Summer Institute in National Security
As national security has taken center stage as a global priority, Georgetown’s Center for Security Studies has created the Summer Institute in National Security to provide a practical foundation for the next era of security professionals. Whether considering a career in national security, pursuing a master’s degree in security studies, or aiming to become a more informed global citizen, this summer intensive is for you!
About the Program
The Summer Institute in National Security is an all-inclusive, 10-week summer program designed to provide current Georgetown undergraduate students with intensive academic and practical experience in the field of U.S. national security. Comprised of four, 3-credit hour courses taught by leading academics and security professionals, the Institute will dive into the building blocks of the U.S. national security policy process, Congress’ role in national security policy, the basics of strategy and war, and contemporary national and global security challenges. Beyond academics, the Summer Institute will teach you the fundamentals of policy writing and briefing and how to utilize historical case studies. It also will feature simulations, career panels, guest lectures from top security professionals, and site visits around D.C. Regardless of your chosen undergraduate studies, a more thorough understanding of contemporary security issues and the policy tools will help you become a well-rounded, informed global citizen.
- Dates: June 3 – August 8, 2024
- Location: Georgetown University, with site visits across Washington, DC
- Eligibility: Current Georgetown University undergraduates
- Application Deadline: Monday, January 8, 2024
Program Goals and Outcomes
At the end of the 10-week Georgetown Summer Institute in National Security, students will gain 12 credits, a certificate of completion, and a firsthand understanding of what it means to put security theory into practice in Washington, D.C. at the highest level.
The Institute will take place June 3 – August 8 at Georgetown University’s main campus in Washington, DC. Over the course of the summer, you will enroll in four, 3-credit hour courses:
SEST 3000: Inside The National Security Enterprise (3 credits)
Taught by: Dr. Jennifer Jefferis
In this intensive, four-day, 36-hour course, students learn about the instruments of national power (diplomatic, informational, military, and economic) and how they are used to achieve strategic objectives in support of U.S. national security policy. Students will learn about the institutions and processes that shape U.S. national security policy. The course culminates in a simulation in which students will role-play key national security actors and develop viable policy proposals regarding an evolving security crisis. Students will be graded on the written proposal they create as well as their ability to get their proposal adopted through the competing interests, institutions, and objectives of other players.
Course meets June 3 – 7, Mon. – Fri., 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
SEST 3001: Understanding War (3 credits)
Taught by: Dr. Michelle Trusso
This course introduces students to strategy formulation and war. Core concepts include the nature of war, what constitutes military strategy and why it can be difficult to create and implement, and an overview of the organizational culture of the U.S. military services and how it impacts strategy. Through the use of historical case studies, this course demonstrates the effectiveness and limitations of the military instrument of power and provides students with a framework for how to assess military strategy during wartime.
Course meets June 11 – August 6, Tuesdays, 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.
SEST 3002: Contemporary Security Challenges (3 credits)
Taught by: Dr. Rebecca Patterson
This course is a survey of contemporary issues and challenges in the field of national security. Topics covered include nuclear weapons, terrorism, irregular warfare, the war in Ukraine, artificial intelligence, alliances, multinational corporations, international organizations, intelligence, and strategic competition with China and Russia. Students will write policy memoranda and op-eds and present brief presentations on contemporary security challenges throughout the course.
Course meets June 12 – August 7, Wednesdays, 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.
SEST 3003: Congress And National Security (3 credits)
Taught by: Prof. Alex Gallo
This course explores the critical role Congress plays in the formulation, implementation, and oversight of U.S. national security policy. Students will learn how the national security-related committees in Congress function, about the defense budget, Congress’s interactions with the executive branch, including the Department of Defense and military services, and contemporary policy debates today.
Course meets June 13 – August 8, Thursdays, 5:30 – 9:30 p.m.
In addition to courses, students can expect additional classroom experiences and opportunities around D.C., including:
- Guest Speakers from public and private security sectors
- Site Visits around D.C.
