Frequently Asked Questions

All of our courses have a similar format. Content consists of video lectures, readings, and additional materials; all classes also include discussion forums and writing assignments. Learning is self-paced. You are able to do assignments, readings, and discussions when it best fits your schedule. However, the pace of each course is brisk due to the abbreviated, eight-week schedule. It is thus important to complete work within the allotted time for each module and to have a reliable internet connection in order to keep pace with course material. 

No, all courses are delivered online. Each course is scheduled in an eight-week block of time and is delivered through our distance learning platform. Professors and staff are available to answer questions at any time via email, while both video calls (i.e., Skype) and in-person meetings are available through appointment. 

To be admitted in the MA program, applicants must have received a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and graduated with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Your bachelor's degree could be in any field; it does not need to be security or political science related. There are also options available for students with a GPA of under 3.0. (See the next FAQ for more.)

The application process includes completing the application from the Graduate College, submitting official transcripts, resume, and statement of purpose. More on the application process can be seen here

Yes, you can still apply. If your GPA is above a 2.75, you can enter into the certificate program on a trial basis. If you maintain a 3.0 or higher during four courses as a certificate student, you will become eligible to transfer to the MA program. All courses taken in the certificate program can be transferred to the MA. Please note that you will need to officially apply to the MA (including paying the Graduate College fee). Once you transfer to the MA, you are no longer eligible to receive a Certificate. 

If your GPA is under 2.75, it is possible for us to submit a GPA waiver on your behalf. There are additional documents required for this process:

  1. A statement explaining your low GPA and why you believe you will be successful in graduate school
  2. A letter of recommendation, testifying to your ability to successfully complete graduate work, from somebody able to make that judgment

The GPA waiver is not guaranteed, as it must be approved both by the ISS program and the Graduate College. 

We can accept a maximum of six credit hours as transfer credits. However, we need to establish whether credits are able to be transferred on a case-by-case basis. The course work must be related to International Security and be similar to the type of courses we offer in the ISS program. Transfer coursework cannot be more than six years old from the time of expected graduation from the ISS program, it must come from an accredited institution, and an A or B grade must have been received. If you have questions about transfer credit, please contact us. 

We accept students twice a year, for both the fall and spring semesters. Please view our Admissions Overview page for more on the upcoming application deadlines. 

You must apply online through the Graduate College. Once you have submitted your application form to the Graduate College, you should send us your official transcripts and resume. After the Graduate College has received all the materials (our recommendation, your transcripts), it will formally admit you and notify you by electronic mail. More information is available on the admissions process on our website, and can be accessed here

Beginning in Spring 2016, our tuition rate is $700 per credit hour. This is the tuition rate regardless of the number of credits that are taken. For example, 3 credit hours costs $2,100, while 9 credit hours costs $6,300. 

We have worked hard to keep the cost of the program low. All ISS students pay in-state tuition rates, regardless of whether you live in the state of Arizona or elsewhere. We also do not charge any extra program fees. There is only one fee that UA Online students must pay. Information on that fee can be found here

Prior to the start of Spring 2016, our tuition rate was approximatly $850 per credit hour. Information on our old tuition rates can be found here.

We do not provide departmental scholarships or assistantships for this program. We do offer Qualified Tuition Reduction (QTR) to those eligible. 

Students can apply through the University's Financial Aid office for external funding. The Graduate College also has a list of financial resources available. Please note that not all financial aid resources are available to online students. 

Both the ISS MA and Certificate have been approved by the VA, and students can use their GI Bill benefits as well as tuition assistance to cover the costs of the courses. Military benefits questions can be directed at the VA Liaison, Regina Dowell (email: rdowell@email.arizona.edu ; phone: (520) 621-9501).

The schedule of current and upcoming courses is available on our website, and can be accessed hereThe fall semester starts in August, and the spring semester begins in January. 

You can register for up to three courses (9 units) in one semester (this applies to both the fall and spring semesters). For the summer term, students are allowed to take a maximum of two courses (6 units). Please note that we divide each semester and the summer term into two sessions each, such that there is fall session 1 and fall session 2. The maximum number of courses you can take applies to the whole semester and not to a single session. 

We restrict the number of courses students can take because the pace of instruction is intense. If you are working, and especially if you are working full time, we recommend that you begin by taking one class per session. This will allow you to get a feel for the amount of work and the time commitments courses will take. 

There is only one required course, which is the capstone. The Professional Portfolio (POL 695A) should be taken in your final semester in the program. Otherwise, you are free to take which ever courses interest you most. If there are courses that you are particularly interested in, we recommend that you make an effort to register for those courses early in your studies to make sure you have a chance to engage with those subjects.

The capstone project for the ISS program is the Professional Portfolio. The portfolio course (POL 695A) is dedicated to giving you time to develop a portfolio that overviews your academic achievements. There are two broad goals for this project: first, there is an academic goal for each student to consider and synthesize what has been learned in the program, including how your studies have added to your knowledge of international security topics, your overall world view, and how education can contribute to your professional advancement. Second, the professional goal of the portfolio is to provide you with tools to advance in the professional world, including writing a professional bio, updating your resume, providing writing samples, and producing an (optional) personal website that can be shared with employers.

Select students may be interested in pursuing a thesis project in place of the portfolio. The thesis is a larger project that involves original research on a topic in international security, for which a social-science approach is used to explore the research question of interest. This option is available, but requires approval from the program director. 

The diploma will say M.A. in International Security Studies, School of Government and Public Policy, University of Arizona. It does not mention distance learning or online instruction.

Students have access to all benefits given to UA Online students, with more information here. This includes access to the UA Library, participation in our graduation ceremony, the Disability Resources Center (DRC), and UA Career Services. 

Please note that as UA Online students you do not have to pay many of the fees that Main Campus students pay, which includes fees for the Rec Center. As a result you do not have access to these benefits, but if you are interested in a Rec Center membership you can pay a monthly fee to gain access. 

Please feel free to use the Contact Us form if you have any questions about the ISS program, application process, transfer credits, or anything else! We are able to answer your questions or direct you to the appropriate person.