Graduate Certificate

Graduate Certificate in Security Studies

Basic Certificate Description:

The Graduate Certificate in Security Studies (GCSS) is a 15-hour concentration available to special graduate students who have been admitted to UTSA by application through the normal graduate admissions process. Applicants should become fully familiar with the requirements for “special graduate” admission status, as discussed in the University graduate admission section of this catalog. The GCSS is a program that mainly serves the needs of San Antonio regional professionals, such as leaders in military and civilian contract functions, who require advanced education short of full degree programs and in areas directly connected with their work in emergency response, security and defense at national, state, and local levels. The Department of Political Science and Geography is responsible for all coordination of students participating in the certificate program.

The program’s goals are to expand horizons of awareness of domestic and global conditions that can reasonably be expected to impact on security and defense in a democratic society, and to deepen awareness of how political systems address particular conditions of threat arising from natural disasters and external attacks. It is assumed that most applicants will have an established record of basic expertise through their assignments in operational areas in domestic or international security in private or public organizations.

Specific Degree Requirements:

Requirements for the GCSS include 15 semester credit hours, of which 6 semester credit hours are in POL 5083 Geo-Political Context of Homeland Security and Defense and POL 5943 Threat Environments and Homeland Security and Defense; and 9 semester credit hours of electives are chosen in consultation with the program director and advisor. The list of electives is intentionally diverse and drawn from relevant existing courses across the University in order to encourage students to self-identify disciplinary interests. No course in which a grade lower than a “B” is earned may be used to complete the GCSS. Graduate credit earned at other colleges or universities cannot be applied as credit in the certificate program. Students must complete the certificate program within an 18-month period from the time of first registration.

Individuals interested in the GCSS should contact the Graduate Advisor for the GCSS in the Department of Political Science and Geography. An application for admission to the certificate program must be completed online and all required supporting materials must be submitted before students may register for courses. GCSS students interested in applying to a Master’s program must apply through the Graduate School and seek degree-seeking status. Students must comply with all Graduate School and department requirements for the program they apply for.

Departmental entrance requirements include:

  •      A bachelor’s degree from an accredited university in an approved area of study (e.g., political science)
  •      A minimum GPA of 3.0 for the last two years of work toward the bachelor’s degree.
  •     To maintain enrollment in the certificate program, students should maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout tenure in the program.
  •     Be in good standing at the last institution attended.


Graduate Studies Application:  Yes- unless already a currently enrolled degree seeking graduate student.

Transcripts: Official transcripts from all institutions attended.  All international transcripts must be recorded in English or officially translated to English.

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Application Deadline Dates

Domestic Applicants (Citizens and Permanent Residents):
Spring- November 1
Summer- April 1
Fall- July 1

Contact Information:

Graduate Advisor of Record: James Calder, Ph.D.
Email: James.Calder@utsa.edu
Telephone: (210) 458-7671


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