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Domestic Threats the Focus of New Master’s in Terrorism

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Photo by Cpl. Marco Mancha, courtesy of US Marines:

A new master’s degree focusing on the study and practice of terrorism and homeland security policy will be offered this fall by the School of Public Affairs (SPA) at American University.

“The degree will concentrate on the security and protection of people in the United States from sub-state security threats,” said Jon Gould, chair of SPA’s Justice, Law and Criminology department. “It is concerned with the sources and threats to security, and the institutions and policies tasked with providing security to the American people.”

The two-year Master of Science in Terrorism and Homeland Security Policy will focus on security policy at various levels—including federal, state and local—as well as legal issues in dealing with terrorism and national security. Students will examine both traditional and nontraditional security issues that challenge democratic societies trying to strike the proper balance between protecting people, safeguarding civil liberties and maintaining the free flow of people and goods across borders. 

Students will learn about how policies related to contemporary security issues are made and executed, the forces threatening national security and how they are influenced, how terrorists and terrorist groups develop, and policies that may discourage terrorist acts.

“Students will develop the ability to use and apply both quantitative and qualitative data and methods in analyzing homeland security policies,” said Gould.

The degree will prepare students for jobs at agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as other public and private organizations that help secure the U.S. homeland.

“Because of the quality of our institution and our proximity to agencies tasked with countering threats to the American people, the new degree will put American University students in an excellent position to learn and apply theories and practice,” said Joe Young, a national expert on terrorism and homeland security policy and associate professor of justice, law and criminology.