Mercyhurst University

Online Master’s Degree in Applied Intelligence

The online intelligence graduate program is for working professionals looking to advance their career through further study in the application of intelligence and data analysis.

We are now taking applications for Applied Intelligence programs (both degree and certificate) beginning in the fall term, beginning September 3, 2018.  Although we run classes in all four terms, we start new cohorts in the Applied Intelligence program only in the fall and spring terms. 

The online intelligence program, which is part of Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA, 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.

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What will I learn in the online applied intelligence graduate degree?

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

What are the requirements of the online applied intelligence graduate degree?

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

Who should apply to the online applied intelligence graduate degree?

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.

How will I learn online at Mercyhurst University?

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.

Courses are designed with 10 weekly learning units which includes due dates and times each week for assignments, including required readings, postings to the discussion board, written products, presentations and other projects. Students generally log into the course at least three times per week and can expect to spend an average of 10 hours per week 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.

What is the schedule for online courses in the degree?

Mercyhurst University's online Ridge College programs operate on the term system, with four terms in each academic year: Fall, Winter, Spring. and Summer. Each term is 11 1/2 weeks long.

2018–2019 Term Schedule for Online Classes:

FALL TERM:  September 3, 2018 - November 21, 2018
WINTER TERM: November 26, 2018 - February 28, 2019 (Break approx. December 18 - January 2) 
SPRING TERM: March 4, 2019 - May 22, 2019
SUMMER TERM: June 3, 2019 - August 20, 2019

What is the estimated cost of the applied intelligence online master's degree program?

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: $2,625.00 USD
  • 2016-2017 Required Fees
    • Registration Fee (per term) $60.00
    • Technology Fee (per term) $80.00
    • Applied Intelligence Fee (per term when a student is enrolled full-time at 2 classes/6 credits) $180.00
      NOTE: This fee will be pro-rated at $90 per 3 credit course
  • Approximate Total Degree Cost
    • Research-based Project Option (36 credits)
      • 2 courses per term: $35,000.00 USD
      • 1 course per term: $36,000.00 USD
    • Thesis Option (34 credits)
      • 2 courses per term: $33,000.00 USD
      • 1 course per term: $34,000.00 USD

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

>> Employer Reimbursement

>> Federal Direct Loans

>> Mercyhurst Billing and Payment Options

Does the program welcome veterans and participants in the Yellow Ribbon Program?

Yes. 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.

For More Information

Kristen Pepe, Graduate Admissions Enrollment Coordinator
Mercyhurst University
501 E 38th St
Erie, PA 16546-0001 USA
814-824-2297 (EST)

You may also contact the Office of Graduate and Continuing Education should you have any additional questions regarding this program, the admissions process, graduate financial aid or to set up a campus tour using the contact information below:

Office of Graduate & Continuing Education
501 East 38th St 
Erie, PA 16546
Phone: (814) 824-3351


Applied Intelligence Fact Sheet

Applied Intelligence Degree Requirements

Applied Intelligence Course Descriptions