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The NDISC Undergraduate Program is for Political Science majors. All of our courses should count toward the major.


The deadline is April 8th, but we will consider applications for special circumstances after the deadline.

GPA Requirement

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.  We understand some students face challenges along the way. 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.


Introduction to International Relations is a required prerequisite to make sure our students begin with some familiarity with the topics and theories in the field.

The course US Foreign Policy is also acceptable. Others may also be acceptable, to be approved by the Certificate Fellow Director.

Course Requirements

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

The courses are as follows:

  • The NDISC Security Studies Certificate Gateway course
    • The Gateway course will focus on the theory and practice of National Security Policy.
    • Normally taken during junior year
  • 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. 

Outside the Classroom

NDISC hosts required seminars from 4:30-6:00pm every 2-3 weeks on Tuesday evenings. Periodically students are invited to 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.

Senior Thesis

Along with your name, ID number, email address, project title, and project dates, please include the following with your application:

  1. A statement describing your project. Summarize your project. Describe where you are in your project. Describe your methods and research goals. Note the project faculty supervisor. Make sure to note how NDISC support will contribute to the success of your project. This should be 1-3 pages in length.
  2. A copy of your transcript.
  3. A detailed budget statement listing all expected expenditures:  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.  Evidence of frugal use of resources is helpful. Break out recurrent expenses on a weekly basis (food, lodging, subway, etc.) and provide totals. Make the statement as thorough as possible but also easy to understand.

In addition, please satisfy the following:

  1. Institutional Review Board (IRB) process. Research that involves interaction with individuals or their private information must undergo the IRB approval process. If this applies to you: Please review the process and assure NDISC as part of your application that you have already complied with the process or are making good progress. Failure to do so will result in forfeiting your eligibility and you must return all funds already granted.
  2. You must apply to other entities for financial support so as to be competitive and not to be solely dependent on NDISC support. A partial but lengthy list can be found on the CUSE website. The political science department also has funds available.
  3. You must consult with relevant faculty on the proposed research and the proposed methods (interviews, archives, etc.) .  You must know how to use archives or how to conduct interviews (note-taking vs. recording, on or off the record, etc) before you begin.
  4. Please consult the NDISC Certificate Fellow Director, currently Dan Lindley, if your proposal involves international research.  
  5. After your funded research is complete, please submit a written report to Dan Lindley and Anieka Johnson about the successes and frustrations of your research experience. Include photos if relevant.

Note that funding is limited to NDISC Certificate Fellows, and also may be limited by availability. For more information, please contact the Certificate Fellow Director: Dan Lindley at

We wish to thank the generous benefaction of Jack Kelly ’74 and Gail Weiss; Sean M. Reilly ’90 and Susan Reilly; Michael T. Long ’64 and Ann Long; and the Charles Koch Foundation.