Frequently Asked Questions about the NSPI

General Information

Who Can Benefit?

  • Early- to mid-career public service professionals and fellows
  • Policy-interested graduate students and post-doctorates
  • Private sector national security professionals

What Will You Learn?

This certificate-granting course teaches core competencies related to national security policy.

  • Understanding national security research and analysis
  • Applying research to a wide range of policy issues, including national defense, homeland security, foreign intelligence and counterintelligence, and foreign relations
  • Communicating research results effectively to influence national security decisions

What will the program agenda for the day look like?

The program agenda will be finalized and shared with participants the week prior to the course, but a draft description of the five key course components will give you an idea. The day will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. ET with an optional networking component at the end of the day.

  1. Introductions: Getting to Know Each Other
    • Speakers and participants will share a little bit about themselves.
  2. Morning Session: Applying Research to Policy Issues
    • Group discussion: Understanding policy research.
    • Step-by-step guide: How to spot quality research and methodological “red flags.”
    • Small group activity: Problem identification and analysis.
  3. Panel Discussion: The Current National Security Landscape
    • RAND leaders discuss trends in national security and research priorities for improving U.S. national security policy.
  4. Afternoon Session: Communicating to Inform Decisions
    • Communication: Critical thinking to improve analysis and ensure your message is heard.
    • Small group activity: Develop your slides and talking points.
  5. Final Presentation: Pulling it All Together
    • In small groups, you’ll present the results of your mini-research project to a stand-in senior decision-maker. Be prepared for tough questions!

Will I receive a certificate for completing this course?

Yes, all participants will receive a certificate indicating they completed an 8-hour national security course through Pardee RAND Graduate School.


How much does the course cost?

General tuition is $1,000. Public Service (Federal) Employees and Fellows, Active Duty Military, and Veterans are eligible for a discounted tuition rate of $350. Scholarships are available for graduate students and private sector applicants.

How do I apply for a Public Service Employee/Fellow discount?

Public service employees and fellows, as well as active duty military and veterans, are automatically eligible for the discounted $350 rate and do not need to request a scholarship. Simply indicate in your application that you are applying as a public service employee or fellow.

Do you offer any student discounts?

Students are encouraged to apply for a scholarship to attend. The scholarship rate for students is $350 ($650 discount).


Who is eligible for a scholarship?

Public service employees and fellows are eligible for the special discounted rate of $350 ($650 discount) and do not need to request a scholarship.

Graduate students may request a scholarship and if approved, are eligible for the $350 rate ($650 discount).

Private sector applicants may apply for a scholarship and, if approved, will be eligible for the $650 rate ($350 discount).

What do I need to do to apply for a scholarship?

If you are a private sector or graduate student applicant requesting a scholarship, simply fill out the relevant field in the application form that asks you to briefly describe why you need a scholarship. We will use this information to assess your eligibility for a scholarship as part of the application review process.

When will I know the outcome of my scholarship request?

Your application is used for scholarship consideration. We consider your application and scholarship request at the same time. Note that your request for a scholarship will not impact our decision whether to accept your application.

If you submit your application by April 1 and are selected and approved for a scholarship, we will follow up with a scholarship rate payment link by April 10. If you submit your application between April 2 and April 14 and are approved for a scholarship, we will follow up with a scholarship rate payment link by April 23.

Payments must be made online via credit card within 5 business days of your program acceptance—that is, by April 15 or April 28.

What amount will I have to pay if I am approved for a scholarship?

General tuition is $1,000. Scholarships reduce tuition to $350 for graduate students and $650 for private sector participants.

How many scholarships are available?

We are not limiting the number of scholarships we offer. We will assess each scholarship request on a case-by-case basis to determine eligibility.

Do you reimburse travel costs to the course if I need to travel from another state to attend?

There is no travel reimbursement or additional financial aid available outside of the scholarship rate discount offered to approved applicants. Please be sure to request a scholarship if you need financial assistance to participate in this course.

Are you offering any full scholarship or other financial aid funding for this program?

Not at this time.

Applying & Admissions Timeline

How do I apply?

The application should take only five minutes to complete. Click on the “Apply Now” button at the bottom of the National Security Policy Intensive website. If you are requesting a scholarship, you will need to provide your reason for the request in the appropriate box in the application form.

What is the application deadline?

The application deadline is April 14.

When will I know if my application has been accepted?

Our admissions team is currently reviewing applications and scholarship requests received by April 1. If you have been selected, we will follow up with a payment link by April 10. We will begin reviewing final applications on April 15. If you have been selected as part of the final group of applicants, we will follow up with a payment link by April 23.


What are my payment options?

You will receive an admissions update email advising of the status of your application and scholarship request (if applicable). The email will have a secure link to pay the tuition amount via credit card.

Do you accept other forms of payment?

No. We are only able to accept secure online payments via personal or company credit card.

Hybrid/Virtual Components

Is there a virtual or hybrid component to this course?

No, this course is offered only in person at the RAND office located outside Washington, D.C. If you’re interested in virtual options, we host Policy Labs every month from noon to 1 p.m. ET. Subscribe here to stay up to date.

Will a recording or other materials be offered to those unable to attend?