National security advisor speaking at her desk

Bachelor of Science in National Security

Transfer up to
113 Credits
A median of 87 credits accepted
Receive credit for military training

Expand Your Career Options with an Online BS in National Security

Prepare for a career in foreign relations, diplomacy, intelligence analysis, homeland security, or international logistics with this fully online bachelor’s in national security program.

Increase your readiness for the job market by deepening your interdisciplinary knowledge of national security issues and operations, and learning how nation-states leverage diplomatic, military, information, economic (DIME) and other instruments of power to gain strategic advantage in competitive international relations.

This Bachelor of Science in National Security program is especially geared to the background and career interests of military servicemembers and veterans, and civilian employees working for the U.S. Department of Defense or other federal or state government agencies, global corporations, and nonprofits operating in multiple nations with varying social and political climates.

Discover how the United States and other countries evaluate and revise their national security strategy and policies by studying related topics in history, political science, public administration, sociology, psychology, economics, military leadership, and cybersecurity. At the end of the program, you recommend ethical solutions to problems identified in your personal assessment of the national security posture of the United States.


Intelligence and Security Analysis, Topics in National Security

Fast Facts:

28,000 information security jobs are expected to be added by 2026 (Source: BLS)

The average contractor working for the Defense Department is paid nearly $200,000 a year, including benefits (Source:

The benefits of a four-year college degree are equivalent to an investment that returns 15.2% per year (Source: Brookings Institute)


credit hours

Online BS in National Security Program Details

Of the 120 credits for the Bachelor of Science in National Security, a total of 30 credits must be at the upper level (21 credits in the arts and sciences and 9 credits in electives). As part of these credits, for the core component, a minimum of 33 credits must be earned in the field of national security. A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required in the major.

  • Written English Requirement: 6 credits
  • Ethics: 3 credits
  • Humanities: 6 credits
  • Social Sciences/History: 9 credits
  • Natural Sciences/Math: 9 credits (must include at least 2 credits in each area)
  • Information Literacy: 1 credit

Core National Security Courses: 15 Credits

Introduction to National Security

This course is situated at the intersection of American politics and international relations, and examines national security policy making and implementation, and the political-domestic and global-interactions that determine grand strategy and security politics in an advanced democracy. Learn about the constitutional authority of the U.S. congress, presidency, and executive agencies (such as the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and Central Intelligence Agency) and how they defend national interests.

National Security Ethics and Diversity

Discover your own ethical type as you learn about issues of moral judgment in public service. Take a closer look at case studies of wrongful obedience, loyal dissent, and whistleblowing; accountability and mitigation; human and ecological interventions in foreign and international affairs; and the benefits of diversity and inclusion in government agencies and nonprofit organizations and businesses with a global reach.

Comparative National Security Analysis

This course focuses on complex factors involved with protecting national interests and security. Learn about the economic, geo-political, sociological, and regional cultural factors that drive nations and non-state actors to seek local and international partnerships and/or initiate and engage in conflict. In addition, you study the role of the military in non-combat humanitarian aid, disaster relief, and evacuation operations as you become familiar with the Diplomatic, Information, Military, and Economic (DIME) framework of national power.

War and Peace After the Cold War

Analyze key actors and trends in international relations during and after the end of the Cold War. Learn how cooperation changed to rivalry by studying the Balkans Wars; Islamic fundamentalism and the War on Terror; competition between Russia, China, and the United States; national response to terrorist threats and global health and climate dilemmas; and the role of the United States in world politics and the global economy. Students choose this course or Order and Disorder in the Middle East and North Africa. Pending approval, another international relations course might satisfy this requirement.


Order and Disorder in the Middle East and North Africa

In this course, you examine international relations of the Middle East and North Africa from the late 19th century to the present, with a focus on relations between states and peoples from Casablanca in Morocco to the port of Gwadar across Iran’s border in Pakistan. Investigate the Islamic struggle for economic and political development; ongoing wars in Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Iraq; the Arab-Israeli conflict; Islamic fundamentalism; Islamic sectional divisions and democratic compatibility; and the Arab Spring. Students choose this course or War and Peace After the Cold War. Pending approval, another international relations course might satisfy this requirement.

National Security Capstone

This course deepens your knowledge of global politics and national security strategy and policy in the United States. Advanced topics include: modern warfare, urbanization and feral cities, ethical dilemmas with terrorism; chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons of mass destruction; international security and full spectrum operations; economics, politics, and the United States national security budget process; foreign policy; and grand strategy. Assignments include discussion posts, position papers, an annotated bibliography, narrated visual presentation, and final paper.

Topics in National Security: 18 Credits

You select courses with assistance of your academic advisor and with approval of the faculty program director. The topic selected and approved must be a national security topic. Some common topics are foreign language, military leadership, nuclear studies, diplomacy/international relations, cybersecurity, and explosive ordnance (EOD). Students may discuss other topics with their academic advisor.

Intelligence and Security Analysis: 18 Credits

You may fulfill this concentration with the following courses or your academic advisor can help you select courses to satisfy the requirement:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Intelligence in National Security
  • Infrastructure Security and Policy
  • Cybersecurity Defense in Depth
  • Security-Focused Risk Management
  • Large-Scale Cybercrime and Terrorism
  • Fundamentals of Cryptography
  • International Terrorism
  • Counterterrorism
  • Domestic Terrorism

The curriculum requires 53 credits beyond the general education credits (34 credits) and the major requirements (33 credits) that can be satisfied with applied professional and additional arts and sciences credit.

Describe the interdisciplinary character of national security (e.g. history, political science, public administration, social sciences/history, psychology, economics, military leadership, and cybersecurity).

Examine the instruments of power (e.g., diplomatic, information, military, economic, social) and how nation-states leverage each for strategic advantage in a competitive international environment.

Explain how the U.S and other nations create, evaluate, and revise national security strategy and policies.

Analyze the ethical issues surrounding the field of national security and develop solutions to solve them.

Assess the national security posture of the United States.

View additional details about programs and courses:

Download the Undergraduate Studies Catalog

Common Careers with an
Online BS in National Security

Business Analyst


Cybersecurity Specialist

Diplomat/Foreign Area Specialist

Foreign Language Expert

Government Civilians in Any Field

Intelligence Officer

Logistics Specialist

Military Leaders/Managers

National Security Analyst

“Having a bachelor’s degree in my career is going to advance me from where I am now to management.”
Erin Potvin
B.S. in National Security, 2018


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Institutional Accreditation

Excelsior College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. (267-284-5000).

All of Excelsior College's academic programs are registered (i.e., approved) by the New York State Education Department.

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