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The Middlebury Institute Master of Arts in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies (NPTS) is a four-semester, 60-credit program.

Start Dates Credits Thesis Language Competency Program Chair
August or January 60 Optional Required Jeff Knopf

Core Course Work

Required Courses

These courses introduce the fields of nonproliferation and terrorism studies, including the technical aspects of weapons proliferation; how these issues fit into the broader context of world politics; and practical training in research methods and other analytical techniques.

  • International Security Research and Analysis

  • Global Politics

  • Introduction to WMD Nonproliferation

  • Introduction to Terrorism Studies

  • Science and Technology for NPTS

  • Two to four credits of additional research and/or skills course work

Advanced Courses

Mostly taught as seminars, these courses allow for deeper knowledge on a particular region or specialized topic. Sample courses:

  • Proliferation and Intelligence

  • Counterterrorism

  • Chemical and Biological Weapons and Arms Control

  • Global Jihadism

  • Deterring and Influencing Terrorism and WMD

  • Drones and Surveillance

Methods/Skills Courses

These classes can be used to fulfill the additional required methods/skills credits or as electives. Sample courses:

  • Writing and Briefing Memos

  • Tabletop Exercise Design and Operation

  • Geospatial Tools for NPTS


Electives by advisement build on expertise that can benefit your career. Elective credits can be used to take workshops, regular courses, and seminars. This is also an opportunity to take classes in other Institute degree programs. Sample courses:

  • Nonproliferation Treaty Simulation

  • Evolution of Chinese Nuclear Policy

  • Cyberwar

  • Terrorism in Southeast Asia

  • Introduction to Network Analysis

  • Financial Investigation and Compliance

Language Studies

Courses taught in your chosen language combine language skills development with topics related to your NPTS degree work and professional interests. Sample courses:

  • Topics in Security and International Relations (in Arabic)

  • Citizenship, Security, and Development in Latin America (in Spanish)

  • Challenges in Peacebuilding—Congo (in French)

  • Vladimir Putin: Russia and Its President (in Russian)

  • Japan in the World (in Japanese)

Professional Internship Option

An internship is not required, but for students who wish to do an internship during their studies, the Institute can assist with internship placement, including the possibility of intern positions in government agencies, international organizations, and think tanks. Sample international organizations for internship placement:

  • International Atomic Energy Agency

  • United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs

  • Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

  • Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization

Thesis Option

The NPTS honors thesis is a highly selective program. Students are challenged to design and conduct an independent research project of professional scope and quality with the guidance of a thesis advisor. A limited number of students are selected to participate in the honors thesis program each academic year. Students apply to participate in their second semester and, if selected, conduct research during their third and/or final terms. Students present their findings to a panel of faculty, students, and the public.

Additional Program Options

Accelerated Entry and Advanced Entry

Students who meet our requirements for accelerated entry or advanced entry may be eligible to complete the degree in three or two full-time semesters. See How to Apply for details.

Sample Course Schedule

Fall Start, Full Time, Four Semesters

Fall 1 16 Credits
International Security Research and Analysis 2
Introduction to WMD Nonproliferation 4
Introduction to Terrorism Studies 4
Workshops 2
Language Studies 4
Spring 1 16 Credits
Science and Technology for NPTS 4
Global Politics 4
NPTS Methods/Skills 4
Language Studies 4
Fall 2 14 Credits
NPTS Seminars, Advanced Courses, or Workshops 6
Electives 4
Language Studies 4
Spring 2 14 Credits
NPTS Seminars, Advanced Courses, or Workshops 8
Electives 6