NSSP Scholar related FAQs

1. What is the National Security Studies Program?

The University of New Mexico (UNM) established a student focused initiative to help a new generation of students develop the knowledge and skills necessary for our increasingly complex and rapidly changing world.  The NSSP is tailored to prepare students from a broad spectrum of disciplinary and professional fields of study for careers in U.S. government service. 

NSSP sponsors an annual symposium, lecture series and courses focused on national security issues with speakers from universities and intelligence community agencies around the country. To support students in developing an understanding and awareness of other cultures, the program offers cultural immersion study abroad opportunities.  To meet the demand for proficiency in foreign languages, especially critical languages, the program also sponsors courses such as accelerated Arabic. 

However, the program does not establish a new department and does not introduce a new major or minor program of studies at UNM. Read more...

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2.  What are the two kinds of NSSP scholar?

NSSP scholar and IC-CAE Distinguished Scholar are the two scholar designations.

3. Who can become a NSSP scholar?

In order to become a  scholar, an applicant must have:

A) U.S. citizenship
B) A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above (special circumstances are considered)
C) Work towards a National Security and Strategic Analysis (NSSA) Certificate.  Recent college graduates can also enroll in the undergraduate NSSA certificate program.  Students should take one or more courses from the NSSP sponsored or recommended course list.
D) At least 15 credit hours (for scholars) completed. Read more...

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 4. I am not a UNM student or I just graduated from UNM. Can I become a NSSP scholar?

The Scholars Program is generally only for university students. However, you may enroll in one of the NSSP recommended classes as a non-degree student and then apply for enrollment in this program. Additionally, students attending other universities may qualify for scholar designation depending on circumstances. Please contact Jason Darensburg at jdarrens@unm.edu  for further information.

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5. I am not an U.S. citizen, may I apply?

Only U.S. citizens, including naturalized citizens, are eligible to apply.

6. Is there an application deadline?

No, applications are accepted on an ongoing basis, year round. Check the Scholars Program page for further details.

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 7. What is the application process?

1)     Download application from the website; hard copies are available at the NSSP office, # 3019 Mesa Vista Hall.
2)     Submit the complete application packet to NSSP office or email it to Jason Darensburg at  jdarrens@unm.edu
3)     Come for an in-person interview after your application has been reviewed.

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8. Is there an application and/or tuition fee?

No, the program is free of cost to all UNM students. However, students pay tuition for classes that are sponsored or recommended by NSSP.

9. What are the benefits of joining the NSSP Scholars Program?

The NSSP Scholars Program is designed to help UNM students develop the knowledge and skills necessary for careers in the Intelligence Community (IC). NSSP scholars benefit through NSSP courses, national security symposium, security simulations, mentoring from intelligence community representatives, cultural immersion and travel abroad opportunities. NSSP scholars receive research support and guidance as well as assistance in finding internships, jobs, student scholarships and fellowships within the Intelligence community. NSSP scholar designation gives students an advantage in the application process for these opportunities. Read more…

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10. Is this a scholarship?

There is no financial scholarship awarded to the students. The word ‘scholar’ points to scholarliness that students gain through this program, which is highly valued during the IC job selection process. However, NSSP scholars are eligible for professional travel and research related grants. Read more…

11. Is there any financial support that NSSP scholars receive for professional travel or research activities?

NSSP may provide scholars with financial support towards program related research. Interested scholars must submit a research proposal for program approval. Such requests do not have any specific deadline and are considered on a rolling basis. Read more…

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12. After I am selected in the NSSP Scholars Program, what do I have to do to stay active as a scholar?

The status of a scholar is reviewed at the beginning of each semester. In order to retain an ‘active’ status, scholars must continue to enroll in at least of the NSSP recommended classes for that specific semester, maintain a GPA of 3.0 or above, and attend and participate in NSSP events.

13. I am a UNM student but not a NSSP scholar. Can I still attend NSSP events?

Yes, all UNM students are welcome to attend NSSP events (with the exception of simulation exercises and other events organized only for NSSP scholars). If you are interested in attending an event, please contact Jason Darensburg at jdarrens@unm.edu.

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14. I am a College Guidance and Readiness Director/Counselor at a local High School. How can we benefit from NSSP?

NSSP would be happy to collaborate with local high schools to provide guidance on preparing for a career within the Intelligence Community.  Please contact Jason Darensburg at 277-3223 or jdarrens@unm.edu, if you would like to learn more about NSSP opportunities or to organize a special information session for high school seniors.

15. Question not listed here?

Please contact Jason at 277-3223 or jdarrens@unm.edu, or come by NSSP Office at #3019 Mesa Vista Hall, UNM Main campus.

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