FAQ

For more information regarding the NDISC Undergraduate Program, consult the following FAQ.


What's in it for you?

Who is this for? Am I eligible?

What is the deadline?

What is the required GPA?

What are the academic requirements?

Why is Introduction to International Relations a required prerequisite?

Are there internship requirements?

Are there extracurricular requirements?

What about internship and research support?

Is student mentoring available? 

What's in it for you?

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

  • Specialized courses
  • Research support
  • Internship funding
  • Dedicated mentoring
  • Networking and becoming a cohort with other Fellows
  • Terrific extra-curriculars from talks to visits to military bases
  • Podcasting opportunities
  • Professional level interactions with top academics and government and military officials at lunches, dinners, talks, base visits, and joint exercises with the ROTC
  • Peer Mentoring

Who is this for? Am I eligible?

The NDISC Undergraduate Program is for Political Science majors and others with a demonstrated interest in national and international security, broadly defined.  We have accepted majors from Global Studies, Peace Studies, History, Sciences and Engineering, as well as others. 

What is the deadline?

The deadline is rolling.  Please click here for the application.

What is the required GPA?

Our goal is for applicants to meet or exceed the current requirement for minimum Latin honors, or cum laude.  Last we checked, pre-COVID, this was 3.72.  The certificate is a competitive privilege.  That said, applicants may apply their first, second, or third years.  First years especially may expect their GPA's to rise, while others may have 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 explain how it will improve.

What are the academic requirements?

A number of courses (including Introduction to International Relations or US Foreign Policy), a security-related internship, and participation in our extracurricular activities is required for completion of the Undergraduate Certificate Program.

The courses are as follows:

  • Introduction to International Relations or US Foreign Policy.
  • The NDISC Security Studies Certificate Gateway course.  This is POLS 30210, US National Security Policymaking.  It focuses on the theory and practice of National Security Policy and is normally offered every fall.
  • Two additional elective courses at the 30000 level or above, including relevant junior and senior seminars.  Again, we define security broadly and a wide range of courses in various disciplines may be acceptable, as approved by the program director.
  • A senior thesis, to be completed over two semesters.  This thesis can be completed in any major that provides a thesis, and is acceptable if it includes two semesters of research and writing and if the topic is security-related, broadly defined.  Please consult with the director if you have any questions.

Why is Introduction to International Relations or US Foreign Policy a required prerequisite?

The primary reason is to make sure our students begin with at least some familiarity with the topics and theories in the field.  This in turn helps the students learn more and participate in greater depth from our seminars, podcasts, etc.

Please also note the course US Foreign Policy is also acceptable as a prerequisite.  Other courses may also be acceptable, but must be approved by the Certificate Fellow Director.  Other exceptions such as taking Intro to IR or USFP after taking other NDISC courses such as National Security Policymaking or an elective must also be reviewed by the Director.

Are there internship requirements?

On internships, examples of acceptable internships include:

  • Working for an NGO/IGO dealing with conflict/security.
  • Participation in the Washington Program, with 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, unless they are on NDISC related committees and you do some work related to these committees.
  • 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.

Are there co-curricular requirements?

Co-curricular activities 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).  This is the one required co-curricular activity.
  • You may also have opportunities to periodically dine with our speakers.
  • We also conduct orientation visits to military and political sites, bases, etc., as well as hands on training led by the ND ROTC program.

Other important co-curricular activities include our:

  • Students Talk Security Podcast Series, which you are strongly encouraged to participate in.  Students are often trepidatious going in, but find them to be highly rewarding.
  • Orientation visits to military and political sites, bases, etc., as well as hands on training led by the ND ROTC program.  These are incredible, often once in a lifetime opportunities.  The visits are typically over spring break.
  • There are many other co-curriculars which may include our film series, playing Diplomacy and other NDISC-related games, etc.

What about internship and research support?

NDISC has some funds to help students pay for their required internships as well as some funds to support senior thesis research. Please consult the following handouts for details on how to apply, which sorts of internships count toward the Certificate, etc.

Internship support application information

Senior thesis research funding application information

Is student mentoring available?

  • 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.
  • NDISC professors, staff, and affiliates have worked at high levels 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.
  • We offer a Peer Mentoring Initiative which pairs Junior and Senior mentors with Junior, Sophomore, and First Year Mentees. 

    * Led by our Fellows, we use a private NDISC database, to pair mentors with Mentees based on common interests, courses of interest, internships had and aspired to, and so forth.  

    * Peer mentoring also furthers our goals of improving ‘cohorting’ (Fellows getting to know fellow Fellows) and building our alumni network.

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