Degrees Without Borders: Online Programs in Intelligence Analysis & Studies

Policymakers, government officials, and military leaders rely on intelligence to inform their decision-making. Intelligence comprises a collection of information that has military, national security, or political value. However, with so much intelligence available, leadership often has to rely on trained intelligence analysts to help them sift through to the important details.

While intelligence analysts can enter this career from many different paths, most complete a program in intelligence analysis and studies. Many of these programs are offered in online formats, allowing busy professionals the chance to balance their careers, family, and education without having to relocate or even attend classes at a set time. These programs vary in length from four-year bachelor’s programs to one-year certificate programs and even multi-year master’s. The level of education completed and type of program depends on a professional’s career aspirations.

Courses offered in online intelligence analysis and studies programs vary but often include analytical writing, legal issues, ethics, critical thinking, intelligence software, and a national security overview. Certificate programs require the fewest number of classes and are usually very targeted, while bachelor’s programs require general education coursework in addition to classes on intelligence analysis.

This career is ideal for curious, analytical individuals who thrive in a high-paced environment where the work completed can impact critical decision-making. Continue reading to learn about some top online certificate, bachelor’s and master’s programs in intelligence analysis and security, as well as some DIY options.

Fast Facts: Why are Intelligence Analysis Skills Important?

  • National Security– Many intelligence analysts work for government agencies where they analyze data and information collected by law enforcement and the military. The conclusions drawn are used to maintain national security at all levels.
  • Data Gathering– Many intelligence analysts are actively involved in gathering the data they will eventually analyze. It is essential to know what kind of data to collect and how that data was obtained.
  • Data Analysis– Intelligence analysts must know how to examine the data they have gathered to find patterns. Without the data analysis, it would be difficult for government agencies to understand what steps to take.
  • Problem Solving– Once all the data has been analyzed and conclusions have been drawn, intelligence analysts must help problem solve how to best tackle the problem that has been uncovered. They must create actionable steps that leaders can put into action.

Mentors: Three Intelligence Analysis Gurus to Know

Accredited Online Degree Programs in Intelligence Analysis & Studies

The University of Texas at San Antonio – College of Business

Students who want to pursue a career in U.S. intelligence but do not want to complete an entire degree should consider the 12-credit online graduate certificate in intelligence studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio College of Business. This certificate is targeted at students who already have a background in business, foreign language, criminal science, engineering, statistics, or computer science.

With flexible start dates, students can start this program for either spring, summer, or fall semesters. The four required courses for this program are the role of U.S. intelligence in national security, analytical writing, reporting and briefing for the intelligence community, intelligence reasoning and analysis, and methods in intelligence collection. Admission to this program is streamlined with a simple application, and there are no standardized test requirements.

  • Location: San Antonio
  • Duration: Two semesters
  • Tuition: $4,588.25 per class
  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)

Indiana State University

The online bachelor’s of science (BS) at Indiana State University prepares students to start a career as intelligence analysts. Graduates of this program go on to work for the U.S. government or private intelligence agencies. Students can choose one of four concentrations, including counterintelligence, criminal intelligence, intelligence collection, and intelligence operations. All students must complete an internship that provides them with valuable hands-on experience.

This program doesn’t require any campus visits, so students can complete their studies at their own pace without having to travel. To be eligible for admission, applicants must be in the United States or Canada and hold a high school diploma with required coursework or have completed a GED.

  • Location: Terre Haute, IN
  • Duration: Four years
  • Tuition: $432 per credit
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

University of West Florida

The University of West Florida Working online intelligence analysis certificate is perfect for professionals and cybersecurity or intelligence students who want to gain the skills needed to succeed in the intelligence community. The primary focus of this program is to train students to identify trends and patterns in large data sets as well as understand the key concepts of security-related intelligence. Students will also gain strong communication skills with human intelligence training.

To complete this program, students must earn 12 to 16 credits. There are four required courses in data collection, intelligence, operations, and national security. An optional course and lab in geographic information systems are highly recommended.

