National Security Studies Program

NSSP Application and List of Recommended Courses

New - NSSA Undergraduate Certificate Program

Startalk NSSP joins Africana Studies to host STARTALK

Security Trends in the Next Decade  NSSP Symposium  April 1-3, 2015 

Flyer click here     Agenda click here


Spring 2014 Symposium Keynote Speech from Senator Martin Heinrich - click here 


The mission of the University of New Mexico (UNM) National Security Studies Program is to ensure that interested students develop the knowledge, skills and relationships necessary to successfully compete for Intelligence Community and related national security careers.

About Us

The National Security Studies Program (NSSP) is a student focused initiative helping a new generation of New Mexico students develop the knowledge and skills necessary in an increasingly complex and rapidly changing world. NSSP is tailored to prepare UNM students from a broad spectrum of disciplinary and professional fields of study for careers in U.S. government service. Click here for Intelligence Community career listings.

NSSP is sponsored by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which is a member of the 17 member U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). UNM is now designated as an Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence.

The program is designed for students at both the pre-baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate level. It does not establish a new department and does not introduce a new major or minor program of studies at UNM, but is instead designed to augment preparation in traditional disciplinary majors through focused seminars and symposiums, individual mentoring, internships and externships, intensive language study and study abroad programs. 

The NSSP also engages high school students with an annual summer program that focuses on critical thinking skill development and a deeper understanding of the world in which we live. In the program, students have the opportunity to interact with subject matter experts and participate in simulated exercises and field trips. A primary goal of the summer experience is an increased student awareness of greater career opportunities through higher education.

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The Challenges

The National Security Studies Program is by its nature multi-disciplinary and integrative. It draws upon business, law, the sciences, health sciences, the humanities and other areas of specialization. It aims to:

  • Provide interesting seminars and speakers on a wide range of national security related issues.
  • Provide a study abroad experience to select students focusing on a unique cultural experience.  
  • Develop critical thinking and innovative research opportunities.
  • Challenge and engage students and provide career and personal development opportunities.  

The National Security Studies Program at UNM emphasizes theoretical and practical preparation in four critical areas:

  1. Command of research, analysis and critical thinking skills.
  2. Expertise in science or professional fields or understanding of the complex interaction between science and policy.
  3. Knowledge of international, regional and cultural issues of national security importance.
  4. Proficiency in foreign languages and context-sensitive studies.

The program seeks to coordinate and support other activities on campus with related goals.

NSSP scholars' recent accomplishment highlights 

This year many NSSP scholars interned at IC agencies or received scholarships and attended workshops and seminars throughout the country.

Fall 2014 Internships/Scholarships/Study Abroad/IC Conferences included:

Japan Study Abroad
Jordan Study Abroad
Morocco Study Abroad
Boren Scholarship Study Abroad, Istanbul, Turkey
Sandia National Laboratories Internship - 2 scholars
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Student EngineerCo-op position
Foreign Service Virtual Student Internship, U.S. Consolate, Guadelajara, Mexico
Foreign Service Virtual Student Internship, U.S. Embassy, Baghdad, Iran
Congressional Internship Michelle Grisham Albuquerque Office Internship
Secret Service Internship
U.S. Marshalls Service Internship

Summer 2014 Internships/Scholarships/Study Abroad/IC Conferences included:

Europe Study Abroad - 10 scholars
China Study Abroad - 2 scholars
Argentina Study Abroad
Ecuador Study Abroad
Italy Study Abroad
Jordan Study Abroad
Nicaragua Study Abroad
Uruguay Study Abroad  
Sandia National Laboratories Internship - 2 scholars
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Internship, Washington D.C.
NM Department of Homeland Security Internship, Santa Fe, New Mexico
IC-CAE Summer Seminar, June 2014 - 2 scholars
IC-CAE Summer Seminar, August 2014 - 4 scholars
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Internship - graduate scholar
Seoul, Korea, International Office Internship - graduate scholar

Spring  2014 Internships/Scholarships/Study Abroad/IC Conferences included:

World Model United Nations, Brussels Belgium - 2 scholars
Boren Scholarship Study Abroad in Oman
Estonia Study Abroad
China Study Abroad
Italy Study Abroad  
Sandia National Laboratories Internship
Five Eyes Analytic Workshop - 3 scholars
Days of Intrigue simulation 
2014 New Mexico Shared Knowledge Conference - 7 Scholars

For more information about the program, call Norma Vazquez at (505) 277-3223 or email to, or come by NSSP Office at Mesa Vista Hall Room 3019, UNM Central campus.

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