Graham School News

National Security Concentration Gives MScTRM Graduates a Specialty in Risk and Crisis Mitigation

Philip Baker

Now in its twelfth year, the University of Chicago Master of Science in Threat and Response Management (MScTRM) is nationally recognized as preeminent for advanced training in emergency management. With instructors drawn from the highest ranks of the field, students graduate not just with elite training in the tools and techniques they need to know, they enter the job market ready to leverage a degree from a world-renowned university and the network they gained while there.

The national security concentration, one of three tracks offered by the MScTRM program, enables students to develop the skills required to manage today’s crises and risks. This unique curriculum is being developed in close coordination with the MScTRM Advisory Board, a group of four highly decorated and distinguished national security leaders. 

“The days of guns, gates, and guards are gone,” said General Frank Taylor, Advisory Board member and former vice president and chief security officer at General Electric. “Data analytics is what drives security decisions today. Planning, organizing, training, and executing is the basis of what we do. And whether you’re applying it to GE or applying it to the Air Force or the State Department, the principles are uniform. Not just government, but every major corporation in the world has a need for this type of expertise.”

“With the field (of emergency management) moving at the speed it is today, learning context and the framework for response is as important as any particular training. That’s what gives risk leaders the ability to think about and confront new challenges.” —Advisory Board Member Paul Delacourt

Whether looking to advance a career in law enforcement or transition from government into the business world, the MScTRM national security concentration gives professionals a framework for systematically analyzing complex risks. Advisory Board member Paul Delacourt emphasized that this does not mean throwing instincts long-honed by experience to the side.

“It means gaining analytic insight into situations that will increase the accuracy and impact of your decisions while also giving your communications with others greater impact,” he said. “There’s a framework for managing and mitigating risk that’s broadly applicable across law enforcement and the private sector. With the field moving at the speed it is today, learning context and the framework for response is as important as any particular training. That’s what gives risk leaders the ability to think about and confront new challenges.”

In a field that touches all aspects of the world today, and which has professionals entering from a broad array of backgrounds, an MScTRM degree with the national security concentration serves as both a ready sign testifying to ability as well as giving students the language to translate their varied experience into a narrative other professionals in the field can understand.

“The other attractive thing about the degree is that it’s a certified quantification of your experience,” said Dan William, who is a member of the Advisory Board and Special Agent with the FBI. “I have a 22-year FBI career, and it’s hard to lay out what I’ve done for someone who might not be familiar with the field. Getting a master’s in emergency management with a national security focus quantifies a set of skills for someone outside that experience.”

With Main Street now directly affected by trends and events millions of miles away, it behooves managers of even ostensibly local crises to expand their fields of vision to understand the broader dynamics at play in the world today. With cohorts composed of students from across the field of emergency management, students are able to connect and learn from peers who will remain valuable connections for life.

“By bringing individuals from a variety of backgrounds together, the degree prepares students for the increasingly important task of fostering integration between the private and public sector,” said Nate Snyder, an Advisory Board member who is a senior advisor at Cambridge Global Advisors and former Obama DHS Counterterrorism Official. “So it’s more than just a framework for handling crisis and risk that students graduate with. They’ll also extend their network and learn about roles and positions they had no familiarity with before.”