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Our Joint BA/MA in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies is a six-semester, 150-credit program.

Start Dates Credits Thesis Language Competency Program Chair
August or January 150 Optional Required Jeffrey Knopf

Transfer Credits

Upon matriculating, BA/MA students are required to transfer 60 credit hours with grades of B or above that cover the following requirements:

  • Composition (3 credits)

  • Math (3 credits)

  • Four courses (12 credits) from at least two of the following:

    • Social Science

    • Arts/Humanities

    • Physical and Biological Sciences

  • Language Semester 1 (at least 3 semester credits)

  • Language Semester 2 (at least 3 semester credits)

  • Electives (as needed to reach 60 semester credits total)

Core Course Work

Required Background Courses

These courses introduce students to world politics and the global economy as a way to provide a broader context for understanding terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). They also give students practical training in research methods and related skills. Sample courses:

  • Global Politics

  • Economics

  • Policy and Data Analysis

  • Intercultural Competence

Required Introductory Courses

Courses introducing the fields of nonproliferation and terrorism studies, including training to give students the competence to understand the technical side of these issues. Sample courses:

  • Introduction to WMD Nonproliferation

  • Introduction to Terrorism Studies

  • Science and Technology for NPTS

Advanced Courses in Nonproliferation and/or Terrorism Studies Topics

Advanced courses, seminars, and/or workshops that allow for deeper knowledge about a key region, policy tool, or other aspect of WMD proliferation or terrorism. Sample courses:

  • Counterterrorism

  • Chemical and Biological Weapons and Arms Control

  • Global Jihadism

  • South Asia and WMD

  • Deterring and Influencing Terrorism and WMD

Methods/Skills Courses

Can be taken to fulfill the 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 your expertise in domains that will benefit your career. They can also be used to take classes from other Institute programs. Sample courses:

  • Nonproliferation Treaty Simulation

  • Terrorism and Media in the Middle East

  • Evolution of Chinese Nuclear Policy

  • Cybersecurity Aspects of Nuclear Security

  • Terrorism in Southeast Asia

  • Introduction to Network Analysis

  • Financial Investigation and Compliance

Language and Intercultural Competence

Courses taught in your chosen language combine language skills development with topics related to your NPTS degree work and professional interests. Our intercultural competence offerings provide the cross-cultural communication skills needed to pursue global careers. 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

Students have opportunities to participate in internships with government agencies and international organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), and the U.S. Departments of State, Defense, and Energy.

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 present their findings to a panel of faculty, students, and the public.

Additional Program Options

Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) are encouraged to apply for the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program.

Options for Peace Corps Service

Interested students can integrate Peace Corps service into their degree.

Sample Course Schedule

Fall Start, Full Time, Six Semesters

Fall 1 14 or 15 Credits
International Security Research and Analysis OR Intro to Policy and Data Analysis 2 or 3
Economics Course 4
Advanced Language 4
Global Politics 4
Spring 1 16 Credits
Economics Course 4
Methods/Skills Course(s) 4
Advanced Language 4
Intro to WMD Nonproliferation OR Intro to Terrorism Studies 4
Fall 2 16 Credits
Intro to WMD Nonproliferation OR Intro to Terrorism Studies 4
Science and Technology for NPTS 4
Nonproliferation and/or Terrorism Studies Advanced
Courses and/or Workshops
Advanced Language 4
Spring 2 15 or 16 Credits
Methods/Skills Course 1 or 2
Nonproliferation and/or Terrorism Studies Advanced Courses and/or Workshops 4
Nonproliferation and/or Terrorism Studies Seminar 4
Additional Credits of Courses, Seminars, and/or Workshops in Non-NPTS Programs 4
Intercultural Competence Course 2
Fall 3 14 Credits
Additional Credits of Courses, Seminars, and/or Workshops in Non-NPTS Programs 4
Free Electives 10
Spring 3 14 Credits
Nonproliferation and/or Terrorism Studies Seminar 4
Free Electives 8
Intercultural Competence Course 2