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Honors Program in International Security Studies


CISAC Honors Students meet with Valerie B. Jarrett, senior advisor to President Barack Obama and a Stanford alumna, in the east wing of the White House, on Sept. 12, 2014, during Honors College in Washington, D.C.
Photo credit: 
Jay Mallin Photos

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The CISAC Honors Program has drawn students from more than 21 different major departments and programs since its inception in 2000 and has an alumni network of 147 students through the class of 2013. Alumni consistently cite multiple strengths of the program, including inclusion of undergraduates in CISAC's vibrant intellectual environment, highly personalized attention from faculty, the program's unique focus wihin the university and beyond, and the program's interdisciplinary character.

The CISAC Interschool Honors Program in International Security Studies provides an opportunity for seniors from all undergraduate schools and majors who have strong academic records and interest in international security to receive Honors in International Security Studies. Students are admitted to the program on a competitive basis. Two courses are prerequisites for admission: PS 114S (International Security in a Changing World) and MS&E 193 (Technology and National Security). The award of Honors is in addition to the student's major, which may be in any department or program.


CISAC Honors College 2014 from Stanford CISAC on Vimeo.


The Program has four central requirements: 

  • An internship with a security related organization or government agency, in order to gain real-world policy experience. Internships served before or during junior year, by approval of the program director, count toward the requirement. If students have not served an internship before the summer between junior and senior years, CISAC will assist in placing them and offer a small stipend for living expenses if need is demonstrated.

  • Participation in the CISAC Honors College, a two-week program that takes place in Washington, D.C., and on the Stanford campus in September before the start of the fall quarter of senior year.

  • Participation in weekly honors seminars throughout the academic year, led by two CISAC instructors and a teaching assistant.

  • Research and analysis producing an honors thesis at the end of senior year that makes a substantive contribution to the understanding of an international security issue. Each student's research is directed by an individual adviser specializing in his or her field of study.

CISAC Honors Students visit the CIA to discuss global security issues with analysts.


Please see the links below for a list of all current Honors Program students and alumni, including their home departments, thesis topics, and final theses.

CISAC Honors Program Students and Alumni 2001-2015 ( by class year)

CISAC Honors Program Alumni 2001-2015 (by last name)

Honors Program Theses are archived with the Stanford University Libraries and can be accessed here.


How to Apply to the Honors Program

The application deadline for the 2015-2016 academic year is February 27, 2015.  Applications are currently open.  See the documents below to apply.


Click here to view our program flyer.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Shelby Speer, Fellowship, Student, and Alumni Programs Coordinator


Honors Program News and Announcements



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