War Studies Program

WASHINGTON, DC | July 28 – August 12, 2017
Application Deadline Applications Now Closed

The Hertog War Studies Program is an intensive two-week program run by the Institute for the Study of War in Washington DC. The program aims to educate advanced undergraduate students about the theory, practice, organization, and control of war and military forces. Over the course of two weeks, students will learn from and interact with distinguished senior leaders in the national security and military communities. Students will gain a deeper understanding of specific topics in military history and their intersection with modern warfare and policy. Opportunities to learn about military history in a hands-on environment include participating in a battlefield staff-ride to Gettysburg to explore the relationships between terrain, timing, and decision-making in war. Previous editions of the Hertog War Studies Program have featured topics including the insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the ongoing threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham in Syria and Iraq.

Apply Now Syllabus

All students will receive a stipend of $1,500 in addition to housing, meals, and subsidized transportation to and within Washington, DC. Applications for the summer 2017 program will be available in late 2016. Notification of successful applicants will occur in late March.

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The Hertog War Studies Summer Program provides students with a unique opportunity to learn alongside academic and military leaders and engage in challenging coursework on topics including past and future military doctrine, past military operations, and the lessons they teach us for the future.

Throughout this program students will be exposed to the technical language of war, military doctrine, the organization and functioning of armed forces, and the relationship between armies and states.

Each day consists of morning and afternoon seminars led by our four permanent instructors. Some days include small-group discussions with a distinguished guest lecturer in the afternoon or evening. Students will learn about three periods of history that will give them the foundations for understanding modern conflict:

The Emergence of Modern War and Military Theory, 1805–1914

  • Napoleon and His Interpreters
  • Clausewitz on War and Policy
  • Moltke and Bismarck—War and Policy in Practice
  • Schlieffen—War as Apolitical Mechanism
  • Battlefield Staff Ride to Gettysburg

War in the 20th Century

  • Technology and Military Change
  • Armored Warfare and Operational Art
  • Advent of Airpower

America’s Counterinsurgencies, 2001–present

  • Iraq
  • Afghanistan

Students will examine these periods of history in chronological order, through the lens of unifying themes that will provide context on modern military strategy and warfare. At the end of this program, students will have:

  • Learned the technical language and grammar of military force;
  • Mastered the basics of military theory;
  • Understood the relationships between war and politics, and between the armed forces and political leadership;
  • Experienced a battlefield staff ride to understand the relationships between terrain, time, and decision-making in war.


Advanced Program

The alumni of the Hertog War Studies Summer Program have the opportunity to participate in one-week advanced sessions. These sessions focus either on a particular national security challenge or on a historical conflict and examine lessons learned. Previous advanced seminars have focused on humanitarian intervention in the former Yugoslavia and on the Eastern Front of World War II.  These sessions are only available to alumni of the foundational two-week program.

The Evans Hanson Fellowship

The Evans Hanson Fellowship is designed to provide an opportunity for outstanding alumni of the Hertog War Studies Program to work as a research analyst at the Institute for the Study of War. This Fellowship seeks to help build the next generation of national security leaders.

Internships & Employment Opportunities at ISW

Alumni of the Hertog War Studies Program are also able to take advantage of internship and employment opportunities at ISW. We offer interns a chance to train on work with cutting-edge technologies employed in business and the intelligence community. Interns at ISW have an unparalleled opportunity to conduct research that directly informs policy-makers on some of the most pressing issues facing American national security. Our interns work directly with analysts and have many opportunities to engage with Institute leadership on the subjects of their research. ISW allows its interns to be at the front lines of military research and policy, tackling the issues that are in the headlines. ISW has published the work of its interns and hired many onto its staff. Learn more.