Combining elements from the departments of political science, environmental health, planning, public administration and criminal justice, the interdisciplinary program provides undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity to examine the policies, issues and institutions that make up this burgeoning field of study.
Carmine Scavo, security studies program director and professor of political science at ECU, said he hopes the program will attract students from different academic disciplines, including biology, chemistry and computer science. Security Studies, he said, could serve as a complement to a degree in the hard sciences as well as in communication.
“You can take someone with an undergraduate degree in biology and bring him or her up to speed in security studies in a short amount of time,” he said. “Our courses don’t have prerequisites.”
Richard Kilroy, ECU’s assistant director of military programs and political science professor, said that with the increased threat of terrorism, especially after Sept. 11, there is a demand for employees to know and understand emerging threats and how military and defense systems work. While enlisting in the military might not be for everyone, Kilroy said, knowledge of homeland security and the issues the nation faces in its defense strategies can make for an attractive candidate, no matter what field he or she pursues.
“When they go out marketing themselves to employers, whether they are biologists or chemists, they can talk the talk and really understand the issues,” Kilroy said. “This is a natural link. A number of military personnel have told us there is a critical need for people who are knowledgeable about the way things work in the military.”
ECU is a member of the National Academic Consortium for Homeland Security, a network of universities that offer security studies programs.
“It’s an opportunity for schools to connect with what they’re doing and share ideas with one another,” Kilroy said.
Scavo said that more than 250,000 members of the military and their families live east of Interstate 95, and man of those would find ECU’s security studies program to be of interest.
Courses are offered both on campus and online, and in-state tuition is available for enlisted personnel.
A 15-hour graduate certificate in security studies is now offered, and a 30-hour minor will be available to undergraduates in fall 2005. A master’s degree is planned for fall 2006.
ECU News Bureau