Academic Programme

ISI models its approach to teaching and learning on that offered at Cambridge. Through lectures, seminars, a 2-day conference and ‘supervisions’ (see below) providing a minimum of 45hrs contact time, ISI students will explore the role of the intelligence and security agencies in a democratic society, applying the enduring principles of intelligence and security to cutting-edge problems.

The 45hrs contact time comprises:

  • 10hrs of key theme lectures
  • 10hrs of key theme seminars
  • 7.5hrs of special subject lectures
  • 6.25hrs of supervisions
  • 1.25hr essay writing lecture
  • 10hrs of key note conference lectures and panel discussion
Key Theme Lectures & Seminars
  1. The British Approach to Intelligence
    This theme will explore the traits and characteristics of ways in which the British intelligence community operates; it will so briefly examine its origins, organization and the changing definition of the ‘threat’.
  2. American Intelligence Since 9/11
    September 11, 2001 was a watershed event in American intelligence history. Since that time, US intelligence has re-organized several times. What has changed? And has it worked?
  3. Surprise Attack and Warning Failures
    This theme will consider classic examples of surprise attack and will identify some of the general lessons that emerge. It will consider whether there is any way to remedy the failures inherent to the nature of intelligence work.
  4. Intelligence Liaison
    This theme will focus on intelligence sharing, discussing the nature and importance of liaison relationships between specific intelligence agencies and between international communities.
  5. Case Studies in Intelligence History
    This theme will examine a number of classic examples from the history of intelligence, focusing on the generic issues that emerge.
  6. Cyber Power in War: A Pre-History
    This lecture will look at cyber power and treachery from a historical perspective.
  7. Rising Powers and Failing States
    The conventional wisdom holds that the US, UK, and NATO are challenged by Rising Powers such as an aggressive China and a resurgent Russia. But could it be the case that the transatlantic countries are actually threatened more by failing states?
  8. Snowden and the Cambridge Five
    Several noteworthy commentators have suggested that Edward Snowden is the biggest traitor in history in terms of the amount of intelligence data that he disclosed. But how does that claim stand up against an examination of the Cambridge spy ring?
Special Subject Lectures

Alongside the key theme lectures and seminars, a series of special subject lectures covering a broad spectrum of contemporary intelligence and security challenges will look at some of the main issues facing intelligence agencies in the twenty-first century:

1) ‘Writing the Official History of the Joint Intelligence Committee’
2) ‘Intelligence Liaison’
3) ‘Trafficking and Terrorist Financing in Africa’
4) ‘The Myths that Matter: Understanding and Confronting the Islamic State’
5) ‘Revolutions: The Nature and Causes of Political Change’
6) ‘Legal and Ethical Dilemmas of Targeted Killing’


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.

After being offered a place on ISI, participants will be asked to submit a research proposal and will be paired with a CSi expert to undertake a tailored, in-depth study of the chosen security or intelligence theme through five taught supervisions. Research tracks chosen in the past have included topics such as regional studies, intra-state conflict, resource security, WMD proliferation and terrorism.

For more information about ISI supervisors and potential research topics, please see the Faculty page.

Assessment and Credit

There will be 45hrs contact time comprising:

  • Key theme lectures and seminars (21.25 hours)
  • Special subject lectures (7.5 hours)
  • Supervisions (6.25 hours)
  • Conference participation – lectures and panel discussions – (10 hours)

Assessment will be based on a 3,000-word researched essay produced during the programme and submitted within a week of the programme ending. All participants successfully completing ISI will receive a transcript showing a single grade together with grading guidance notes.

While it is ultimately for participants’ home institutions to determine the amount of academic credit to be awarded, as a guide it is recommended that completion of the programme can be considered as equivalent to completing 3 US-credits or 7.5 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) credits.

Academic Resources
ISI participants will have access to the University Library.

Professor Michael S. Goodman

Research interests and expertise: intelligence studies, nuclear weapons history, and cold war history.

Professor Goodman is Professor of ‘Intelligence and International Affairs’ in the Department of War Studies, King’s College London and Visiting Professor at the Norwegian Defence Intelligence School.  He has published widely in the field of intelligence history, including most recently The Official History of the Joint Intelligence Committee, Volume I: From the Approach of the Second World War to the Suez Crisis (Routledge, 2015), which was chosen as one of The Spectator’s books of the year.  He is series editor for ‘Intelligence and Security’ for Hurst/Columbia University Press; and for ‘Intelligence, Surveillance and Secret Warfare’ for Edinburgh University Press; and is a member of the editorial boards for five journals. He is currently on secondment to the Cabinet Office where he is the Official Historian of the Joint Intelligence Committee.

Dr Dave Gioe

Research interests and expertise: counter-terrorism, cyber studies and cyber warfare, intelligence and international security studies, history of Anglo-American intelligence and Security Services, and American foreign relations.

Dr David Gioe is Assistant Professor of History at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He also serves as the History Fellow for the Army Cyber Institute. Dr Gioe spent over 15 years working in the U.S. intelligence community, beginning with appointment in 2001 as a Presidential Management Fellow in the FBI National Security Division. He then served in the CIA Counterterrorist Center (CTC) before earning field certification as an Operations Officer.  Dr Gioe served multiple overseas tours as a case officer before leaving CIA to pursue his doctorate. He retains his commission as a Naval Reserve Intelligence Officer with service in the Office of Naval Intelligence and assignments in Africa, Europe, and the Far East. His most recent position was Director of Human Intelligence and Counterintelligence for the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. Before that he was Director of the Naval Intelligence Officer Basic Course (Reserve) supporting the Joint Analysis Center, RAF Molesworth, UK, where he also served as Adjunct Faculty for National Intelligence University (NIU).  Dr Gioe earned his PhD in Politics and International Studies at Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge. He holds a BA in History and Social Science from Wheaton College, an MA from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, and is a graduate of the U.S. Naval War College Command and Staff program. He has published in The National Interest, World Politics Review, and co-edited a volume with Christopher Andrew and Len Scott on the Cuban Missile Crisis. Dr Gioe’s personal military decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Joint Service Commendation Medal, in addition to other personal and unit awards.

