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Masters Degree in Global and National Security

  • Professional, non-traditional, interdisciplinary degree that can be completed in one year
  • Online graduate modules (combining two courses each and team-taught by two professors) and in-person meetings
  • Designed primarily to provide the workforce and UNM students with a broader context of security issues that affect their work
  • Based on close collaboration with Sandia, Los Alamos, Air Force Research Lab, and the national security industry in the State of New Mexico
  • Broad definition of global and national security includes, among others, nuclear proliferation, infrastructure resiliency, food, water, and energy security, terrorism, humanitarian issues, innovation, cyber security, environmental security, and global health
  • The MSGNS successful completion of 33 credit hours, comprising 15 required credit hours and 18 elective credit hours
  • Required: Pathway course (Introduction to Global and National Security, 3 credit hours); two modules, 6 credit hours each (Cyber Security and Directed Energy and Human Decision Making and Leadership)
  • Examples of elective modules: Globalization, Technology, Innovation and National Security; Environmental Security; Nuclear Security, Safeguards and Non-Proliferation; Resilience and Decision Making Under Uncertainty; Law and National Security; American National Security & Process and Issues in American National Security; Global Health and National Security
  • BA or BS in any major with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA
  • No GRE
  • No Thesis
    • Application Form Required
    • Transcripts Required
  • PMSGNS offered through Graduate Studies under the auspices of the Global and National Security Policy Institute (GNSPI)
  • Application Deadlines
    • Fall Semester: July 15th
    • Spring Semester: November 15th
  • For more information about registering as a Non-Degree student, visit the website at:
  • A direct link for applying for admission as a non-degree student has been set-up at this website:
  • Once the PMSGNS degree form is completed, students would register for a regular degree program.  However, students interested in a specific module, they could register for it under the non-degree option
  • Please Contact:
  • Dr. Emile Nakhleh, Director, Global and National Security Policy Institute, Provost Office, University of New Mexico
  • 505-385-8334

PMSGNS Modules 122718

In addition to the required three credit hour introductory course (Introduction to Global and National Security), the modules listed below constitute the offerings of the PSGNS during the first three years of the program. Other modules may be added later. The list is not meant to be inclusive or comprehensive but is designed to illustrate the themes that would be covered under the degree’s broad definition of global and national security. During this period, the modules will be listed under the “Special Topics” course numbers in the catalog of the departments offering the module. Upon the final approval of the degree, the modules will be cross-listed in Graduate Studies and in the departments offering the modules.

