NATO Field School and Simulation Program

NATO Field School and Simulation Program

Applications for 2023 are now closed.

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

The NATO Field School and Simulation Program is open to students from all NATO nations. The program gives students the to opportunity to observe professionals and experts in their working environment and be immersed in the decisions 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

The NATO Field School is a full-time academic program. Field school undergraduate students take POL 484, worth 12 SFU units. Graduate students take POL 880, worth 6 SFU units.

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

Program Coordinator
Hannah Christensen


2023 NATO Field School Poster

NFS Newsletter

2023 NATO Field School Syllabus

2023 Itinerary

Please note that the dates below are subject to change.

May 8 - 18: Students will start the NATO Field School virtually, undergoing pre-departure orientation, introductory lectures from the NFS team and guest speakers, as well as simulation training.

May 22 - June 4: We will begin our in-field programming based in Rome, continuing our simulation training and leading up to a high-level NATO simulation exercise with the NATO Defense College, where students will be coached by NFS faculty and senior mentors. During our time in Italy we will also take a short trip to Naples, where we will attend briefings at Allied Joint Force Command Naples.

June 5 - 16: Next, we will travel to NATO's Eastern Flank in the Baltics. Based out of Riga, Latvia, we will learn about the history of the area, through guided museum and battle site tours, as well as pressing current threats to the Alliance, such as disinformation, at the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, in Riga, Latvia, and cyber security, at the Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, in Tallinn, Estonia. Students will get to learn first-hand about the work and experiences of the military through site visits to the Canadian-led enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) at Camp Adazi, and the Latvian Lielvarde Air Base.

June 17 - July 1: Our final destination is Brussels, Belgium, the home of NATO HQ. Students will attend briefings at NATO HQ, SHAPE, and the European External Action Services, learning from senior diplomatic and military officials and leaders, as well as meeting young professionals and interns working in the international organizations. During this time we will also take a trip to Ramstein, Germany, where students will receive a tour of the Ramstein Air Base. At the end of the program, the NATO Field School students will lead the NATO Young Leaders Summit, an event co-sponsored by the NATO Public Diplomacy Division in the lead up to the NATO 2023 Summit in Vilnius.

What it costs

Program fees

 $5768 - $6581

Final program costs are based on the total number of students and subject to change, but will never exceed the maximum number listed above.


  • Undergraduate (domestic): $2,397.60
  • Undergraduate (international): differential rates, between $10,728.96 - $12,220.92
  • Graduate: rates vary

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. Full time degree-seeking SFU students may also apply for bursaries, scholarships, awards, and International Exchange/Field School Bursaries, including the Suite of Study Abroad awards (valued: $1,000-$2,000) embedded in the program application.

For more information on funding your trip, please visit the SFU Study Abroad's Financial Aid page.

What's included

  • Shared accommodation in all locations
  • Field trips & Entrance fees
  • Some meals (most breakfasts and some group meals)
  • In-field transportation (air travel and ground transportation in Europe)
  • Acceptance session, pre-departure orientation, in-field and re-entry support

What's not included*

  • Airfare to starting destination (Rome), and from our final location (Brussels) to home (or additional personal travel)
  • Most meals 
  • Communication costs (ie cellphone, tourist sim card)
  • Mandatory health insurance
  • Additional personal costs (travel, dress code)
  • Any testing or documentation required for travel
  • Visa**

* This list is not comprehensive. You may have additional or varying needs.

**Only required if you have Turkish citizenship or if students plan to remain within the Schengen Area for over 90 days.




  • 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 (e.g. 50%) of post-secondary courses at the time of application.
  • Have a minimum 3.0 CGPA on a 4.33 scale (~73% 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 2023
  • 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. Visiting students must arrange for transfer credit with their home institution. In addition to the NATO Field School application, you will need to complete a Visiting Student for Field School Application, which is embedded within the program application. Both applications must be complete and submitted by the application deadline. If you have any questions about the application procedure for visiting students, please contact International Services for Students at

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