What I do

Julia Macdonald is a Research Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver, where her work focuses on state threat assessments, use of force decisions, and U.S. military strategy and effectiveness. Her recent scholarship has appeared in Security Studies, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Strategic Studies, Texas National Security Review, Foreign Policy Analysis, Armed Forces and Society, and in various policy outlets.

Previously, Dr. Macdonald was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania's Perry World House, a pre-doctoral fellow at Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and a Stanton Nuclear Security fellow in the Security Studies Program at MIT. She has also worked for RAND in Washington D.C. and for the New Zealand Ministry of Defence.

Dr. Macdonald holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the George Washington University, an M.A. (Hons) in International Relations from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. (Hons) from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.


  • Ph.D., Political Science , The George Washington University , 2016
  • MA, International Relations , The University of Chicago , 2006
  • BA, International Relations , The University of Canterbury, 2003
  • BA, History and Philosophy , The University of Otago, 2002

Professional Affiliations

  • American Political Science Association
  • International Studies Association
  • Women in Conflict Studies

Media Sources


Research and teaching on state threat assessments, use of force decisions, and US military strategy and effectiveness.

Key Projects

  • The Disruptive Effects of Autonomy
  • Nuclear Development Course Grant
  • Assessment, Research & Writing Consultant


  • Bridging the Gap Policy Engagement Fellowship, American University
  • DU Public Impact Fellow, University of Denver