NATO Field School and Simulation Program

NATO Field School and Simulation Program

NATO Field School and Simulation Program

Update: March 13, 2020

Due to COVID-19 concerns, the 2020 NATO Field School has been cancelled. More information is available from SFU Study Abroad.

Applications are now closed. Check back in Fall 2020 for information on the 2021 cohort!

The NATO Field School and Simulation Program is an intensive political science experience that combines coursework with experiential learning.

The program is open to university students across all NATO member-states and provides the opportunity for students to observe professionals and experts in their working environment and by student immersion in the decision tasks that political, diplomatic and military personnel face. This includes visiting embedded experts from the Department of National Defence, Global Affairs Canada, the Canadian Armed Forces, NATO and academia, as well as high-level briefings at NATO HQ, SHAPE, EU Military Staff HQ, European External Action Services and NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence and the Canadian Delegation to the European Union. Like a dynamic practicum or apprenticeship, the NATO Field School prepares you for entry-level employment in foreign affairs, defence policy and various national and international security sectors, as well as international NGO sectors.

What you'll study

Field school undergraduate students take POL 484, worth 12 SFU units. Graduate students take POL 880, worth 6 SFU units.

Field School Days: Mornings are lectures and seminars, and afternoons are devoted to presentations and reading discussions. Simulation training takes place on Fridays.

Students will learn:

  • Policy making and policy implementation in defence, international security and peace operations from the academic, military and policy maker’s perspective
  • How Canadian Armed Forces, foreign and defence policy makers, diplomats and communicators define and execute their work
  • How officers, international civil servants and organizational staff conduct simulation exercises to generate and improve skills
  • How sovereign states pursue their interests, as well as international cooperation in complex and diversified settings like NATO.
  • How to work in teams inside a multilateral framework
  • The Whole-of-Government and the Comprehensive approach in crisis resolution
  • How to prepare decision documents for senior political decision makers
  • How to prepare a press statement and conduct a press conference


Contact us

Field School Director
Prof. Alex Moens

Field School Manager
Harleen Atwal

Political Science Advisor
Courtney Apps


2019 Stakeholder Report

Where you'll go

All locations and dates are to be confirmed.

Location: Simon Fraser University; locations in Western Canada
Dates: 2021

You'll spend the first three weeks at SFU’s Burnaby campus and Western Canada with classroom learning, simulation training, guest lecturers and familiarization visits to Canadian Armed Forces bases (MARPAC, CFB Cold Lake).

Location: Ottawa, Canada
Dates: 2021

We then visit Ottawa for one week with briefings at Department of National Defence, Global Affairs Canada, Canadian Joint Operations Command, CFB Petawawa and briefings by Chairs/MPs from the House of Commons.

Location: Belgium, Brussels
Dates: 2021

The program continues in Europe beginning with briefings at NATO HQ, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), the European Union Military Staff HQ (EUMS) and European External Action Services (EEAS) in Belgium.

Location: Riga, Latvia
Dates: 2021

In Latvia, students will observe the Canadian Battlegroup and visit NATO's Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence. Plus, they will visit the KGB and Occupation museum.

Location: Rome, Italy
Dates: 2021

At the NATO Defense College (NDC) in Rome, the cohort will do four days of a professionally run NATO-simulation, (Negotiation Mediation Decision-Making Exercise - NMDX), with NDC mentors and Senior Course curriculum.


What it costs

Program fees

$4,500 - $5,250

Final program costs are based on the total number of students and subject to change.  


  • $2,304.36 (undergraduate, 12 units)
  • $1,908.76 (graduate, 6 units)

Not including student fees. Differential tution fees are charged for international undergraduate students. Visiting graduate students will pay an additional graduate application fee. Non-SFU graduate students should refer to International Services for Students.

Financial aid

Full-time students participating in SFU field schools are eligible to apply for student loans. Full-time SFU students may also apply for bursaries, scholarships, awards and international exchange/field school bursaries. For more information on funding your trip, please visit SFU's Study Abroad Funding Options page.

What's included

  • Shared accommodation in Alberta, Ottawa and Europe
  • Field trips
  • Some meals (all breakfasts and one group lunch in Europe)
  • In-field transportation (air travel and ground transportation in Canada and Europe. Transatlantic airfare NOT included)
  • Acceptance session, pre-departure orientation, in-field and re-entry support

What's not included

  • International airfare
  • Most meals
  • Communication costs
  • Mandatory health insurance
  • Additional personal costs (travel, dress code)





  • Must be 19 years of age or older prior to departure
  • Canadian citizen or NATO-nation passport holder
  • Have completed a minimum of 60/120 units or equivalent unit load (eg. 50%) of post-secondary (university, institution, college) courses by the end of Fall 2020.
  • Must have a minimum 3.0 CGPA on a 4.33 scale or equivalent. (eg. 73% average with a 50% passing grade)


  • Have completed a minimum of 70/120 units or equivalent unit load (e.g. 58%) of post-secondary courses by end of Fall 2019 term. Examples: 104/180 ECTS (3 year degree), 139/240 ECTS (4 year degree).
  • Recommended: 3.33 CGPA on a 4.33 scale or equivalent. (e.g. 77% average with a 50% passing grade)


  • Must be 19 years of age or older prior to departure
  • Canadian citizen or NATO-nation passport holder
  • Must be enrolled or accepted to be enrolled in a graduate program in Fall 2020
  • Must either have a minimum 3.33 CGPA within a currently enrolled graduate program OR if currently applying for a graduate program, then undergraduate student eligibility requirements will be considered (see undergraduate student eligibility requirements above, including the submission of an undergraduate transcript). Proof of program acceptance and/or application will be required as an additional document.

How to apply as a non-SFU student

  • Qualified students from institutions other than SFU are eligible to participate, but must first gain admission into SFU as visiting students. Visiting students must arrange for transfer credit with their home institution. Please contact International Services for Students at to inquire about the application procedure for visiting students.

Selection criteria

  • Academic Standing
  • Priority will be given to declared or intended majors/minors in political science or related disciplines in international studies, international relations, criminology, history, public policy, philosophy, linguistics, business and communications
  • A portion of spots will be reserved for SFU degree-seeking students
  • Demonstrated preparedness and maturity (cognitive and social) for this intensive and demanding program
  • The committee reserves the right to request an interview as part of the selection process
  • Final consent of the field school director

Contact us

Field School Director
Prof. Alex Moens

Field School Manager
Harleen Atwal

Political Science Advisor
Courtney Apps


2019 Stakeholder Report