IC CAE Frequently Asked Questions

This page includes answers to some frequently asked questions about the Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence (IC CAE) program at Virginia Tech.



Q: What is the Hume Center?

A: The Hume Center is a Virginia Tech center that conducts sensitive research for the intelligence community (IC) and promotes educational opportunities for students interested in the IC. The Hume Center administers the NSEP on behalf of Virginia Tech with funds from our flagship education partner SAIC, our Academic Affiliates Program, and the Hume Endowment.

Q: What is the NSEP?

A:  The National Security Education Program (NSEP), sponsored by SAIC, represents our chief set of activities in engaging and preparing students for careers in the national security field. The Hume Center operates a variety of programs and scholarships that are open to undergraduate and graduate students interested in national security. These opportunities are considered part of the NSEP.  

Q: Is there funding for tuition for graduate students, stipends for undergrads, or graduate research assistantships?

A: While there are no funded undergraduate research projects or graduate research assistantships (GRAs) provided directly through the NSEP, the Hume Center supports undergraduate employees and GRAs for research that aligns with their technical areas. For more information on GRA opportunities, contact faculty members with research interests that match your own.

Q: Do I have to be a US Citizen to participate?

A: Yes

Q: Is this for undergraduates, graduate students, or both?

A: This is open to both undergraduate and graduate students.


Q: Is there any commitment to join the IC or related company after graduation?

A: No there is no commitment, but the IC CAE program will help broker connections to agencies and companies for students that are interested.

Q: What obligations are there after graduation or leaving the program?

A: The Hume Center maintains a network of alumni who have graduated from the NSEP. You will be invited to join upon completing your studies at Virginia Tech, so that you can network and make connections with other Hume Center alumni.

Q: Is this program classified or will a security clearance be required?

A: The program itself is unclassified in that any of the speakers, workshops, travel abroad, independent research, summer summits, symposium and discussion groups are all unclassified. However, some students may be elect and qualify for internships or full-time employment with an organization that requires security clearances. These positions and the work that they entail will have their own requirements. Additionally certain graduate research opportunities with the Hume Center may require students to obtain a security clearance.

Q: Do I have to know a language?

A: No, one does not have to be fluent or have high proficiency in language to be part of the program. Some study abroad program may require a higher level than others though. We do not require that students take a language but this will count higher during the application review process. While a language is not required, many in the IC and outside the IC feel that some knowledge of another language other than your native tongue is requisite for being a world citizen.

Q: What languages are desired?

A: According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence's table of core competencies, these languages are considered in high priority by the IC: Middle Eastern, Far Eastern, Sub-Saharan African, and World Languages

Q: Is this restricted to any particular major?

A: No, applicants from any major can apply. In fact, the IC has a need for many niche disciplines that one might not normally consider. So, while there are more careers available in the traditional engineering and international studies disciplines there are also opportunities for any major.

Q: Is this restricted to the Corp of Cadets or ROTC?

A: No, anyone from the University may apply

Q: Is this restricted to VT students only?

A: Yes, only current Virginia Tech students are eligible for this program.

Q: Are there requirements for certain classes?

A: NSEP is influencing the development new curriculum and extension of current curriculum to help ensure graduates are well versed in skills relevant to the IC. While none of these courses are required, students may find them valuable.

  • Cybersecurity Minor
  • GEOG 3034: The CIA: Its Capabilities in Today's Geo-Political World
  • ENGR XXXX: Intelligence Community Communications

Our long-term goal is to develop an undergraduate minor in National Security Studies that one can obtain in addition to your major field of study. This program is currently undergoing the university approval process.

Q: Is our status as a Hume Scholar or IC CAE Associate based on any other considerations?

A: Yes, your continued eligibility in the program will include evaluation of the following:

  • meeting required attendance at IC CAE events (tracked through sign in sheets);
  • commitment to maintaining the integrity of the IC CAE by conducting yourself in a professional and respectful manner at all meetings, events, in online social networks, and on trips abroad;
  • application to internships, programs, and scholarships that involve the Intelligence Community; and
  • research, whether through a class or an outside project that demonstrates an interest in the Intelligence Community.

Q: What are the Study Abroad Scholarships?

A: Each year a select number of IC CAE students will be awarded a separate study abroad scholarship. The application process and award process are independent and will be announced separately.

Q: Where would we travel to?

A: In 2010 we sent 12 students to Prague, in 2011-2014 Guilin, China for a language immersion program.

Q: How much of the cost of travel abroad will be covered?

A: Both full and partial scholarships will be offered that pay the tuition cost for the study abroad program and may cover the airfare from Virginia to destination. Additional costs to travel are at the student's expense. Meals not included in the tuition cost of the program are at the student's expense. An additional stipend may be awarded that can go towards food/incidentals.

If you have any other questions, please contact Colleen Bartos.