The Cambridge Security Initiative
& The Department of War Studies, King’s College London
The International Security and
10th July- 6th August 2022- Magdalene College, Cambridge
The Cambridge Security Initiative & The Department of War Studies, King’s College London
The International Security and Intelligence Programme
10th July -6th August 2022, Magdalene College, Cambridge
The International Security and Intelligence Programme at Magdalene College in the University of Cambridge, Summer 2022.
We are very pleased to announce that in 2022 The International Security and Intelligence Programme (ISI) is scheduled to take place, in person, with residential accommodation provided by Magdalene College, a C16th foundation located in central Cambridge on the banks of the River Cam.
The Residential Programme will run from Sunday 10th July to Saturday 6th August 2022.
The Independent Research project is to be completed by Friday 19th August 2022.
Chaired by Sir Richard Dearlove the former Chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service, the Cambridge Security Initiative (CSi), launched the ISI Programme in 2016. The purpose of this unique programme is to provide an opportunity for participants to meet and work with leading academics and practitioners from the intelligence and security communities in the historic setting of one of the world’s foremost universities. The Programme is run in partnership with the Department of War Studies at Kings College, London.
The Programme convenors are Professor Michael S. Goodman, BA(Hons), MA, PhD, FRHistS, Head of War Studies, Dean of Research Impact and Professor of ‘Intelligence and International Affairs’ at King’s College, London and Dr David Gioe, Senior Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London’s Department of War Studies and Associate Professor of History and History Fellow at the US Army’s Cyber Institute. Dr Gioe previously spent more than a decade working in the U.S. intelligence community, including roles in the FBI, the CIA and the Office of Naval Intelligence.
Western democracies face diverse and complex challenges from state and non-state actors which preoccupy the highest levels of government and civil society. Themes to be explored include:
- How western intelligence communities can operate in a world of seemingly ubiquitous surveillance, and how they might compete with – or harness – the revolution in open-source data.
- Threats posed by nuclear proliferation, cyber warfare, radicalisation, acts of terrorism, regional insecurity and information operations.
- Modern conceptions of transparency tempered by legitimate claims for state secrecy and the role of the intelligence and security agencies in a modern democratic society.
- Analytical challenges and the intelligence-policy interface.
- Various mechanisms of intelligence collection, analysis and dissemination, counter-intelligence and covert operations.
Teaching is modelled on that offered by Cambridge University and the pace is set by lectures and seminars designed specifically for this programme. The centrepiece for many students is ‘supervision’ – small-group supervision of individual research projects by experts in the relevant fields.
Included in the Programme is attendance at CSi’s two-day annual Conference (Friday 22nd – Saturday 23rd July 2022) which explores Intelligence and National Security in a Changing World. Participants also have access to a bespoke online platform, academic, pastoral and medical support, and a lively cultural and social programme.
Applications are invited from students and practitioners with an intellectual or professional interest in statecraft and the interlocking themes of intelligence, security, defence and foreign policy.
Virtual Open Days
The Cambridge Security Initiative will host a series of Open Days ahead of the ISI 2022 Programme.
These virtual Open Days will offer prospective participants an opportunity to learn more about the Programme from lecturers, supervisors, alumni, and the operations team.
Attendees will be able to ask questions about the Programme and the CSi 2022 Conference.
The ISI Program was an insightful experience and such a productive way to spend my summer! Despite the program’s synchronous online format, the ISI professors and staff made it immensely interactive and interesting for the students. I also appreciated the vast knowledge of all ISI professors because I learned a lot thanks to their carefully prepared lessons and master classes. I owe special thanks to my mentor Dr. Daniela Richterová whose expertise and help were crucial to my ISI research project. Precisely because of this online format, we had the opportunity to interact with renowned and seasoned experts on topics of intelligence and security. I had the fortune of meeting several other ISI students and alumni in person. We are already planning new reunions and social gatherings around the world. I am grateful for this opportunity and would recommend the ISI program to all young and mid-level students and professionals who want to expand their knowledge and meet other professionals in the field.Student, ISI 2021
The Programme has two tracks:
1. Independent Supervised Research
All ISI participants, in consultation with the Programme Directors, choose a research track exploring in detail a particular security or intelligence theme through a series of ‘supervisions’. Supervision, central to Cambridge teaching and learning, brings together a small group of students under the guidance of an expert in the field to conduct research-based work culminating in the production of an extended essay of 3,500 words.
