University of Texas at El Paso Academic Catalog

Academic Catalog

M.S. in Intelligence and National Security Studies

The Master of Science in Intelligence and National Security Studies and the Graduate Certificate in Intelligence and National Security Studies (INSS) provide a highly-rigorous interdisciplinary graduate program intended for students seeking employment or career advancement in the United States Intelligence Community (IC).  The INSS graduate program is also suitable for students interested in security-related jobs in the private sector such as applied research institutions (think tanks).  The INSS graduate program is also ideal preparation for advanced graduate study at the doctoral level in international relations, political science, public administration, public policy, history, or other closely related fields.  The INSS graduate curriculum focuses on specific intelligence and security competencies that are delivered across the spectrum of academic disciplines at The University of Texas at El Paso.

Admission Requirements

  1. Completion and submission of a graduate admissions application.
  2. Submission of official transcripts in accordance with the requirements of the Graduate School. 
  3. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
  4. Demonstration of academic achievement and potential as indicated by the results of the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).  This requirement is waived if the student already possesses an accredited graduate degree.
  5. A brief statement of purpose (1-2 pages) that addresses educational and career goals and reasons for pursuing the MS degree.
  6. Three academic letters of recommendation from instructors who can evaluate the ability to succeed in a rigorous graduate program.  A minimum of two letters of recommendation are required for students who have been out of school for two or more years.  Letters of recommendation from employers or work supervisors are acceptable for applicants who have been out of school for five years or more.
  7. Applicants from countries where English is not the first language are required to demonstrate English proficiency. Please consult the graduate school website for required scores.

Note:  Admission packages are evaluated utilizing all of the requirements listed above.

Free Elective Requirement for the MS Degree

Students may also take appropriate graduate courses with the graduate advisor's approval from any university department or program (e.g., anthropology, business administration, history, linguistics, political science, women’s studies, etc.) and apply these courses toward the free elective requirement.  Students may also develop, in consultation with their graduate advisor, (9) hours toward a concentration within a single academic discipline such as economics, public administration, or geographic information systems or develop a multidisciplinary concentration such as homeland security, international security, or area/regional studies.  These are just a few examples of possible student concentrations.  Up to six (6) hours of approved cultural studies coursework (travel/study abroad) may be applied to the free elective requirement.  Likewise, students can apply up to six (6) hours of an approved security studies internship toward the degree.

Academic Standards

Students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better in order to earn the MS degree. MS students must also earn a grade of B or better in all required courses and in the thesis or capstone course(s) to be eligible for graduation. Students must earn at least a "C" in all courses and at least a "B" in all required courses. Students will be given only one opportunity to retake a failed course that earned a "D" grade or lower (or a "C" grade or lower in a Required Course).  Students with a semester GPA below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation.  Students will have nine credit hours to return to "good" academic standing with a GPA of 3.0 or better.  Those students failing to return to good academic standing after nine credit hours may be dismissed from the Graduate School ad the MS degree program.

Degree Plan

Required Credits: 36

Required Courses:
INSS 5300Resrch Methods Intellig & CJ3
INSS 5304Intel & Natl Sec Pol & Proc3
INSS 5305Intro to Intelligence Analysis3
INSS 5306Contemporary Security Studies3
INSS 5361Statistics in Intellig & CJ3
Free Electives:
Select five courses from the following:15
Histl Devlpmt of Intel Commty
Legal Issues/Intel & Nat Sec
Open Source Intel Analysis
Propaganda and Influence Ops
Technical Intelligence
Intel & Counterterrorism
Intelligence and Information
Commercial Imagery
Social Media Intelligence
Intel & Counterproliferation
Counterintel & Security
Invest Interview & Interrogat
Political Economy of Terrorism
Decision Making Intel & CJ
Transnational Criminal Orgs
Pro-Seminar Homeland Security
Crime & Border Security
Professional Skills
Geospatial Intelligence
Security Studies Internship
Selected Problems in Intel
Intergovernmental Relations
Seminar-International Politics
Sem-Foreign Policy Dec Making
Sem in International Security
Seminar in Conflict Analysis
Thesis/Project Option:
Select one of the options6
Total Hours36

Thesis Option

INSS 5398
INSS 5399
and Thesis
Total Hours6

 Non Thesis Option

INSS 5390Capstone3
Select one additional free elective from the list above3
Total Hours6