The Kevin and Cynthia O'Brien Undergraduate Program in International Security
Notre Dame International Security Center (NDISC) educates exceptional undergraduate students to prepare them for careers in international security. Our alumni land prestigious positions in the intelligence community, on Congressional committees, in the Department of Defense, in the private sector, and at top graduate schools.
The Kevin and Cynthia O'Brien Undergraduate Program in International Security offers two options: a selective international security certificate program designed primarily for political science majors, and an interdisciplinary international security studies minor open to students throughout the University.
Why study international security?
International Security Studies (ISS) will continue to have a profound influence on the world and the people living in it. Understanding the causes and consequences of war helps us to reflect on how to avoid conflicts—increasing the chances for peace, security, and diplomacy.
Your success is important: both in the classroom and beyond! NDISC will help you:
- Deepen your knowledge — learn how to assess security issues, how to identify dangers in crises, and how to reduce them.
- Be aware of global conflicts, both past and present — be an informed global citizen and evaluate security arguments.
- Be an ISS scholar — you will meet leading thinkers and learn about their research and other professional activities. There will also be unique experiential learning opportunities beyond the classroom in the national security field.
- Get more than a job: a career — NDISC faculty have years of experience helping students discern their career goals, find internships and jobs, and establish network connections with current and former practitioners in the Department of Defense, the Intelligence Community, the uniform services, non- and inter-governmental organizations, Congressional representatives and staff, as well as private sector organizations in the international security sphere.
In addition to a robust classroom education on topics around international security, our students also have access to:
- Intellectual community
- Internship and research support
- Professional development
- Unique experiential learning trips to national security sites
- Networking opportunities
Which program is right for me?
The International Security Studies certificate is a selective program open to Notre Dame political science majors with a demonstrated interest in international security issues and a minimum GPA of 3.72. Students can apply in their freshman, sophomore, or junior year, and must agree to meet all of the requirements, including a yearlong senior thesis and an internship in national security.
Students accepted into the certificate program become NDISC undergraduate fellows and receive research support, internship funding, mentorship from accomplished leaders in the field, and priority access to NDISC networking and professional development opportunities.
The International Security Studies minor is open to Notre Dame students in any major, and no application is required. Minors and fellows take the same specialized coursework, and both groups participate in the NDISC seminars, but the other requirements differ. A capstone is not required to complete the ISS minor, although students are welcome to pursue one in consultation with the minor’s directors. ISS minors are also welcome to participate in NDISC networking and professional development opportunities as long as space is available.
Interested or have questions?
NDISC is grateful for the generous support of our undergraduate program from the Kevin and Cynthia O’Brien Family Endowment for Excellence.