The CAS in Security Studies is a 12-credit, interdisciplinary program for law and graduate students preparing for careers in national security, homeland security, cybersecurity, and counterterrorism.

Certificate students collaborate across a range of subjects, benefitting from faculty expertise in national, international, and homeland security; international law and atrocity law; military operations and defense strategy; counterterrorism law and policy; counter-proliferation; diplomacy and international relations; mass communication; cybersecurity and cyberespionage; conflict and postconflict studies; and more.  

Alumni form an extended, active, and influential network, boosting SPL’s reputation as a “go to” organization for shaping discourse on security challenges and for training the next generation of scholars and practitioners. Students also can join the Syracuse University Institute for Security Policy and Law-supported National Security Student Association.

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“Combining my Information Management master’s degree with the SPL Security Studies program—which taught me critical thinking about the national security, cyber, and emerging tech—was a perfect match and definitely assisted me in getting my first job.”—Marina Polachek, MIM ’19

“I am incredibly grateful to have had SPL at the core of my studies. The courses on defense and national security issues that were incredibly challenging, informative, and enjoyable. I am also extremely grateful to SPL for providing me the opportunity to study counterterrorism in Herzliya, Israel, which exposed me to new perspectives and policies that would be hard to grasp without this first-hand experience.”—Frank E. Garrison, MPA ’19

“Working at SPL helped me to get my dream internship in the field of cybersecurity, and I can look back having earned many valuable insights for my future career.”—Benedikt Abendroth, MAIR ’15

Who Can Apply?

The CAS in Security Studies is available to matriculated SU law and graduate students. Interested students are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to visit the SPL office during the spring semester of their first year to register for the certificate and to discuss a course plan with staff.

How Do I Apply?

  1. Interested students should first consult with their Faculty Advisor who will determine whether the student can pursue the CAS in Security Studies, consistent with the requirements of his/her degree program.
  2. Students then must complete the Graduate School Internal Admission Application Form, signed by the students’ department representative. This application should be submitted to the SPL office during the fall semester of the student’s first year in his or her graduate program.
  3. Students also must fill out a Proposed Program of Study Form and submit it to the SPL office.
  4. The Professional Profile Form helps us connect you with our professional network. Please fill this form out and submit it to the SPL office.

If you require more information, contact the SPL office at or 315.443.2284.

How Do I Receive the Certificate?

  • Law and graduate students must file a diploma request form on MySlice (and update their addresses). Filing on MySlice activates the certification process and awarding of a degree.
  • You will be reminded by SPL in February/March of your final year to complete the Diploma Request Form and to submit your Final Program of Study Form.
  • Projects or courses otherwise not listed may qualify for credit subject to approval by the Program Director. To petition to have non-listed study qualify for the CAS, complete a Waiver Petition Form and submit it to the SPL office.
  • The Program Director will recommend granting the CAS in Security Studies to students who have met all of the requirements and who are in good standing.

What Are the Requirements?

  • Students must complete 12 credits (six from the required course list and six from the elective course list—see below).
  • No course may count if taken pass/fail or audited.

Students will be able to …

1. Identify and describe the central themes around globalization, global security, foreign policy, and models of conflict, particularly the role nation-states and international organizations play in the modern global system.

2. Explain and evaluate traditional and non-traditional security threats. Think creatively about complex problems in order to produce, evaluate, and implement innovative possible solutions, often as one member of a team.

3. Use knowledge of central themes (LO1) and security threats (LO2) in focused topic areas, such as international cybersecurity, security strategies in the Middle East, nuclear weapons, political risk assessment, and press relations.

4. Communicate acquired knowledge and skills effectively to a range of professional audiences, evidenced through written and oral communication.

Fall 2021 Courses

Course Options

1) Required Courses—take a minimum of six credits from the following:

Using a series of case studies that jump off the front page, this course examines critically the hardest US national security law and policy challenges of the decades ahead. Topics include:

  • Decisions to intervene and what laws apply if we do intervene in humanitarian crises, insurrections, or civil wars.
  • Dealing with the “Arab Spring.”
  • Dealing with Iran and North Korea, related to nuclear weapons.
  • Anticipating and controlling new technologies in warfare and surveillance.
  • Managing civil/military relations in protecting the homeland.
  • Countering cyber threats to our infrastructure and cyber attacks waged by nation states, such as China and Russia.
  • Managing public health as a national security issue.
  • Resource depletion and global warming as a national security issue.

