The Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) in National Security and Counterterrorism Law is SPL’s cornerstone academic program. To achieve the certificate, law and graduate students will take 15 credits of interdisciplinary study on the topics of national security, counterterrorism, and other related fields. We strongly encourage students to contact the SPL office during the spring semester of their first year to register for the certificate and to discuss a course plan with staff. Through interdisciplinary coursework, students will:

  • Determine the applicable legal rules from multiple sources of the law in the national security contexts and seek to reconcile any competing principles.
  • Locate and evaluate research materials specific to the field of national security.
  • Demonstrate writing capacity, preferably through drafting law and or policy memoranda.
  • Solve security problems that require solutions and suggestions from non-law disciplines such as public administration, international relations, history, economics, social science, and political science.

Certificate Subjects and Fundamentals

  • National Security: federal law, international law, operational law, geopolitics, foreign policy, defense strategy, humanitarian interventions, emerging technologies.
  • Counterterrorism: legal definitions of terrorism, intelligence collection, surveillance, privacy, prosecution of terrorists, countering violent extremism.
  • Homeland Security: civil-military relations, emergency management, disaster response, immigration law.
  • Cybersecurity: the legal, policy, and technical aspects of cybersecurity, cyberespionage, computer crimes, countering cyber threats, critical infrastructure, artificial intelligence.
  • Humanitarian Law: international law, international humanitarian law; human rights law, laws of war, refugee law, postconflict reconstruction, special courts, alternative justice.

Additional academic opportunities include group research projects, simulations, field trips, and study abroad. Students also can join the SPL-supported Student Association on Terrorism and Security Analysis, which produces a journal and hosts an annual conference.

Certificate Requirements

15 Credits of Coursework

  • Including six credits from the Required Course list and nine credits from the Elective Course list, selected with the help of a faculty advisor and/or an SPL staff member.
  • Maintain an overall 3.0 GPA average in required CAS courses. Courses that are taken pass/fail or audited will not count toward the certificate.

Capstone Project

  • Examples of a Capstone Project include, but are not limited to, a research paper, clinical work, an externship, or a substantial collaborative project. The project must be approved by the Program Director.
  • In place of a Capstone Project, students may take one or both of two classes whose cumulative work constitutes a Capstone Project. These classes, “Central Challenges in National Security Law & Policy” or “National Security & Counterterrorism Research Center”, are designated with a [C] on the Required Course list below.

Course List

Required Courses (Select courses from the list below to total Six Credits)

[W] = Course meets Writing Requirement [C] = Course meets Capstone Project requirement. All students must take one of the courses designated as (W) or get SPL approval for an academic paper written for credit in a law course or for a journal.

Available to All StudentsAvailable to On-Campus J.D. StudentsAvailable to Online JDinteractive Students
National Security LawCentral Challenges in National Security Law & Policy [W] [C]Counterterrorism & the Law
National Security & Counterterrorism Research Center [W] [C]Cybersecurity Law & Policy [W]
Emerging Technologies & Global SecurityHomeland Security Law & Policy

Elective Courses (Select courses from the list below to total Nine Credits)

Elective courses change each semester. To view the most current graduate courses and descriptions, visit the College of Law Course Descriptions and the Graduate Course Catalog. All required courses may be used for electives to achieve the nine credit requirement.

Available to All StudentsAvailable to On-Campus J.D. StudentsAvailable to Online JDinteractive Students
International Human Rights LawClimate ChangeModel Rules to Model Lawyers: Ethics in NS Lawyering
International LawComparative Civil-Military RelationsNational Security Negotiations
Veterans Legal Clinic (VLC)Comparative Foreign PolicySpace Law and Policy: National Security’s Next Frontier
Independent Study (with approval from SPL)Computer Crimes
Externship Placements (with approval from SPL)Crisis Management
Culture in World Affairs
Economic Dimensions of Global Power
Emerging Technologies & Global Security
Federal Courts
Federal Criminal Law
Fundamentals of Conflict Studies
Fundamentals of Postconflict Reconstruction
Health Law and Policy
History of International Relations
Homeland Security
Humanitarian Action: Challenges, Responses, Results
Immigration Law
International Law & Organizations
International Security
International Security Theory
Internet Law
Law, Courts, & Human Rights
Law of the Global Commons
Middle East Anthropology
Perspectives on Terrorism
Political Leadership
Privacy Law
Responding to Proliferation of WMDs
Rule of Law in Postconflict Reconstruction
Smart Grid: Security, Privacy, & Economics
Theories of International Relations
The Modern Presidency
Transnational Crimes, Drugs, & Terrorism
UN Organizations: Managing for Change
US Defense Strategy, Military Posture & Combat Operations
US Intelligence Community: 1947 to the Present
US National Security & Foreign Policy
Women, War, & Peace


Email either Kristen Duda or Keli Perrin, call SPL at 315.443.2284, or visit us at 300 Dineen Hall.

How Do I Apply?

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.
  • In February/March of your final year, SPL will remind you to complete the Diploma Request Form and to submit a 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 SPL.
  • The Program Director will recommend granting the CAS in National Security and Counterterrorism Law to students who have met all of the requirements and who are in good standing.