Undergraduate Certificate in Security Studies

The Certificate in Security Studies recognizes students focusing on international and national security affairs. Through the certificate, students develop interdisciplinary expertise and professional experience in security studies, primarily consisting of diplomacy, defense, and intelligence, but also extending to homeland security, international affairs, international development, human rights, war, conflict, peace, and related fields. This transcript-recognized certificate is open to all current UT students. 

Required course: Students must CHOOSE ONE from the following courses to qualify for the certificate.

  • GOV 360D International Security
  • LA 325.3 Intelligence & National Security
  • LAH 350.1 Shaping Defense Policy

  • Elective Courses: Students must take an additional 15 hours from the following list of courses in at least two different departments. Students must take at least 9 hours in residence at UT Austin and all courses must be taken for a letter grade, not for credit CLICK HERE for approved courses (updated March 2024). **Please be advised that this document serves as a guide and course offerings are constantly changing. However, the TITLE of the approved course should always remain the same and serves as the best guide for registration.

Students must complete an internship in the field of national security that meets the requirements below. Click here to view the Clements Center’s Internship Database.  

  • Internships must involve substantive work that exposes students to the professional work environment and experience in the field of national security.
  • The internship must be related to national security and can be in various fields such as diplomacy, defense, intelligence, foreign policy, homeland security, international development, or human rights policy. (Note: Humanitarian work is commendable, but internships with humanitarian-minded organizations do not always connect clearly and directly to U.S. national security. Please check with the Faculty Committee first if you have any doubts.)
  • Internships may be with government agencies, think tanks, NGOs, non-university-affiliated research centers, consulting firms, or other entities that offer substantial professional job experience specifically in the field of national security. (University-affiliated research centers do not qualify except by very rare exception when you have pre-approval from the Faculty Committee.)
  • GOV 362L Research Internship Courses are neither required nor accepted for the internship requirement; GOV 362L internships are part of a different program. This is a frequent point of confusion for students in the Government Department; see your academic counselor or a Clements Center representative if you need clarification.
  • Internships must last a minimum of six weeks of full-time work, or an equivalent (240 hours).
  • Internships may be in the United States or abroad.
  • Internships may be paid or unpaid.
  • It is not recommended that students with less than 1 year left in their UT career start pursuing the certificate. Securing an appropriate internship can take extensive planning and is the sole responsibility of the student.
  • Students who accept unpaid internships are invited to apply for a stipend through the Clements Center for National Security’s Summer Student Development Fund. Funds are limited and stipends are not guaranteed for certificate students. These funds are meant to cover direct costs incurred from the internship, not “lost wages.”
  • Students are responsible for informing the Faculty Committee of their internship plans before acceptance of the offer. To ensure the internship qualifies students must begin the process for approval by submitting a detailed proposal that demonstrates the relevance of the position to national security. Once the internship is approved and completed, the student must submit proof from the organization on letterhead that the internship was completed to receive credit on their degree audit. 
  • The Faculty Committee reviews students’ internship experience to ensure it is relevant to security studies and was satisfactorily completed. 
  • Students who choose to pursue the certificate as a “stand-alone” credential will have up to one year after graduation to obtain and complete an appropriate and approved internship. This can include relevant work experience if employment is obtained in the field of national security. Please see an advisor to determine if this path is the best option for graduation.
  • Waivers: Students may apply for a waiver for the internship requirement if they are enrolled in ROTC; have prior military experience with no major disciplinary actions against them; or have extensive prior civilian job experience directly related to security studies. The Faculty Committee reviews applications to waive the internship requirement. 

Questions? Please email [email protected]

If you intend to complete the Certificate, please register: