International Fellows Program (NWC & ES)

IF Class of 2015


The National Defense University offers one-year master's degree fellowships to senior international civilian and military officers from over 50 nations to attend the National War College (NWC) or the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy (ES). Each year the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff sends an invitation to select countries and th countries will nominate a candidate to attend NDU as a member of the International Fellows Program. 

International Fellows have an opportunity to take part in the Field Studies Program (FSP) and the American Studies elective; students who participate in the FSP will travel extensively throughout the United States and will consequently gain a better and deeper understanding of American culture and society. Students who decide to take the American Studies elective will receive academic credit for participating in the Field Studies Program. Fellows who successfully complete this vigorous curriculum will earn a Master's of Science in National Security Strategy (NWC) or a Master's of Science in National Resource Strategy (ES). 


International Fellows are assigned to the National Defense University’s International Student Management Office while participating in the program. The International Fellows Program consists of three components: (1) an eight-week Introductory Academic Prep Course, which includes transitional support and orientation briefings; (2) the second program component is the Field Studies Program, which begins shortly after arrival and runs throughout the year, and (3) the ten-month academic program executed at the students respective colleges.

The objectives of the International Fellows Program are to:

  • Prepare future leaders of the Armed Forces and civilian agencies for high-level policy command and staff responsibilities.
  • Provide an opportunity for students to develop an understanding of factors and considerations that shape U.S. security policy and strategy.
  • Help students engage and develop firsthand knowledge of the social, political, and economic factors that shape U.S. institutions, culture and societies.
  • Facilitate the creation of  well-rounded leaders capable of strategic thought and other outstanding professional qualifications.

Applying & Acceptance

Unlike civilian master degree programs, you cannot apply to attend or participate in the National Defense University's International Fellows Program. This program is by invitation only; countries must first receive an invitation from the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff before they can nominate a student to attend the program. Each country conducts its own nomination process to fill this invitation, in compliance with the program’s eligibility requirements:

  • Active-duty military officer or civilian of government agency
  • O-6 rank equivalent or above
  • Completion of staff college or equivalent (BA/BS degree equivalent required to earn Master's)
  • 15 years of military or government service
  • English Comprehension Level (ECL) of 80 or higher
Student must then undergo Leahy Vetting, meet English language and other requirements before they are formally accepted to attend the National Defense University. Civilians who are not national government employees are not eligible to attend.>/p>