  • Location: Pensacola, FL
  • Duration: Two to four semesters
  • Tuition: $218.98 per credit
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Northeastern University – College of Professional Studies

Northeastern University College of Professional Studies offers an online master of arts (MA) in strategic intelligence and analysis. This program can be completed in either a full-time or part-time format, depending on a student’s availability. Graduates of this program are prepared for jobs in intelligence security in both the public and private sectors. Because this program is online, it can be a great fit for professionals who need to gain the skills necessary to acquire and interpret intelligence.

Faculty in this program include former CIA and FBI agents, as well as professionals who have worked in intelligence in the private sector. Since many professors have direct experience in this field, students will learn firsthand from people who have held intelligence roles. Students can choose one of three concentrations to complete, including analysis for homeland security, intelligence community operations and analysis, or remote sensing.

  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Duration: 12 to 18 months
  • Tuition: $755 per credit
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)

Johns Hopkins University – Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

Professionals already working in intelligence and those new to the career will find the online master’s of science (MS) in intelligence analysis at Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences to help them be competitive for many jobs in the intelligence field. All courses are taught remotely, allowing students to work or manage family life while completing their studies. Faculty members in this program provide students with real-world expertise as many come from top jobs in intelligence at the CIA, FBI, Homeland Security, and the military.

Students must complete 12 courses in classes such as legal issues in intelligence, the art and practice of intelligence, intelligence ethics, and intelligence communications. Admission requirements include already holding a bachelor’s degree, a 500-word statement of purpose, a current resume or CV, a writing sample, professional recommendations, and official transcripts.

  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Duration: 12 to 24 months
  • Tuition: $4,361 per course
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Eastern Kentucky University – College of Justice & Safety

The online intelligence studies certificate at Eastern Kentucky University’s College of Justice & Safety offers students an accelerated program that prepares them for successful intelligence careers. This certificate consists of 12 credits of undergraduate coursework threat analysis, counterintelligence, analysis, and intelligence process. Students must choose an additional 12 credits of electives in topics such as organized crime, rural crime and justice, immigration control, terrorism, and more.

All classes are taught in an accelerated eight-week format allowing students to move through courses quickly. Students are assigned an advisor when they start their certificate who helps them choose classes and can provide career advice. Free tutoring is also available. Credits earned as part of this program can be used to complete a bachelor’s degree should a student wish to pursue additional education.

  • Location: Richmond, KY
  • Duration: Two to four semesters
  • Tuition: $409 per credit
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

DIY Skill-Building in Intelligence Analysis & Studies

Taking the time to complete a bachelor’s, master’s, or even a certificate in intelligence analysis and studies can be challenging for busy professionals. For those looking to brush up on their intelligence skills or gain entry-level skills to jump-start their careers, there are several do-it-yourself options. This approach allows students to tailor their education to current workplace demands as well as stay abreast of the changing intelligence landscape.

Mercyhurst University

At Mercyhurst University, intelligence analysis professionals can complete online courses in intelligence. These classes are offered as stand-alone courses and do not require students to apply for a degree program but instead simply fill out a one-page admission application. The two primary courses offered are competitive intelligence and intelligence support to targeting. Each class costs $2,429 and is taught by faculty members who are experts in their field. Students will get to interact with their classmates through online discussions and debates.


The online education platform Udemy offers a Level 1 Intelligence Analyst Certification. Students who want to gain better critical thinking skills as well as learn analytical techniques will find this course helpful. The class is only $19.99 and features 2.5 hours of on-demand videos that allow students to complete the program at their own pace.

There are other courses on Udemy as well, such as intro to intelligence analysis for security management and advanced cyber and social media intelligence analysis.

Kimmy Gustafson
Kimmy Gustafson

Kimmy Gustafson is a freelance writer with a passion for sharing stories of bravery. Her love for world-traveling began when her family moved to Spain when she was six and since then, she has lived overseas extensively, visited six continents, and traveled to over 25 countries. She is fluent in Spanish and conversational in French. When not writing or parenting she can be found kiteboarding, hiking, or cooking.

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