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M.A. Government and M.A. Global Security Studies at JHU


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Does anyone know anything about the M.A. in Government or M.A. Global Security Studies at Johns Hopkins University?

I am about to apply to what I thought was SAIS, but which I have now been told is another program entirely at Johns Hopkins called the Advanced Academic Programs under the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. I was planning on applying to the M.A. in Global Security Studies, but it isn't online. So, I decided to instead get an M.A. in Government with concentration in Security Studies as well as grab the Intelligence certificate. My goal is intelligence analyst for the government and contractors.

The problem is I was seriously confused by this program since it is supposed to be security and strategic studies taught at Johns Hopkins, which given the name recognition of SAIS seemed to be them by default. However, I am wary of the program being much lower quality than SAIS offerings. Its core courses are all different than the SAIS ones as well. I take it name recognition alone is the big pull to the program, but I may get into other top ten schools and don't need to go to JHU.

Edited by S. A. Yeadon
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JHU AAP and JHU SAIS are not the same. They are completely different programs. I took some economic courses through AAP and their economics program is legit. As for their MA in Government Affairs and MA in Global Security Affairs, the classes are offered at night. It is an evening program with the majority of their students working full time in government, think tanks, etc. The only financial aid that AAP will offer are loans. AAP's employment statistics, this applies to all programs too, can be misleading because they count students who are currently employed as success stories. So if an AAP student has a job and completes the program, the school will count the person as being employed within six months of graduation. Most career services do this and it skews the employment numbers.

As for the quality of the program, I took a strategy class and it was a complete joke. Lot of their professors work at think tanks or for government agencies. One of their professors has written some really good books on intelligence, but I am unsure if the classes are any good.

 

These security and intelligence programs do not prepare you for jobs within intel. If you really want a degree that prepares you for that field, you must attend a war college or the national intelligence university, which are only open to current government employees. Sometimes NIU will have open admissions to external students but it is rare. There are people with MAs in fields other than security and IR/IA and they are doing fine. All of the agencies send their government employees, not contractors, to get trained on how their specific agency conducts intel. Networking will not get you a job with an intel agency. You must go through USAjobs or directly to their website. Networking works for contractors and think tanks but not so much for getting into intel agencies. And the truth about contracting is that contractors are treated horrible. The firms expect you to arrive ready to do the job and have the qualifications and certifications for it, which are only offered through the military or existing government employees. Don't believe, then go check out the major defense contractors and see what they want for entry level positions. They do not want to spend money to train you to do the job. Now if you are a directly employee of the contracting firm, then it is different.  

Go to a school that will offer the most financial aid. The government does not care where you went to school or what you got your MA in. All you need to do is check off the advanced education box. Your degree does not mater for promotion either. Besides, most agencies send their people to receive additional education at no cost to you.

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  • 2 months later...
On ‎12‎/‎20‎/‎2017 at 8:25 PM, 16381776 said:

JHU AAP and JHU SAIS are not the same. They are completely different programs. I took some economic courses through AAP and their economics program is legit. As for their MA in Government Affairs and MA in Global Security Affairs, the classes are offered at night. It is an evening program with the majority of their students working full time in government, think tanks, etc. The only financial aid that AAP will offer are loans. AAP's employment statistics, this applies to all programs too, can be misleading because they count students who are currently employed as success stories. So if an AAP student has a job and completes the program, the school will count the person as being employed within six months of graduation. Most career services do this and it skews the employment numbers.

As for the quality of the program, I took a strategy class and it was a complete joke. Lot of their professors work at think tanks or for government agencies. One of their professors has written some really good books on intelligence, but I am unsure if the classes are any good.

 

These security and intelligence programs do not prepare you for jobs within intel. If you really want a degree that prepares you for that field, you must attend a war college or the national intelligence university, which are only open to current government employees. Sometimes NIU will have open admissions to external students but it is rare. There are people with MAs in fields other than security and IR/IA and they are doing fine. All of the agencies send their government employees, not contractors, to get trained on how their specific agency conducts intel. Networking will not get you a job with an intel agency. You must go through USAjobs or directly to their website. Networking works for contractors and think tanks but not so much for getting into intel agencies. And the truth about contracting is that contractors are treated horrible. The firms expect you to arrive ready to do the job and have the qualifications and certifications for it, which are only offered through the military or existing government employees. Don't believe, then go check out the major defense contractors and see what they want for entry level positions. They do not want to spend money to train you to do the job. Now if you are a directly employee of the contracting firm, then it is different.  

Go to a school that will offer the most financial aid. The government does not care where you went to school or what you got your MA in. All you need to do is check off the advanced education box. Your degree does not mater for promotion either. Besides, most agencies send their people to receive additional education at no cost to you.

That last paragraph...hurts but feels good at the same time. I feel like I can choose anywhere I want now as long as I apply via websites. Also, I am a current contractor in Aerospace...can confirm it is inferior to being an employee. Higher hourly pay as a contractor, but almost no benefits. No overtime.

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On ‎12‎/‎20‎/‎2017 at 8:25 PM, 16381776 said:

JHU AAP and JHU SAIS are not the same. They are completely different programs. I took some economic courses through AAP and their economics program is legit. As for their MA in Government Affairs and MA in Global Security Affairs, the classes are offered at night. It is an evening program with the majority of their students working full time in government, think tanks, etc. The only financial aid that AAP will offer are loans. AAP's employment statistics, this applies to all programs too, can be misleading because they count students who are currently employed as success stories. So if an AAP student has a job and completes the program, the school will count the person as being employed within six months of graduation. Most career services do this and it skews the employment numbers.