Contact time directly related to the Independent Supervised Research Track is a minimum of 9 hours.
2. Topics in International Security and Intelligence
Through lectures and seminars given by ISI Faculty, the central themes of the Programme are analysed and discussed.
Key themes include:
- the role of intelligence and security agencies,
- the 21st century threat landscape in an historical perspective,
- the intelligence cycle,
- competing claims of state secrecy,
- information operations,
- topics in regional security,
- the security implications of digital revolutions.
Intelligence collection, analysis and dissemination remain at the core of the intelligence cycle while counter-intelligence and covert action play more opaque but still vital roles at the heart of the nation state and international alliances. Understanding what intelligence can achieve – and its limitations – will be major themes for analysis and discussion. Many of these will be further explored in panels and lectures at the CSi Conference.
The Programme also hosts a series of outstanding Special Subject Lectures covering a broad range of contemporary intelligence and security issues. These have been given, in recent years, by former Heads of MI5, MI6, GCHQ and the French Security Services; the Chief Judge to the Appeals Court of the United States Armed Forces, and the CIA Deputy Director for Operations as well as by leading academics working in the field of Intelligence and Security studies.
The total contact time for this track is a minimum of 40 hours.
ISI is an exceptional experience and I am truly grateful for the time I have spent in Cambridge. The programme offers a unique opportunity for interaction and collaboration between professional practitioners and the academic world. The many accomplished lecturers and guest speakers provide exclusive access to a wealth of knowledge and rare practical experience otherwise difficult to tap into. Furthermore, I believe that the student body itself, spanning multiple countries, a wide variety of professional backgrounds, and all levels of higher education, offer exciting and inspiring new perspectives on contemporary security- and intelligence related issues. Additionally, the programme provides a friendly social environment for forging new professional and personal connections.Kristoffer
Attendance, Assessment and Credit
Participants attend all lectures, seminars, supervisions and the CSi Conference and submit a 3,500 essay as required in Track 1, Independent Supervised Research. This essay will be graded by the supervisor.
Those wishing to earn credit for Topics in International Security and Intelligence, will be assessed on;
- A detailed written review of one of the Conference panels to be completed by 5th August 2022 and,
- Individual performance in a 75 minute exam taken in the final week of the residential programme.
These assessments are optional. Those wishing to sign up for these assessments must do so by 22nd July 2022.
All participants successfully completing ISI will receive a transcript showing a grade or grades, expressed as a % and a letter (A – E) together with guidance on how grades are awarded and compare.
While it is of course ultimately for participants’ home institutions to determine the amount of academic credit to be awarded, as a guide each track is usually accorded 3-4 US credits or 7.5 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) credits.
ISI operates a rolling application process and is always fully-subscribed. Early application is therefore strongly advised.
ISI 2022 Events
|Scholarship Application Deadline:||17:00 Greenwich Mean Time on Monday 7thMarch 2022|
|ISI 2022 Residential Programme:||Sunday 10th July to Saturday 6th August 2022|
|CSi 2022 Conference:||Friday 22nd – Saturday 23rd July 2022|
|Supervised Independent Research Project due date:||Friday 19th August 2022|
|Grades Issued:||Friday 9th September 2022|
|Transcripts Issued:||Friday 16th September 2022|
Accommodation and Meals
Founded in 1428, Magdalene College, like many of the older colleges, has a rich architectural history, quiet courts and gardens bordering the River Cam from which the City derives its name. The College’s central location provides the ideal base from which to explore the historic City.
