This degree provides students with the educational foundation necessary to succeed as intelligence analysts in federal national security agencies, private defense contractors, law enforcement agencies, businesses and non-government organizations. This graduate program is comparable to master’s in security studies programs at other universities. 

The on-campus intelligence graduate program has a priority application admission deadline of May 15th. A limited number of seats are available, so submit your application and supplemental items as soon as possible to be considered for admission.

Thousands of intelligence analysts work throughout the United States and abroad in both government agencies and private enterprises, with a continued increase in demand for qualified individuals projected. An intelligence master’s degree provides the student with the tools they need to be proficient in these jobs.

Whether relating to national security, counterintelligence, criminal investigative activities, or strategic intelligence, the work of intelligence analysts involves the preparation of assessments based on the collection, analysis, and communication of information.

Building on the nationally renowned undergraduate Intelligence Studies program, students of the intelligence graduate program are prepared with the educational foundation necessary to succeed as intelligence analysts and leaders of analytical teams within law enforcement, competitive intelligence industries, and federal and state agencies, such as FBI, CIA, and NSA.

Mercyhurst University's applied intelligence master's degree is a 34 credit program designed to provide a theoretical and practical framework for the study of intelligence and its application in a wide variety of contexts. This is accomplished through a rigorous curriculum that includes a basic core, which exposes students to the fundamental as well as advanced concepts and analytical techniques related to intelligence.

The master's degree in applied intelligence is a STEM major (CIP code 29.0201).

Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the Master of Science in Applied Intelligence graduate program will be able to:

  • Interpret the theory and history of the discipline of intelligence.
  • Apply critical thinking skills to ‘real world’ issues.
  • Appraise collected data/information using a variety of analytic techniques and methodologies.
  • Prepare analytic products in written, oral, visual, and/or multimedia formats.
  • Devise open source research and collection management practices.
  • Facilitate and manage intelligence processes and practices.
  • Produce research in the intelligence field.

Those interested in receiving additional information about the Ridge College and the graduate programs offered, including an application packet, should complete the online inquiry form.

Degree Requirements

To obtain a Master of Science in Applied Intelligence, the graduate student must complete 34 graduate credit hours of study that includes seven core courses with a thesis (25 credits) and three elective courses (9 credits). For full course descriptions, click here 

Required Core Courses

(7 courses): 21 credits

  • Research Methods In Intelligence
  • Intelligence Theories and Applications
  • Competitive Intelligence
  • Law Enforcement Intelligence
  • Intelligence Communications
  • Contemporary Leadership for Intelligence
  • Managing Strategic Intelligence

Electives (pick 3)

  • Advanced Analytical Techniques
  • Cyber Threat Analysis
  • Comparative History of Intelligence
  • Intelligence Support to Targeting
  • Geospatial Intelligence
  • Financial Intelligence Analysis
  • Intelligence and Business Strategy
  • Data Analytics for the Private Sector
  • Grand Strategy: Strategic Planning & Intelligence
  • Nonproliferation Analysis
  • Graduate Seminar: National Security
  • Studies In Terrorism
  • Intelligence, the Military, and Warfare
  • Counterespionage and Policy and Practice
  • Topics In Intelligence
  • Internship

Required Capstone Courses

  • INTL 679 Intelligence Thesis Seminar (1 credit)
  • INTL 680 Thesis in Applied Intelligence

While an internship is not required in the graduate program through the Ridge College, internships are highly recommended in order to gain practical experience of real world situations.  For academic credit to be awarded, a student must complete a period of employment (minimum of 200 hours) as an intelligence analyst with a government or international agency or corporation during which certain experience objectives must be met.

Career Outcomes

Alumni of the intelligence studies program at Mercyhurst University enjoy strong job placement after graduation, with rates of placement significantly above national placement averages.  Our more than 1000 alumni of the intelligence programs at Mercyhurst work in a wide range of fields and for a wide range of organizations.

Graduates of the program have accepted employment in the following types of positions, just to name a few: intelligence analysts, intelligence officers, special agents, social media analysts, anti-money laundering/know-your-customer analysts, market research analysts, threat intelligence analysts, police officers, management consultants, cyber security threat analysts, business continuity analysts -- in addition to many others.

Graduates of the program have accepted employment with a diverse set of federal agencies, global corporations, and international NGOs. A small sample includes: Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, Booz Allen Hamilton, Northrop Grumman, JP Morgan Chase, Johnson & Johnson, Nike, Disney, Wells Fargo, Procter & Gamble, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines –in addition to many others.

Typical Full-Time Course Schedule

First Year, Fall Semester

  • Intelligence Theories and Applications (INTL 510)
  • Research Methods in Intelligence (INTL 501)
  • Contemporary Leadership in Intelligence (INTL 615)

First Year, Spring Semester

  • Intelligence Communications (INTL 580)
  • Law Enforcement Intelligence (INTL 576)
  • Applied Intelligence Elective or Competitive Intelligence (INTL 540)

Second Year, Fall Semester

  • Intelligence Thesis Seminar (INTL 679)
  • Applied Intelligence Elective or Competitive Intelligence (INTL 540)
  • Applied Intelligence Elective

Second Year, Spring Semester

  • Managing Strategic Intelligence Analysis (INTL 655)
  • Thesis in Applied Intelligence (INTL 680)
  • Applied Intelligence Elective

Cost and Financial Aid

The following represents the cost estimate of the program for tuition and fees based on costs in academic year 2018-19. Tuition/fee rates and do not include housing, books, or other costs associated with attendance in an academic program. Please note that tuition and fees may be increased each academic year.

  • Tuition
    • 3 Credit Course: $2,778 USD
  • Required Fees
    • Registration Fee (per semester): $80
    • Technology Fee (per semester): $105
    • Applied Intelligence Lab Fee (per semester): $280
  • Approximate Total Degree Cost
    • Full-time Thesis Option 34 credits in 4 semesters (two years of study): $33,300 USD

To find out more about financing your graduate education, use the following links:

Graduate Assistantships and Employment

Employer Reimbursement

Federal Direct Loans

Mercyhurst Billing and Payment Options

Yellow Ribbon Program

Veterans are encouraged to apply to the data science and intelligence programs. Mercyhurst University is a participant of the Yellow Ribbon Program, a provision of the Post-9/11 GI Bill that allows veterans to attend graduate programs which cost more than the state tuition cap. To find out more about using your veteran benefits and our veteran's services at Mercyhurst University, click here.