Skip Navigation

Bachelor of Arts in Intelligence Studies




Program Description

This degree provides instruction in the multidisciplinary field of intelligence studies and is designed for students who are currently employed or wish to pursue positions as military, civilian, or corporate intelligence specialists. The program's core courses impart substantive knowledge and analytic skills required by all professionals in the intelligence community. Students may also pursue concentrated study in several functional areas or intelligence sub-fields. Student learning is greatly enhanced by the diversity of program professors with strong professional and academic backgrounds in intelligence studies, many who currently work in the U.S. national intelligence community.

Read More

Program Objectives

In addition to the institutional and general education level learning objectives, the Bachelor of Arts in Intelligence Studies also seeks the following specific learning outcomes of its graduates. With reference to each of the respective areas of intelligence studies, graduates in this degree program will be able to:

  • Describe the evolution, structures, functions, capabilities, and activities of the U.S. national intelligence community.
  • Detail the structures, functions, capabilities, and contributions of national intelligence consumers to include the national command authority, executive departments, Congress, military services, joint/unified commands, and law enforcement agencies.
  • Specify the intelligence cycle including intelligence planning, data collection, data exploitation, analysis, production, and dissemination phases.
  • Differentiate among the fundamental capabilities and limitations and means of tasking human, geographic/imagery, signals, measurement and technical and open intelligence data sources.
  • Detail the current permissions and restrictions on U.S. national intelligence community activities as prescribed by federal law, executive and agency directives, and the intelligence oversight system.
  • Conduct basic research and compose professional and academic analyses on issues critical to intelligence consumers.

Visit Career Services

There exist a variety of career options and opportunities potentially available to students after graduating with a degree in intelligence studies. Many national government agencies and international organizations seek out individuals who possess an understanding of intelligence collections and analysis, an ability to do research, write, and evaluate changes in the world. Students specializing in intelligence will have competency in these skills after completing their degree at American Public University System. The below provides a brief sketch of what types of career opportunities maybe available for those with a degree in intelligence. 

Email Career ServicesOverview

Useful Skills within the Intelligence Field

Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.

Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Active Listening - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.

Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react that way.

Suggestions to Enhance your Degree
  • Participate in an internship at an agency. Most are in the D.C. area, but some agencies, like the DIA or FBI, have internships all over the country. Use the career services internship listing to get an idea of what is available.
  • Learn to use software appropriate for work in intelligence (Analysts Notebook, etc.).
  • Maintain personal integrity and behavior standards consistent with maintenance of a security clearance.
  • Join the Reserves or National Guard as an Intelligence Analyst or Officer in order to gain experience that will help you when applying for positions with national agencies or contractors.
  • Work with a professor to write and publish an article or essay in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • Develop a deep understanding of foreign policy, international politics, and U.S. national security.
Must-Know Security Clearance Information

Security Clearance

Although not required for all positions, obtaining a security clearance is important when trying to enter the intelligence field of homeland security. While not all positions require applicants to already have one in place, most do require that applicants be able to obtain a clearance. It is important to understand what is required to obtain a clearance, the limitations, and how one is obtained before beginning the job search. One key piece of information to keep in mind: never trust a company offering preapproval for a clearance, no matter how small the fee they are charging.

Clearance Basics

  • There are three basic clearance classifications: Confidential, Secret and Top Secret. Within each clearance level there are different levels of clearance.
  • Security clearances can be issued by many U.S. government agencies, including the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Energy (DoE), the Department of Justice (FBI and CIA both fall under the DoJ umbrella).
  • To acquire a clearance, individuals must be sponsored by an employer and in a position for which a clearance is required.
  • Individuals who are naturalized U.S. citizens may acquire a clearance in the same way that a natural-born U.S. citizen might.
  • Although non-U.S. citizens are prohibited from obtaining a clearance, they may be granted Limited Access Authorization (LAA) in circumstances where they possess critical skills or qualifications.


Career Options

Within the Intelligence Community (IC) there are a wide a range of positions available, drawing on diverse disciplines and intersecting various areas of academic and professional specialization. Although position descriptions detailing each position and a comprehensive list of disciplines may not be available, some examples include engineering, business, research technology, finance, computer science, cyber security analysis, acquisitions, and economics. Additional information on the types of opportunities the intelligence community has to offer can be found on

As mentioned above, the intelligence field offers various types of opportunities, for which O*Net, a website run by the U.S. Department of Labor, has position descriptions. Related job titles include Business Intelligence Analyst, Political Scientist, Intelligence Analyst, Criminal Investigators and Special Agents, and Police Detective.