Single occupancy accommodation is offered for the duration of the Programme either with en-suite or shared bathroom facilities. Linens, towels and cleaning by College staff are provided and laundry facilities are available. There are study and social spaces, wi-fi, a cafe, bar and a fine medieval dining hall. Included in the accommodation fee is breakfast and dinner (Sunday – Friday).
Accommodation is optional. If you prefer to find alternative accommodation, or do not require accommodation, you will be asked to indicate this in your application.
CSi’s annual conference explores current themes relating to Intelligence and National Security in a Changing World. The Conference, which all ISI participants attend, brings together speakers and delegates from governments, security agencies, academia and business to explore a wide range of security-related issues. Past speakers have included heads of the British Cabinet Office, the French Security Service, GCHQ and MI6, distinguished academics, ambassadors and business leaders.
For additional information, please visit our Conference Page.
The Cultural and Social Programme
The ISI Programme seeks to bring the best of the Cambridge teaching and learning experience to suitably qualified participants through a Programme that offers all the main ingredients of Cambridge University life while focusing on a subject of enormous contemporary relevance.
A team of Programme Assistants (Cambridge University students and/or ISI alumni) will organise a busy and varied cultural and social programme for the duration of the Programme. In previous years, this has included historical tours of the University, punting, pub outings, afternoon tea, a daytrip to London, a performance at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, a daytrip to Bletchley Park, and two ‘Formals’ – candle-lit dinners in Magdalene Hall. The ISI Operations Team is again planning a range of social events and Alumni Networking opportunities for the 2022 Programme.
The International Security and Intelligence program was an amazing opportunity to learn about twenty-first century security issues with some of the best minds in academia and real-world practice. The lectures and classes were wonderful – in particular I loved the supervision groups, where we had the benefit of in-depth discussion and guidance from our teacher and peers. I have fond memories of writing my final paper in the beautiful library – you can’t get a more motivating atmosphere than that! The program isn’t all studying – I met and became friends with people from all over the world. Everyone came to study security and intelligence, but from a huge range of backgrounds and experiences. I learned as much from my classmates as from the professors. Towards the end of the experience I remember looking around and wondering what impressive things the people in my cohort would be doing in 5 years time. I’m grateful for this opportunity I had to spend time with such a fascinating and inspiring group.Joanna, Boston University
Application and Practical Information 2022
Applications for ISI 2022 are now open.
All students must confirm that they have read, understood and will abide by the ISI Health, Safety and Emergency Protocols and Codes of Conduct as well as Magdalene College’s Terms, Conditions, Rules and Regulations.
Additional contact information can be found on our Contact Us page.
Application Fee: £150.00
Tuition Fee: £2,590
There are two accommodation options as Magdalene College, Cambridge:
£2,290 for en-suite accommodation.
£2,080 for shared facility accommodation.
There will be a £275 non-resident fee for those who will not be resident in Magdalene College.
Applications are invited from students in full time higher education and professionals. ISI operates a rolling admissions process, so early application is strongly recommended.
Successful applicants will usually have a GPA well above the minimum 3.3 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent) requirement and are likely to be in the later stages of an undergraduate course, studying for a Master’s degree, PhD or have graduated. However, it should be stressed that we look carefully at the whole application, not least in the case there might be good reason for a modest GPA.
To be considered for admission, you will need to send supporting documents listed below to firstname.lastname@example.org
(A) Student Applicants
- A Transcript. We will only accept original transcripts as PDF copies emailed directly from your registrar, or scanned copies certified by your Study Abroad Office and emailed from a recognised institutional email address.
- An Academic Reference. Your referee should be someone who has taught you as part of your degree. References need to be e-mailed directly from the referee using her/his institutional e-mail address. Referees should comment on your academic ability as well as how you will benefit from and contribute to ISI.
- Your Independent Research Proposal. Please note that you are not required to have completed any previous courses on intelligence and/or security in order to produce an Independent Research Proposal Form. Rather, this is an opportunity for you to explore your academic interests in consultation with the relevant literature. Please refer to the “Independent Research Proposal” section below for example proposals from ISI Students in previous years.
