International Security Studies Certificate Program


What's in it for you?


Political Science majors selected for this competitive program gain access to:

• specialized courses

• research support

• internship funding

• dedicated mentoring


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Who is this for?  Am I eligible?

This is for political science majors. All of our courses should count toward the major.


What is the deadline?

The deadline is April 1st, 2018, but we will consider applications for special circumstance after the deadline.


The required GPA is 3.72, but there is some flexibility.

  • 3.72 is the current requirement for minimum Latin honors, ie. cum laude.  The certificate is a competitive privilege.

  • That said, GPAs often increase over time and the normal applicant is a rising junior.  Also, some students face/d challenges along the way.

  • THUS, students whose GPA is below 3.72 may submit an additional paragraph to their statement of interest justifying their current GPA and explaining why it will improve.


Why is Introduction to International Relations required?

  • To make sure our students begin with at least some familiarity with the topics and theories in the field.

  • The course US Foreign Policy is also be acceptable.


What are the requirements?

A number of courses, a related internship, and participation in our co-curriculars.


The courses are as follows:

  • The NDISC security studies certificate Gateway course to normally be taken in the junior year.   The Gateway course will focus on the theory and practice of National Security Policy.

  • Two additional elective courses at the 30000 level or above, including relevant junior and senior seminars.  

  • A senior thesis, to be completed over two semesters.  


On internships,examples of acceptable internships include:

  • Working for an NGO/IGO dealing with conflict/security.

  • Participation in the Washington Program, where the internship component is focused on National or International Security.

  • Interning for a member of Congress whose sits on the Foreign Relations, Armed Services, or Intelligence Committee, and similar.

  • Interning at the Pentagon or elsewhere in the U.S. National Security bureaucracy.

  • Working as a research assistant for a professor conducting research in international security, subject to approval only under extenuating circumstances.


Examples of unacceptable internships include:

  • Study Abroad programs with no work component.

  • Interning for a local politician.

  • Interning at a private company that does not deal with international security issues.


For details and decisions on particular internships and circumstances, please consult the director.


Co-curricular details

  • During your time after acceptance, you must attend our seminars from 4:30-6:00pm on Tuesdays.  These are every 2-3 weeks.  You MUST keep this time free.

    (If you can not, please explain your circumstances to the director for a waiver.)
  • You will periodically be invited to dine with our speakers, so please try to be free some Tuesday evenings.

  • We also conduct orientation visits to military and political sites, bases, etc., as well as hands on training led by the ND ROTC program.


What about internship support?

NDISC has some funds to help students pay for their required internships.

  • Students will be required to submit a detailed budget detailing all expected expenses associated with the internship, including room and board, transportation costs, required certifications, books and other supplies. The budget must include all outside sources of funding, including compensation earned from the internship, other scholarships, and other available monies. Students cannot apply for money to be used for purchase of durable goods like clothing, computers and other electronics, or a vehicle.

  • We expect students to apply to several ND and other sources to be competitive.  This is standard for ND undergrads.  These sources include CUSE, A&L UROPS, relevant Institutes, and so forth.

  • We also have some money to help with senior thesis research.

(The same internship support criteria apply.)


We also offer extensive mentoring to help students attain internships and careers in the policy and academic sides of the national security field.

  • Our professors have many decades of experience mentoring students in this competitive field.

  • Have worked at a high level in the Pentagon, founded the ND Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement, worked in the policy world in Washington DC, and administered and attended the top graduate programs and post-graduate fellowships in the country.

  • We are deepening our relationships with the ND career center, the ND Washington program, our own contacts, the Keough school, and other sources to help you.


International Security Studies Certificate is a program by the ND International Security Center (NDISC)

Directed by Professor Michael Desch

Certificate director: Professor Dan Lindley

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