As for the quality of the program, I took a strategy class and it was a complete joke. Lot of their professors work at think tanks or for government agencies. One of their professors has written some really good books on intelligence, but I am unsure if the classes are any good.

 

These security and intelligence programs do not prepare you for jobs within intel. If you really want a degree that prepares you for that field, you must attend a war college or the national intelligence university, which are only open to current government employees. Sometimes NIU will have open admissions to external students but it is rare. There are people with MAs in fields other than security and IR/IA and they are doing fine. All of the agencies send their government employees, not contractors, to get trained on how their specific agency conducts intel. Networking will not get you a job with an intel agency. You must go through USAjobs or directly to their website. Networking works for contractors and think tanks but not so much for getting into intel agencies. And the truth about contracting is that contractors are treated horrible. The firms expect you to arrive ready to do the job and have the qualifications and certifications for it, which are only offered through the military or existing government employees. Don't believe, then go check out the major defense contractors and see what they want for entry level positions. They do not want to spend money to train you to do the job. Now if you are a directly employee of the contracting firm, then it is different.  

Go to a school that will offer the most financial aid. The government does not care where you went to school or what you got your MA in. All you need to do is check off the advanced education box. Your degree does not mater for promotion either. Besides, most agencies send their people to receive additional education at no cost to you.

Important: what is in your background that can validate your claims?

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I was in the military for 13 years. 6 non intel and another 7 doing intel. Went to undergrad at a small liberal arts college in the southwest and graduated with a BA in poli sci and econ. Went to a top 15 grad school and got my MA in international security. Fortunately I received a full ride and did not have to worry about debt. Been a govie for 5 years. 2 at the pentagon and the other 3 with current agency where I am a team lead with 10 contractors underneath me. To get a contractor gig, networking matters. Not so much for government positions because everyone has to go through USAjobs or the respective agency's website.  Your resume better meet the point requirements or the match the key words in the position in order to get a review from a real person. Once past that, you must past additional testing and get a security clearance, which networking will not help you get through the process. All that you must do on your own. Those agency recruiters who attend hiring events will all point you to the website and they really cannot go into detail about their work since it is all classified. They best they can offer you is when they think a position will be posted but expect no leg up or an advantage from speaking to a recruiter. I work with people who have no military experience and straight from undergrad. People with an MA in history or English. People with a degree from American Military University, online school, University of Phoenix, and lots of state schools. People with 30+ years of military experience. I have run into people with degrees from the top 15 schools. No one cares where you went to school and what you studied. They want only one thing: get the job done and don't be a liability. People love to talk about their degrees but when asked if it prepared them for the job lots of people say no. That is because these MA degrees in IR and security are not practical degrees. They are all academic programs. The programs do not teach you how to write an IIR, write a collection plan, write a cable, conduct an interview, conduct source operations, military planning, etc. These programs make you write lots of papers and read books and other academic works. None of that is used on the job. Everyone will receive training on how their respective agency writes and operates. Learning about the IR system is really of no benefit for someone starting off at the GG10 level. That level of analysis is not required and is more expected of people at the top positions of government and even then they usually reach out to PHDs to get that stuff done. These security and IR degrees really prepare people for think tank jobs. I was speaking with some people from GT SSP and I asked if they thought their degree helped them get a job. They said no. Internships were the key and they got in when the government went on a hiring spree. Most of them were in debt and one compared his education to the cost of an Audi that will take him 10 years to pay off. The only degrees that do prepare you for an intel job and will give you a boost are STEM degrees and GIS. Those courses suck but if you can get through it, you are pretty much guaranteed a job, unless you have a devious background and questionable character. Either way the private sector will be hunting you down to hire you.

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On 12/20/2017 at 11:25 PM, 16381776 said:

The government does not care... what you got your MA in. All you need to do is check off the advanced education box.

@16381776 Great posts, and I think it would be great for anyone thinking about working for the federal government to read them,  whether or not they want to go into intelligence. The only caveat I would add is to the comment above. For some specialized positions within the federal government, a minimum number of credit hours may be required in a given subject, such as math, stats, or econ. In that case, it doesn't strictly matter what type of program you did (for undergrad or grad), but it does matter that one of your degrees contains the requisite coursework. 

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Just to add on to my prior post. For people who are less familiar with federal employment practices w/in the GS system specifically, positions are classified into occupational series, as defined by the OPM

11 hours ago, 16381776 said:

Your resume better meet the point requirements or the match the key words in the position in order to get a review from a real person.

This is also true for pretty much all of the GS jobs you will apply for on USAjobs. Your application will be compared to the OPM criteria for that role, and you either meet them or you don't, end of story. It is good to identify occupational series that interest you and ensure that whatever preparation you intend to undergo meets the OPM guidance at a minimum. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Wow, I am glad I came back to take a look at this thread. Thank you very much for all of your advice everyone.

I have narrowed down my degree to an M.A. Military Studies concentration in Joint Warfare from American Public University. The program is the closest thing to a war college that offers classes to civilians. I also plan to set up a job primarily through internships at government agencies. My hope is to be a military analyst. All of this has been decided after talking to multiple IC recruiters and endless staring at the bullet points related to what a CIA Military Analyst must be competent in. I was told to try security studies by a recruiter, but that is just too academic for me. I would rather figure out tactics, strategy, and the operational art to the nth degree, especially given my extensive readings and research in military history.

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