Frederic Ischebeck-Baum

Research interests and expertise: national security, intelligence, counter-terrorism and military strategy.

Frederic is a Teaching Fellow and Assistant Director in the Centre for Defence Studies King’a College, London. Among other projects, Frederic is currently involved in defence consultancy in the Middle East.

Frederic holds Master’s degrees in International Law from Frankfurt University, in Terrorism Studies from the University of Saint Andrews, and in War Studies from King’s College London. Frederic is a Visiting Lecturer at Cambridge University, and at the German Federal University. He has been a Visiting Fellow to the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI) in London, and to the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv. Frederic has a military background, served as Military Adviser with a NATO mission and worked for UNODC in Eastern Africa including Somalia. He has lectured and given evidence at a wide range of high-end political and academic institutions, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the UK Cabinet Office, the German Ministry of Defence, the German Foreign Ministry, the NATO School, the NATO Intelligence Fusion Centre, the US Defence Intelligence Agency, the US Naval War College, the German Armed Forces Command and Staff College, and the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces Command and Staff College among them. Frederic has published, reviewed and edited security-related work, and is an Associate Fellow of the British Academy for Higher Education. He has worked with a number of news-outlets such as BBC World News, BBC Radio, Channel 4, USA Today, The Telegraph, Arte and Jane’s.

Dr Renad Mansour

Research interests and expertise: comparative politics and international relations in the Middle East, Iraq, international relations of the Middle East, the state and state-building in the Middle East, the politics of the Kurds in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.

Renad is an Academy Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House. Prior to joining Chatham House, Renad was an El-Erian fellow at the Carnegie Middle East Centre, where he examined Iraq, Iran and Kurdish affairs. Renad is also a research fellow at the Cambridge Security Initiative based at Cambridge University and from 2013, he held positions as lecturer of International Studies and supervisor at the faculty of politics, also at Cambridge University. Renad has been a senior research fellow at the Iraq Institute for Strategic Studies in Beirut since 2011 and was adviser to the Kurdistan Regional Government Civil Society Ministry between 2008 and 2010. He received his PhD from Pembroke College, Cambridge.

Renad’s research at Chatham House explores the situation of Iraq in transition and the dilemmas posed by state-building.

Dr Thomas Maguire

Research interests and expertise: the roles of intelligence and propaganda in foreign policy and domestic security; security sector reform and assistance; counter-insurgency; violent extremism (especially in East Africa); organised crime; international security liaison; and the Cold War and decolonisation.

Dr Thomas Maguire is a Junior Research Fellow at Darwin College and the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), University of Cambridge, and Project Coordinator and Research Associate at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London. He completed his PhD in POLIS exploring interactions between the practices of intelligence and propaganda, with an empirical focus on British and American use of these tools of foreign policy in Cold War Southeast Asia. He was awarded the Lisa Smirl Prize for best thesis in his year.

Tom is currently conducting two projects: one examining the extent to which and in what ways evidence from secret intelligence sources have informed or provided the basis for investigations and prosecutions of terrorism and terrorism-related offences in the UK; the other interrogating the aims, nature and impacts of the British state’s use of internal security assistance in the Global South since 1945. This latter project is intended to better inform understanding of, on the one hand, imperial legacies and the UK’s post-imperial influence and, on the other, contemporary debates regarding ‘upstream conflict prevention’, ‘security sector reform’ and human rights.

From 2014-15, Tom was the John Garnett Visiting Fellow within the National Security & Resilience Studies programme at the Whitehall-based Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI), focusing on conflict, violent extremism and organised crime in East Africa. Tom has published work on a range of issues, from counter-subversion in Cold War Britain, to the linked practices of intelligence and propaganda in counter-insurgency during the Malayan Emergency, to the Somali terrorist organisation Al-Shabaab’s funding, to linkages between ivory trafficking and threat financing in East Africa. Tom holds a BA (Hons.) in History from Durham University, completed an MPhil in International Relations at POLIS.

Dr Dina Rezk

Research interests and expertise: reform and revolt in the Middle East, Egypt from Ataturk to the Arab Spring, intelligence, 20th Century Middle Eastern history, popular culture and terrorism/insurgency.

Rina is a lecturer in Middle Eastern History at the University of Reading. She received her Ph.D from Cambridge University in 2013 and subsequently spent two years at the Politics Department in Warwick University as a Teaching Fellow in Intelligence and Security.

Her doctorate examined how the Anglo-American ‘official mind’ conceptualized the Arab World by deconstructing diplomatic and intelligence assessments produced throughout two decades of crises. It traced the revolutions that swept across Iraq, Syria and Yemen, three devastating Arab-Israeli wars and moves towards an uneasy peace between Egypt and Israel in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The thesis revealed the centrality of cultural representations and ideas about the Arab ‘Other’ articulated by analysts. Moreover, contrasting Western assessments with Arabic sources provided a unique inter-cultural dialogue about the formative events, individuals and themes that have shaped the modern Middle East, from ‘Nasserism’ to political Islam. The thesis based- monograph, Western Intelligence and the Arab World: Analysing the Middle East will be published in 2017.

More recently Dina’s research has focussed on the latest upheavals of the ‘Arab Spring’ across the Middle East. This has found a receptive audience in the policy world and she has briefed the Cabinet Office, Home Office, the Ministry of Defence, NATO and the U.S. Department of Defense on her findings.