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National Security and Foreign Affairs Major

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Our program provides a hands-on, practical approach to understanding the broad range of threats to national and global security in the 21st century. You will examine U.S. strategy and foreign policy to analyze threats that challenge security both at home and abroad.





Total Credit Hours: 120

National Security and Foreign Affairs Major Requirements (36 hours)

Core Degree Requirement (21 hours)

General Education (45 hours)

Electives (36 hours)

What You'll Study

You'll take 120 credit hours for a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, including Virginia Tech's Pathways. Available courses include: 

  • National Security
  • Foreign Policy and Diplomacy
  • Intelligence Analysis
  • Intelligence and National Security
  • The CIA in Today’s Geopolitical World
  • Global Conflict and War
  • Nuclear Strategy and Politics
  • Terrorism and Counterterrorism
  • Homeland Security

The national security and foreign affairs major focuses on international interactions and offers a comparative perspective on the contemporary global system with an emphasis on foreign language proficiency. Select from nine languages, including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian, and Spanish, to fulfill this requirement. 

Curious how the degree requirements will fit into your experience at Virginia Tech? See the roadmaps below for a sample schedule of courses each year. Your academic advisor will help you create a personalized version based on your goals and other areas of interest. The individualized plan will also include your AP, IB, dual enrollment, or transfer credit.

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What Is a Major in National Security and Foreign Affairs?

The major analyzes the role of diplomacy in the management of world affairs and examines U.S. strategy and foreign policy. You will critically think about the current and future global geopolitical environment, the use of military force, the informational issues that contribute to the implementation of strategy, and counterterrorism and homeland security. We connect theory to practice and provide you with a hands-on, practical approach to analyze threats that challenge security both at home and abroad.

Why Study National Security and Foreign Affairs Here?

Study at one of only a few universities offering the major with renowned faculty who specialize in national security. We offer broad training in the liberal arts, emphasizing the study of foreign languages. Opportunities to pursue undergraduate research, conduct field studies, and participate in study abroad are available. Many of our students also engage in the Department of State’s Diplomacy Lab Program and Wonk Tank competition.

Beyond the Classroom

Get Involved

Participate in our active student organizations including (Inter)National and Regional Model UN, International Model NATO, International Model Organization of American States (MOAS), National and Regional Model Arab League, and National Model African Union.



Get Experience

Internships and cooperative education programs give you an opportunity to receive academic credit for working in a professional setting. Our students complete internships with the U.S. government, international organizations, and national, state, or local administrative agencies. Talk to an advisor who can help you find and secure a meaningful internship opportunity.


Travel and Learn

Although studying abroad isn't required, it can often be a pivotal experience for you. Living in a different country is the best way to understand the differences and similarities between cultures. It allows you to develop a personal expertise in a specific national or regional context.


PSCI Study

Expert Faculty

Our faculty members are productive authors, scholars, and award-winning teachers who are always eager to mentor students on research projects in their field of interest. We have experts on Japan, the European Union, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, the United Kingdom, and other nations, as well as specialists in topics like international security, citizenship, and human rights. If you'd like some guidance on an undergraduate research project, just ask!



What Our Students Are Saying

Careers and Further Study

What do I do with a major in national security and foreign affairs?

The program offers a broad liberal arts education, meaning you'll gain critical thinking and writing skills that apply in any field. Graduates are prepared for careers in the Department of State (Foreign Service), Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, the intelligence community, and Think Tanks. Our alumni include vice-presidents of major banks, managers in multinational corporations, foreign service officers, civil servants in the Pentagon and United States intelligence agencies, and Peace Corps volunteers. Graduates of this program have also been admitted to some of the most prestigious law and graduate schools in the country. Some common careers of our graduates include:

  • Customs and Border Patrol Agent
  • Secret Service Agent
  • Military officers
  • Lawyers
  • Government service
  • Law enforcement