With an increased awareness surrounding global and national security, the University of New Mexico began offering a new Professional Master of Science degree in Global & National Security this fall.  The new degree, offered by Graduate Studies under the auspices of the University’s Global and National Security Policy Institute in the Provost Office, utilizes the rich research and educational programs offered at the University that are related to global and national security. 

This non-traditional, interdisciplinary graduate degree is designed primarily for individuals already in the workforce. Traditional students who complete the degree would make strong candidates for careers in national security agencies, the diplomatic service, the intelligence community, other government agencies, and national and international NGOs.

“This non-traditional, interdisciplinary online master’s degree uniquely enriches UNM’s educational offerings to students as well as the workforce in the wider Albuquerque and New Mexico communities, the national laboratories, and the broader business community,” said Emile Nakhleh, director, UNM’s Global & National Security Policy Institute, who oversaw the creation of the new degree.

The degree is strongly supported by New Mexico’s two Department of Energy world-class national laboratories, including Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and Sandia National Labs (SNL), and the Air Force Research Lab. The degree provides non-traditional module offerings designed to provide an informed, knowledge-based policy and cultural context to professionals regardless of their fields—helping students and employees connect their specific expertise and experience to the wider national and global environment.

"Global and national security touches on many issues that are central to human habitation on this planet, ranging from global environmental shifts that drive migration and conflict, to concomitant issues of weapons of mass destruction held by nation-states in response to fear over these conflicts,” said UNM Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost James Holloway. “Developing an understanding of the tools and methods of analysis that nations use to asses these risks prepares students to both contribute to these assessments, and to be more fully engage as citizens in a complex world."

The 33-credit degree, of which 15 are required and 18 are electives, includes courses that draw on a broad definition of global and national security. This definition includes such areas as nuclear proliferation, infrastructure resiliency, terrorism, humanitarian issues, innovation, cybersecurity, environmental security, the rule of Law, global health, and food, water and energy security.

"This professional master's degree addresses the national dialogue of creating graduate degree programs that respond to industry,” said Graduate Studies Dean Julie Coonrod. “The University of New Mexico is well situated to provide holistic instruction in global and national security to our prestigious national laboratory employees, especially those working in such close proximity to our campus."

Employment possibilities for graduates exist not only in national security agencies, but other high security areas including the U.S. Department of Defense, the Foreign Service, Department of Homeland Security and the FBI are all looking for individuals trained in national security.

“As more and more technology start-ups and national security corporations are moving from the Bay Area to New Mexico, the Professional Master of Science Degree in Global & National Security aims at preparing the next generation of national security leaders,” said Nakhleh. “These courses examine the broad policy links among economic, social, environmental, political, health and technological issues and developments — addressing their impact on global and U.S. national security in an interdisciplinary context.”

Nakhleh points out several important factors that underpin the uniqueness of the degree, including UNM’s proximity to, and close collaboration with, Sandia, Los Alamos, and the Air Force Research Lab, the impressive research and learning at UNM, and the demographic and cultural diversity of the UNM community. Global challenges and developments directly affect the United States and New Mexico and its citizens.  The overall interest in the degree has already surpassed expectations in its first semester this fall with approximately 40 students enrolled in the various classes that comprise the degree. 

“The whole effort for the program aims at helping the workforce in New Mexico and providing these professionals with a broader context of security issues and their work in general,” said Nakhleh. “Even though the program is designed for the workforce, it also serves our traditional students.”

The approval process for the new degree involved five steps including the Faculty Curriculum Committee and Faculty Senate, Board of Regents, New Mexico Council of Graduate Deans, and the New Mexico Board of Higher Education and Board of Finance. The process was made easier by the impressive support from affiliated faculty members throughout the University. 

Additionally, the program could not have been completed without the incredible support of Nicole Dopson, Director of Financial Operations in the Provost Office, and Graduate Studies Dean Julie Coonrod and her staff.   

“The University of New Mexico is uniquely situated to prepare the next generation of leaders in the national security arena and in the private infrastructure,” said Nakhleh. “Federal agencies and the national security community are very much interested in UNM because of the belief that the new generation of leaders in national security must reflect the diversity of the country, including people of color, men and women.”

For more information and admission requirements, visit Master’s Degree in Global and National Security.