  1. Globalization, Technology Management and National Security: This module will focus on international competitiveness as a basis for economic and, therefore, national security. Competitiveness has elements of technology development and innovation, infrastructure in all its forms, financial capabilities to develop and execute such activities and many other interrelated factors. The module will cover international regimes of innovation and resultant economic activities; technology, R&D and other contributions to innovation in civilian and military products and services; international agreements and cooperation and their effect on competitive activities; and financial systems and their effect on economic and national security and on competitive activities; and e) other related areas.
  2. Environmental Security: Only recently have US agencies begun to take seriously the importance of environmental factors, including climate change and resources, in shaping national security. This module would combine contributions from Earth and Planetary Sciences, Political Science, Economics, and Geography and Environmental Studies to assess the scope of challenges to human and economic security, as well as risks of conflict, associated with environmental stresses. Topics would include the extent or projected climate, physical, and ecological changes; economics of climate change impacts, adaptation, and mitigation; scope of population displacements; infrastructural requirements of climate adaptation; and empirical analysis of the impact of environment on civil and international conflict. The module also focuses on key concepts in natural resource management, highlighting historical and contemporary case studies of resource-based conflict, and on understanding such paradigms as the human- environment relationship, scales of environmental governance, the special complexity of water as a fluid resource, resource dependence, and the “resource curse.”
  3. Global Nuclear Security and Policy: Most graduates of UNM as well as most New Mexico employees have a scant knowledge of how Washington works. Some courses on how the executive and the legislative branches function would be good for both undergraduates and graduates as well as employees of the high-tech community might be interested. This module should help explain nuclear policy for technical people who are employed in the labs and the national security community.
  4. Human Rights Law and National Security: This module would explore the domestic and international legal constraints on nations and non-state actors during times of war or crises. Topics would include: constitutional law (such as the authorities assigned to the branches of the federal government over foreign affairs), criminal law (such as the essential elements of criminal offenses, including terrorism), national security law (such as the authority of the Executive and the role of the judiciary in times of war), international law (such as the war crimes and genocide), international human rights (such as protections for refugees and minority groups), and domestic preparedness (such as the roles of federal and state agencies in the event of a natural or man-made disaster).
  5. Global Health and Human Security: This module combines the diverse fields of public health and preventive medicine, environmental studies and international law in exploring the challenges of population health in globalized world settings. Topics include bioterrorism, pandemic preparedness, epidemiological surveillance of emerging infectious diseases, non-communicable and neglected tropical diseases, social determinants of health, structural violence and the critical roles of governments, business and non-profit organizations in providing transformative leadership.
  6. Fundamentals of Cybersecurity and Directed Energy and National Security: This module covers the fundamental concepts associated with assuring the security of networked computing systems. Key security building blocks including authentication, authorization, encryption and public key infrastructure will be introduced. It also considers the differences between threats and vulnerabilities, and provides a categorization of cybersecurity attacks. Key industry and governmental security standards will be presented, and fundamental principles associated with securing a system will be articulated. Finally, the module will consider how emerging technologies impact the design and implementation of security system architectures and how directed energy research will impact future conflicts.
  7. Human Decision Making, Leadership, and National Security: The module introduces the psychology of human decision making from two complimentary perspectives. The first is the idea that humans are not rational but are still predictable in the ways they deviate from rationality. The other approach explores decision making from an evolutionary perspective and introduces the idea that many apparent deviations from rationality may be adaptive in a biological sense. The module will cover major models of decision making that account for the interaction of emotion and reason and how neural signals can predict biases and discuss the well-defined phenomena in behavioral economics, social psychology, and perception. Examples will be interpreted through computerized models and neural systems that contribute to biased decisions. In addition, the module will cover ecological and evolutionary models of heuristics and biases, including error management theory of "fast and frugal" heuristics, and will examine recent research on the evolution of collective decision making in human and animal groups.
  8. US Foreign Policy Making, Institutions, and National Security: This module will highlight the major principles of Us foreign policy, the history of key events in modern American diplomacy, and the US government institutions that are directly or indirectly involved in the making of foreign policy. The module will focus on a number of case studies, both topical and geographic, including international trade and commerce, major international agreements to which the United States is a party, terrorism and American military, diplomatic, and cultural response to the rise of radicalism globally. The theoretical and institutional approaches in the module will be used to analyze a variety of important historical and contemporary issues in economic and security policy.
  9. Introduction to Resilience and Decision Making Under Uncertainty: This module will provide an introduction to the psychology of human decision-making from two complementary perspectives. The section of the course Predictable irrationality in decision making will present the idea that humans are not rational but are still predictable in the ways they deviate from rationality. It will cover major models of decision making that account for the interaction of emotion and reason, how neural signals can predict these biases, and discuss the well-defined phenomena in behavioral economics, social psychology, and perception. These examples will be interpreted via computational models and neural systems that contribute to biased decisions. The other section of the course The ecology and evolution of decision making will explore decision-making from an evolutionary perspective, and introduce the idea that many apparent deviations from rationality may be adaptive in a biological sense. It will also cover ecological/evolutionary models of heuristics and biases, including error management theory and the theory of “fast and frugal” heuristics. Finally, the module will present recent work on the evolution of collective decision-making in both human and animal groups.
  10. US-Latin America Strategic Partnership and National Security: This module offers the students a national security perspective and a cultural perspective of the US-Latin America strategic partnership. From a national security perspective, the module reviews and assesses the main features, concepts and issues related to the global security environment, paying heed to the U.S.-Latin America dimension. The module surveys U.S-Latin America security policies and strategies. Additionally, the module offers students a broad view of the various decisions, policy challenges, and tasks involved in evaluating, understanding and critically analyzing the complex global security as it relates to this partnership. A Cultural Perspective reviews, through the contemporary fictional literature of Latin America and related readings, the main features, concepts and issues related to the global security environment, paying heed to the complex US-Latin America dimension. In the process, this course analyzes the historical, social and cultural environment of North and South American hemispheric security issues. The module provides an understanding of the social, political and cultural climate of the peoples who constitute the US-Latin environment. This course encourages students to develop critical and innovative thinking skills to monitor the current zeitgeist of the populations and societies vis-à-vis national security questions.