Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Our Joint BA/MA in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies (NPTS) is a six-semester, 150-credit program (which includes 60 credits transferred from an accredited college or university). The degree prepares graduates to counter threats posed by violent extremism as well as by nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.

Duration Start Dates Credits Thesis or
6 semesters, full time August or January 150 Honors thesis option Required Jeffrey Knopf, PhD

Sample course schedule »

Transfer Credits

Upon matriculating, students are required to transfer 60 credit hours with grades of B or above that cover the following requirements:

1. Composition (3 credits)
2. Math (3 credits)
3. Four courses from at least two of the following: (12 credits)

  • Physical and Biological Sciences
  • Social Science
  • Arts/Humanities

4. Language Semester 1 (at least 3 semester credits)
5. Language Semester 2 (at least 3 semester credits)
6. Electives (as needed to reach 60 semester credits total)

1. Required Background Courses

These courses help students understand how terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) fit into the broader context of world politics and the global economy. They also give students practical training in research methods and related skills.

  • Global Politics
  • Economics
  • Social Science Research Methods and Other Analytical Skills
  • Intercultural Competency

2. Required Introductory Courses in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies

These courses introduce the fields of nonproliferation and terrorism studies and give students the competence to understand the technical side of these issues.

  • Introduction to WMD Nonproliferation
  • Introduction to Terrorism Studies
  • Science and Technology for NPTS

3. Advanced Courses in Nonproliferation and/or Terrorism Studies Topics

Advanced courses, seminars, and/or workshops that allow for deeper knowledge in area of specialization. Sample courses:

  • Seminar in Proliferation and Intelligence
  • Seminar in Counterterrorism
  • Seminar in Chemical and Biological Weapons and Arms Control
  • Seminar in Global Jihadism
  • Seminar in Deterring and Influencing Terrorism and WMD

4. Methods/Skills Courses

These classes can be used to fulfill the required methods/skills credits or as electives. Sample courses:

  • Writing and Briefing Memos
  • Tabletop Exercise Design and Operation
  • Open Source Tools for NPTS

5. Language Studies

Courses taught in the language of study combine language skills development with topics related to graduate degree work and professional interests. Sample courses:

  • Topics in Security and International Relations (in Arabic)
  • Citizenship, Security, and Development in Latin America (in Spanish)
  • Challenges in Peace Building—Congo (in French)
  • Vladimir Putin: Russia and Its President (in Russian)
  • Japan in the World (in Japanese)

6. Electives

Electives by advisement build on your expertise in domains that will benefit your career. They can also be used to take classes from other Institute programs. Sample courses:

  • Nonproliferation Treaty Simulation
  • Introduction to Homeland Security
  • Evolution of Chinese Nuclear Policy
  • Cybersecurity Aspects of Nuclear Security
  • Terrorism in Southeast Asia
  • Introduction to Network Analysis
  • Financial Investigation and Compliance

7. Professional Internship Option

Students have opportunities to participate in internships with government agencies and international organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), and the U.S. Departments of State, Defense, and Energy.

8. Thesis Option

The NPTS honors thesis is a highly selective program through which students are challenged to design and conduct an independent research project of professional scope and quality with the guidance of a thesis advisor. A limited number of students are selected to participate in the honors thesis program each academic year. BA/MA students can apply in the spring of their second year and will conduct research during their fifth and/or final terms. Students present their findings to a panel of faculty, students, and the public.

Research Centers

The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) strives to combat the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by training the next generation of nonproliferation specialists and disseminating timely information and analysis. CNS is the largest nongovernmental organization in the United States devoted exclusively to research and training on nonproliferation issues.

The Monterey Terrorism Research and Education Program (MonTREP) has three main goals: to research topics related to terrorism studies and extremist movements; to educate students about the history and trends of these groups; and to generate policy recommendations that can guide professionals in counterterrorism and related fields. Our vision is to be an academic and professional resource for students, those professionals concerned with terrorism-related issues, and the wider international security community.

Sample Course Schedule*

Fall Start, Full Time, Six Semesters

Fall 1 14 or 15 Credits
International Security Research and Analysis or Intro to Policy and Data Analysis 2 or 3
Economics Course 4
Advanced Language 4
Global Politics 4
Spring 1 16 Credits
Economics Course 4
Methods/Skills Course(s) 4
Advanced Language 4
One of the NPTS Intro Courses: Intro to WMD Nonproliferation or Intro to Terrorism Studies 4
Fall 2 16 Credits
One of the NPTS Intro Courses: Intro to WMD Nonproliferation or Intro to Terrorism Studies 4
Science and Technology for NPTS 4
Nonproliferation and/or Terrorism Studies Advanced Courses and/or Workshops 4
Advanced Language 4
Spring 2 15 or 16 Credits
Methods/Skills Course 1 or 2
Nonproliferation and/or Terrorism Studies Advanced Courses and/or Workshops 4
Nonproliferation and/or Terrorism Studies Seminar 4
Additional Credits of Courses, Seminars and/or Workshops in Non-NPTS Programs 4
Intercultural Competence Course 2
Fall 3 14 Credits
Additional Credits of Courses, Seminars and/or Workshops in Non-NPTS Programs 4
Free Electives 10
Spring 3 14 Credits
Nonproliferation and/or Terrorism Studies Seminar 4
Free Electives 8
Intercultural Competence Course 2


*This is a sample degree schedule. Individual student degree schedules will vary. All curricula are subject to revision and change.