New security studies major gains popularity

Katia Faroun|Staff Photographer
The Rev. John Sawicki is the director of the new International Security Studies major and a professor. The major is a spin-off of international relations.

Hallie Lauer | Layout Editor


Students now have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of alum Michael Hayden, into careers in organizations such as the NSA and the CIA. This is all possible through Duquesne’s new International Security Studies major.

International Security Studies, which is part of the interdisciplinary program at Duquesne is a bachelor of arts program.

The goal of the International Security Studies major is described on the Duquesne website as “intend[ing] to prepare the student to seek a position in the domestic or international security architecture of the modern world.”

“The major at Duquesne is predicated on the presumption that security studies represents its own academic discipline and it represents a topic that can be studied and analyzed academically,” said the Rev. John Sawicki, a political science professor and the director of the International Security Studies major.

The major is 37 credit hours, which includes one credit hour of a careers course and nine credit hours of electives.

The courses for this major are based off of a core curriculum, and then a set of specific classes in the areas of security, diplomacy, area concentration and cyber-security. Students are required to take a certain number of classes from each area as part of their 37 credits. The breakdown of the courses in each area of study is listed on the Duquesne website.

Duquesne decided to create International Security Studies as a separate major for a reason that is three-fold, according to Sawicki.

The first is the vast amount of International Relations majors that chose security studies as their area concentration.

“Easily half of the IR students, and there are well over a hundred … selected security studies as their area concentration,” said Sawicki. “There was clearly already interest and demand for something like that within the IR program, so it seemed pretty clear to us that this could potentially be very good for our IR majors as well as offering a further specialization that would make them more competitive.”

With the present interest in the field growing at Duquesne, many other universities and colleges also have this program, included in this list is La Roche College in Pittsburgh’s North Hills and George Washington University in D.C.

The final reason for adding this major to the curriculum comes from Duquesne’s Catholic roots.

“There is a long history of Catholic positions on this subject, especially in the 1920s and ’30s. Catholic scholarship on major security issues was significant and that voice has really been greatly muted but not fully disappeared,” said Sawicki. “As a Catholic university, having this kind of program is long overdue and I believe Duquesne can really make a significant contribution in the training of men and women to enter various elements of security issues.”

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