- National Security Case Studies
- National Security Simulations
Meet the Faculty
Meet the Faculty
Dr. Jennifer Jefferis
Jennifer Jefferis is the Director of Curriculum at Georgetown’s Security Studies Program. Her academic research focuses on religion and political violence. Prior to coming to Georgetown, Dr. Jefferis taught at the National Defense University and the National Defense College of the United Arab Emirates. She also served as the Associate Dean of Academics at the College of International Security Affairs in Washington D.C.
Dr. Michelle Trusso
Dr. Michelle Trusso is a retired Marine officer with more than 21 years of experience, including positions with Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC) and Special Operations Command (SOCOM). Dr. Trusso’s research and teaching interests include conflict analysis and resolution, strategy development and implementation, and organizational leadership.
Dr. Rebecca Patterson
Professor Rebecca D. Patterson is the Associate Director of Georgetown’s Security Studies Program. Her research and teaching interests include civil-military relations, nation-building, peacekeeping, and post-conflict economics. Previously, Dr. Patterson served as a Deputy Director at the Department of State. A retired U.S. Army officer with more than 22 years of experience, she served in overseas assignments in Thailand, Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Professor Alex Gallo
Alex Gallo is the Executive Director of the Common Mission Project (CMP) and a Senior Advisor with BMNT. He also serves as a Fellow with the National Security Institute at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia School of Law and Fellow with the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. Prior to Alex’s role with CMP, he served as a Professional Staff Member with the House Armed Services Committee.
Who is the Institute for?
The Summer Institute in National Security is designed for current Georgetown University undergraduate students considering a career in national security, have an interest in pursuing a master’s degree in security studies, or want to become a more informed global citizen.
Application and Admission
Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. ET on Monday, January 8, 2024. Applicants must submit the following:
- Submission of Complete Application Form
- A 250-300 word Statement of Interest (in which students explain why they would like to participate in the program)
- A completed Recommendation Form from one professor, faculty member/advisor, or teaching assistant to speak to the student’s academic performance/talents
- Most recent copy of the student’s unofficial academic transcript(s) (in PDF format)
- Honor Council violation explanation (if applicable)
Following the application deadline, all applicants will be notified of the admissions committee’s decision by January 15. Please do not call or email regarding your decision status prior to that date.
Information Sessions and Office Hours
In-Person Information Session
Tuesday, November 28, 2023, 12:00 – 1:00 PM ET
SSP Conference Room, Car Barn 206 (3520 Prospect St. NW, Washington, DC, 20007)
Meet with current faculty and staff at the Center for Security Studies/Security Studies Program, including Dr. Rebecca Patterson and Dr. Liz Grimm, as they host an information session for Georgetown undergraduate students interested in learning more about the Summer Institute in National Security.
Virtual Information Session
Wednesday, November 29, 2023, 12:00 – 1:00 PM ET
Hear from current faculty and staff at the Center for Security Studies/Security Studies Program, including Dr. Rebecca Patterson and Dr. Jennifer Jefferis, as they host an information session for Georgetown undergraduate students interested in learning more about the Summer Institute in National Security.
Register for the virtual session here.
SSP Graduate Student “Ask Me Anything” Office Hours
Thursday, December 14, 2023, 12:00 – 2:00 PM ET
Join current SSP graduate student, Christian Trotti (GU’20, SSP’24), for office hours to get your questions about security studies answered! Christian graduated from Georgetown University in 2020 with an undergraduate degree in International Politics, focusing on International Security. He started his Master’s in Security Studies in 2022!
Register for the virtual office hours here.
Director of Admissions Office Hours
Fridays, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM ET
Car Barn 206-05 (3520 Prospect St. NW, Washington, DC, 20007)
Stop by the SSP Suite on Fridays and chat with our Director of Admissions, Doug Umberger, to learn more about the Summer Institute!
You can sign up for our mailing list to get application tips, reminders about information sessions, and more.
If you have questions about the program, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.