National Security and Strategic Analysis

Frank Gilfeather, Director
3019 Mesa Vista Hall
MSC06 3840 1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131
(505) 277-3223
FAX (505) 277-2182


The undergraduate certificate in National Security and Strategic Analysis (NSSA) may be earned by successful completion of a prescribed program of study as described below for students earning an undergraduate degree. The certificate is designed to provide specific knowledge and competencies to enhance the student's undergraduate degree, and to provide exposure to a range of topics in the interdisciplinary field of national security and strategic analysis. The capstone is a demonstration of competency by the student through a coherent and critical analysis activity and an academic paper based on their individual educational path and diverse range of classes. A student’s program of studies must satisfy the following requirements and be pre-approved by the NSSA Faculty Coordinating Committee one year prior to graduation. An approval form is available at the NSSA certificate program Web site, or at the National Security Studies program office.


To earn the undergraduate certificate in National Security and Strategic Analysis, the student must:

  1. Complete or have completed a baccalaureate degree.

  2. Complete a 3 credit hour course, Introduction to National Security and Strategic Analysis. This course describes federal agencies offering strategic and national security analysis to the government, and studies their analytic methods and resulting products. A discussion of multifaceted strategic analysis and the attending influences of a variety of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in national security is a key component of the course. This includes, but is not limited to, think tanks, business analysis groups, and NGOs created specifically to further policies advantageous to selected nations. Included is a study of representative analytic products and methods, including trend projections and forecasting employed by the organizations.

  3. Take 9 credit hours of classes in Group A (Political/Social Analysis), and Group B (Quantitative Analysis), with at least 3 credit hours from each group. See additional discussion below under Courses in Group A and B.

  4. Complete a field analysis or research analysis project related to national security, strategic analysis or intelligence analysis as at least a 2 credit hour independent study course. Complete either an analysis paper-based on work in an approved internship, or an analysis paper-based on an independent and faculty-directed research project as part of this requirement.

  5. Take at least 3 semesters of a foreign language or demonstrate equivalent competency in a foreign language; or three additional courses in group B.

Courses in Group A and B

Courses are not offered each year and some courses are topics or seminar courses. For topics and seminar courses, approval of specific topic is required by the NSSA Faculty Committee. Other courses can substitute for these courses upon approval of the student's program by the NSSA Faculty Committee. To encourage a multidisciplinary approach, at most 3 credit hours per department are allowed in each of Group A and B. Only one course can be taken at the 100- or 200-level. Many courses require one or more prerequisites which may or may not count towards the certificate, thus effectively increasing the credit hours needed to earn the certificate.

A list is available at the NSSA certificate program Web site of currently offered courses in various departments that satisfy the requirements in Groups A and B. Students are encouraged to suggest additional courses to substitute for those in Groups A and B. The decision to approve a substitution is made within two weeks by the NSSA Faculty Committee.

Shared Credit Hours between Undergraduate Certificates and Degrees

As long as courses taken for an undergraduate certificate fall within the prescribed time limits for an undergraduate degree, the University allows shared course work between undergraduate certificates and a baccalaureate degree. If the student completes the certificate in conjunction with an undergraduate degree program, the student may use 100% of the certificate course work toward an undergraduate degree as long as it is approved as part of the degree.

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