The Cambridge Security Initiative
& The Department of War Studies, King’s College London

The International Security and
Intelligence Programme and

Magdalene College, Cambridge

The Cambridge Security Initiative & The Department of War Studies, King’s College London

The International Security and Intelligence Programme and Conference

4th-30th July 2021, Magdalene College, Cambridge

About ISI

Chaired by Sir Richard Dearlove, the former Head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, this four-week Programme provides a unique opportunity to study with leading academics and practitioners from the intelligence and security communities in the historic setting of one of the world’s foremost universities.

Through the lens of professional practitioners, senior officials who have been closely involved in the world of intelligence and leading scholars, you will explore the role of the intelligence and security agencies in a democratic society. Themes to be explored will include: the claims of state secrecy, threats of nuclear proliferation, cyber warfare, radicalisation and acts of terrorism, regional insecurity, the challenges posed by revolutions and the governance of diversity, intelligence collection, analysis and dissemination, counter-intelligence and covert action. The panoply of threats currently facing Western democracies is diverse and the issues which preoccupy the highest levels of government will be discussed and analysed.

ISI models its approach to teaching and learning on that offered at the University of Cambridge. The academic pace of the Programme is set by lectures, seminars, individual guided research and not least by the two-day annual ISI conference on; Intelligence and National Security Policy in a Changing World. The Conference 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.

ISI comprises two taught courses (1) Topics in International Security and Intelligence and (2) Supervised Independent Research into a security or intelligence theme with guidance at regular ‘supervisions’ where small groups of students work with experts in their chosen research field, an approach central to teaching at Cambridge.

Collegiate life revolves around Magdalene College, founded in 1428. Its idyllic riverside location in the City centre ensures that you will enjoy both the peace and quiet of the College’s courts and gardens and everything that Cambridge has to offer.

The Chair of the Programme is Sir Richard Dearlove KCMG, OBE,  who served as Chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) from August 1999 until 2004.Convening the programme will be Professor Michael S. Goodman, BA(Hons), MA, PhD, FRHistS, Professor of Intelligence and International Affairs, Head of the Department of War Studies at King’s College, London, a specialist in intelligence history and Official Historian of the Joint Intelligence Committee, and Dr David Gioe, currently Assistant Professor of History at the United States Military Academy at West Point, having previously spent a more than a decade working in the US intelligence community, including roles in the FBI, the CIA and the Office of Naval Intelligence.

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.

Apply Today for ISI 2019



The ISI program 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 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

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 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

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

 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 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 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

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