Community Safety & Human Security

Undergraduate Certificate



Through programs such as CSHS at UNM, individuals and families achieve more secure and safer communities with opportunities to live, thrive and work to solve our common problems.


CSHS provides a program of study, research support, and community participation for faculty, students, and professionals interested in areas of community safety and human security. This program relies heavily on partnerships among educational institutions, community groups, local and state governments, and NGOs. Its focus is on interdisciplinary education and community participation which allows students to understand human security and community safety issues and thus more effectively contribute to their communities.


Community Safety & Human Security

Community Safety addresses efforts at the local and state level to address major risks and challenges to the lives and well-being of individuals, families, and communities. CS addresses environmental conditions, public health, mental health and homelessness, crime and violence, justice systems and equal protection, forms of intolerance and many other challenges to communities.  Human Security refers to the security of people and communities of people, as opposed to the security of governments or states. The main premise of HS is that there are multiple dimensions of security related to feeling safe, such as, freedom from fear, freedom from want, and freedom from indignity.


Program Elements

The CSHS program within University College is an interdisciplinary academic program based on broad cooperation with multiple UNM departments, specifically but not limited to the social and natural sciences, health sciences, and humanities.  The program’s focus is on the study and understanding of community safety and human security issues. Students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of relevant issues through their courses and participation on campus and in their communities. The program includes research, courses, seminars, and a new undergraduate certificate program.

Course Work: The course work will focus on cross disciplinary concepts and learning.  In addition, special academic skills and experiences are especially effective in helping prepare and compete for a broad category of careers as described below.  These special skills include:

  • Critical thinking, analytic writing, and oral presenting
  • Quantitative, qualitative, and participatory research
  • Experiential learning through community engagement, e.g., internships, volunteer work, prior, or current employment

This course work will emphasize gaining a working knowledge of political systems, local, tribal and state government; understanding of legal systems, human rights and equal justice under the law; scientific and economic impact on personal security, skills in intercultural communication, writing and briefing; sensitivity issues as related to cultural, economic, and social differences; rational for accepting and promoting diversity and inclusion; and knowledge of varying emerging models for delivery of community safety.


Academic Interactions: CSHS will engage in symposia, co-develop and support seminar courses with various departments, and work with faculty across campus on research funding opportunities. The academic programs will not duplicate other discipline efforts or design training for specific job descriptions, which is best done by employers, as well as, professional programs such as law, medicine and health areas, and social work programs. 

Student Interactions: The program will provide career information and counseling both for opportunities in NM communities and nationally and seeking funding for student support. The program will work with UNM Career Services and community groups to make opportunities available to students in the program.  See below for a list of some of the careers that currently exist or expected for students with interests and demonstrated knowledge in CSHS topics. 

Certificate:  The program will manage the new UNM certificate for undergraduates and recent graduates in Community Safety and Human Security (CSHS) within UC.  A UNM certificate is similar to having a minor field of study and is noted on a student’s transcript listed after majors and minors. The Community Safety & Human Security Certificate would be available for students in any major field as well as post-baccalaureates, students already employed, or returning for additional coursework to perhaps prepare for a career change.  The basic requirements for earning the certificate include:

  1. Credits: 23 credits, including 12 upper division credits from 3 different subject areas
  2. Required core courses: LAIS 309 (345) Survey of CSHS; CELR 175 Intro Community Engagement; CJ 314 Intercultural Communication; MATH 1340 Statistics, STAT 279 Data Science, or higher-level quantitative methods. LAIS 409 Capstone research and paper (2 credits)
  3. Electives: One approved course from each of the following groups (courses must be from at least three different subject areas across the groups). A list of appropriate elective courses in many different departments and programs is being developed.

Group A: Race, Gender, Ethnicity and Prejudice

Group B: Law, Justice and Crime

Group C: Public Policy, Health, and Communities 

Group A, B, & C course choices may be found here.

  1. Experiential Learning: Students must complete an approved practicum, internship, or volunteer program of at least 90 hours with a government agency or community organization.


Program Management: As an interdisciplinary program in UC, the program cooperates with multiple UNM departments and programs, potential employers of CSHS students, and community organizations.  The CSHS program, along with the National Security Studies Program (NSSP), constitute the undergraduate component of the Global and National Policy Institute.

Advisory Committee: A diverse internal and external set of faculty, students, and community members will guide the program development.

Future: A concentration and a minor in CSHS for the BISI undergraduate degree in UC are envisioned by 2023-24. A professional master’s degree and graduate certificate for professionals in the workforce based on the GNSPI PMSGNS mode, are envisioned for 2025-26.

Target Career Opportunities:  These career categories are opportunities for using the CSHS Certificate for career development and advancement through new knowledge and skills. Existing undergraduate and graduate students in sociology, psychology, criminology, health, political science, humanities, as well as STEM fields will broaden their career options and help prepare their graduates to work in the careers listed below. For many Associate Degree graduates of community colleges, the CSHS Certificate will allow for expanded employment options.  Some areas of potential career advancement for current workforce and new career opportunities are:

  • Social work and public health fields including mental health service professionals and administrators, senior and childcare, and case work research and training
  • Educators, including administrators, teachers, early childhood education, childcare centers, and child protection
  • Service providers for addiction, alcoholism, domestic violence, homelessness, food insecurity and nutrition, sexual harassment and assault, seniors and aging, veterans, immigrants, refugees, human trafficking
  • Public Safety including law enforcement, fire, EMT, corrections and parole officers, halfway house managers
  • Criminal justice career development, specialty courts and diversion, ex-offender rehabilitation, education, and reentry programs
  • Social justice services: mediation, arbitration, equal opportunity, race relations, LGBTQ, and other
  • Public, private, and NGO staff and administrators: policy analysts, data analysts, HR, public information staff and any profession dealing with the public in their communities
  • Educators, journalists, and community organizers or any professional needing to better understand community issues and serve public needs
  • Politicians, political staff, and all public servants to understand and interact with constituencies more effectively.


For more information contact:

Ken Carpenter, PhD