International Security Studies Graduate Credit Certificate Program

Person-in-ChargeMitchell Smith
Program CodeINTLSS
Campus(es)University Park

This program provides students, professionals, and others with an accessible, professional education in the rapidly evolving field of international security studies. Students study geopolitical, cultural, and international law aspects of international affairs pertaining to security dilemmas. The certificate is a strong addition to the resume of anyone interested in a career in international relations, public policy, intelligence, defense, military affairs, counterterrorism, diplomacy, law enforcement, international organizations, or international law.

Effective Semester:  Summer 2023
Expiration Semester: Spring 2028

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies. International applicants may be required to satisfy an English proficiency requirement; see GCAC-305 Admission Requirements for International Students for more information.

All applicants submit an application (including payment of the nonrefundable application fee), two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement addressing their reasons for pursuing a certificate in international security studies and discussing their plans and goals.

Certificate Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in Graduate Council policy GCAC-212 Postbaccalaureate Credit Certificate Programs.

The 12-credit program offers a unique balance of academic study, hands-on training, and professional development; it includes 3 credits of SIA core courses, 3 credits in additional SIA core courses or SIA electives, and 6 credits in additional 400, 500, or 800 level courses. In some cases, at the discretion of the certificate program head, substitution of a relevant course from an appropriate unit may be possible. All courses must be taken for a letter grade with at least a 3.0 grade-point average maintained; no grades below a C will
be counted toward the certificate.

Required Courses
3 Credits in SIA Core Courses. Select from the following:3
Actors, Institutions, and Legal Frameworks in International Affairs
Foundations of Diplomacy and International Relations Theory
3 Credits in Additional SIA Core Courses or SIA Electives3
6 Credits in Additional 400, 500, and 800 Level Courses on topics relevant to International Security Studies6
Total Credits12


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to identify key issues relating to international affairs.
  2. Students will be able to apply the knowledge they obtain to real-world examples.


Campus University Park
Graduate Program Head Mitchell P Smith
Program Contact

Christie Persio
The Penn State School of International Affairs
Lewis Katz Building
University Park PA 16802
(814) 863-0788

Program Website View