The Mahan Scholars Program is a year-long, seminar-based course of study focused on deterrence and related concepts at the strategic level as well as their applications to and implications for the nuclear realm. Depending on student cohort composition and interest, the program may also examine additional domains and/or tools of strategic importance, such as space, cyberspace, and/or special operations.

The academic work of the Mahan Scholars Program is focused primarily at the strategic level, involving a rich mixture of sources and activities.  Students selected for the Mahan Scholars Program at the start of each academic year spend the fall in seminar working through key concepts and debates, the winter in seminar shaping and starting their individual research projects, and the spring primarily engaged in independent research and writing under the Director’s guidance to complete their final 30-page paper and associated products.   

Mahan Scholars also have the opportunity to participate in a wargame of a regional contingency in a potentially nuclear environment, to go on funded class and individual research trips in furtherance of their projects, and to brief their work to relevant leaders at the end of the academic year.