Cyber Intelligence Degrees

Written by Laurie VanderWal
Laurie VanderWal, Master's of Arts in Management (Bellevue University), self-taught cyber security and compliance/insurance specialist
Last reviewed May 20, 2022
School Program Admissions
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota Master of Science in Intelligence and Data Analytics
Utica University MS in Cybersecurity - Intelligence
Michigan State University Online MS in Cybercrime and Digital Investigation
In as few as two years, you can complete your online master’s degree and graduate as you benefit from MSU’s partnerships with the Department of Homeland Security, the Michigan Intelligence Operations Center, the MSU Police and more.
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Experience gained from a cyber intelligence degree or program is knowledge that has value both personally and professionally in the complicated digital cyber world today. With a Bachelor's degree or eventually a Master's degree in Cyber intelligence a working graduate will find top salary ranges that can support themself and/or their family.

A professional's expertise in cyber security practices may be the critical component in the protection of their place of business and community from criminal cyber attacks. Recognition for solving a cyber intelligence hacking event, for example, could catapult a career and offer personal satisfaction for a job well done.

Are There Online Cyber Intelligence Degrees?

Like many cybersecurity degrees, it may be tough to find an EXACT program that is titled "Cyber Intelligence".

However, there are an abundance of higher education programs that offer online courses in cyber intelligence. The growth of the industry offers flexibility in obtaining a degree and students may find an employer will pay for and support higher education program learning.

Students who consider online programs often look to universities or institutions that have a National Center of Academic Excellence designation. This type of designation means a university or institution has met rigorous requirements set forth by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security regarding their commitment to national infrastructure security.
There are 3 types of designations schools or universities can currently pursue:

As students review online degrees this type of certification is one component to add on a checklist that may impact decision making about your final learning program choice.

Professionals who are already working and want to change careers should research their own industry and field before making a move. For example, the insurance industry has designation programs that can complement degree programs, can increase salary ranges after completion and enhance the stature of your professional career.

What Can You Do With a Cyber Intelligence Degree?

Gaining intelligence, or detailed information that has been extrapolated from sources of data, is a very important aspect of cybersecurity. The goal is to give organizations an ability to prepare for attacks instead of simply reacting to them to minimize damage. Having a degree in this category showcases that the professional has the competence to analyze the evidence, evaluate segments of the information technology sector that could be vulnerable, and develop preparation plans for the organization.

Students have the opportunity to customize their education within intelligence to fit their professional needs and in the sector they desire. Protecting national networks from cyberterrorism at the federal government level through intelligence is a popular example, but these degrees can also be tailored for business intelligence and protecting enterprise networks or financial institutions from hacking efforts and unwanted intrusion attempts. With many options on the table, students may want to consider talking with recruiters to determine the best pathway of specific degrees or certifications that are most desired in the career field they are looking to enter.

Obtaining an intelligence degree can prepare students for certification in different categories. The International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants developed the Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst designation to promote experts with strong intelligence analysis and the ability to form a comprehensive and successful plan. In addition to creating stability from cyber threats, the individual gains valuable skills for better employment opportunities.

In lieu of a traditional graduate college program, the Certified Cyber Intelligence Professional designation through McAfee Institute is one of many designations that can be earned within cybersecurity. This program emphasizes tutorials and one-on-one training in many topics, such as investigation methodologies, diving into the real dangers of the deep web, social media investigation, and digital forensics. Students receive certification after the completion of the program at their own pace, and there is a recommendation of having a Bachelor's degree in a related field with three years of professional experience.

Examples of Undergraduate Degrees

Bellevue University's BS in Intelligence and Security Studies

The Bachelor of Science in Intelligence and Security Studies requires 127 credit hours to complete and prepares students for entry-level tasks in various sectors, such as government, military, or law enforcement. The curriculum consists of 72 total credits split evenly between general education and courses that are focused on the major, with the remainder going toward electives.

Various standard topics will explore basic principles and theories in cyber intelligence and the critical thinking skills needed to evaluate and eliminate potential threats. Examples of courses within the major requirement include Introduction to National Security, Foundations in Intelligence and Counterintelligence, and Ethical Controversies in Security and Intelligence.

Admission requirements for the program include prospective students submitting their official high school transcript with a degree or GED certificate. They may also include a certification that shows proof of the applicant passing a state-authorized examination. Students transferring from a different institution must submit an official transcript, and those that are coming from a two-year university will not have to show evidence of high school completion.

University of Arizona's BS in Intelligence and Information Operations

The College of Applied Science and Technology offers a Bachelor of Applied Science in Intelligence and Information Operations that has been accredited by the Defense Intelligence Agency. This is an online program geared toward those that have completed an associates degree in a similar field or has some experience in intelligence. There are three different tracks to choose from: Operational Intelligence, Information Warfare, and Law Enforcement.

Unique courses that are offered through the Operational Intelligence track includes Violent Python, which gives students practical education in cybersecurity operations through Python programming. Special Topics in Intelligence and Information Operations will explore the most recent topics within operational intelligence that have a significant impact to decision makers at various levels of government.