Offered by James Steinberg and William Banks.


This course has four separate units, which are intended to introduce you to the major issues in the study of civil-military relations:

  1. Foundations: States, Militaries, Nations, and Military Professionalism
  2. Who’s In Charge? Military Intervention and Civilian Control
  3. Civil-Military Relations and the Use of Force
  4. New Challenges in Civil-Military Relations

Most of these units could be courses in themselves, so this course will only scratch the surface of existing literature.


This course familiarizes students with some of the major theoretical approaches to the study of international security and some of the central issues shaping current debates about security and the use of force. We will investigate causes of war; strategies for avoiding conflict; and the impact of new technologies, actors, and ideas on calculations about the use of force.

Topics include:

  • Anarchy and realism
  • Alliances and security regimes
  • The political economy of national security
  • The democratic peace
  • Nationalism and ethnic conflict
  • Culture and security
  • The impact of changing weapons technologies
  • The impact of resources and migration on security
  • International intervention
  • The role of transnational actors in international security

Offered by Renee de Nevers.


The National Security and Counterterrorism Research Center serves as a working research laboratory for law and other graduate students interested in national security and counterterrorism issues. Students will work in teams on research projects assigned by the director. Other faculty within Syracuse University and experts outside the University may also participate in the development and implementation of research projects. Typically, the projects will involve assessments of legal and law-related issues of concern to federal, state, and local government officials in responding to national security and terrorism threats. Other projects may examine private sector security concerns. Research projects may by arrangement with sources external to Syracuse University, while others may be developed from within the College of Law or the University.


A course that covers the fundamental topics in national security law, using case studies, simulations, and class discussions.

Part 1: Framework of National Security Law
Part II: International Law as ”Our Law”
Part III: Using Force Abroad
Part IV: Intelligence Operations and Collection
Part V: Homeland Security

Offered by William Banks and David Crane.


This course examines the Defense Strategy of the US and its allies and its implementation by military forces from 2001 to the present. Students will study national-level strategic guidance from the National Command Authority, and understand how national security is carried out by the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Combatant Commanders and subordinate units.

International security dynamics and military posture related to terrorism and proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass effect also will be examined. Students will participate in specific case studies of planning and execution of combat and humanitarian assistance operations with allied forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa, Haiti, the Far East, Colombia, and on the high seas.


This course examines the evolution of the US Intelligence Community since its inception in 1947 through the present day. Key phases and specific events will be explored, including efforts during …

  • The Cold War
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis
  • The Vietnam Conflict
  • The Church Committee
  • The Balkans Conflicts
  • Pre- and post-9/11 operations
  • The 9/11 and WMD Commissions and the legislative overhaul mandated by Congress in 2004.

The course also will review governance and oversight of the intelligence community by the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, and students will study the functional elements of intelligence tradecraft (human intelligence, signals intelligence, imagery analysis, etc.), and engagement with international counterparts. The class will participate in case studies that students will evaluate, provide briefings for, and make recommendations in regard to, both in terms of analysis- and intelligence-driven decision-making on policy and operations.

Offered by Robert Murrett.


This is a policy-oriented course in which students study a range of issues in the field of US national security and foreign policy. Using readings, case studies, exercises, simulations, personal experience, invited guest speakers, class discussion, and oral presentations, this course explores:

  • The US  national security structure and strategy
  • Threats to US national interest
  • Diplomacy and the use of force
  • Civil-military relations
  • The place of the UN and other international organizations in US foreign and defense policy
  • The role of human rights and morality in US policy
  • Links between foreign and defense policy and homeland security
  • US relations with allies and real and potential adversaries

Offered by Renee de Nevers


2) Elective Courses—take six credits:

Atrocity Law (LAW 899)

American Foreign Policy in Islamic World (PSC 600)

Challenges in Crisis & Disaster Management (PSC/PAI 700)

