Focusing your studies so your degree works for you

Whether you’re interested in understanding executive-legislative relations and the role of Congress in defense policy or security issues, including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, cooperative security, and US force posture, USFP offers you the opportunity to focus your coursework along a theme that matches your unique career goals. The program includes concentrations, a dual degree through AU partnerships, and a capstone experience that can feature either hands-on policy analysis or focused independent research. USFP partners with AU’s business school to offer a dual degree.

Degree Options

In addition to the standard master's degree, you can earn a dual master's degree through our partnerships at AU.

The United States Foreign Policy and National Security program presents courses on defense policy; intelligence; the formulation and implementation of foreign policy; and the social, political, economic, strategic, and historical underpinnings of U.S. foreign policy. It is a rigorous course of study that combines considerable programmatic flexibility with the benefits of specialization in a concentration you select.

The School of International Service (SIS) offers a dual master's degree program with Kogod School of Business, giving students the opportunity to acquire expertise in both foreign policy and business. Graduates will receive an MA through SIS and an MBA through Kogod.

The full-time MBA is a cohorted two-year program. During the first year of the MBA students complete 26 or 29 credit hours in Kogod, and during the second year of the MBA students, including the MBA capstone in the spring semester. Sequencing and timing of SIS coursework depends on the chosen program.

Prospective MA/MBA students must separately apply to and be accepted by each school. The admissions committees from each school do not collaborate on the decision-making process.

View Kogod School of Business dual degree admissions requirements and MBA coursework.


The concentrations below are meant to serve as a guide to demonstrate how courses from across the university can be put together to form an academically sound area of study. It is not an exhaustive list. Please consult your academic advisor to discuss the composition of your concentration.

  • SIS-653: US Defense Politics
  • SIS-653: National Security Resources
  • SIS-653: US National Security Strategy
  • SIS-681: Intelligence and Foreign Policy
  • SIS-653: Issues in Intelligence
  • SIS-653: National Security & Proliferation
  • SIS-653: US Counterterrorism Policy since 9/11
  • SIS-653: America at War
  • SIS-653: Transatlantic Security
  • SIS-676: US-China Relations
  • SIS-653: US-Russia: Post-Cold War
  • SIS-653: USFP toward the Middle East
  • SIS-619: US-Iran Conflict and Reconciliation
  • GOVT-630: Homeland Security
  • SIS-619: Cyber Warfare, Terrorism, Espionage and Crime
  • SIS 619: Cyber Conflict: Surveillance, Activism and Privacy
  • SIS 619: Cyber Policy Analysis and Methods
  • JLC-683: Cyber Threats & Security
  • SIS-653: US Public Diplomacy
  • SIS-653: Diplomatic Practice
  • SIS-611: International Negotiation
  • SIS-619: Dialogue: Approaches and Applications
  • SIS-619: Business Diplomacy
  • SIS-619: Mediation in a Turbulent World
  • SIS-619: Negotiation Analysis and Skills
  • SIS-676: US-China Relations 
  • SIS-676: US Strategy in East Asia 
  • SIS-619: International Security in Asia 
  • SIS-655: Asia Comparative Perspective 
  • SIS-676: Chinese Foreign Policy 
  • SIS-676: S.E. Asia, US & Regional Powers 
  • SIS-676: Disputes and Diplomacy: Korea, Japan, and China 
  • JLC-585: Security Challenges in South Asia
  • SIS-653: Terrorism and Counterterrorism
  • SIS-653: US Counterterrorism Policy since 9/11
  • SIS-653: Bioterror in the 21st Century
  • SIS-653: National Security and Civil Wars
  • SIS-619: Weak States and War
  • SIS-619: Transnational Crime & Terrorism
  • SIS-619: Insurgency and Counterinsurgency
  • SIS-619 Studies in Asymmetric Movements
  • SIS-619: Cyber Warfare, Terrorism, Espionage and Crime
  • JLC-671: Evolution of Global Jihad
  • JLC-696: Terrorism and Homeland Security
  • SIS-653: Terrorism and Counterterrorism 
  • SIS-619: Refugees, Migration, and Trafficking 
  • SIS-619: Migration and Security 
  • SIS-620: Global Climate Change 
  • SIS-619: Transnational Organized Crime 
  • SIS-619: Youth and Conflict 
  • JLC-671: Evolution of Global Jihad
  • SIS-653: USFP toward the Middle East 
  • SIS-619: US-Iran Conflict and Reconciliation 
  • SIS-619: Human Rights in the Middle East 
  • SIS-671: Comp Politics of the Mid East/N. Africa 
  • SIS-676: Oil, Islam, Politics in the Gulf 
  • SIS-676: Political Economy of the Middle East and North Africa 
  • SIS-619: Understanding Conflict: Syria & Iraq 
  • SIS-619: Democracy & Political Change in Middle East


All US Foreign Policy and National Security students complete a student research requirement for their capstone. Students can choose from three different options to fulfill their capstone.

The SIS practicum acts as a bridge between the academic setting, with its emphasis on individual research and writing, and the professional world, where many analytical work products are produced by teams. Students work in teams with expert clients, including US and international government agencies, non-profit organizations, and businesses, to conduct policy and program analysis. Students draw on their research, qualitative, and quantitative skills to prepare final oral and written analysis and recommendations. Practicum teams present their findings at the SIS-wide Practica Symposium, held at the end of each semester.

The MA Thesis is an original research project appropriate for students looking to complete a longer and more academically rigorous research paper. It is an independent research project intended to integrate and apply knowledge from the field to a final scholarly project and is particularly useful for students who plan to go on to a PhD program. Students who choose the thesis option will work with two faculty members.

The Substantial Research Paper (SRP) is an independent research project that is intended to integrate and apply knowledge from the field to a final scholarly project. By completing the SRP, students not only develop their expertise in an issue of primary concern to the field of US foreign policy and national security, but also demonstrate their ability to conduct informed, analytical research or policy analysis. Faculty supervisors for the SRP must be USFP core faculty or current faculty who are affiliated with the program.

Application At a Glance

Review a detailed admission and degree requirements listing for your degree of interest.

Entrance Semester
Fall and Spring
Application Deadline
January 15 for the fall semester
October 1 for the spring semester 
Additional Requirements
Undergraduate degree
Two letters of recommendation
Statement of Purpose
TOEFL/IELTS score if international applicant
Completion of online application