- Proof of English Language Proficiency. This is only required for non-native English speakers studying at Universities whose language of instruction is not English. Please see the ‘English Language Requirement’ section below.
- A photo of yourself from the shoulders up. Please make sure this is a .jpg file, 300dpi, and 3 ½ x 4 ½ cm. Please email this along with your application.
(B) Professional Applicants
Please send via email to email@example.com:
- An up-to-date CV
- A reference from an employer/ academic referee
- A photo of yourself from the shoulders up. Please make sure this is a .jpg file, 300dpi, and 3 ½ x 4 ½ cm. Please email this along with your application.
English Language Requirements
You will need to meet the standard required for undergraduate study at the University of Cambridge. Further details can be found here.
Independent Research Proposal
ISI participants will also follow a research track exploring in detail a particular security or intelligence theme through a series of ‘supervisions’. Supervision, central to Cambridge teaching, brings together a small group of students under the guidance of an expert in the field to conduct research-focused work culminating in the production of an extended essay.
Upon application to ISI, participants will be asked to submit a research proposal and, if successfully admitted to the Programme, will be paired with a CSi expert to undertake a tailored, in-depth study of the chosen security or intelligence theme through five x 1.25hrs taught supervisions.
The following are previous research topic areas which students are encouraged to bear in mind before they submit their proposals (we will of course endeavour to accommodate proposals that fall outside these areas wherever possible). The Programme Directors may suggest ways in which your topic might refined or focussed.
- Information Operations and Disinformation
- Human Intelligence and Counterintelligence
- The history of intelligence, deception, and resistance
- Scientific and technical intelligence, including issues to do with health pandemics and security
- Digital and open source intelligence analysis collection
- Theoretical and ethical considerations in intelligence, surveillance and technology
- Politics and economics of the Middle East
- Problems of terrorism and non-state armed groups
- Cold War intelligence and counterterrorism
- Intelligence analysis, oversight and the policy interface
- Intelligence and security communities across the Global South
- Propaganda, covert action, and counter-insurgency
Examples of previous Independent Research Proposal Forms can be accessed below:
Financial Aid and Scholarships
If you receive Financial Aid from your home institution, payment of your Programme fee can be deferred until the release date of your Financial Aid. We will ask for a £500 non-refundable deposit, which secures your place on the Programme until your Financial Aid release date. You must, however, pay the balance of your Fee before the start of the Programme. If you receive or expect to receive Financial Aid, please contact us as soon as possible by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sir Richard Dearlove Scholarship
Sir Richard Dearlove Scholarships
There are three full tuition-fee Scholarships available for students attending the International Security and Intelligence Programme.
The Cambridge Security Initiative welcomes applications for the 2022 Scholarships.
The ISI program was a wonderful opportunity to delve into further research and have an in-depth learning experience on the topic of security from expert faculty members. I attended as a recipient of the Sir Richard Dearlove Scholarship which fully funded my research and learning opportunity. The classroom environment uniquely combined lectures with one-on-one supervisions to improve your existing research skills. The program also provided a good balance of academic and social activities. Aside from the many learning opportunities, living in Cambridge is a one of a kind experience that I would highly recommend.Priyanka, the Heller School of Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University
ISI Faculty and Alumni Publications
Incoming students frequently enquire about publication opportunities that stem from work completed during the Programme. Supervisors encourage students to pursue publication opportunities. With this in mind, we highly recommend that you discuss with your supervisor about the pathway to publication upon arrival in Cambridge. A selection of ISI Faculty and Alumni Publications can be found below. If you are an alumni of ISI and wish to publish you article on our website please email email@example.com.
ISI Faculty Publications
ISI Alumni Publications
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does the Programme cost?
Summary of Fees
|Accommodation Fee (En-Suite)||£2,290.00|
|Accommodation Fee (Shared Facilities)||£2,080.00|
Who can apply?
Applications are invited from students in full time higher education and professionals.
How soon will I hear?
