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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



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 during winter quarter of junior year. 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.  Honors students meet in a weekly seminar all year and write a thesis that makes a substantive contribution to the field of international security.  The CISAC Honors Program has drawn students from 28 different major departments and programs since its inception in 2000 and has an alumni network of 173 students through the class of 2015. 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 within the university and beyond, and the program's interdisciplinary character. The program is currently co-directed by Dr. Martha Crenshaw and Dr. Coit Blacker.


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.

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.

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 was February 27, 2015.  Applications are currently closed.  Applications for the 2016-2017 academic year will be due on February 26, 2016.

  • Interschool Honors Program in International Security Studies Application 2016-2017 (coming soon)
  • Honors Consultation Form 2016-2017 (coming soon)


Click here to view our program flyer for 2015-2016.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Shelby Speer, Fellowship and Student Programs Administrator


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