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 military, national security, or political information. However, with so much intelligence available, leadership often has to rely on trained intelligence analysts to help them sift through the important details.

While intelligence analysts can enter this career from many different paths, most complete an intelligence analysis and studies program. 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, analyzing 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 their gathered data 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 languages, 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 no standardized test requirements exist.

  • Location: San Antonio, TX
  • Duration: Two semesters
  • Tuition: $2,262.18 per class (residents); $5,328.48 per class (non-residents)
  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)

Indiana State University

The online bachelor 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. In addition, all students must complete an internship with valuable hands-on experience.

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

  • Location: Terre Haute, IN
  • Duration: Four years
  • Tuition: $432 per credit (residents); $445 per credit (non-residents)
  • 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 and 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. Four required courses are in data collection, intelligence, operations, and national security. In addition, 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. Depending on a student’s availability, students can complete this program full-time or part-time. Graduates of this program are prepared for jobs in intelligence security in both the public and private sectors. In addition, 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 and 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 with intelligence roles. Students can choose one of three concentrations to complete: analysis for homeland security, intelligence community operations, and analysis, or remote sensing.

  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Duration: 12 to 18 months
  • Tuition: $36,800 total
  • 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. In addition, 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 espionage, 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: $4,405 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 in threat analysis, counterintelligence, analysis, and intelligence process. In addition, 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, which helps them choose classes. Free tutoring is available. Graduates can use credits from this program to complete a bachelor’s degree.

  • Location: Richmond, KY
  • Duration: Two to four semesters
  • Tuition: $421 per credit
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Mercyhurst University – Department of Intelligence Studies

At Mercyhurst University, intelligence analysis professionals can complete an online certificate program and master of science in applied intelligence. Both programs are offered online, and graduates from these programs go on to work for the CIA, NSA, the FBI, and the United States military.

The 12-credit online graduate certificate program is offered at the master’s level, and courses in this program can be applied toward a master’s degree. The two-year online master’s of science program features 34 to 36 credits, small class sizes, and requires students to earn 200 hours of internship intelligence analyst experience with government agencies, national organizations, or a corporation.

  • Location: Erie, PA
  • Duration: One to four semesters
  • Tuition: $955 per credit (certificate); $985 per credit (master’s degree)
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

University of Arizona – Online

The University of Arizona offers a bachelor of applied science in intelligence and information operations. This 120-credit program was ranked #1 by the Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence in 2021. This is a two-year degree completion program, meaning that once admitted, students can transfer up to 60 credits earned from a regionally accredited institution to earn their bachelor’s degree.

Graduates from this program develop knowledge and skills that meet the US National Security imperatives through educational and experiential exposure. This program offers three emphases: operational intelligence, information warfare, and law enforcement intelligence.

  • Location: Tucson, AZ
  • Duration: Two years
  • Tuition: $500 per credit
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Notre Dame College – Online

Notre Dame College offers an online bachelor of arts in intelligence studies. This 45-credit two-year program is designed for transfer students and will accept up to 90 transfer credits. Courses are offered in 8-week terms and include topics such as terrorism, competitive business intelligence, methods of financial investigation and research, intelligence and national security, advanced research and analysis, and writing for intelligence.

The teaching faculty in this program are current or former intelligence analysis professionals and are available outside of class for advising sessions. Graduates from this program can pursue careers in intelligence analysis or apply to the master of arts in national security and intelligence studies in their senior year.

  • Location: South Euclid, OH
  • Duration: Two years
  • Tuition: $505 per credit
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

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. However, there are several do-it-yourself options for those looking to brush up on their intelligence skills or gain entry-level skills to jump-start their careers. This approach allows students to tailor their education to current workplace demands and stay abreast of the changing intelligence landscape.


Coursera is a global online learning platform that partners with more than 275 universities and companies worldwide to provide affordable and certifiable online learning to individuals and organizations. Coursera offers more than 700 intelligence analyst options from IE Business School, Google, IBM, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Courses last anywhere from one week to six months, with the longer courses offering career certificate opportunities. Coursera courses are 100 percent self-paced and can be completed anytime, anywhere.


The online education platform Udemy offers a Level 1 Intelligence Analyst Certification. Students who want to gain better critical thinking skills and 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, 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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