Major Curriculum

The Department of International Strategy and Security (ISS) at Cal Maritime offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Strategy and Security.

Our unique curriculum is focused on equipping future leaders to tackle the most important international security and policy challenges of our time, from energy and environmental security to maritime and cybersecurity issues. Students will build skills in oral and written communication, critical thinking, problem solving, leadership development, policy analysis, research methods, and quantitative analysis. 

In addition to taking some of the more foundational courses found in many Political Science and International Relations programs (e.g. American Government, International Relations, Comparative Politics, International Political Economy, Research Methods, etc.), these are some of the unique courses you will have the opportunity to take in the ISS department at Cal Maritime:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Ocean Environmental Management
  • U.S. Maritime Policy
  • U.S. Foreign Policy
  • Strategy and War 
  • Civil Conflict
  • Maritime History of the United States
  • Polar Politics
  • Maritime Security 
  • International Migration
  • World Geography
  • Human Security

International Experience:

  • Another unique aspect of our ISS curriculum is that all students are required to participate in an International Experience during their time here at Cal Maritime. Whether that is studying abroad for the semester or year, or participating in one of our 3-week International Experience trips coordinated and led by Cal Maritime Faculty, we strongly believe that international exposure is crucial for preparing our students to work in a highly globalized 21st Century. 


  • Built into our curriculum is an internship requirement for all of our students where students will have the opportunity to get hands-on experience to build up their professional resumes as well as develop transferable skills for their careers beyond Cal Maritime. For more information about common internship and career pathways for our students, feel free to check out our Internships and Careers Page. 

First Year Seminar: 

  • All first year students will also be enrolled in a First Year Seminar course. The purpose of the First Year Seminar is to introduce Cal Maritime cadets to the campus community and prepare students for academic, personal, and professional success. This course is designed to help students successfully transition from high school to college life by providing students with the necessary resources and support to foster confidence and character and equip students to take ownership over their college experience.  

Senior Capstone: 

  • All of our students will also have the opportunity to complete a Senior Capstone project that will be a culmination of the knowledge, interests, and skills our students have developed throughout their time in our program. Students who wish to take their research projects to the next level will also have many opportunities to present their Senior Capstone projects at conferences and competitions. 

Leadership Development:

  • A core value of our institution, as well as our department, is developing the leadership skills of our cadets. Our students have numerous leadership opportunities on campus through the Edwards Leadership Program, the Corps of Cadets, our student government organization (ASCMA), Residential Life, Clubs, Peer Mentorship opportunities and more. In our department, we also offer many leadership opportunities for our students through our Model United Nations Team, our Cybersecurity Policy Team, student research and conference opportunities, and more.

Transfer Students

We welcome transfer students interested in joining our department and will work with you to help find your place in our program at Cal Maritime. Please contact the Department Chair, Dr. Wade, with any questions about transferring. 

Adding a Minor 

The flexibility of our curriculum design makes it very attainable to pursue a minor alongside students’ major required courses. Common minors that our students pursue on campus include:

    • Law Minor
    • Business Minor
    • Oceanography Minor
    • [In progress] Data Science Minor

The current ISS and older GSMA curriculum roadmaps indicating the guidelines for courses to take each semester are available on the Cal Maritime Registrar's website