While not included in O*Net’s catalogue of job titles and position descriptions, there are a number of key search terms or job titles that job seekers might use when searching for positions in intelligence, including All Source Analyst, Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), Imagery Intelligence (IMINT), Human Intelligence (HUMIT), and Measurement and Signature Intelligence (MASINT).

Getting Hired: Government Agencies, Organizations and Search Engines


Return to Top

General Total Credits - 121 Hours
Core Requirements
27 Hours
Intelligence and Homeland Security
3 hours

The course examines the evolution of the role intelligence has played in the development of homeland security strategies. Particular focus is on the ways in which intelligence policy and oversight influence homeland security decisions.

Research Methods in Intelligence Studies
3 hours

This course prepares students to employ basic research methods and writing skills to produce sound research papers and analytical products. Students will learn how to develop the elements of a research strategy, critically read and evaluate data, and communicate their findings in coherent, well-organized written work.

U.S. Intelligence Community
3 hours

RECOMMENDED AS SECOND PROGRAM COURSE. This course surveys the U.S. Intelligence Community, with an emphasis on its current structure. Students review the members of the community and distinguish their key roles and missions. Students also assess the impact of the post-9/11 restructuring of the intelligence community.

Introduction to Intelligence
3 hours

This course is an introduction to analysis and addresses the five principle categories of study in strategic intelligence: (1) The role, purpose, and history of strategic intelligence analysis; (2) the use of intelligence to carry-out foreign policy objectives; (3) The nature and evolution of congressional oversight; (4) the role of strategic intelligence collection to support strategic decision making; and (5) the role of counterintelligence at the highest levels of government.

Intelligence Collection
3 hours

A multidisciplinary survey of Imagery Intelligence (IMINT), Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), Human Intelligence (HUMINT), and Measurement and Signature Intelligence (MASINT) is conducted. The background, capabilities, and limitations of each intelligence collection method are covered. The course focuses on planning activities which provide an integrated approach to intelligence collection.

Law and Ethics in Intelligence
3 hours

This course examines the legal foundations and oversight mechanisms for the US intelligence community. It also explores the major ethical problems confronting the intelligence profession. Students will investigate the difficult legal and ethical issues in the intelligence community.

Critical Analysis
3 hours

This course provides an introduction to critical thinking, intelligence analysis, and the use of structured methodologies. Functions associated with the processing of information to include perception, memory, and the evaluation of information are examined. Conscious and unconscious cognitive biases along with strategies to mitigate their impact are also assessed. (Prerequisite: INTL300).

Pre Reqs: Research Methods in Intelligence Studies(INTL300),Research, Analysis, and Writing(COLL300)

Threat Analysis
3 hours

With states as the level of analysis, this course examines their political, economic, and social condition which allows an understanding of threats to the state and their vulnerabilities. This course provides students with analytic procedures to assess a state’s military capabilities, strengths and weaknesses of their political and economic systems, and challenges presented by their social systems.

Foreign Intelligence Organizations
3 hours

This course introduces students to several foreign intelligence organizations that continue to play a significant role in U.S. strategic intelligence, foreign policy, and national security strategy planning. Each country’s organizational structure, their collection methods, operational strengths and weaknesses will be assessed with the objective of evaluating their overall relative effectiveness.

Concentration Requirements
27 Hours
Intelligence Analysis
3 hours

This course builds upon the foundations of critical analysis taught in INTL 401, expanding the student's repertoire of analytical techniques. Students explore creative analysis techniques, including hypothesis generation, red-teaming, and adversarial collaboration. Students focus on intelligence as a service to decision makers, including principles of customer-focused writing and techniques for analytic problems designed to provide tactical, operational, or strategic support.(Prerequisite: INTL300).

Pre Reqs: Research Methods in Intelligence Studies(INTL300),Research, Analysis, and Writing(COLL300)

Counterintelligence Operations
3 hours

This course provides students with an introduction to counterintelligence operations and techniques. Students will study passive and active counterintelligence measures, principles and processes of counterintelligence operations, its relationship to covert action, and the legal and ethical issues involved. Through a series of practical exercises, students will develop a sound knowledge of the practice of counterintelligence.

Counterintelligence Analysis
3 hours

This course provides students with an introduction to counterintelligence analysis of foreign intelligence entities. Students will learn and apply aspects of counterintelligence basic principles, concepts, core competencies, functions, and missions as outlined in the US National Counterintelligence Strategy. Students will be instructed in the analytical process, denial and deception identification, analytical techniques, threat profiling procedures, and analytical tools and databases.

