Approved Research Paper Topics

Preparing a Research Paper Proposal is the first task in completing the Research Paper writing assignment. Detailed instructions for preparing your proposal may be found in the Student Handbook.

Choosing an Acceptable Research Paper Topic

You may choose a research question in one of the following general topic areas. Alternatively, you may propose some other research question to the Course Director or to your Writing Lab TA, but you must get their explicit approval before you begin library research on such a question. Your Research Paper should be much more focused than any of the general topic areas listed here.

Nuclear Weapon Programs

Russian nuclear weapons and weapon programs
Environmental legacies of Soviet/Russian nuclear weapon programs
U.S. nuclear weapons and weapon programs
The Nuclear Weapon program of France
The Nuclear Weapon program of the United Kingdom
Environmental legacies of U.S. nuclear weapons programs
India's nuclear weapons program
Pakistan's nuclear weapons program
North Korea's plutonium nuclear weapons program
North Korea's uranium nuclear weapons program
Iran's nuclear program
Israel's nuclear weapons program
Chinese nuclear weapon program and modernization
US nuclear modernization
Changes in the UK Nuclear Posture
Iran's plutonium program
Iran's uranium program
States that have given up Nuclear Weapons: South Africa, Ukraine, etc.
Proliferation threats from North Korea's nuclear weapons program
Proliferation threats from Iran’s nuclear program
Recessed Nuclear Deterrence (India, Japan, etc.)

Creation, Control, and Disposal of Nuclear Explosive Materials

Centrifuge technologies for uranium enrichment
Safeguarding plutonium produced in power reactors
The nuclear proliferation threat posed by laser isotope enrichment
Export controls on nuclear technologies and materials
Transshipment of nuclear useable dual use goods

Nuclear Weapon Delivery

China's nuclear ballistic missiles and missile-development programs
North Korea's ballistic-missile development programs
Iran's ballistic-missile development programs
Israel's nuclear ballistic missiles and missile-development programs
India's nuclear ballistic missiles and missile-development programs
Pakistan's nuclear ballistic missiles and missile-development programs
Delivery of nuclear explosives by terrorist or non-state groups
Export controls on ballistic missile technologies

Missile-Warning Systems

Current status of the U.S. missile-warning system
Current status of the Russian missile-warning system
Prospects for joint monitoring of missile launches with Russia

ABM Programs and Space Weapons

The current U.S. ground-based midcourse-intercept (GMD) ABM system
Status and Progress of the European midcourse-intercept ABM system
Prospects for a U.S.—Russia—NATO missile defense program
Prospects boost-phase intercept ABM concepts
The ASAT threat posed by current ABM programs
Proposals for restricting weapons in space
Missile Defense in Israel
Missile Defense in South Korea


Nuclear Terrorism

Proposals for reducing the threat of nuclear terrorism
Securing special nuclear materials in Russia and the former Soviet republics

Possible Presidential Nuclear Initiatives

Adequately fund the program to finish securing loose nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union
Persuade NATO to eliminate forward-deployed tactical nuclear weapons
De-alert U.S. submarine-launched ballistic missiles
Initiate joint monitoring of missile launches with Russia

Nuclear Arms Control and Disarmament Treaties

What should Next START (the follow-on to New START) look like?
Reducing substantially the nuclear arsenals of the NPT nuclear weapon states
Is the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) verifiable?
How can the nuclear nonproliferation regime be made more effective?
Status of the effort to conclude a fissile materials cutoff treaty
A Middle East Nuclear Weapon Free Zone
Current and future approaches and technologies for monitoring arms control agreements
Iran Nuclear Deal: sanctions, verification or views in foreign media

Possible Nuclear Weapon Policies

Current U.S. nuclear weapons policy
Should the United States adopt a policy of minimal deterrence?
The "Global Zero" goal for nuclear arsenals
What Presidential Nuclear Initiatives could reduce the threat of nuclear weapons?

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