“ADL” means “Advanced Distributed Learning”; it is the modern version of “distance learning”, which was once done through correspondence courses, videotapes or CD-ROMs sent to the student through the mail. With ADL, students can now complete their course at their own pace, through their own internet connection, from office or home, any time of the day or night, at their choosing.
Can I have access to (NDC) ADL courses?
NDC specific courses only if you have already been designated by your government to attend an NDC Resident Course; the NDC online courses will be part of your Preparatory Curriculum.
NATO and PfP generic courses are available to all.
How much will these courses cost?
These courses are funded by NATO and its Partners. For you they are entirely free.
Will completing a course provide a diploma?
As a general rule no.
If you are a NDC course member appointed by your government, your progress will be monitored and results included in your course report.
If you take a generic NATO course on your own, you will not receive a diploma or certificate*.
* If, however, you need a diploma certifying completion of a NATO ADL Course, please refer to Allied Command Transformation at https://jadl.act.nato.int, and verify the course availability and whether you qualify to take it.
Are these Courses equivalent to a University Degree?
No; given their limited duration and informative character, the courses can not be considered equivalent to a University Degree.
How long does a Researcher stay in the Division and what is the procedure for applying for this position?
Vacancies for Research positions are posted on the NDC's website. Usually a Researcher's length of service is about 4 years.
Does the NDC sponsor Research Fellowships? How do I apply?
The NDC currently offers 3 Fellowship Programmes to NATO's partners in the Partnership for Peace (PfP), Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) partners and Other Military Cooperation (OMC) / Partners Across the Globe (PAG) Fellowships. For more information, please consult the NDC Fellowship Programme at:
What topics are covered in the Senior Course and other NDC courses?
The SC covers a broad range of strategic issues affecting the current Security environment, focusing particularly on implications for NATO, its members and partners. The focus is at the strategic (rather than operational or tactical) level, and on political-military (rather than purely military) issues. The course consists of the following “Study Periods”:
Political Theories & International Relations
the Strategic Context: International Organizations
NATO in Transformation: the Transatlantic Link (Field Study)
the Global Security Environment & NATO
European Perspectives (Field Study)
Regional Issues & Challenges
Some of these Study Periods are also offered as Modular Short Courses, whilst the “NATO in Transformation” Study Period is also run in conjunction with the Integrated Partner Orientation Course.
The curriculum for the Generals, Flag Officers & Ambassadors’ Course features selected topics from the range covered by the Senior Course.
What educational methods are used?
The primary educational method consists of lectures delivered by a range of external expert speakers, both at NDC and on Field Studies, followed by Q&A sessions. Each topic is prepared through background reading material, and advance discussion in Committees (small groups of Course Members).
A variety of educational methods are used in order to help “consolidate” learning; including seminars with lecturers; committee discussions; debates; case studies; exercises; and individual & collective papers.
Senior Course Committees also work on a major collective “Study Project” throughout their time at NDC.
What reading material is provided and how is this chosen? Can it be released?
Course Members are provided with background material for each topic, prepared by a member of the Faculty, outlining the principal aspects of the topic and issues to be addressed. Course Members are also provided with a range of background reading (required & recommended) consisting of analytical articles exposing the main issues and debates. These are selected, insofar as possible, to cover a full range of issues and perspectives. Readings are intended to be critical, challenging and thought-provoking, and do not reflect only official views and positions.
Guides and reading lists are produced for internal use only and are not distributed outside of the College.
How are lecturers selected?
The primary consideration when considering potential lecturers is their expertise: whether they well versed in the subject matter and able to offer full and frank answers to the questions posed etc. Lecturers obviously must also have very good language skills in either French or English.
It is also desirable that, both within a Study Period, and across the Senior Course as a whole, Course Members should have the opportunity to hear speakers with a wide variety of professional/academic backgrounds and experience, and a wide range of differing viewpoints and perspectives.
Across the Senior Course as a whole the College also aims, insofar as possible, to have a good range of nationalities represented, both from NATO and non-NATO countries, and also a good balance between nationalities.
In all cases it is desirable to expose Course Members to different points of view on each topic. Often, therefore, two speakers with different national, political or professional perspectives will be invited to address a topic, in order to generate a dialogue and debate which should better expose the key issues. Where a single speaker is selected, articles will be included in the required readings which express a different viewpoint from that of the invited lecturer.
What “line” does the NDC teach?
The College selects lectures and background reading materials with the aim of providing the fullest possible exposition of each topic, and of the various competing points of view on the key issues.
The College operates on a general principle of encouraging the greatest possible academic and intellectual freedom, for Course Members and visiting speakers alike. For this reason all academic sessions, plenary sessions, seminars and Committee discussions are held under the Chatham House Rule.
Course Members are encouraged to discuss, debate and come to their own conclusions, individually and collectively, on the basis of the information and views presented to them.
Is it possible to obtain copies of briefs given at NDC?
In accordance with the Chatham House Rule, we are unable to release PowerPoint presentations or scripts used by our lecturers, except in certain rare cases where the speaker gives express permission for this.
Can I attend lectures at the NDC as a guest?
In accordance with the Chatham House Rule, and to allow maximum freedom of expression for our speakers, external guests are not generally permitted to attend NDC lectures. Whilst there are certain limited exceptions to this rule, in all cases attendance is only by prior invitation.