Up to 60 credits can be transferred over to for students to complete their Bachelor's degree in the Intelligence and Information Operations program. Unofficial transcripts can be sent for review to determine what path is needed for success. Students should have completed courses at an accredited institution and have held a 2.5 minimum GPA. Additional submissions that will help students in the application process include an updated resume and a statement of goals for their upcoming career.

Examples of Graduate Degrees

Georgetown University's Master's in Applied Intelligence

The Master's degree in Applied Intelligence is offered on-campus and online giving students the skills needed to gain an advantage in intelligence operations within law enforcement, cybersecurity, and competition. This is a 33-credit curriculum that can be taken by either full-time or part-time students. In as little as two years, full-time students are able to complete the degree, but part-time students have the ability to finish within five years.

Overall, courses within the curriculum will give students the ability to look at case study to gain professional insight on intelligence, work with experienced faculty members that were leaders in their respective careers, and there is the benefit of observing government surveillance for students that are near the campus in Washington DC. Two core courses taken by all students deal with the ethics of intelligence and a capstone project to showcase what has been learned in the program.

Specifically, the focus area of Cyber Intelligence emphasizes management and analysis of cybersecurity operations, and these courses will be among the five elective courses needed to complete the degree requirements. Prospective students have the ability to join the program in the fall, spring, or summer semester. There is an ability to complete courses with a mixture of online and on-campus formats to give students maximum flexibility.

Utica University's MS in Cyber Security with a Cyber Intelligence Concentration

Some institutions, like Utica University, offer a Master of Science in Cybersecurity with a concentration in Cyber Intelligence. The program covers how to protect the national network infrastructure and the operations behind how to thwart cyber threats around the country and the globe. Those looking to eliminate virtual terrorism by utilizing intelligence information and are reactively committed to responding to threats and disaster recovery will benefit the most from this degree.

30 credit hours are needed to complete the program, including the specialization in one of five areas. Students can expect to finish the degree in a two-year span if they are dedicated to studies and can take two courses at a time. Examples of courses that students will take within the Cyber Intelligence specialization includes Cyber Counterintelligence, International Terrorism, Critical Incident Command, and Open Source Cyber Surveillance.

There is a two-day residency requirement that is required at the beginning of the program, but this can either be done physically or through a virtual residency. This residency helps students gain familiarity with other peers and faculty members, along with the resources the university offers that will help their studies over the coming months. Utica ensures that the curriculum is consistently updated with the latest cybersecurity information and innovations.

School Program Admissions
Arizona State University Online Master of Computer Science - Cybersecurity Website
Utica University Online MS in Cybersecurity Website
Fairleigh Dickinson University Master of Science in Cyber and Homeland Security Website
Stevens Institute of Technology Master of Science in Computer Science Website
Utica University BS in Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations Website
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Popular Courses

Homeland Security

Many intelligence degrees will offer courses that center around homeland security, such as critical response to natural disasters and terrorist activity. Topics may consist of how security policies and practices are developed and how the process of information is distributed to the media and public in emergency events. Homeland security can often be found as a concentration or within the intelligence discipline in higher education.

Security Concepts

These entry-level courses in an undergraduate curriculum will provide a look at how national security has evolved through technology and the improvement in intelligence. Not only will it emphasize its importance, but students will look at history and theory of national security and what is potentially coming in the future, such as further social media interaction and the role of technological advancement in emergency planning and response..

Cyber Counterintelligence

Utilizes an enemy’s intelligence information to gain an advantage to mitigate future disasters or problematic situations. Within cybersecurity, this gives an opportunity for experts to pinpoint issues within their network to stabilize vulnerable areas and mitigate attacks. They may also use this data to deceive opposition and lead them to a situation where it is easier to neutralize the problems.

Intelligence Communications

Provides the skills and techniques needed to communicate effectively with leaders in government and law enforcement when obtaining vital information. This includes creating detailed reports, data visualization charts, and presenting this information in a variety of formats, such as group meetings or one-on-one conversations.

Competitive Intelligence

When an organization compares and contrasts their strengths and weaknesses to other similar companies and agencies. These courses may include strategies involved in analyzing information and creating recommendations for improvement based on research. Focus may stretch out into international comparison and how information may be interpreted in different parts of the world.

Careers and Associations

Intelligence analysts will extract the important information from data they receive through many different sources and use it to their advantage. This largely depends on their expertise, such as analyzing sales figures to solve financial problems or reviewing surveillance to prevent further criminal activity. Duties include diving into further research to and working with other officials to improve or verify intelligence information.

Skills needed to thrive as an intelligence analyst is to have solid communication skills when working with others to gather relevant information, especially when surveying or interviewing others. They must be able to articulate information thoroughly for a specific party whether it is being presented in a meeting or being written in a report. In addition, they should have a solid information in the topic being covered.

The Cyber, Space, and Intelligence Association (CSIA) began in 2011 and is based in McLean, Virginia. The goal of this association is to improve awareness in cybersecurity and recommend the proper training and education needed to thrive in this career.

Along with the Cyber Threat Alliance, they have reported on the systemic incapability of government information systems defending cyber attacks and have recommended solutions with further federal funding. Suggestions for improvement include creating more detailed code and utilizing penetration testing to detect vulnerabilities, giving incentives for organizations to adopt further cybersecurity practices, and more research and development in artificial intelligence and machine learning.