Civil Wars & State-Building (PAI 730)

Comparative Foreign Policy (PSC 783)

Conflict & Security in Cyberspace (PAI 715) (in Washington, DC)

Contemporary US-Mexico Relations (PAI 730)

Counterterrorism & the Law (LAW 790)

Crisis Management (PSC 759/PAI 700)

Culture & Politics of Afghanistan & Pakistan (ANT 600/PAI 626)

Culture in World Affairs (PAI/ANT 707)

Cybersecurity Law & Policy (LAW 832)/Information Security Policy (IST 728)

Defense Challenges for the 21st Century (PAI 715) (in Washington, DC)

Democracy in the Middle East (PSC 690)

Drugs and Drug Trafficking in Contemporary Latin America (HST 600/PAI 700)

Economic Dimensions of Global Power (PAI 716)

Emerging Technologies & Global Security (LAW 844)

Evolving Global Security Landscape: Robotics, Autonomous Systems, & AI (PAI 715) (in Washington, DC)

Food Security (PAI 730)

Fundamentals of Conflict Studies (PAI 601)

Fundamentals of Postconflict Reconstruction (PAI 719)

Genocide, Atrocity, & Political Violence (HST 600)

Geopolitics of South Asia (PAI 715) (in Washington, DC)

History of International Relations (HST 645)

Homeland Security Law & Policy (PAI 700/LAW 729)

Homeland Security: State & Local Government Preparedness & Response (PAI 730)

Humanitarian Action: Challenges, Responses, Results (PAI 765)

International Actors & Issues (PAI 710)

International Conflict & Peace (PSC 754/PAI 700)

International Human Rights (LAW 778)

International Law & Organizations (PSC 752)

International Relations of the Middle East (PSC 600)

International Security & the Asymmetric Use of Force (PAI 730, PSC 700)

International Security Theory (PSC 749)

Israel & Palestine: Historical Approaches (HST 644)

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (PSC 600)

Latin America’s Crisis of Citizen Security (PAI 730)

Law, Courts, & Human Rights (PSC/PAI 700)

Law & War (PSC 700)

Law of Armed Conflict (LAW 840)

Law of Genocide (LAW 804)

Law of the Global Commons: Law of the Sea, Space Law, and Cyberlaw (LAW 975)

Law of the Sea (LAW 729)

Middle East Anthropology (ANT 668)

Military Law & Procedure (LAW 817)

Multilateral Peacekeeping (PAI/ANT 701) (in NYC & Syracuse)

National Security & Defense Transformation (PAI 715) (in Washington, DC)

Negotiation in International Conflict (PAI 715) (in Washington, DC)

Non-State Actors in World Affairs (PSC 757)

Obstacles to Democracy in the Muslim World (PAI 700)

Peace & Conflict in the Balkans (ANT/PAI 673)

Perspectives on Terrorism (LAW 790/PSC 600/HST 600)

Political Leadership (PSC 788/PAI 700)

Politics of the Middle East (PSC 600)

Prosecuting Terrorists (LAW 779)

Republic to Superpower (PSC 600)

Responding to Proliferation of WMDs (PAI 727)

Rising China & Challenges to the Global Order (PAI 715) (in Washington, DC)

Rule of Law in Postconflict Reconstruction (LAW 813)

Russian & Post-Soviet Politics (PSC 786)

Seminar in Resource Management (BUA 600)

Smart Grid: Privacy, Security, & Economics (LAW 868/PAI 730)

Social Theory & the Middle East (PSC 682)

Statecraft & Smart Power in the Digital Era (PAI 715) (in Washington, DC)

Strengthening Inter-Agency Coordination (PAI 715) (in Washington, DC)

Terrorism in the 21st Century (PAI 700)

Theories of International Relations (PAI 651)

Track 2 Diplomacy & the Korean Peninsula (PSC 760)

Transnational Crimes, Drugs, & Terrorism (PSC 700)

UN Organizations: Managing for Change (PAI 764)

War, Media, & Propaganda (COM 600)

Who Will Rule the 21st Century? (PAI 700) (in Washington, DC)

World at War (HST 615)


NOTE: Elective courses change each semester.