3 hours

During this course, students will develop a comprehensive knowledge of counterintelligence, and how intelligence agencies, organizations, and military units in the U.S. use both offensive and defensive counterintelligence to guard and protect U.S. national security interests from foreign intelligence entities. Students will study and analyze counterintelligence, learn and discuss multi-discipline counterintelligence support to intelligence operations, counterintelligence collection process, and analyze how cultural, social, and technological changes affect counterintelligence.

3 hours

This course studies the history of intelligence and espionage and reviews ancient espionage techniques, profiles famous agents throughout history, and focuses on such intelligence issues as SIGINT and HUMINT. The bulk of the course concentrates on 20th century intelligence, assessing changes in intelligence collection and priorities and analyzing how technological changes have affected intelligence collection.

Denial and Deception
3 hours

This course will be an overview of Denial and Deception possibilities. It will review the history, concepts, and implications of Denial and Deception on national security decision making. It will also discuss foreign and domestic case studies, tradecraft, and the different methodologies associated with this form of intelligence training.

Intelligence and Assassination
3 hours

INTL 414 Intelligence and Assassination is a study of both the historical and contemporary use of assassination, with emphasis on assassination or targeted killing as a means to counter terrorism. In the historical portion, the course focuses on assassination as a means for gaining and maintaining power. In the latter portion, the course focuses on assassination as a means of overthrowing governments and to counter terrorism. In this latter portion the course evaluates the use of intelligence and special operations forces and the role they play in the state’s practice of assassination.

Covert Action
3 hours

This course provides a historical account of the use of covert action in both peace and war. Covert actions are those in which an operation may become known to the enemy or the world, but the responsible parties cannot be traced or proven. Current U.S. intelligence community and Special Forces capabilities and limitations for covert action are also covered.

Applied Geospatial Intelligence
3 hours

This course is an exploration of the historical development, capabilities and the constellation of remote sensing and other intelligence collection platforms available for use by decision makers in intelligence driven policies, homeland defense, and law enforcement. The focus will be on how geospatial products are applied to produce analyses of terrain, climate, natural resources, boundaries, various infrastructures, demographics, and intent and capabilities of various nations and groups in the context of the geospatial environment.

Signals Intelligence and Security
3 hours

This course examines Signals Intelligence also known by the acronym SIGINT. It covers the various methods and modes of collection, analysis and use of strategic and operational level communications (COMINT) and electronics (ELINT) intelligence. The course also reviews the security means available to protect friendly communications (COMSEC) and electronic emissions countermeasures (EECM).

Open Source Collection
3 hours

This course provides and examination of the various unclassified materials including: news services, data bases, government documents, newspapers, journals, magazines, yearbooks and surveys, radio and TV sources, short-wave broadcasts, internet, indexes, materials from various organizations, and country studies.

Human Intelligence
3 hours

This course is an introduction to Human Intelligence (HUMINT). The course will define and examine HUMINT in context with the other intelligence collection disciplines. Through the use of focused discussion supported by directed readings and by applying critical thought to an incremental research project that requires a HUMINT solution, the student will understand the dynamics and functions of human source intelligence as a discipline.

3 hours

This course examines intelligence interrogation from a conceptual perspective that provides students with the tools to develop an overall understanding of interrogation and practical interrogation concepts as they can be applied to intelligence interrogation. This course addresses legal issues, verbal and non-verbal behavior, interrogator and subjects, environmental and cultural issues, coercive practices, as well as current events as they apply to the concepts of intelligence interrogation.

Criminal Intelligence Analysis
3 hours

The rapid increase in multinational analysis and transnational organized crime, corporate drug trafficking organizations, and the impact of crime on national and international policy has created a critical need for law enforcement intelligence experts in the relatively new field of criminal intelligence. The course provides the student with an introduction to the methods and techniques of criminal intelligence analysis and strategic organized crime. It will demonstrate how to predict trends, weaknesses, capabilities, intentions, changes, and warnings needed to dismantle criminal organizations.

Geographic Information Systems I
3 hours

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) contain a powerful set of tools for data acquisition, management, query and display. This course will provide students first with a substantial foundation in the history of cartography and mapmaking. The second major emphasis of this course will merge both theoretical and historical information with hands-on practical training utilizing the basic tools provided with the GIS software. Students will become familiar with the importance of metadata, editing and updating metadata and how this is important to the success or failure of the dataset as a whole.

