Master of Science in Intelligence Analysis

Discontinued Programs
The following programs have stopped accepting applications for admission as of December 20, 2017. These programs will be discontinued after enrolled students have completed the degree, transferred to another program or withdrawn from the program and the School of Education. Please contact the Public Safety Leadership Division for more information.

Division of Public Safety Leadership Program Office                                                                    
Phone: 410-516-9900


The Master of Science (MS) in Intelligence Analysis is a dynamic course of study for current intelligence analysts who are or aspire to be among the leaders of the Intelligence Community (IC). The program develops leadership skills and enhances the tradecraft and the analytical skills of professional in the field.

The program is built on six core themes:  excellent service, quality leadership, ethics and integrity, cooperation and collaboration, effective decision making, and the viability and sustainability, of free and open communities and society.

Students in our program become part of a cohort that reflects diversity in agency, experience, gender, and ethnicity.  The cohort approach builds trust and breaks down traditional barriers among agencies and promotes lasting relationships across-agency networks.

This 36-credit master’s degree program begins each January and is completed in less than two years in a blended format.  Each semester will include two face-to-face courses and one online course.  Our face-to-face classes are held at the university’s location in Columbia, Maryland.  A Saturday-only schedule allows students to maintain their current employment without interruption.


  • Gain leadership skills and principles necessary for producing intelligence of value.
  • Enhance creative, analytical, intuitive and strategic capabilities to make informed timely decisions.
  • Strengthen written, oral and visual presentation skills.
  • Acquire new research tools to collect and analyze diverse forms of data.
  • Learn the importance of ethics and integrity as a foundation for analytical debate and conclusion.
  • Build lasting relationships and networks with colleagues from various intelligence agencies and the contractor who support them.
  • Extensive support from faculty and staff.

The program consists of 12 three-credit courses for a total of 36 credits.


Year One

720.630 Applied Critical Thinking
Applied critical thinking is the foundation of intelligence analysis and logic is the foundation for applied critical thinking. Logic studies the methods and principles of correct reasoning and argumentation, and the language involved in such reasoning. Bad reasoning is at the root of most mistakes and failures in intelligence analysis. Good reasoning is a preventative and a remedy for such mistakes and failures. Thus, mastery of logic is a valuable first step in the study and practice of intelligence analysis. To that end, students in this course learn the parts and types of arguments, good vs. bad arguments, rules for making such distinctions, and methods for making such distinctions. This course also serves as a prerequisite for other courses in the Masters in Intelligence Analysis, especially The Ethics of Belief, Art and Science of Decision Making, and Structured Analytic Techniques.
720.635 Leadership and Organizational Behavior
Effective employees routinely take the “pulse” of their organization and know what it means. They develop a “sixth sense” about what works and does not work within their organization and the community they serve. Students assess how people in various positions influence organizational behavior and the systems – individual, group, and cultural – that contribute to the successful operation of today’s multifaceted service agencies. Through readings, case studies, and simulations, students compare organizational behaviors, such as internal communication, quality control, and marketing, to activities in their own agencies. They employ proven and innovative approaches to assessing organizations and developing ways to accomplish organizational tasks and goals.
720.609 Analytical Writing
The ability to justify and present an analytical conclusion in clear, succinct prose is essential for anyone supplying policy-makers with information they need to formulate a decision. Students consider traditional and innovative methods of intelligence briefing, focusing on the difference between accuracy and truth in nonfiction writing and how facts are woven into a narrative form. Students prepare written reports and presentations on a variety of topics and, in doing so, construct narratives, project credibility, convey recommendations, and reinforce key messages.
720.752 Strategic Thinking: Concept, Policy, Plan, and Practice
Strategic thinking sets a steady course for an individual task or an entire organization. It aids in confronting change, coping with crises, planning for transitions, and envisioning alternatives and new possibilities. It sustains people, programs, and assignments through changes in administration, shifts in demand for service, and political influence. Students discuss and debate strategic decisions that shaped modern history, including the use of military power to serve political ends. They examine the development of warfare from the 19th century to the present, emphasizing strategic and theoretical concepts. Through readings and discussion, students develop their strategic thinking skills and apply them to a myriad of case studies. They apply step-by-step methods to developing and implementing a strategy for their work unit. Students apply an array of techniques to assessing, modifying, and presenting strategic plans and motivating others to participate in the strategic planning process. They also examine their role in their agency’s and/or client’s strategic plan.
720.718 Terrorism: Concepts, Threats and Delivery
Students scrutinize the changing face of terrorism and terrorist threats, from a global endeavor to garner support for a cause, to small radical cells bent on causing harm for the sake of harm. They consider terrorism as a phenomenon and examine the counterforce options and constraints used to prevent and defeat terrorists. Myths, misperceptions, and hype are distinguished from fact. Students gain the tools necessary to identify and focus on legitimate threat to guide clients to address people, time, location, and behavior – the things most critical to preventing heinous terrorist acts from occurring. Through scenarios and case studies, students exhibit leadership skills in countering terrorist activity, helping other leaders and the agencies they serve maintain perspective, and minimizing panic and alarmist reaction to terrorist threat. Students identify and apply measured responses to the information they gain on crises and potential crises.Notes: This course is only available to students enrolled in Division of Public Safety Leadership programs.

