SIPA Faculty at Ukraine events, October 2022

International Security Policy

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.

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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 a broad range of career paths, including employment in the U.S. Intelligence Community (CIA, INR, NSA, DIA, NGA, etc.) and other professional positions in the U.S. government (Department of State, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Energy, Congressional Research Service, Congressional Budget Office, legislative staffs, etc.), as well as for their counterparts in foreign governments. ISP alumni are also employed by international/multilateral organizations (ex. the UN, NATO, ASEAN, and the EU), defense contractors, political risk consulting firms, public interest and advocacy organizations, nonprofit research institutes, media/journalism, and other areas.

The ISP concentration maintains an ISP Employer Directory featuring over 70 pages of listings with more than 300 current and prospective employers for ISP graduates. Students are encouraged to use this resource in conjunction with the ISP Alumni Advisors Directory, which contains the profiles of alumni both in the U.S. and abroad who have agreed to share their professional experience and advice. The ISP concentration also regularly facilitates career/networking events, both virtually and in person, which are promoted through the ISP CampusGroups listserv.

In addition, the SIPA Career Advancement Center (CAC) regularly hosts information sessions on careers and employers and publishes Career Fact Sheets, a number of which are particularly relevant for ISP students and graduates, such as:

  • Capitol Hill
  • Cybersecurity
  • Federal Government
  • Foundations
  • Government Relations
  • Intelligence
  • International Security and Defense
  • Multilateral Organizations
  • Nonproliferation
  • Peace and Conflict Resolution
  • Political Risk Analysis
  • Science, Technology, and Public Policy
  • State and Local Government
  • Think Tanks and Research Institutes

Curriculum & Courses

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

View full curriculum »

Concentration Requirements

The International Security Policy (ISP) concentration requires 15 points, consisting of 5 three-point courses: three points in a foundations course; three points in course related to General Problems in International Security and Conflict Management course; three points in a course related to Use of Force; and six points of elective credit (preferably including a course on security issues in a particular country or region).

Related Degree Programs

21 Months

The Master of International Affairs (MIA), which includes selected STEM-designated pathways, is underpinned by SIPA’s unrivaled expertise on issues that transcend national boundaries and prepares students to address major international issues as experts and leaders in governments and organizations around the world.

21 Months

The Master of Public Administration (MPA), which includes selected STEM-designated pathways, emphasizes a comparative approach to domestic policy and prepares students to address major national policy issues and manage organizations in the US and other countries around the world.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Us

Stephen Biddle
Concentration Director
IAB Room 1332
[email protected]

Jessie Laufer
Concentration Coordinator
[email protected]