Security Studies

Delivering quality research and education across security fields.

With a faculty drawn from the alphabet agencies and think tanks of nearby Washington, D.C., the Schar School of Policy and Government’s security studies programs take students on an immersive academic experience unlike any other. Our programs prepare students to become leaders who face down the country's and the world’s largest challenges in policy, intelligence, terrorism, biodefense, emergency management, and diplomacy, among others.

No. 5 in the U.S. for security studies programs

In 2023, U.S. News and World Report ranked the Schar School No. 5 in the U.S. for security studies-related programs. Security studies includes the school’s international security and biodefense programs, as well as a concentration in emergency management and homeland security, and an emphasis in national security.

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Security studies-related programs are offered in the following areas:

    Practitioner Faculty

    With the Schar School's prime location in the Washington, D.C. area, students gain access to leading practitioners who are internationally recognized for their scholarship and advisory roles in the public and private sectors. These faculty bring real-world experience to the classroom, providing you with the mentorship and skillsets needed to advance in your career.

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    Andrew McCabe

    Distinguished Visiting Professor of Homeland Security,
    Former Deputy Director of the FBI

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    Saskia Popescu

    Assistant Term Professor, Biodefense Graduate Programs

    Photo of Michael Morell

    Michael Morell

    Distinguished Visiting Professor,
    Former Acting & Deputy Director of the CIA

    Photo of Louise Shelley

    Louise Shelley

    Director, Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC)

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    Ellen Laipson

    Program Director, Master's in International Security 
    Director, Center of Security Policy Studies

    Photo of Michael V. Hayden

    Michael V. Hayden

    Distinguished Visiting Professor,
    Former Director of the NSA & CIA

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    Ketian Zhang

    Assistant Professor, Master's in International Security program

    Photo of Gregory Koblentz

    Gregory Koblentz

    Program Director, Biodefense Graduate Programs


    As experts in their fields, the Schar School’s faculty are renowned for their active role in research, policy analysis, and recommendations on key issues that captivate the Washington, D.C. policy community. Whether related to an imminent issue or an overlooked topic, there is an expert at the Schar School who can address the most current research, regulations, and policies regarding the issue.

    Security Studies
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    World-Renowned Research Centers

    The Schar School of Policy and Government research centers, institutes, and initiatives focus on issues ranging from international security and policy studies to energy science. Each unit is headed by a distinguished Schar School faculty member, who harnesses the resources of the School as well as those of external sponsors to conduct a wide range of projects.

    Annette Prieto, Master’s in Biodefense '19

    “I chose to continue my education at the Schar School, because the program offered biodefense, security studies, and global health security. The classes cover accidental biothreats, natural events, and intentional acts of bioterrorism.”
    —Annette Prieto, Master’s in Biodefense '19

    Becca Cooper, Master's in International Security student

    "Ultimately, I wanted to get my Master's in International Security, focusing on conflict resolution, threat analysis, and intelligence. The thing that sets the school apart are the professors. They are at the forefront of their fields."
    —Becca Cooper, Master's in International Security student

    Rebecca Ames, Master's in International Security student

    “The [Master's in International Security] program has forced me to put things together in new ways. By combining practical application with theory, students are able to obtain the knowledge needed to work in the security field.”
    —Rebecca Ames, Master's in International Security student


    Photo of Saskia Popescu

    Drawn to Germs at an Early Age, Biodefense Scholar Studies Where Science Meets Policy

    Now an assistant professor at the Schar School after earning her PhD in Biodefense, Saskia Popsecu has been a go-to expert for media outlets since the pandemic outbreak began.

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    She's Investigating Climate Change in the Arctic as a National Security Issue

    Master's in International Security student Marisol Maddox spent three weeks this summer aboard a U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker traveling inside the Arctic Circle.

    Brent Park Mikhail Chudakov and Schar School Professor Gregory Koblentz discuss a nuclear future

    Experts Discuss the Balance Between Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Security

    Schar School students and faculty members joined Brent Park and Mikhail Chudakov to discuss the interconnection between nuclear energy and nuclear security.

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    Funding Terrorism Through Wildlife Trafficking

    The Schar School's Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC) welcomed former FBI special agent Debra LaPrevotte for a discussion on how to stop trafficking networks.