their graduate advisor, 9 hours toward a concentration within a single academic discipline such as economics, public administration, or geographic information systems or develop a multidisciplinary concentration such as homeland security, international security, or area/regional studies. These are just a few examples of possible student concentrations. Up to 6 hours of approved cultural studies coursework (travel/study abroad) may be applied to the free elective requirement. Likewise, students can apply up to 6 hours of an approved security studies internship toward their degree.

Capstone (Non-thesis Option) - 3 hours
INSS 5390 - Capstone Course (3)

Thesis Option - 6 hours
INSS 5398 – Thesis (3)
INSS 5399 – Thesis (3)


Graduate Certificate in Intelligence and National Security Studies - 15 hours total

Core Courses (Required) - 3 hours
INSS 5302 - Seminar in Intelligence (3)


Free Elective Courses – 12 hours
Students may choose any three courses from the above list of free electives or from graduate courses in another university department with the consent of the graduate advisor.

Academic Standards

The academic performance of all students will be routinely evaluated. Those students failing to maintain good academic standards will be dropped from the graduate program.

Masters of Science- Students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better in order to earn the MS degree. MS students must also earn a “B”grade or better in all their core courses and in their thesis or capstone course to be eligible for graduation. Students will be given only one opportunity to retake a failed course that earned a “C” grade or lower as specified above. Students with a cumulative GPA below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation. Students will have only one semester to return to “good” academic standing with a GPA of 3.0 or better. Those students failing to return to good academic standing after one semester will be asked to leave the graduate program.

Graduate Certificate - All courses for the Graduate Certificate must be completed with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better for graduation.Students with a cumulative GPA below 2.5 will be placed on academic probation. Students will have only one semester to return to “good”academic standing with a GPA of 2.5 or better. Those students failing to return to good academic standing after one semester will be asked to leave the graduate program.


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