H4D pairs Department of Defense (DoD) end users with top Washington University students across campus for collaborative problem-solving over the course of an academic semester (3 credits). Students work to develop a minimal viable product solution to improve the real-world problems of service members that can be adopted by the DoD end users.

H4D at WashU

This project-driven course offered at Washington University teaches problem-solving, creative thinking, and solution development in collaboration with Department of Defense personnel and agencies. Talented student teams develop innovative solutions to the nation’s emerging threats.

Students of all backgrounds can apply

This class is open to all undergraduate and graduate students.  All are encouraged to apply – this course is strongest when students from a variety of disciplines, backgrounds and experiences join together to think through and solve some of today’s most pressing national security challenges.


Contact Mike Seper for more information.


Do I need to know how to code to take this class?

Absolutely not! The “Hacking for Defense” moniker is meant to highlight the problem-solving nature of the class rather than computer science only hacking.

Which majors can participate?

All majors. Business, Engineering, Design and Sustainability students are highly encouraged. Teams will be formed with students of different majors and areas of expertise to create the strongest teams.

Where do the problems come from?

Problems are sourced directly from entities like NASA, the U.S. Army, U.S. Special Operations Command, the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps. Students will be working closely with military members and representatives from each of these groups.

The problems seem like they are big and intimidating. What happens if we do not solve our problem?

The goal of the class is exploration. At the end of the class, if you don’t have a clear solution, you will know more than you did at the beginning, and so will the agency with which you work. You and your team basically become subject matter experts in your area. Sometimes, ruling out potential solutions that will not work is just as valuable.

Can international or foreign national students take this course?

Yes, this course is open to international and foreign national students. All projects are unclassified for this purpose.

H4D at WashU is made possible through a partnership with the National Security Innovation Network. The Hacking for Defense program is powered by BMNT, Inc. and the Common Mission Project. For more information about NSIN at WashU, contact Mike Seper.