Cover Photo Image

Intelligence Analysis

Overview 

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

 

Admission and Progression Standards

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

Description of Major

The Bachelor of Science degree in Intelligence Analysis provides a multi-disciplinary education for students who seek careers as analysts, with a specialization in intelligence analysis.

The degree integrates knowledge from a variety of academic disciplines (philosophy, history, political science, technology, business) and combines that with professionally oriented knowledge and skills.

Students learn innovative ways to structure their thinking to assess complex real-world problems, along with how technology can be employed to acquire data, evaluate that data, and communicate it effectively to others.

 

More About the Field

Intelligence analysis is the analysis of information to support decision making in a range of different fields.

Intelligence functions—and intelligence analysts—exist in eight different domains. In the public sector (i.e. government), there are intelligence analysts supporting decision makers in the national security, military, homeland security, and law enforcement sectors. There are also intelligence analysts in the private sector, supporting decision makers in competitive and private sector security intelligence domains. Finally, there are intelligence analysts specializing in technology in the cyber intelligence and geospatial intelligence domains.

In all eight of these intelligence domains, analysts acquire the data, assess its significance, and communicate those assessments to clients who then make decisions. The analyst is not the primary collector nor the primary decision maker, but instead is the “expert” who supports the decision making process. The core skills of the intelligence analyst entail: research, reading, thinking, writing, and speaking (i.e. communicating effectively).

The IA program provides a common platform for students to learn how to be analysts, with courses emphasizing research, reading, thinking, writing, and speaking, and the use of technologies to facilitate that. The topics addressed in the courses could cover subjects from any of the eight intelligence domains, such as terrorism (national security) or cyber crime (law enforcement). There are so many different possible topics covered in the IA degree that it is impossible to list them here, but many of them address security issues from various perspectives.

Specialization

Some analysts are subject matter experts on specific subjects in their domain. They specialize on particular issues, questions, or problems—which, in the national security domain for example—could include terrorism, or Russia, or Iran. Other analysts are generalists, who are able to learn new subjects quickly, and can switch from topic to topic easily.

As part of the IA major, students are required to complete either a minor or another major in a different field. This is to ensure they “specialize” in knowledge (subject matter experts) or skills (generalists) relevant to one of the eight intelligence domains or its respective analytic disciplines.

For all intents and purposes, this makes the IA major a “choose your own adventure” for each student, in the sense that he or she can combine the content of the IA major with any other minor (or major) across campus to create a subject matter specialty that reflects his or her own interests and preferences.

Complementary Majors and Minors 

Intelligence Analysis students are required to complete a minor or a second major.

In terms of suggestions to consider for students interested in specific intelligence domains:

  • National Security: Varied (Political Science; International Affairs; Public Policy and Administration; Russian Studies; Asian Studies; Middle Eastern Communities and Migrations; Modern Foreign Languages; Latin American Studies; Africana Studies; Global Religions and Global Issues)
  • Military: Military Science (ROTC)
  • Homeland Security: Justice Studies
  • Law Enforcement: Criminal Justice
  • Competitive (Business): A minor in the College of Business (Business Analytics; Computer Information Systems)
  • Private Sector Security: see “national security” above
  • Geospatial: Geographic Science
  • Cyber: Computer Science

Characteristics of Successful Students

The BS in Intelligence Analysis is for students who want to become analysts in a variety of industries, including government and the private sector. Successful students in the major often have broad interests in a wide variety of fields, are curious about all sorts of issues and problems, and enjoy learning and applying new technologies to understand them. Students who do well enjoy research, reading, thinking, writing, and speaking.

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?

Intelligence analysis program graduates are hired by government organizations and agencies at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as by private industry. Some specific employers who've hired our graduates recently include: Accenture, Booz Allen Hamilton, Capital One, Deloitte Consulting, Local Police Departments, Northrop Grumman Corporation, US Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps), and the US Department of Defense.

Internships and Experiential Opportunities 

All Intelligence Analysis Majors will be encouraged to serve as a summer intern at an intelligence agency or company. The Intelligence Analysis Program has been structured so that successful students will be strong competitors for internships. Typically, students intern in summers leading up to sophomore and junior year. Students will have appropriate assistance (where possible) to help them secure an internship in an area appropriate to their chosen specialty.

View our list of internship coordinators for each major.

Career Profiles 

Careers in Homeland Security
Business Intelligence Analysts 
Intelligence Analysts

Research Careers

Visit our Career Outcomes page to find out what alumni were doing right after graduating with this major.

JMU CAREER OUTCOMES


Log in to Vault for access to detailed information on over 900 professions including employment prospects, estimated salaries, possible job titles, and top companies.

EXPLORE PROFESSIONS


Visit our Research Careers page for even more career research tools.

MORE RESEARCH TOOLS

Copyright

© Career and Academic Planning, James Madison University,

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from JMU Career and 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 cap@jmu.edu

Back to Top