Designed for students interested in exploring career opportunities in international security and foreign policy, NDISC's undergraduate program offers rigorous training and access to special opportunities inside and outside the classroom. Students have two options: a selective international security certificate program designed for political science majors, and an interdisciplinary international security studies minor open to undergraduates in any program of study. 

Review the requirements below to decide which is right for you. 

Undergraduate Certificate Program Requirements


NDISC Undergraduate Certificate Class '22

Introduction to International Relations is a required prerequisite. With approval from the undergraduate program director, U.S. Foreign Policy and other courses may be accepted as a substitute.


U.S. National Security Policymaking (POLS 30210) is the certificate program's required gateway course, normally taken during junior year

Students must also take two relevant elective courses at the 30000 level or above.

Required certificate program courses count toward the political science major.

NDISC Undergraduate Certificate Graduate

Senior thesis

All undergraduate fellows in the certificate program must complete a yearlong senior thesis project. Funds are available to support your senior thesis research. For more information, contact the undergraduate program director.

Outside the classroom

Seminar discussions

NDISC hosts required seminars from 4:30–6 p.m. every 2 to 3 weeks on Tuesday evenings. Periodically, students are invited to dine with our speakers.


Fellows are expected to complete an internship related to international security. Examples 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. 

NDISC has funds available to help undergraduate fellows pay for the internships that are a required part of the certificate program.

Professional development

NDISC also conducts orientation visits to military and political sites, bases, etc., as well as hands-on training led by the Notre Dame ROTC program, diplomacy games, and movie nights. In addition, fellows have priority access to gain experience on the Students Talk Security podcast and the opportunity for customized mentoring and exclusive networking. Participation in these co-curricular events is strongly encouraged.

International Security Studies Minor Requirements

To complete a minor in International Security Studies (ISS), students must take 5 courses (15 credit hours) related to security studies. These courses are subject to approval, but the list of approved courses is growing every semester.

Gateway course

Prior to enrolling in the minor, students must take National Security Policymaking, U.S. Foreign Policy (both in political science), or a course in military history in the Department of History. Soon after, students should meet with an undergraduate program director to discuss a plan for completion, as well as career plans, internships, fellowships, etc.

Elective courses and capstone

Following completion of the gateway course, students will be required to take one of the political science or history courses listed above (from whichever department they did not use to get into the minor) and take 3 elective courses.

A capstone is not required to complete the minor, but students are welcome to pursue one in consultation with the undergraduate program directors. A subject-relevant thesis may count for an ISS course, or two, depending on its length.

Outside the classroom

NDISC hosts required seminar discussions every 2-3 Tuesdays from 4:30–6 p.m. Periodically, students are invited to dine with our speakers. ISS minors are expected to participate in all seminars. They are welcome to participate in other NDISC professional development and networking opportunities if space is available. An internship in international security is encouraged but not required. 


Have questions about the ISS minor or the certificate program? Want to learn more about NDISC as a Center? Contact one of our undergraduate program directors:

Dan Lindley, (political science)

Ian Johnson, (military history)