You will usually receive an admissions decision within two weeks of submitting a complete application.
How do I confirm my place?
To confirm your place on ISI you must pay your Programme fee in full.
Will I have access to a Library?
It is recommended that you have access to a library, either physical or virtual, while you are studying on ISI.
Essential reading materials, where possible, will be disseminated to students prior to lectures and seminars. All students will have access to a bespoke Online Learning Platform.
A variety of digital libraries are available if you are unable to access resources through your home university or if you are a professional applicant. Namely, JSTOR offers Alumni Access and Wiley Online Library.
Our Programme Assistants will be able to offer support if you are unable to find library access to support your studies.
How many contact hours?
There will be a minimum of 45hrs contact teaching. There will also be a timetable of social events.
Which supervision group am I in?
We will confirm your supervision group by e-mail once you have submitted your supervision proposal and paid your Programme fee.
How often do my classes meet?
Contact time directly related to the Independent Supervised Research Track is a minimum of 9 hours.
Contact time directly related to the Topics in International Security and Intelligence is a minimum of 40 hours.
Do I need to buy books?
The general rule is that you do not need to buy books. However, your supervisor may set pre-course reading in which case she/he will communicate with you by e-mail before the start of the Programme. Required reading will be available to all students via the online platform.
The ISI programme is a unique learning experience set against the backdrop of the picturesque University of Cambridge. I was honored to receive a Theresa Khuri scholarship which provided me the means that I would not have had otherwise to travel to such a historic city and further my post-graduate education. The program provides the support to conduct an in-depth study of various topics regarding international security and intelligence and the opportunity to connect with experts from across the globe. Attended by students and professionals from a wide array of backgrounds, the ISI program gives you the freedom to explore topics applicable to your interests whether your future consists of academic study or professional work.Morgan, the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky
The Cambridge Security Initiative’s ISI Programme was truly the perfect way to invest my summer: by studying deeply fascinating and academically rigorous material – from intelligence history to the impacts of security-critical current events – all while enjoying England’s rich history and culture while calling picturesque Magdalene College my home. This an experience not to miss that has left me with memories to forever treasure!Rae-Kelly, the United States Naval Academy
Taking part in the ISI program exposed me to new theories and phenomena that were presented by pillars in the fields of security and intelligence and afforded me the ability to include them into my own field of study. That led me to progress further in my undergraduate and graduate degrees. Also, Cambridge was a wonderful setting for this program. It was beautiful, so calm and peaceful. I definitely recommended it to anyone who is interested in this topic!Lena, the American University Beirut
The International Security and Intelligence program at the University of Cambridge provided me a unique opportunity to delve deep into a specific topic and write a published academic paper. The people I met while at Cambridge are some of the smartest individuals I know. The diverse academic, cultural, and professional backgrounds of the students and professors helped provide numerous well informed perspectives on situations creating a great environment for academic debates and expansion of one’s mind and global perspective. This program opened many opportunities, both academically and professionally, for me and is my fondest academic experience which I highly recommend to anyone who wants to be academically challenged, learn new perspectives, and research deep into a specific topic.Harrison, Mercyhurst University
ISI is a unique experience – no other program out there provides you both the ability to receive a comprehensive education on intelligence and security studies and apply that education to your passions. The programme grounded my interests in international security and policy. Without the support of the staff and my supervision group, I would not have been able to produce my first-ever academic publication.Jobel, the University of California Berkeley
The International Security and Intelligence Program at Cambridge represents an unparalleled opportunity to delve into contemporary security risks. The program serves as a primer on intelligence collection and analysis. Yet the true value of the program is not derived from the curricula they’ve put together, but the plenary lecturers offered by the faculty. As a student seeking tangible professional experience in this field, I found the course to be invaluable in terms of the insight former intelligence officials provided with respect to how our national security is maintained. Most importantly, the opportunity to research, develop, and brief a topic of my choosing (under the guidance of a faculty member with similar interests), further reinforced my desire to pursue a career in national security.Harrison, American University, Washington DC