Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

The Master's in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies (NPTS) is a four-semester, 60-credit program. The degree prepares graduates to counter threats posed by violent extremism as well as by nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.

Duration Start Dates Accelerated Programs
Credits Thesis or Practicum Language Competency Program Chair
Two years, full time August or January Two or three Semesters 60 Honors thesis option Required Jeff Knopf, PhD

Sample course schedule »

NPTS Course Work

The NPTS curriculum includes classes that deal with international security, history, science and technology, research methods and practical skills, and advanced foreign language.

1. Required Courses

These courses introduce the fields of nonproliferation and terrorism studies to help students understand how these issues fit into the broader context of world politics and to give students practical training in research methods and other analytical techniques.

  • International Security Research and Analysis
  • Global Politics
  • Introduction to WMD Nonproliferation
  • Introduction to Terrorism Studies
  • Science and Technology for NPTS
  • Two-four credits of additional research and/or skills course work

2. 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 include:

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

3. Methods/Skills Courses

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

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

4. 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 include:

  • 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)

5. 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 include:

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

6. 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.

7. 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. Students apply in their second semester and conduct research during their third 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.

Program Options

In addition to the four-semester Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies program, you can also choose from the following options:

Accelerated (3-Semesters) and Advanced (2-Semesters) Degrees
Students with a relevant master’s degree may be eligible for the accelerated-entry option for the NPTS degree, allowing the student to complete their degree in three full-time semesters. Students with significant prior relevant professional experience (seven to 10 years) and a relevant master’s degree may be eligible for an advanced-entry option for the NPTS degree. Advanced-entry students can complete their degree in two full-time semesters. Students can request that their application be reviewed for either accelerated or advanced entry in the online application.


Sample Course Schedule*

Fall Start, Full Time, Four Semesters

Fall 1 16 Credits
International Security Research and Analysis 2
Introduction to WMD Nonproliferation 4
Introduction to Terrorism Studies 4
Workshops 2
Language Studies 4
Spring 1 16 Credits
Science and Technology for NPTS 4
Global Politics 4
NPTS Methods/Skills 4
Language Studies 4
Fall 2 14 Credits
NPTS Seminars, Advanced Courses, or Workshops 6
Electives 4
Language Studies 4
Spring 2

14 Credits

NPTS Seminars, Advanced Courses, or Workshops 8
Electives 6


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