The International Security and Intelligence
Programme and Conference

At Magdalene College, Cambridge

9th July – 3rd August, 2018

The Cambridge Security Initiative
In partnership with
King’s College London, Department of War Studies

Learn More


This four-week summer programme offers a unique opportunity to work with leading practitioners and academics from the security and intelligence communities in the delightful riverside setting of Magdalene College. The University, now one of the highest ranked in the world, dates back to the early C13th and the earliest College foundations are clustered at the heart of the medieval City. 

Chaired by Sir Richard Dearlove (formerly head of MI6, Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service) and convened by Professor Michael Goodman and Dr David Gioe, the International Security and Intelligence Programme (ISI) will consider the claims of state secrecy, the threat of nuclear proliferation, of cyber attack, of terrorism, the problems generated by the demand for regional security and the security challenges of revolutions and governing diversity. Intelligence collection, analysis of the product, and its dissemination to customers remain at the core of the intelligence cycle. Counterintelligence and covert action play more opaque but still vital roles at the heart of the nation state. Understanding these perspectives, what intelligence can achieve, but also its limitations, are major Programme and Conference themes.

    James Bond




There’s a saying in England:
Where there’s smoke,
there’s fire.

The panoply of threats facing Western democracies is diverse and the issues which preoccupy the highest levels of government will be discussed and analysed. With its emphasis on contemporary and future challenges and practice, ISI will appeal to those with an academic or professional interest in intelligence and contemporary threats.

Uniquely, the ISI Programme will host a conference which will examine in more detail many of the key issues explored during the course. Entitled ‘National Security in a Changing World’, the two-day conference will bring together delegates from academia, politics and government agencies. ISI participants will attend the conference gratis.

ISI Testimonials


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.



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!


American University Beirut

ISI is an excellent programme that takes an already fascinating subject area and adds professional insight from policy and intelligence practitioners. In doing so it would have to be one of the most rigorous programs on this subject in the world. The Oxbridge tutorial model was an excellent way to research a signficant essay and debate it amongst a small tutorial. The tutorials and seminars were both academically rigorous. The program certainly rounded off my undergraduate degree and assisted in finding a job after graduation. The guest lectures were excellent and from the top of their respective fields.  The program covered over 100 years of intelligence history and explored the interdisciplinary relationship intelligence has with history, economics, science and technology.   Many a friendship was formed between countries throughout the program.

University of Melbourne

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.


The University of California Berkeley

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.


Boston University

I thought the programme was outstanding. I had a wonderful, holistic experience that I will never forget.


Cal State University, San Bernadino

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.


American University, Washington DC

ISI is a program that tackles complex issues of international relations, intelligence, and security at an extraordinary level of rigor and depth. In fact, I know of no other summer program at the collegiate level that deals specifically with the field of intelligence studies; it provides a unique opportunity for students, particularly undergraduates, who wish to explore this fascinating field but lack the opportunity to do so at their home universities. The program embodies the best of interdisciplinary learning; students interact with intelligence practitioners and policymakers from multiple levels of government, but are also forced to wrestle with the intellectual foundations of the field. History, politics, war studies, and intelligence all come together in the ISI classroom.

The sheer breadth of expertise of the ISI faculty is crucial to the success of the program; there is an ideal mentor for any topic a student can dream of. For students outside of the Oxbridge system, ISI provides a taste of numerous British traditions, scholastic and otherwise: tutorials, supervisions, teas, and formal halls to name a few. The program also requires students to produce a significant piece of academic writing on a topic of their choice. The rigor with which this exercise in research and writing was approached was of enormous benefit to me, a then-college junior, as I was preparing to write my senior thesis.




Sir Richard Dearlove Scholarships:
Now Accepting Applications

Sir Richard Dearlove, KCMG, OBE, Chair of the Cambridge Security Initiative, is delighted to announce that five full tuition fee scholarships are to be made available to students attending the 2018 ISI programme. ISI will be pleased to accept applications from suitably qualified candidates who are currently enrolled in full-time education with a minimum GPA of 3.5 or equivalent.  The deadline for submitting a scholarship application is 5pm Greenwich Mean Time 23rd February, 2018. A Scholarship application can be made at the same time as, or after, submission of a full application to be accepted into the programme. You can download the application form here.

Conference Dates and Location announced


The ISI 2018 Conference will take place on 20th and 21st July, 2018 in the St. John’s College Old Divinity School, with the conference dinner taking place in Peterhouse College on Friday evening. All participants enrolled in the ISI 2018 Programme will attend the conference gratis and do not need to register. Otherwise, the cost of the conference is £80 for full-time students, and £300 for professionals. Registration will open in December. Watch this space for updates and announcements about speakers.

In Review

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ISI 2017 alum, Sonny Santisteven, blogs about his experience in the programme this past summer. Click here to have a read.

ISI Applications Now Open


Applications for the 2018 ISI programme are now open. The course will take place from 9 July – 3 August in Magdalene College, Cambridge. Please visit the application tab for more information and click here to view the full ISI 2018 flyer.

ISI Reunion at CyCon 


David Gioe met with ISI alumni Jobel Vencino and Donna Artusy at CyCon, the International Conference on Cyber Conflict in DC. They are pictured here with author and thought leader PW Singer.

Published Work by ISI Alumni

With its combination of cutting-edge security and intelligence themes, on the one hand, and Cambridge research-enriched teaching methodology, on the other, many ISI students go on to publish their work. Click through the links below for a selection of articles published by ISI alumni:

Matteo ISI 2014 and Princeton America’s National Security Agencies Under Trump: Lessons from the Nixon Administration published by War on the Rocks

Harrison ISI 2015 and The American University (DC) New Tools, New Vulnerabilities: The Emerging Cyber-Terrorism Dyad published by The Cyber Defense Review

Jobel ISI 2015 and UC Berkeley After the Avalanche: The Post-Snowden Intelligence Politics between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany published by The European Union Center of California

Jason ISI 2015 and Mount Saint Mary’s University How Do Cyber Operations Look in 2025? published by The Cyber Defense Review

Harrison ISI 2015 and Mercyhurst University Can Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield/Battlespace Be Used to Attribute a Cyber-Attack to an Actor? published by The Cyber Defense Review

The 2018 Programme Application Is Now Open