720.701 Special Issues in Intelligence Analysis
New information affecting the intelligence community emerges every day. Subject matter on threat, response, groups, factions, and resources is voluminous. Specific areas warrant special attention. This course provides an added dimension to the degree program. Colloquia consist of half-day and full-day programs on important topics. They include guest lectures, panel discussions, and open debate. Colloquia supplement information provided in other courses and present new subject matter. Content is designed to engage students in addressing urgent, unexpected, and timely issues that arise. In the colloquia, students have the opportunity to raise issues and apply their analytical skills to an array of topics. This course includes a field experience.

Year Two

720.702 Art and Science of Decision Making
Some of the latest research into decision making indicates that fully one half of all decisions fail when one considers the criteria of whether the decision made was implemented and remained implemented for a period of at least two years. Further, and more disturbingly, the research indicates that two thirds of all decisions are made using bad or failure-prone practices, contributing to the high rate of failure. Failed decisions at both the personal and organizational level carry incalculably high costs in real dollars and in terms of lost credibility and missed opportunities. In some cases, bad decisions become fiascos and debacles. Interestingly, there are three common blunders and seven traps that account for most of the poor choices we make. This course will move beyond the research to explore the practical applications of how people actually go about the process of making smart decisions. Students will work with both case examples and with their own work-related and personal decisions as part of the work.
720.710 Structured Analytical Techniques
In a highly diverse society with rapidly changing technological advances, leadership and management requires a broad understanding of factors that impact human behavior. Through the study of dispositional and situational influences on behavior, the leader is able to understand their impact on the performance of individuals within an organization leading to a more informed application of management practices. Moreover, through a grounding in social psychology, personality psychology, and neuroscience, the leader is better equipped to build/maintain resilience in self and others and to foster resilient cultures.
720.600 History of Espionage
Every analyst stands on a foundation created by the long history of the profession, but few have studied the history carefully. Students will seek answers to timeless questions by exploring classic examples of intelligence gathering and analysis through the different periods of human history. Beginning with some classic, ancient examples, and working through the Middle Ages, students will note the advances to the profession during the Elizabethan period and consider how those forms of intelligence analysis have influenced current practices. From an American perspective, students will explore the intelligence activities during the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and World Wars I and II, ending at the beginning of the modern era around 1950.
720.604 Ethics of Belief
Students explore concepts such as logic, epistemology, and ethics and how the relationship between them influences the gathering and analysis of information and subsequent decision making. They develop and enhance skills necessary to conduct basic and complex analysis, routinely and in crisis situations. Through discussion, debate, readings, and research, students seek to answer several important questions. How much data or evidence should one collect and consider before drawing a conclusion? Can one base a conclusion solely on data or does it always reflect influences such as beliefs, will, politics, history, and other factors? To what degree is an employee accountable for undesirable consequences of a thoughtful, well-researched, logical decision? What is the difference between belief and knowledge and why does this matter to individuals, organizations, and political communities when drawing conclusions?
720.750 Case Studies in Intelligence Analysis
Learning through the experience of others is one of the best tools for building and enhancing skills and thought processes. Case studies from the public and private sector provide an opportunity for students to examine how leaders apply intelligence information to functions such as planning, policy-making, resource allocation, and field operations. Through the application of principles learned in previous classes and new ones offered in this course, students critique and debate approaches to a series of cases involving intelligence analysis. Through reading and analyzing case studies and interacting with guest lecturers, students identify strategies for resolving actual situations. Students present their own experiences and examples to enhance discussion of the cases. Students gain and demonstrate critical thinking skills as they apply their experience to solving the cases presented in class.
720.820 Current Issues: Capstone
As a culminating course, students discuss the major issues that recurred throughout the program and the creative solutions they developed to deal with these issues. This course draws upon the knowledge students gained in previous courses and applies it to improving the quality of their work and services provided to customers. Students develop an array of new tools, such as effective questioning, and apply them to improving the products delivered to the people they serve. Through readings, lectures, dialogue, and debate, students apply the principles of enlightened leadership to challenges they face every day. Students develop a course of action to affect positive change in their current assignment and assess their experience in the degree program.