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Strategic Intelligence, M.S.

Saint Louis University’s online Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence (MSSI) prepares you to solve complex strategic issues while building leadership and analytical competencies to successfully address security and intelligence challenges.

About the Program

The master's degree in strategic intelligence at Saint Louis University trains you to understand the intersection of intelligence and policy. The focus of the program goes beyond the grand plan needed to achieve strategy to examine the underlying logic of the plan. This will enable you to adapt your education and skills to real world scenarios that require both a technical analysis and an operational implementation.

You will learn how to analyze strategic threats including nuclear proliferation, natural disasters, foreign adversaries, terrorism, non-state actors, cyberspace, trans-national crime, pandemic threats and threats to limited natural resources.

As a student in our program, you will join a community of academics and practitioners from around the world, giving you the opportunity to learn from and network with your peers. Our students represent a wide range of academic and professional backgrounds, including law enforcement, cybersecurity, emergency management, analytics, and military and defense.

Designed for working professionals, our program is flexible and offered in 8-week modules, allowing you to stay focused on your career as you are earning your degree. Our online courses are delivered through the Blackboard Learning Management System, and students can access course content 24/7 without having a specific class meeting time. Using the latest video capture and discussion board technology, students are required to meet and collaborate with instructors and classmates in an asynchronous online format. To ensure individual attention and mentoring by our distinguished faculty, we typically limit course sections to 20 students.

Program Highlights

Offered in a completely online format, you can earn a graduate certificate that complements your master’s degree, often without taking additional credit hours. This allows you to tailor the program to your specific interests.

Curriculum and Program Details

The 36-hour M.S. in Strategic Intelligence (MSSI) requires the following courses:

  • Professional Studies Core (12 credit hours)
    • AA 5221: Applied Analytics and Methods I
    • AA 5222: Applied Analytics and Methods II: Survey Approaches
    • AA 5223: Applied Analytics and Methods II: Experimental Approaches
    • ORLD 5050: Ethical, Evidence-Based Decision Making
    • ORLD 5010: Contemporary Org Leadership
  • Intelligence Core (12 credit hours)
    • INTL 5000: The Intelligence Cycle
    • INTL 5050: Terrorism & US Foreign Policy
    • INTL 5200: Cyber Operations and National Security
    • INTL 5250: Structured Analytical Techniques for Intelligence
  • Applied Research Project (three credit hours)
    • INTL 5961-5963: Strategic Intelligence Masters Research Project (MRP)
  • Electives (choose nine credit hours)
    • INTL 5100: Counter Intelligence & Espionage
    • INTL 5260: Military Intelligence
    • INTL 5270: Open Source Intel
    • INTL 5280: Congress & The IC

* Approved electives from other disciplines may be considered.

Concentrations / Certificate Options (up to nine credit hours in lieu of electives)

The Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence program offers graduate certificate options that enable you to focus your studies and gain an additional academic credential upon graduation. Students accepted into the M.S. in Strategic Intelligence may simultaneously enroll in one of the following graduate certificates:

  • Applied Analytics
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Organizational Development
  • Evidence-Based Decision Making

The program explores the latest technologies and best practices in the intelligence community with courses taught by experts in intelligence, law enforcement and business.

  • Joe Lyons, Ph.D., Director of Security and Strategic Intelligence

SLU's M.S. in strategic intelligence prepares you to think strategically, analyze data, and derive actionable plans and policies.

Graduates of the Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence program have the educational foundation necessary to succeed as intelligence analysts and analytical leaders/managers within defense and intelligence industries, criminal justice fields, and federal, state and local agencies, such as the FBI, CIA, DIA, NGA and NSA.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Learn about scholarships and financial aid at Student Financial Services.

Learning Outcomes

1. Demonstrate the capacity to make ethical, evidence-based decisions within the workplace.

2. Apply leadership competencies within team and organizational contexts.

3. Articulate arguments or explanations to both a disciplinary or professional audience and to a general audience, in both oral and written forms.

4. Evaluate and manage various information sources and their relevance to strategic intelligence and translate that information into actionable outcomes.

5. Perform sophisticated analysis and evaluations of possible threats through demonstrated technical expertise and application of conceptual skills.

Application Criteria

Students for this program must apply through SLU's Office of Graduate Admission. Direct applications through the School for Professional Studies are not accepted. Students may be considered from a wide variety of undergraduate majors and disciplines from political science, sociology and international relations to cybersecurity and psychology. We encourage students from a variety of academic backgrounds to apply.

Students must demonstrate:

  • Undergraduate degree with a 3.0 or higher GPA
    • Note: Applicants who have a GPA less than 3.0 will be considered on a case-by-case basis, by considering the strength of the remaining components of their application.
  • Work experience — which includes full-time and part-time employment, internships, co-ops and similar experiences — of at least three years is strongly recommended.
  • Coursework in the following areas:
    • At least one course in information systems/technology and
    • At least one basic statistics or research methods course

You will also need the following items to apply:

Application Requirements
Application form and fee
Transcript(s) from all previous academic coursework from accredited institutions of higher education
Three recommendations submitted using the Applicant Evaluation Form. The form can be submitted through an online system during your application process, by email to, or mailed to:
Saint Louis University
Graduate Admission
DuBourg Hall, Suite 150
One North Grand Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63103
A 500-word personal statement articulating why a master's degree in strategic intelligence is needed within your present or expected future career and how SLU's program will help you meet that need.

Requirements for International Students

We welcome international students to apply for our completely online graduate program. Saint Louis university operates a campus in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, and a European campus in Madrid, Spain, with alumni originating from over 41 countries. A Saint Louis University education is respected worldwide, as our online programs span the globe.

As the language of online instruction is English, students should have a demonstrated TOEFL or PTE academic score in order to be successful. According to the requirements set by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the entirely online nature of this degree precludes international students from obtaining an F1 (student) visa.

International applicants must have a postsecondary degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year U.S. bachelor's degree. Online international students must meet all program/university requirements.

Tuition and fee payments from students living outside the United States must be in US dollars.

Admission Deadline

Students should apply for the fall semester by July 1, for the spring semester by Nov. 1 and for the summer session by April 1.

To be considered for an assistantship, apply by Feb. 1.