This online master's degree is for working professionals looking to advance their career through further study in the application of intelligence and data analysis. Part of Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA,  this graduate program focuses on intelligence as a process, emphasizing the application of intelligence theory across the disciplines of national security, military, law enforcement, and competitive intelligence.  

Coursework of the online intelligence master's program concentrates on developing deep researching abilities, proficient use of analytical techniques and methodologies, concise analytical writing, and effective briefing. The advancement of these analytical skills, in addition to an appreciation of the theory and history of the intelligence field, produce program graduates with the educational foundation necessary to succeed as intelligence analysts and leaders of analytical teams within strategic intelligence industries, criminal justice fields, and federal and state agencies, such as FBI, CIA, and NSA.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the Master of Science in Applied Intelligence online degree 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

Course Requirements

For full course descriptions, click here.

Required Core Courses

  • INTL 501 Research Methods in Intelligence
  • INTL 510 Intelligence Theory and Applications
  • INTL 540 Competitive Intelligence
  • INTL 576 Law Enforcement Intelligence
  • INTL 580 Intelligence Communications
  • INTL 615 Contemporary Leadership for Intelligence
    INTL 655 Managing Strategic Intelligence

Required Elective Courses

(select 3 for thesis option or 4 for research-based project option)

  • INTL 520 Advanced Analytic Techniques
  • INTL 560 Cyber Threat Analysis
  • INTL 590 Intelligence Support to Targeting
  • INTL 595 Geospatial Intelligence
  • INTL 638 Social Network Analysis
  • INTL 620 Nonproliferation Analysis
  • INTL 626 Financial Intelligence Analysis
  • INTL 627 Graduate Seminar: National Security
  • INTL 633 Studies in Terrorism
  • INTL 640 Intelligence, the Military, and Warfare
  • INTL 650 Topics in Intelligence
  • INTL 675 Internship (3 credits)

Required Capstone Courses

  • INTL 676 Research-based Project
  • INTL 679 Intelligence Thesis Seminar (1 credit) AND INTL 680 Thesis in Applied Intelligence

Admissions Requirements

To apply to the online intelligence master's program, students must possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, preferably with a GPA above 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The Ridge College accepts students from a wide variety of undergraduate degree programs from political science and international relations to biology and mathematics.

Preference in admissions will be given to working professionals who will benefit from further study in the application of intelligence and data analysis.  Please note that those who are just completing their undergraduate studies and/or do not possess professional work experience should apply to the resident MS in Applied Intelligence degree program in Erie, PA.

Online Learning

Delivered through the Blackboard Learning Management System, the online classes are asynchronous so students can access the course material 24/7 without having to be "in class" at a specific time. However, the courses are not “independent or self-study.”  You may be required to brief or "meet" with your instructor or group members in an online format.

The online intelligence program is made up of a combination of semester (16 week) and mini (8 week) courses. Courses are designed with weekly learning units which include due dates and times each week for assignments. These learning units include required readings, postings to the discussion board, written products, presentations and other projects. Students generally log in to a course at least three times per week and can expect to spend an average of 10-15 hours per week (depending on the course length) working on assignments.

Class sizes are limited to approximately 20 students, so that individual attention is assured. In addition to communication through Blackboard, instructors are accessible by phone and email.

Cost and Financial Aid

Students enrolled in the online Master of Science in Applied Intelligence degree program have a choice between two capstone experiences to enhance their graduate studies at Mercyhurst University. Credits vary according to capstone selection:

  • Thesis Option - students graduate with 34 credits
  • Research-based Project Option - students graduate with 36 credits

The following represents the cost estimate of the program for tuition and fees based on costs in academic year 2017-18. 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 Per Course

  • 3 Credit Course: $2,778

Required Fees

  • Registration Fee (per semester) $80
  • Technology Fee (per semester) $105
  • Applied Intelligence Fee (per semester - $90 (once course); $190 (2 courses); $280 (3+ courses))

Approximate Total Degree Cost (based on current rates)

  • Research-based Project Option (36 credits)
    • 3 courses per semester: $35,200
    • 2 courses per semester: $36,200
  • Thesis Option (34 credits)
    • 3 courses per semester: $33,300
    • 2 course per semester: $34,300

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

Employer Reimbursement

Federal Direct Loans

Mercyhurst Billing and Payment Options

Yellow Ribbon Program

Veterans are encouraged to apply to the online intelligence studies programs. The Mercyhurst Ridge College 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.