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Mercyhurst University’s Institute for Intelligence Studies (Sponsored)

As a combat engineer in the U.S. Marine Corps, Cpl. Chip Buckley understood the importance of making informed decisions, and as he approached the completion of a B.S. degree in political science at Ohio University, he knew that his next decision would be a major factor on his way to achieving his goal of a career in the national security field. That was when he chose Mercyhurst University, a small liberal arts school in Erie, Pa., and its Institute for Intelligence Studies.

“Mercyhurst’s renowned intelligence program was an easy choice due to both its reputation within the intelligence community and the success of its graduates. Though I had military experience through my time in the Marine Corps, their Master of Science in Applied Intelligence offered me an extraordinary opportunity to enter into an entirely different aspect of national security. I have seen firsthand the success of prior-service alumni who have successfully established themselves in the intelligence community after their time at Mercyhurst.”

Institute for Intelligence Studies at Mercyhurst University

Cpl. Chip Buckley is congratulated on his upcoming graduation by Assistant Professor Steven Zidek, Lt. Col. U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Professor Zidek also advises Mercyhurst’s Veterans Association and is currently working with Cpl. Buckley on his master’s thesis. “Chip represents the new generation of veterans, active duty, and reserve personnel who seek to leverage their VA or military educational benefits in order to advance their career opportunities and prepare for the demands of the more specialized employment picture. Mercyhurst offers that opportunity.” Mercyhurst University photo

What Is a Degree in Applied Intelligence?

The applied intelligence master’s degree is designed to provide the necessary background for students to pursue careers as research and/or intelligence analysts in government agencies and private enterprises. The work of analysts, whether related to national security/peacekeeping intelligence, crime analysis, law enforcement intelligence, or intelligence for business or non-governmental organizations involves responding to the needs of decision-makers through research, analysis, writing and briefing analytic findings.


What Can I Offer an Employer When I Graduate?

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 concise, relevant 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 innovative research in the intelligence field.


Why Mercyhurst University?

Institute for Intelligence Studies at Mercyhurst University

The Center for Academic Engagement was unveiled in July, 2012. This “engagement center” serves as a hands-on, collaborative, high-tech learning environment and houses Mercyhurst’s Institute for Intelligence Studies. Mercyhurst University rendering

Mercyhurst’s intelligence studies program is well-known and well-respected in the intelligence community, including global recognition. Our graduates are employed as analysts in private corporations, government agencies and law enforcement all over the world.  The focus of their education at Mercyhurst has prepared them for a wide variety of professional opportunities:

Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Intelligence. You’ll learn about essential topics across the fields of national security, military or peacekeeping, law enforcement, private sector, and nongovernmental intelligence –providing graduates with an ability to apply their skills in a wide variety of employment settings. This provides you with more employment options after graduation.

An In-Demand Skill Set. Individuals with a skill set that enables them to research, analyze, write and communicate with sophistication are in demand, not only within the traditional intelligence community agencies, but also across the private sector.

Unparalleled Resources. The world-renowned Mercyhurst University Institute of Intelligence Studies, of which the applied intelligence program is a part, has skilled faculty, brand new educational facilities in Erie, Pa., robust online learning management systems and a strong alumni community to expand the learning of students. Through the institute, you’ll have the chance to learn in state-of-the art facilities and work on applied, real-world intelligence projects.

Applied Focus – Get the Experience! Beyond theory, students in the program apply what they learn in their classes, enabling program graduates to build their experience and résumés as they complete their studies.

Strong Placement Rates. Mercyhurst students within the applied intelligence program have been very successful finding employment, well above national averages for recent college graduates, in a diverse set of analytic and intelligence positions following graduation.

For more information:


What About Military Benefits?

The Applied Intelligence program is approved for all military benefits, both for veterans and active duty students. Also, Mercyhurst University has been officially designated as a Military Friendly School®, and many of the institute’s faculty have had careers in the military and other government service.

This was of particular importance to Cpl. Buckley. Because he is continuing his service in the reserves, he needed to be in a program with enough flexibility to meet those obligations. His instructors not only understood that need, but also served as informed mentors during his program.

“The professionalism and real-world military experience of the faculty ensured me that this program offered the best opportunity to link my military experience into a long-term, civilian career in the intelligence community.”Institute for Intelligence Studies at Mercyhurst University


I Can’t Move to Erie. Do you Offer the Program Online?

Yes! Not everyone is able to spend two years in Erie. Many others choose to take their courses online. The Master of Science in Applied Intelligence is offered fully online, year-round, with cohorts starting in both the Spring term (early March) and the Fall term (early September).

The online programs run on four 10-week terms a year. Students in the degree may take class(es) in all four terms, or they may choose to skip a term. How long it will take you to complete the degree depends on how many terms you choose to enroll and the number of classes you take in each term.

For more information:


Are There Other Program Options?

Yes. Many students choose the online Graduate Certificate in Applied Intelligence, a three-course, nine-credit program. This challenging and demanding academic experience provides students with a variety of analytical skills and exposure to the latest technologies in intelligence theory, communications, and research.

The goals of the program are to:

  • Introduce students to current intelligence theory and application,
  • build their intelligence analysis skills,
  • improve their intelligence writing abilities,
  • and strengthen their team management skills.

The courses are sequential and taken one per term, three terms in a row. The nine graduate credits awarded through the certificate may be used to partially satisfy the degree requirements for the Master of Science in Applied Intelligence.

For more information:


Do You Offer an Undergraduate Degree?

Yes. The Bachelor of Arts in Intelligence Studies is a campus-based program. It is not yet available online. For more information: for Intelligence Studies at Mercyhurst University

Cpl. Buckley agrees. “As I wind down my time at Mercyhurst, I have no doubt that it put me in the best possible position to utilize both my military experience and intelligence education to make the most impactful difference I can in national security.”


Sounds Great! How do I Apply?

We are now accepting applications for the Fall term, beginning in early September, 2014.

Find out more or apply now: