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Course Details

Course Details

Course Code: NSEC698 Course ID: 3495 Credit Hours: 0 Level: Graduate

Comprehensive final examination for students in the Master of Arts in National Security Studies program. IMPORTANT: You must have COMPLETED all other courses in the program and have a GPA of 3.0 in order to register for this course. As a National Security student, you must pass this comprehensive exam in order to have your degree conferred. The comprehensive exam must be taken by the course end date or a failing grade will be posted. If you fail your first course attempt to pass the comprehensive exam, you will need to get approval to register for a second attempt of the course and BOTH final course grades will show in your transcript.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
01/25/21 - 07/02/21 07/05/21 - 08/29/21 Summer 2021 Session B 8 Week session
03/29/21 - 09/03/21 09/06/21 - 10/31/21 Summer 2021 Session D 8 Week session
05/21/21 - 10/29/21 11/01/21 - 12/26/21 Fall 2021 Session I 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

In addition to the institutional and degree level learning outcomes objectives, the Master of Arts in National Security Studies also seeks the following specific learning outcomes of its graduates. Graduates in this degree program will be able to:

  • Appraise classic and contemporary theories, strategies, doctrines, and procedures related to the causes, conduct, and termination of armed conflict and the maintenance of peace.
  • Assess and predict traditional and non-traditional threats to national and international security.
  • Compare the structures, functions, capabilities, and activities of national and international security community members.
  • Conduct advanced research and compose professional and academic analyses on issues critical to national and international security.

Grades on Exams

(Please review the End of Program Assessment Manual for Graduate Studies as found in the Week One Content. The relevant sections are reproduced here.)

The course instructor will grade the exam (which cannot be taken before the course ends) using the exam grading rubric, which can be found in the Assignments section and Lessons. Students should review the rubric prior to taking the exam. Students will answer four essay questions that will be graded as follows:

1. “Pass with Distinction” – This is rare and is only given to a student who passes three questions “with distinction,” and the fourth with at least a “pass.” “With distinction” means the answers clearly demonstrate an understanding of the issue beyond what is typically expected of graduate students and is written using accepted academic writing conventions.

2. “Pass” – This grade is assigned for essays that meet the requirements for a graduate-level essay. The answer must demonstrate a clear understanding of the issue and must be written using accepted academic writing conventions. Students who pass three questions with at least a “pass” will pass the examination, which allows for one “fail” on the four examination questions.

3. “Fail” – This grade is assigned for essays that do not meet the requirements for a graduate-level essay. Students who fail two or more questions will fail the examination. Note: A student who fails the examination the first time cannot receive a grade of “Pass with Distinction” on the second examination. The highest grade possible is a “Pass.” The second examination is to be graded by a faculty member different from the first round of testing and will include different exam questions.

a. If a student has twice failed the comprehensive exam, he/she MAY be permitted, under special circumstances, to enroll in the capstone project course for his/her discipline. Students who have failed the comp exam twice may apply for this option by submitting an application (included in the application is the student’s plan for completing the project that addresses all of the comments from the previous 2 instructors) to the Dean of Graduate Studies. In order for the application to be considered, the student must be prepared to enroll in the capstone course within one month of the last failure. If the student fails because s/he has not adhered to the conventions of standard English grammar and/or formal academic writing, s/he may be required to complete ENGL600 prior to enrolling in the capstone course. The request will be reviewed by a committee of two that includes the Dean of the student’s school and the Dean of Graduate Studies. For applications contact

b. The student has the right to appeal issues related to the comprehensive examination in line with the standard APUS appeals process.

There are no required books for this course.

Book Title:Please contact your professor for instructions regarding your comprehensive exam.

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.