Provides conceptual foundations and practical policy analysis of political violence, conflict management, defense policy, military strategy, negotiation, terrorism, peacekeeping, intelligence, arms control, and related issues.


The International Security Policy (ISP) concentration promotes an understanding of fundamental issues, debates, and sources of ideas about causes of political conflict and solutions to them, and provides students with a more specific grasp of particular policy problems and strategies in regional security and major power defense policies.

Who It’s For

The ISP concentration is suited for students of any educational background interested in war, peace, and means for devising strategy to cope with them. The concentration has no prerequisites.

Career Paths

The ISP concentration prepares students for employment in professional positions in the government (such as the U.S. departments of State, Defense, Homeland Security, and Energy, intelligence agencies, Congressional Research Service, Congressional Budget Office, legislative staffs, and their foreign counterparts), as well as international organizations, consulting firms, public interest and advocacy organizations, nonprofit research institutes, journalism, and other areas.

Curriculum & Courses

The curriculum is very flexible, allowing students to focus on a wide variety of subjects.

View full curriculum

Concentration & Specialization Requirements

Requirements include one introductory course (U6871); one course from among a set of choices in “General Problems in International Security and Conflict Management;” one course from among a set in “Use of Force;” and two electives.

See the ISP Bulletin for more information.

Questions about requirements may be addressed to the concentration Co-Directors, Richard Betts or Stephen Biddle


 May I count a course for ISP concentration credit if it is not listed as such?

The ISP concentration Co-Director, Richard Betts, will consider such petitions after receiving and assessing the syllabus of the course.

For answers to other FAQs see the ISP Bulletin.