Security studies, also known as international security studies, is traditionally held to be an academic sub-field of the wider discipline of international relations. The field rapidly developed within international relations during the Cold War, and examples from the era can be considered to include the academic works of mid-20th century Realist political scientists such as Thomas Schelling and Henry Kissinger, whose works focused primarily on nuclear deterrence. While the field is mostly contained within political science and public policy programs, it is increasingly common to take an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates knowledge from the fields of history, geography (stressing classical geopolitics), military sciences, and criminology.
While the field (much like its parent field of international relations) is often meant to educate students who aspire to professional careers in think tanks, consulting, defense contractors, Human Rights NGOs or in government service positions focused on diplomacy, foreign policy, conflict resolution and prevention, emergency and disaster management, intelligence, and defense, it can also be tailored to students seeking to professionally conduct academic research within academia, or as public intellectuals, pundits or journalists writing about security policy.
At its core, international security studies, as an area of inquiry, takes organized violence as its focus, and the steps individuals and aggregations of individuals can take to both employ organized violence effectively and, much more importantly, to protect themselves from organized violence (accumulation of knowledge in the former being essential for the accumulation of knowledge in the latter). Thus subjects can range from the micro—weapons types, effectiveness, tactics, human-weapons interfaces, individual and group motivations—to the macro; including the causes of war, nuclear strategy, military doctrine, defense spending, and conventional and unconventional warfare strategies.
More recently, however, these traditional approaches to security have been supplemented (one leaves the utility open to argument) by variants such as critical security studies, and the Copenhagen School. Clearly useful contributions to our understanding of insecurity and security have also come from constructivism (international relations), peace studies and critical theory. As implied by the close association of the Cold War with the advent and establishment of international security studies as such, broader historical trends (or rather perceptions of them) created the openings that these alternative schools have sought, with mixed effect, to provide an array of theoretical foundations.
- Environmental security
- Human security
- International Relations theory
- National Defense University, College of International Security Affairs
- Peace and conflict studies
- The Institute of World Politics
- Welsh School (security studies)
- Armed Forces & Society
- European Security
- Georgetown Security Studies Review
- Intelligence and National Security
- International Journal of Conflict and Violence
- International Security
- Journal of Conflict Resolution
- Journal of Strategic Studies
- Security Dialogue
- Security Studies
- Studies in Conflict and Terrorism
- Terrorism and Political Violence
- Washington Quarterly
Some universities with academic programs in security studies
- Arizona State University, M.A. in Global Security
- Australian National University, Bachelor of International Security Studies
- Babes-Bolyai University, MA in International Relations, Security Studies and Crisis Management
- Brunel University, MA in Intelligence and Security Studies
- Charles University in Prague, Master in International Security Studies
- Coastal Carolina University, Bachelor of Intelligence and National Security Studies
- Copenhagen University, MsC Security Risk Management
- East Carolina University, M.A. in Security Studies; Security Studies Certificate
- George Mason University, M.A. in International Security
- George Washington University, M.A. in Security Policy Studies
- Georgetown University, M.A. in Security Studies, Ph.D. in Government with Security Studies concentration
- Johns Hopkins University, M.A. in Global Security Studies
- Kansas State University, Ph.D. in Security Studies
- King's College London, B.A. in War Studies, MA in War Studies, and PhD in War Studies
- Metropolitan university Prague, Bachelor of International relations and European studies
- Macquarie University, Bachelor of Security Studies
- Masaryk University, Bachelor and Master of Security and Strategic Studies
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (MIT), M.S. Security Studies Program
- Massey University, B.A in Security Studies, M.A. in Defence and Security, Master of International Security
- Paris School of International Affairs, Master in International Security
- Stanford University, Graduate Certificate in International Security
- University of Arizona, M.A. in International Security Studies
- Faculty of Security Studies, University of Belgrade, Offer Security Studies at both Undergraduate and Postgraduate levels at Faculty of Security studies.
- The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, offers International Security Studies as a Master's and PhD-level field of study.
- University of Central Florida, PhD in Security Studies
- University College London, M.Sc. in Security Studies
- University of Denver, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, M.A. in International Security
- University of Leicester, M.A. in International Security Studies
- University of Leiden, Bachelor of Science in Security Studies.
- University of Oklahoma, Bachelor of Arts, International Area Studies in Security
- University of Pittsburgh, Master of Public and International Affairs in Security and Intelligence Studies
- University of St Andrews, MLitt in International Security Studies, MLitt in Middle East, Central Asia and Caucasus Security Studies
- University of Sydney, Master of International Security
- University of Groningen, Master of International Security
- University of Copenhagen, Master of Science in Security Risk Management
- University of Exeter, Master in Applied Security Studies
- University of Trento and Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Master in International Security Studies
- U.S. Air Force Academy, B.S. in Military & Strategic Studies (MSS)
- U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, Master of Arts in Security Studies
- Wæver, Ole (2004) "New 'Schools' in Security Theory and their Origins between Core and Periphery" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Le Centre Sheraton Hotel, Montreal, Quebec
- Buzan, Barry; Hansen, Lene (2009-08-27). The Evolution of International Security Studies. ISBN 9781139480765.
- Williams, Paul (2012) Security Studies: An Introduction, Abingdon: Routledge
- Rappa, Antonio L (2012), Security and Modernity in Southeast Asia, Cengage.
- Rappa, Antonio L. (2007), "Schadenfreude: The Anti-Hero in Conrad's Heart of Darkness" (APSA paper)
- Williams, Paul (2008) Security Studies: An Introduction, Abingdon: Routledge