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Career Guide to JMU Majors:
Intelligence Analysis

Career Guide to JMU Majors

The Major

Who Succeeds

Careers

Internships

Learn More


The Major

The Intelligence Analysis major is housed in the Integrated Science and Technology Department within the College of Integrated Science and Engineering.

Concentrations:
National Security
Competitive Analysis

Admission and Progression Standards:
Visit the Major Snapshots site to learn more about the admission and progression standards of this major.

Description of Major

Have you ever wanted to assess global problems (such as terrorism, WMD proliferation, cyber-crime, human and narcotics trafficking, or the risk of global pandemics) for one of America’s sixteen Intelligence Agencies (such as the CIA, NSA, DIA, FBI…)? Have you ever wanted to help improve America’s homeland security efforts against these threats? Have you ever wanted to analyze markets or competing companies for a major corporation? Have you ever wanted to help a corporation strategize for success in the highly competitive global business environment of the Information Age? Have you ever wondered how to pursue a college degree in a way that will help you get a job in corporate or government intelligence? What courses should you take? What major should you have? How can you be sure you are getting the right skills for the right time? The B.S. in Intelligence Analysis was created specifically for students who want to become intelligence analysts (in either government or private industry). It will uniquely equip you to engage unrecognized, complex, and multidimensional challenges with innovative, rigorous, and transdisciplinary methods to produce proactive, reliable, and integrated solutions. You will learn to employ an innovative and integrated new information-centric approach to problem-solving by adept navigation through the expanding complex network of data, information, knowledge, and understanding. At each step, you will be enabled to employ the major skill sets to help you become a complete, versatile, and highly desirable employee.

At each step, you will be enabled to employ four major skill sets to help you become a complete, versatile, and highly desirable employee (course areas are listed in parentheses):

  • Cognitive Skill Set (Advanced Critical Thinking and Reasoning: Hypothesis Testing, Causal Analysis, Counterfactual Reasoning, and Strategy Assessment)
  • Computational Skill Set (Integration of Technological Tools: Data Mining, Data    Modeling, Dynamic Systems Modeling, Information Visualization, Simulation, and Knowledge Discovery)
  • Communicative Skill Set (Interpersonal Skills: Oral and Written Communication, Teamwork, Leadership, and Ethical/Legal Reasoning)
  • Contextual Skill Set (Two Options for Two Career Paths):
    • Option One: National Security Intelligence Track: Social, Political, and Cultural Insight: Ethnic, Religious, and Linguistic Group Analysis, International Security Assessment, National Political Assessment, and Geographic Analysis)
    • Option Two: Global Competitive Intelligence Track: Economic, Market, and Managerial Understanding: Economic Analysis, Database Management, Market Assessment, and Global Business Strategy).

You will also have the opportunity to develop a customized Subject-Matter Specialty to equip you to address a major national security threat, business challenge, or geographic area. And, everything will be based on a foundational understanding of the structure and process of the current Intelligence Community (in both government and private industry).

The two concentrations offered in the IA program are Competitive Analysis and National Security. The concentrations consist of a 12 hour sequence of courses. The Competitive Analysis concentration is designed for students intending to work in a corporate environment and focuses on the skills and knowledge needed to apply the techniques to problems in finance, accounting, and marketing. The National Security concentration is designed for students intending to work in government, in either the civilian or military arena. It provides background theory and knowledge needed to successfully use the techniques taught to solve problems with international scope and ramifications.

Tell me more about this field of study

The aftermath of 9/11, the War on Terrorism, and the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have lead to a massive expansion of the Intelligence Community. Many agencies are rapidly growing and looking for new entry-level analysts with unique educational backgrounds. In addition, many existing analysts (up to 1/3 by some estimates) are within 5 years of retirement. As well, more and more businesses are developing competitive intelligence positions, and many corporate jobs are now listed as “analyst” positions. The JMU Intelligence Analysis program has been specifically designed to be a unique education for future intelligence analysts. It has a strong distinctive commitment to developing, teaching, and integrating 1) a systematic information-centric approach to intelligence, 2) the newest and most advanced methods of analytic reasoning and 3) the most critical new technologies into the intelligence process. The program was developed over an extensive period with feedback from experts in the field. A successful JMU Intelligence Analysis major will have a very distinctive education drawing from some of the most advanced new methods of analysis that are available in an undergraduate major.

Common majors or minors that complement this major

In general, the IA major is considered too demanding to be paired with another major (unless a student is prepared to stay for more than 4 years) but minors that could complement this major include: Africana Studies, Asian Studies, Business Analytics, Computer Information Systems, Computer Science, Conflict Analysis and Intervention, Criminal Justice, Economics, Geography, Global Religions and Global Issues, Human Science, Integrated Science and Technology, Latin American Studies, Middle Eastern Communities and Migrations, Modern Foreign Languages, Philosophy, Political Science, Russian Studies, Statistics, Telecommunications, and many others. Highly recommended Minors include: Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Geographic Science, Languages (Arabic, Chinese, Persian).


Characteristics of Successful Students

The Intelligence Analysis Major is ideal for any student whose career goal is to work for the US government (especially the Intelligence Community), or as a global business analyst or strategist. Successful IA students have often broad interests in a wide variety of fields including problem-solving and reasoning, employing technology, understanding other cultures and contexts, and engaging other people as a leader or vital team-member.


Careers

Most IA majors are likely to pursue careers in either the US Intelligence Community, or in a private corporation. As such, there are many potential job descriptions that one might fulfill:

  • Business Analyst
  • Counter-terrorism Analyst
  • Country/Area Analyst
  • Diplomatic Analyst
  • Economic Analyst
  • Intelligence Analyst
  • Law Enforcement
  • Market Analyst
  • Military Analyst
  • Political Analyst
  • Sales Analyst
  • Security Analyst

Who employs graduates?

Federal and State Government Agencies (including all 16 US intelligence agencies), Military, Law Enforcement, Private Research Firms, Several US and Multinational Corporations, Colleges/Universities, Energy Companies, Engineering Firms, Environmental Agencies, Manufacturing Companies, Pollution Control Agencies, and Telecommunication Companies.


Internships and Practicum Experiences

All Intelligence Analysis Majors will be encouraged to serve as a Summer intern at an intelligence agency or company as part of their degree. The Intelligence Analysis Program has been structured so that successful students will be strong competitors for internships. And, students will have appropriate assistance (where possible) to help them secure an internship in an area appropriate to their chosen specialty.


Learn More

Contacts
Intelligence Analysis Major Advisor: Dr. Noel Hendrickson, hendrinx@jmu.edu
Intelligence Analysis Major Director: Dr. Joe Marchal, marchajh@jmu.edu

Websites
Become an FBI Special Agent
Careers in Homeland Security
Intelligence Analysis
Intelligence Analysis Careers at the FBI
Intelligence Analysts
Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals 
U.S. Intelligence Community

A broad range of resources on career fields, internships, and job search information is also available in the Career & Academic Planning Resource Center.

Make an appointment with a CAP career counselor to learn more about this major and your career options.

A few titles from our Resource Center related to this field include:


© Career & Academic Planning, James Madison University, 2013

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from JMU Career & Academic Planning. Content for each major has been written/reviewed by faculty in the respective department and is revised each year. Requests to update content can be submitted to the Career Guide editor, Nina Stensby-Hurst.