The International Security and Intelligence Programme and Conference

Please note that McGill students must obtain permission from their faculty before participating in study abroad programs.

Dates: 9th July – 3rd August, 2018

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Chaired by Sir Richard Dearlove (formerly head of MI6, Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service) and convened by Professor Michael Goodman and Dr David Gioe, the International Security and Intelligence Programme (ISI) will consider the claims of state secrecy, the threat of nuclear proliferation, of cyber-attack, of terrorism, the problems generated by the demand for regional security and the security challenges of revolutions and governing diversity.

The International Security and Intelligence Programme (ISI) offers a unique opportunity to work with leading practitioners and academics from the security and intelligence communities while enjoying collegiate life that revolve around the historic Magdalene College in the heart of a city that dates back to the middle ages; cloistered courtyards, riverside views, ancient Dining Halls and the centuries old tradition of Formal Dining.


The fee for ISI is £4,225 comprising:
(1) Tuition £2,300 which includes:
  • A minimum of 45hrs tuition
  • Access to the University Library
  • Academic and pastoral support
(2) Accommodation, Conference, Excursions and Entertainments: £1,925 which includes:
  • Single occupancy Bed & Breakfast accommodation for the duration of the Programme
  • Lunch or dinner in the college cafeteria
  • 2 Formal Dinners
  • A programme of extra-curricular activities

If you receive Financial Aid from your home institution, payment of your Programme fee can be deferred until the release date of your Financial Aid.


Key Theme Lectures & Seminars

  1. The British Approach to Intelligence
    This theme will explore the traits and characteristics of ways in which the British intelligence community operates; it will also briefly examine its origins, organization and the changing definition of the ‘threat’.
  2. American Intelligence Since 9/11
    September 11, 2001 was a watershed event in American intelligence history. Since that time, US intelligence has re-organized several times. What has changed? And has it worked?
  3. Surprise Attack and Warning Failures
    This theme will consider classic examples of surprise attack and will identify some of the general lessons that emerge. It will consider whether there is any way to remedy the failures inherent to the nature of intelligence work.
  4. WMD Proliferation and Intelligence
    This theme will focus on the nature and evolution of WMD proliferation and will examine the role that intelligence can, and has, played in countering it.
  5. Case Studies in Intelligence History
    This theme will examine a number of classic examples from the history of intelligence, focusing on the generic issues that emerge.
  6. Cyber Power in War: A Pre-History
    This lecture will look at cyber power and treachery from a historical perspective.
  7. Rising Powers and Failing States
    The conventional wisdom holds that the US, UK, and NATO are challenged by Rising Powers such as an aggressive China and a resurgent Russia. But could it be the case that the transatlantic countries are actually threatened more by failing states?
  8. Snowden and the Cambridge Five
    Several noteworthy commentators have suggested that Edward Snowden is the biggest traitor in history in terms of the amount of intelligence data that he disclosed. But how does that claim stand up against an examination of the Cambridge spy ring?

Special Subject Lectures

Alongside the key theme lectures and seminars, a series of special subject lectures covering a broad spectrum of contemporary intelligence and security challenges will look at some of the main issues facing intelligence agencies in the twenty-first century:

1) ‘Writing the Official History of the Joint Intelligence Committee’
2) ‘Intelligence Liaison’
3) ‘Trafficking and Terrorist Financing in Africa’
4) ‘The Myths that Matter: Understanding and Confronting the Islamic State’
5) ‘Revolutions: The Nature and Causes of Political Change’
6) ‘Legal and Ethical Dilemmas of Targeted Killing’

Registration Deadlines

June 9th is the deadline for applying to ISI. However, they operate a rolling application process and competition will be strong, so you are advised to apply early.

For additional information

Email: isi [at]
>Website :