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CISS Research and Policy Analysis: Alumni Scholars Program

Getting started on your Alumni Scholar Application

Welcome Alumni Scholar Applicants! 

We've created this page will to help you as you begin the application process for the Alumni Scholar program at the George C. Marshall Center. 

Here you'll find details about the application packet, information on how to find and focus a topic, and writing a research proposal.  Finally, we've included the GCMC research & security priorities as guidance for your topic search.

Finally, use our Student's Toolkit to get help with starting a project and finding grammar and reference information!

Application Requirements & Evaluation

You must submit all the following items in your application package:

  • Research Project Proposal
  • Curriculum Vitae (not to exceed 2 pages)
  • Memorandum addressing the involvement with the GCMC
  • Sample of previous written work
  • Approval Letter from your Employer
  • "Academic" Letter of Recommendation

The document below provides detailed information about the each item that is part of your application package.

Your proposal will be evaluated based on a variety of factors, with emphasis on how the topic relates to GCMC’s security priorities.  Below are some useful questions to consider when preparing your application.

  • How closely does the topic align with one or more GCMC research priorities (please refer to list)?
  • Has the topic been over-explored (too much research available)?
  • Is the topic/project within your area of expertise?
  • Does your research proposal match the topic?
  • Is your project properly focused and scaled to the time you have at the GCMC?
  • Can the topic be further developed by others (will it be useful to other researchers)?
  • Is your application package complete (all required documents, correct format)?

How to: Research Proposals

These steps will help you write your research proposal. 

Getting started – here you’ll find information about:

  • finding & focusing your topic
  • explaining where you’ll get your data
  • explaining how you'll do your research
  • if you’re going to do a case study, explain why a case study is appropriate.

NOTE: Remember your proposal will specify how you will conduct research; you will not present an answer in your proposal.

Click here to see How to Write a Research Question from George Mason University's writing center.

This page (also from GMU) demonstrates a way to narrow a broad topic.

  1. Demonstrate that your topic is original/unique and that you are the best person to do this research. 
  • How do you know it’s unique, what types of articles have you read that demonstrate a gap in this research area?
  • As you work on outlining what you plan to do, consider these questions from CIRT at Grand Canyon University. Include your answers if they help to further explain why your project is the best for the program.

Is your research question one that is of interest to the researcher and potentially to others?  Is it a new issue or problem that needs to be solved or will it attempt to shed light on  a previously researched topic?

Is your question researchable?   Consider the available time frame and the required resources.  Is the methodology to conduct the research feasible?

Can your question be measured?  Will your research process produce data that can be supported or contradicted?

  1. What qualifications do you have that make you the best researcher for this project? 

Include your background, current and former work assignments, education, and any other information that supports your case.

How does your proposal fit into the Marshall Center’s research & security priorities?  If your proposal meets more than one of the GCMC's priorities, please highlight this in your proposal.

  1. Grammar, spell-checking and format combine to ensure others understand your project:

Use the correct structure for a research proposal.  (See the links below for some examples.)

Include a clear definition of your terms (i.e., if you want to use the term West Africa, define which countries you are including).

Analyze the problem (don't just describe it). 

GCMC 2019 Security Priorities

GCMC Security Priorities

Areas of Interest

European's Eastern Flank, including Central Asia
European's Southern Flank
Balkans Region

Topics of Interest Counterterrorism
Counter Narcotics
Counter Transnational Organized Crime
Cyber Security
Good Governance Practices (Building integrity and anti-corruption)
Gender and Security (encouraging women's role in the security sector)

Research Paper Examples

Follow this link to see papers completed by previous Alumni Scholars.


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