Security Studies Certificate

The Department of Political Science offers a 15-credit Upper-Division Certificate (UDC) in Security Studies (SEST).  The certificate enables UMBC undergraduates of any major to choose a curricular focus in international security affairs that will help prepare them for professional positions and/or graduate or law school.  SEST students graduate with a rigorous qualification certifying them as having developed an expertise in security studies which complements their major(s).  For example, students in the STEM disciplines will be able to demonstrate that they have attained core competencies in an area of the liberal arts – security studies – that encompasses the broader geopolitical and strategic contexts in which their more technical professional expertise is embedded.  Alternatively, students in social sciences disciplines such as economics, history, and political science can demonstrate a focused, specialized curricular emphasis in security studies that sets them apart from graduates with broader academic profiles.


The SEST certificate leverages one of the Political Science department’s core strengths for the benefit of undergraduates across the UMBC colleges (including our many veterans and Naval ROTC students), as well as regional employers with high demand for qualified employees in national, human, homeland, and cyber security.  Trends in current affairs indicate that security challenges as diverse as transnational terrorism, domestic terrorism, nuclear proliferation, the climate crisis, great-power rivalries, and information warfare continue to evolve in new, unpredictable, and dangerous ways.  The greater Baltimore-Washington area is a national hub for careers in security policy and analysis, and regional employers count on public universities like UMBC to produce graduates from a variety of majors who are well-versed in security studies.  Potential employers include Federal agencies such as the departments of Defense, State, and Homeland Security; the intelligence agencies, state and local emergency management agencies; consulting firms; government contractors; and NGOs specializing in human security challenges.


All Courses:

  1. 15 total credits required
  2. Grade must be “C” or better

300 Level Courses:

  1. At least 1 of the 2 following courses (3 credits) is required

POLI 385- International Security


POLI 395- National Security Policy of the United States


300/400 Level Courses:

At least four courses are required, including three at the 400-level

POLI 382 – Politics of Climate Change, POLI 385 – International Security, POLI 388 – International Conflict and Cooperation, POLI 395 – National Security Policy of the United States, POLI 430 – The Law of War, POLI 431 – Spies, Assassins, and Cyber-Warriors – Modern National Security Law,   POLI 437 – International Human Rights Law, POLI 468 – Disaster Politics, POLI 470 – Politics of Human Rights, POLI 471 – Globalization and Transitional Justice, POLI 481 – Nuclear Weapons in World Politics, POLI 482 – International Law, POLI 483 – International Negotiation


In addition to the catalog-numbered courses listed above, students may also receive SEST credit for relevant, approved Political Science special topics classes as they are offered.  Contact the program coordinator for permission.


Contact: Devin Hagerty


Certificate in Public Administration and Policy

Students who are interested in leadership positions in government agencies or in becoming policy analysts are strongly encouraged to pursue a certificate in public administration and policy. The program requires the completion of three core skills courses (ECON 101, STAT 121, and ENGL 391), five conceptual public administration and policy core courses (POLI 250, POLI 350,  POLI 352, POLI 353, and POLI 354), a part-time spring semester internship and its companion course (POLI 448), and one elective course, for a total of 32 credit hours. With permission from a certificate program advisor, students may substitute courses from disciplines other than political science for some of the required POLI courses. Students fulfill the internship requirement and receive placement assistance through participation in the Political Science Department’s Policy, Politics, and Public Administration Internship Program (see the description in this handbook for additional information). In most cases, admission to the internship program requires a 3.0 GPA and junior or senior standing; students not meeting these requirements should contact the Policy, Politics, and Public Administration Internship Program Coordinator prior to applying. See the Program Worksheets section at the end of this handbook for more information about certificate program requirements.


Contact: Laura Antkowiak or Roy Meyers