Next Application Deadline February 1 Get Info

The Dual Degree master’s in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies (NPTS) and master’s in International Affairs is a four-semester, 62-credit (124 ECTS*) program.

The program gives students a specialization in WMD nonproliferation, nuclear policy, and global security. It prepares students for professional careers in the nonproliferation field in national governments, international organizations, think tanks, and the private sector.

*MGIMO is on the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). These credits translate to half the amount in the Middlebury Institute semester credit system.

Start Date Credits Practicum Language Competency Program Chair
August 62 Required Required Jeff Knopf

Semester One

Students spend semester one at MGIMO in Moscow, Russia.

Sample Courses

  • Russia’s Nonproliferation Policies

  • Modern Strategy of Russian Foreign Policy

  • Analysis of International Situations

  • International Organizations in World Politics

  • The Peaceful Use of Atomic Energy: Issues for International Security and International Cooperation

  • Great Powers and Regional Subsystems in World Politics

  • Introduction to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime

  • Theory and Practice of Arms Control and Disarmament

  • Megatrends and Global Problems

  • Research Methods

  • Language Studies

Semesters Two and Three

Students spend semesters two and three at the Middlebury Institute.

Core Courses

  • Introduction to Terrorism Studies

  • Science and Technology for NPTS

  • Language Studies

Sample Elective Courses

In addition to the electives below, students can choose NPTS classes that focus on terrorism or cybersecurity as well as classes from other Institute programs. Sample courses:

  • Nonproliferation Treaty Simulation

  • Evolution of Chinese Nuclear Policy

  • Security and Arms Control in Northeast Asia

  • Geospatial Tools for NPTS

  • The Nuclear Age: A Historical Introduction

  • Cybersecurity Aspects of Nuclear Security

  • Security and WMD in the Middle East

  • Biological and Chemical Weapons and Arms Control

  • Deterring and Influencing Terrorism and WMD

Language Studies

Language courses at the Middlebury Institute combine language skills development with a focus on substantive topics related to graduate degree work and professional interests.

Final Semester

Students in their final semester enroll at MGIMO and can be in the United States, Russia, or another location. The fourth semester is devoted to an internship and thesis writing, with the student’s location determined on a case-by-case basis.


Students are expected to pursue an internship of at least 12 weeks. MGIMO, the Institute, and the Russian Center for Policy Research (PIR Center) will assist with internship placement, including the possibility of intern positions in government agencies, international organizations, and think tanks. Past internship locations include the following:

  • Vienna Center for Disarmament and Nonproliferation, Vienna, Austria
  • Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, Vienna, Austria
  • UN Institute for Disarmament Research, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Project on Nuclear Issues at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C.
  • International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria
  • UN Office of Disarmament Affairs, New York City, New York
  • PIR Center, Moscow, Russia 


Students enrolled in the dual-degree program are required to write a master’s thesis under the supervision of two coadvisors, one affiliated with MGIMO and one affiliated with the Middlebury Institute. The length and format of the thesis should conform to MGIMO guidelines, which will be provided to all students during their first semester.

Students begin drafting a formal thesis proposal during their first semester, and the proposal and topic must be approved at both the Middlebury Institute and MGIMO before the end of the student’s second semester. The proposed topic should be related to both the Middlebury Institute MA in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies and the MGIMO MA in International Affairs, with a specialization in WMD nonproliferation, nuclear policy, or global security. Any topic that addresses nuclear policy or any aspect of WMD nonproliferation will clearly fit. Topics that deal with cyber or financial crime issues will generally be approved as long as they have implications for some aspect of the WMD problem. Conversely, a topic that focuses solely on conventional terrorism is unlikely to be approved for the Russian half of the dual degree, but a topic that links terrorism and WMD concerns will generally be approved. To the extent possible, faculty will work with students to shape a proposal that allows research in an area of interest while also meeting the criteria for the dual degree.

Examples of past thesis topics:

  • “The Threat of Emerging Finance Technologies to the Nonproliferation Regime: A Case Study of North Korean Cyber Attacks”
  • “U.S.-Russian Cooperation on the Missile and Nuclear Weapons Programs of North Korea: A Comprehensive History and Prospects for the Future”
  • “Analysis of the Suppression of Acts of Chemical and Biological Terrorism Initiative by the Russian Federation”
  • “Floating Nuclear Power Plants: Possible Threat to the Nonproliferation Regime”
  • “The Evolution and Future of Strategic Trade Controls within the Former Soviet Space: A Case Study of Ukraine and Kazakhstan”
  • “Additive Manufacturing in the Aerospace Industry and Its Impact on Strategic Balance and Nonproliferation Regime”

Graduation Date

The thesis is submitted at the end of the fourth semester and will be graded over the summer, with the diploma granted in August. 


Sample Course Schedule

Fall Start, Full Time, Four Semesters, 62 Credits (124 ECTS)

Term Course Credits
Fall 1 (Moscow) Core and Elective Courses 11
Fall 1 (Moscow) Language Studies 4
Fall 1 (Moscow) January: Exams  
Spring 1 (Monterey) Introduction to Terrorism Studies 4
Spring 1 (Monterey) Science and Technology for NPTS 4
Spring 1 (Monterey) Seminars/Advanced Courses in Nonproliferation Topics 4
Spring 1 (Monterey) Language Studies 4
Fall 2 (Monterey) Electives/Seminars/Advanced Courses in Nonproliferation Topics 12
Fall 2 (Monterey) Language Studies 4
Spring 2 (Multiple Location Options) Directed Study Project and Internship 4
Spring 2 (Multiple Location Options) Thesis Research 8
Spring 2 (Multiple Location Options) June: Thesis Defense 3
Total   62 (124 ECTS)