Certificate Program

Q: What is the PEL certificate program?
A: Through participation in PEL events, and extracurricular activities, PEL members can now opt-in to receive a Certificate in WMD Studies and six course credits from National Defense University.

Q: What are the requirements of the certificate program?

  1. PEL members must accumulate a minimum of 90 contact hours in PEL activities.  The 90 contact hours can be completed by attending the Summer Immersion (40 hours), three Winter Workshops (48 hours), and at least one seminar or site visit.
  2. Over the course of three years, PEL members must also take part in a minimum of three in-class day-long group exercises (Summer Immersion and two Winter Workshops) and submit a written post-exercise/site visit report.
  3. In addition to the post-exercise/site visit reports, PEL members must submit two written deliverables:

a.  A two page essay on leadership in the realm of WMD is required.  This can either summarize lessons taken from PEL or it can be original commentary.

b.  PEL members have an option to submit a portfolio of summaries/responses to PEL activities and learning objectives or an original research/analytical paper on a specific WMD challenge.

i.     Portfolios must consist of one essay per PEL event attended.  Combined essays should be 15 pages in length and should summarize the main theme(s) and major lesson(s) the student takes from the activity.

ii.     Research/analytical papers should be 15-20 pages in length and address a major WMD challenge raised during one of the PEL activities during their three years period of enrollment in the program.  All paper topics must be submitted in proposal format to the PEL Director for review and approval by no later than 1 October of the member’s third year.  The paper should critically and strategically assess the WMD challenge, placing it in a broader security context, addressing policy options, and making policy recommendations.  Final drafts of all written materials must be submitted no later than March 15 of the same academic year unless the student has been granted an extension. 

Q: How many hours of graduate course credit are earned by the completion of the certificate program?
A: Each PEL member who completes the certificate program will have earned six hours of graduate course credit.

 Q: How long do I have to complete the PEL certificate program?
A: PEL members have three years to complete the requirements of the certificate program.  They must notify PEL staff about whether they intend to fulfill the requirements for course credit and NDU certificate.  If PEL members do not intend to complete the requirements or fail to notify PEL staff about their intentions, they will be administratively withdrawn from the certificate course.

Q: What if I am deployed or other job-related responsibilities prevent me from completing the course requirements in 3 years?
A: The inability to participate in PEL activities due to extenuating circumstances (e.g. extended TDY, active duty deployment, etc.) is sanctioned; however, PEL members must submit reasons for extended non-attendance/non-participation to PEL staff.  Failure to attend activities for a full program year without advance justification, communication to, and approval form PEL staff may result in student disenrollment.