Student and professor

There are two sets of requirements related to the IA Program.

  1. What JMU requires for you to secure the degree and
  2. What relevant employers in the IA field will require of you to secure an internship and/or employment.

While JMU does not require you to fulfill this latter set of requirements, we believe it is very important to be aware of them since most IA students are seeking the degree in order to have a career in IA.

JMU Requirements

To become an Intelligence Analysis major, you must commit to 3 full, consecutive academic years. Each IA course is part of a sequence that, given pre-requisites, must be taken in a specific order. (The course sequence cannot be completed in less than 3 years.) Please see our curriculum for details.

Completion of a Minor or Second Major

As part of the IA major, you are required to complete either a minor or another major in a different field. This allows you to combine the content of the IA major with any other minor (or major) across campus to create a "subject matter specialty" that reflects your interests.

Completing a minor or a second major ensures students “specialize” in knowledge (subject matter experts) or skills (generalists) relevant to one of the eight intelligence domains or its respective analytic disciplines.

Some analysts are subject matter experts on specific subjects in their domain. They specialize in 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.

For example, an analyst might specialize in the Asia Pacific region and have knowledge of Chinese or Korean. Students with strong skills in languages such as Persian, Arabic, Chinese, or Korean are highly marketable in the field. Or, an analyst might specialize in the use of geospatial technology and have a minor in Geographic Science.  Or, a student might specialize in the “hard” sciences with a minor in biology or chemistry. Thus, we strongly encourage students to adopt a minor related to a geographic region (with a foreign language), a science, or a technological tool.

Suggested Minors

  • 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; etc)
  • 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: Varied; see “national security” above
  • Geospatial: Geographic Science
  • Cyber: Computer Science
  • Technology: Integrated Science and Technology
  • Communication: Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication
  • Understanding the mind and behavior of individuals: Psychology

Elective courses are up to students’ discretion. Students are encouraged to select courses that form a unit that will make them competitive for their desired future employers. 

The Value of your Minor or Second Major

Know the value of a “specialty” (your minor or second major). The IA program’s focus is analytic methodology: how to think, use technology, assess situations, and communicate your conclusions. A good analyst will have all these skills and ideally also have a specific subject matter area in which they have additional knowledge.

Employer Requirements

Security Clearance

Students who wish to secure an internship and/or career at an intelligence agency (or one of the many businesses that work with intelligence agencies) will also have to secure an appropriate security clearance (usually “Top Secret” or above) The agency or business will nominate you for the clearance and navigate you through the process. But, you will be responsible for making sure that you have a lifestyle that is appropriate to receive security clearance. 

Neither JMU or your professors have any control over whether you receive a security clearance. 

You do not have to obtain one to obtain the Intelligence Analysis degree, but you will have to obtain one if you plan to intern or work at an intelligence agency (or business that works with intelligence agencies). It is strongly recommended that you understand what you need to do (or not do) to qualify for security clearance (e.g. avoid drug use, illegal file sharing, etc.).



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