Geographic Information Systems II
3 hours

Using the ArcGIS software, students will be taught how to manipulate datasets based on complex queries in several advanced platforms within the GIS environment including geospatial analyses, creating basic models, interpolation among multiple data points, and advanced data table editing and creation. Students will learn methodologies for determining the presence or absence of patterns and identify associations among different data layers. Additionally, students will be taught to examine cases where GIS could have been used but was not, and postulate how this system could have improved analysis within each case. This course will focus on vector data analysis techniques only. (Prerequisite: IS418 Geographic Information Systems I). (Prerequisite: INTL432).

Pre Reqs: Geographic Information Systems I(INTL432)

Cyber Warfare
3 hours

This course provides an overview of cyber warfare and the potential impact of its use by military, terrorist, and criminal organizations. By studying the operation of computer networks, the student will gain an appreciation of how they have both benefited society and made portions of its infrastructure more vulnerable. An overview of cyber weaponry will be presented, and various offensive and defensive strategies will be examined via case studies

Tactical Intelligence
3 hours

This course examines the impact of terrain and weather on tactics, employment of multi-discipline intelligence collections, and principles of tactical intelligence analysis form the core of the course. Students develop an appreciation for the limits of process in applying the art of intelligence to deal with tactical problems and how tactical intelligence theory and practice are utilized in support of ground operations.

Intelligence and Narcotics
3 hours

This course surveys the role of narcotics and the illicit drug trade as risks to national security, international development, and progress. The purpose is to assess both domestic and foreign intelligence gathering and analysis, with an emphasis on counter-narcotics policies and strategies. Students will be able to critically analyze, strategically assess effective intelligence collection, and evaluate the impact of current drug interdiction efforts by federal domestic and international agencies.

Terrorism and Counterterrorism
3 hours

This course examines terrorism as a social and political instrument from past to present. Topics include comparing insurgencies and terrorism, the paths to radicalization, the roots of extreme Islam, U.S. domestic terrorism issues, counter terrorism, national & domestic intelligence resources employed against terrorism, and a review of U.S. National Security Policy regarding terrorism.

Terrorism and U.S. National Security
3 hours

This course assesses the impact of terrorism on U.S. national security. With a focus on essential elements related to terrorism as well as on U.S. anti-terrorism and counter-terrorism policies and their challenges, the student will develop a comprehensive understanding of how the United States views terrorism and how its lasting threat affects national security.

Illicit Finance
3 hours

Modern criminal business, to include drug trafficking, trafficking in people or weapons, gold and precious gem smuggling, and even terrorism are reliant on how such activities are funded. Without some form of funding, illicit actors and illicit behaviors would have difficulty existing. This course will explore the shadowy world of illicit finance, from money laundering to Hawalas, to fraud, trade, and corruption used to fund illicit actions.

Forecasting Terrorism
3 hours

This course examines the theoretical underpinnings of the phenomenon of terrorism, actual and planned cases of chemical and biological weapons use, and the modern threat of improvised weapons of mass destruction. The course surveys traditional and newer methods of forecasting terrorism: intuition-based, profiling, conflict vulnerability analysis and prognosis (early warning), etc. It concludes with a brief overview of the state of the terrorist threat almost a decade after 9/11

Iraq Country Analysis
3 hours

Explores the development of the future Iraqi state. Students first study Iraqi history through the 2003 fall of Saddam Hussein. The role of ethnic and religious rivalries is covered in-depth. Post-2003 stability and development activities are also investigated.

Institutional Requirements
3 Hours
Foundations of Online Learning
3 hours

This course is designed to provide a solid foundation for undergraduate study in the online environment. Students will be introduced to the tools and resources available in the online classroom and campus. Students will be introduced to online research, formatting, and citation styles. APUS policy and procedure is addressed. There is an emphasis on communication to assist students in the transition to the online environment.

General Education
34 Hours

Final Program Requirement
3 Hours
Senior Seminar in Intelligence Studies
3 hours

The Senior Seminar in Intelligence Studies is required for all majors. This capstone experience for Intelligence Studies majors will review and integrate their academic coursework, strengthen their understanding of intelligence research methodologies, and relate their academic preparation to their post graduation goals. Students will conduct original research and present their findings to the class in written and e-portfolio formats. Student must have SENIOR standing to register.

General Electives
27 Hours
Electives are typically courses available at your degree level that are not currently required as a part of your degree program/academic plan. Please visit the catalog to view a complete listing of courses.

Total Credits (121 Hours)
Program Completion Rates, Median Debt and More

View more details regarding our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information.


American Public University System, American Public University, and American Military University are not affiliated with American University or the U.S. Military. American Public University System (APUS) is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). © 2015 American Public University System | 111 W. Congress Street, Charles Town, WV 25414 | Toll Free: 1-877-755-2787 | Privacy Policy | Terms