Jun 13, 2024  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog [Not Current Academic Year. Consult with Your Academic Advisor for Your Catalog Year]

National Security Studies Minor

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College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences  > Department of Political Science  > National Security Studies Minor

The National Security Studies Minor prepares students with diverse majors for careers in homeland security, intelligence collection and analysis, foreign relations, Department of Defense, Department of State, and related areas, or to enter graduate programs that will further prepare them for careers in these areas. These careers might be as diverse as being a diplomat, a cryptologist, an area studies specialist, a linguist, an intelligence analyst, an energy economist, or a policy analyst. The program culminates in a capstone course that integrates student experiences in other courses within the minor into a Crisis Management Exercise (CME). The CME requires students to play the roles of civilian officials and military officers tasked with addressing the crisis situation at hand in an interagency environment.


  • Students complete a National Security Studies Minor by completing a minimum of eighteen hours in approved courses with a minimum 12 of the 18 hours taken in residence, and at least nine hours in advanced courses 6 of which must be in residence.
  • Students must take the capstone course in National Security Affairs (AFSC 4301 ) or Capstone for National Security Studies (NSS 4345 ).
  • Students must take at least one course from the “Contemporary Security Environment” list.
  • Students must take at least one course from those included under “National Security Policies and Institutions.”
  • Students must take a total of three courses (9 hours) from the “Contemporary Security Environment” and the “National Security Policies and Institutions” lists.
  • Students must maintain a GPA of 2.5 or better in their minor courses.
  • A student may not use more than six hours of work in the NSS Minor to satisfy requirements for a major field and/or any other minor, although those six hours may be shared. Four of the six courses must come from outside the student’s major field of study.
  • Students taking a course that appears in two categories can only use the course to fulfill the requirements in one category.

Of course, eighteen hours is a minimum requirement - students may take additional NSS courses as their schedules and other requirements permit. The remainder of the hours requirement can be satisfied by choosing electives from the NSS courses listed below. Students with very specific interests may petition the director to have a course in another department/program substituted as an elective course for the NSS minor.

During the sophomore year, students are also encouraged to apply for internships with the State Department, Department of Defense, National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies in the attempt to enhance their understanding of various aspects of national security in a non-academic setting.

Capstone Courses (Pick 1)

The Contemporary Security Environment (Pick 1 or 2)


  • Additional courses in the categories appearing above may be taken as electives.
  • Advanced courses taught in a Foreign Language [3000 - 4000 level, not including credit earned by exam]


Students interested in the National Security Studies Minor should contact:

Zach Zwald, Ph.D.
Director, National Security Studies Minor
Department of Political Science
University of Houston 77204-3011

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