The Application Process

The Application Process

The general information below applies to the majority of our courses.  For specific information about applying to each of our courses (including the link to the online portal), please review the application instructions form located on each of our course description page. Application instruction forms are posted prior to the beginning of the application period, and are removed after the period has ended.

Please contact the Perry Center’s Registrar’s office at for further information.

The majority of civilian candidates are identified in partnership with the ministries of the host-nation’s government, including the police and security forces. Government and non-government civilian candidates may also apply directly to the Perry Center.

All military participants are selected by the U.S. Security Cooperation Office (SCO) / U.S. Military Liaison Office (MLO) in partnership with the host-nation’s Ministry of Defense. Military candidates must submit their application through these channels. The preferred rank for resident courses is Lieutenant Colonel/Commander (O-5) or Colonel/Captain (O-6). U.S. military officers or their training office should contact the Perry Center Registrar office directly.

With a few exceptions, graduates of Perry Center resident courses must wait a minimum of eighteen (18) months to apply to a new course. That is, if you graduated from a resident course that began in October 2021 you may apply to a resident course that begins in April 2023 or later.

  • Graduates of Perry Center resident courses are eligible to apply to the Strategy and Defense Policy (SDP) or Caribbean Defense and Security (CDSC) courses.
  • Graduates of previous in-person DPRM, SDPe, SDPm, and SDP courses are INELIGIBLE to apply to upcoming SDP courses.
  • Graduates of previous CTOC courses offered by the Perry Center or the George C. Marshall Center (GCMC) are INELIGIBLE to apply to upcoming CTTN courses.

All candidates must possess a university degree or equivalent practical experience. Military and police personnel must have completed a command and staff course or equivalent. Exceptions are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Please make sure to review specific course pages for any additional requirements, educational or otherwise.

Resident courses are conducted in either Spanish or English, with no interpretation. Participants in all specialized courses conducted in Spanish must also be capable of reading and analyzing graduate-level English. Except for courses entirely in English, English writing and speaking skills are not required. During the application process for certain courses you are required to submit current (within five years) test results from an English reading proficiency test (TOEFL, TOEIC, ECL, etc.) or an explanation of how you acquired your English reading skills. Courses requiring English skills are identified in the course description.



All supporting documents must be submitted simultaneously via e-mail. The subject line should be your last name, country, and the acronym for the course to which you are applying. (e.g. Subject: Martinez – Mexico – SDP 2022)

A complete application package consists of:

  • An application submitted through our online portal
  • A completed professional experience form
  • One (1) letter of recommendation from your supervisor
  • One (1) secondary letter of recommendation
  • Up to two additional letters of recommendation (optional)
  • Documentation of English-reading proficiency (when required)
  • For all applicants who will be traveling internationally to attend, a copy of your valid passport’s data page and visa is required.

Approved formats for submitting attachments are: DOC, DOCX, PDF, JPG, GIF, BMP, TIFF, and TXT. Original documents are not required. NOTE: Documents compressed using the ZIP format may not pass through the National Defense University (NDU) firewall and the entire message may be deleted automatically without notice. Deadline extensions are not granted for messages rejected by the NDU system.

The Perry Center requires a professional experience form which can be downloaded below.  Due to the specific nature of the information we are looking for, we will NOT accept copies of your résumé / CV.  Please complete the form below and return it with the rest of your application package:

Two letters of recommendation are mandatory for all courses. One letter must be from your supervisor/chain of command and specifically indicate, should you be selected to participate, what you would be contributing to the course, and what benefits you and/or your organization would derive from your attendance. The second letter should address the same points. All letters must be dated no more than 60 days prior to applying. Individuals who are independent contractors or sole proprietors must still submit two letters of recommendation. All letters of recommendation should be addressed to the Director of the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies.

Completed applications and related documentation for all non-U.S. citizens and dual-citizens (USA and another country) seeking a scholarship must be submitted by the stated deadline in order to be considered. The same deadlines apply for those people (U.S. citizens and others) who are applying in a self-funded capacity.

The Perry Center Registrar office will acknowledge receipt of your application via email. This will occur within ten working days. If you do not receive an email acknowledgement of receipt after ten working days please contact the registrar’s office via email at

Many factors are considered during the evaluation process including the candidate’s professional and academic background, the number of previous courses a person has attended, and the interval between courses, both at the Perry Center and at other Regional Centers including the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies (GCMC), the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (DKI-APCSS), the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies (NESA), and the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies (TSC).

All candidates will be notified via email approximately ten weeks before the resident phase begins whether they were 1) selected as a participant, 2) selected for the waiting list, or 3) not selected. Since each course receives many more qualified applicants than there are seats, it is not possible to provide a detailed explanation as to why any individual candidate was not selected.