Regional Security Studies - Western Hemisphere - Curriculum 683

Academic Associate

Mariana Giusti Rodriguez, Ph.D.

Code 38, Glasgow Hall, Room 364

(831) 656-3357, DSN 756-3357

Brief Overview

Curriculum 683 studies politics and security in the Western Hemisphere, excluding Canada and the United States. Depending upon sponsor requirements, study at NPS may be preceded or followed by language instruction at the Defense Language Institute, co-located on the Monterey Peninsula. In addition, courses, conveying Phase I JPME certification, as well as selected U.S. Marine Corps PME courses, are available to Regional Security Studies students while in residence at NPS.


Students may enter in any quarter. Please refer to the Academic Calendar for quarterly start dates.

Program Length

For thesis students who wish to complete JPME Phase I while in residence, curriculum 683 is a six-quarter (18-month) program. For non-thesis students who wish to complete JPME Phase I in residence, curriculum 683 is a five-quarter (15-month) program. For non-thesis student who do not wish to complete JPME Phase I in residence, curriculum 683 is a four-quarter (12-month) program. For all other students, curriculum 683 is a five-quarter (15-month) program.


Master of Arts in Security Studies (Western Hemisphere)


Navy P-Codes: 2103P

Typical Subspecialty Jobs

Defense Attaché

Foreign Area Officer

Intelligence Officer

Plans Officer, Staff Planner

Various joint command positions

Service Headquarters - Political / Military officers

Major staff jobs in Combatant Commands and Fleet Commands

Curriculum Requirements

Students in curriculum 683 must complete four (4) disciplinary core courses, as follows:

Course NumberTitleCreditsLecture HoursLab Hours
NS3005Great Power Conflict in Modern History



NS3011Research and Writing for National Security Affairs



NS3023Introduction to Comparative Politics



NS3024Introduction to International Relations



In addition, students must complete a minimum of nine (9) curricular core and elective courses in their regional specialization, of which at least three (3) must be at the 4000-level.

Latin America track must complete (4) curricular core courses, as follows:

Course NumberTitleCreditsLecture HoursLab Hours
NS3501History and Cultures of Latin America



NS3510Government and Politics in Latin America



NS3520Latin American International Relations



NS4053Special Topics: Political Economy



NS4053 examines the Political Economy of Development.

The additional courses that satisfy these requirements, and the quarters when they are offered, can be found on the NSA website at

Students are also required to take sufficient general electives to maintain a full-time course load (16 hours). The number of general elective slots will vary somewhat depending upon service affiliation and sponsor requirements.

Students who write a thesis must complete NS4080, Thesis Proposal, no later than six months prior to intended graduation. NS4080 does not count as one of the three 4000-level courses required above. Thereafter thesis students may enroll in NS0810, Thesis Research, up to three times; or they may take additional course work in their area of specialization, with the permission of the Academic Associate.

Students in curriculum 683 who substitute language training plus a comprehensive examination for the thesis must enroll in NS0811, Preparation for Comprehensive Examination, during their final quarter.

Educational Skill Requirements (ESR)

  1. Basic Graduate Level Skills
    1. Conduct Research: Assemble information from the full range of data sources to understand international political, economic, and military issues.
    2. Analyze Problems and Demonstrate Critical Thinking: Frame issues as research questions; logically combine evidence and theory to analyze and explain international political, economic, and military developments; and formulate innovative solutions to strategic problems.
    3. Communicate Information: Clearly summarize large quantities of information and persuasively present positions and courses of action using a broad range of verbal and written communications formats, including short oral arguments, visual briefs, policy memos, position papers, and comprehensive student theses.
  2. General Political Science, International Relations, and Security Studies
    1. Great Power Competition: Analyze the factors shaping the new era of increasing geopolitical competition among the major powers. Understand Chinese and Russian activities and potential U.S. responses across all dimensions of power, including diplomacy, economic competition, influence campaigns, and traditional military force.
    2. International and Comparative Politics: Understand international relations theories, including realist, liberal, and cultural paradigms; the conditions and worldviews that shape state interactions in the international system; the history of modern nationalism and the state system; and the roles of domestic politics, non-state actors, and transnational social movements in shaping international politics.
    3. International Economy: Understand the economic factors that shape the international security environment, including the economic dimensions of national security policy and the ways in which economic policies and interests affect military strategy and force structure.
    4. International and Military History: Grasp the principal causes of war in the modern era, and understand the political, technological, economic, and other influences that have governed its conduct; understand the social, political, economic, and cultural forces that have contributed to periods of stable peace; and analyze relations between states, including negotiations of peace settlements, military alliances, arms limitation agreements, economic arrangements, and human rights accords.
    5. International Organizations: Understand the history of international organizations and their role in world politics, including international mediation and negotiations, formal and informal security arrangements, treaty regimes, and the role of international institutions and non-governmental organizations in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.
    6. U.S. Security Policy and Strategy: Understand how U.S. national security policy and strategy are formulated. Understand the roles of nuclear forces in the security policies of the United States and other nuclear powers; U.S. nuclear force acquisition, planning, deterrence policy, and employment concepts from the Second World War to the present; and the role of nuclear weapons in alliance politics and international relations.
  3. Regional Security Studies
    1. Identities, Interests, and Politics: Grasp the most significant political, economic, historical, cultural, and religious drivers that shape national identities and interests within their region of concentration.
    2. Emerging Security Challenges: Know the regional and external great power sources of political and social instability and become familiar with the roots of ethnic conflict, insurgencies, and terrorism, and their effect on regional and U.S. security.
    3. Regional Conflicts: Understand the patterns of violent conflicts, the likely sources and character of regional wars in the present and future, and the historical and prospective impact of such wars on the international system.
    4. Military Forces and Strategic Posture: Understand the main factors determining the strategic postures of countries in the region, including strategic culture and goals, threat perceptions, military force structures, and influence activities of outside great powers.
    5. U.S. Regional Security Policy: Understand U.S. foreign policy objectives in a given region and be able to explain U.S. political, economic, and military strategy in the region, including U.S. engagement policy and security assistance programs.
    6. Economic Factors: Grasp the importance of underlying economic conditions on regional stability and conflict, as well as the tools of economic statecraft that the United States and international organizations may employ to try to influence these conditions and respond to regional economic competition from external great powers.