The Doctor of Strategic Intelligence addresses intellectual, cultural, and organizational challenges in the emerging field of intelligence studies. You’ll study the activities and relationships between actors in the global community, along with domestic intelligence topics and issues of strategic concern to the U.S. The curriculum integrates practice, research, and multidisciplinary study (international security, psychology, strategic leadership) to enhance your understanding of the complex problems you face in your professional practice today. 

As a student in this doctoral program, you will conduct ethically-sound, original, applied research that extends the body of knowledge in the field, and prepares you for leadership and service in the intelligence community. This program embraces a scholar-practitioner model of education, and courses are taught by highly credentialed and experienced instructors, many of whom hold key positions in government agencies or public safety organizations.

Degree Program Objectives

  • Analyze the academic and professional practice of strategic intelligence.

  • Synthesize the major theories, approaches, and concepts relevant to strategic intelligence.

  • Evaluate complex issues and challenges related to strategic intelligence.

  • Design research studies using appropriate qualitative and quantitative approaches for strategic intelligence.

  • Assess the impact of strategic intelligence on domestic and global problems.

  • Operate according to the ethical and professional behavior guidelines in accordance with university best practices.

  • Defend and communicate research relevant to strategic intelligence issues before a body of peers, policymakers, or press, in a professional conference setting.

  • Analyze strategic leadership, business, and financial management practices.

Core Requirements (30 semester hours)

  • INTL710 - Seminar in Intelligence Integration (3 semester hours): This seminar explores the organizational and integration issues facing the U.S. Intelligence Community by first evaluating underlying organizational design and theory of communities and organizations. Using organizational design as a point of reference, the seminar examines the nature of the community and its relationship to its operating environment by delving into the present-day issues facing the Intelligence Community in relation to the ever-changing global threat and the wide array of intelligence customers requiring more timely and tailored intelligence services. Lastly, given an understanding of the present-day operating environment, the seminar concludes by identifying and evaluating the vertical and integration issues facing the community while examining some potential transformation models to better posture the Intelligence Community for the future. Year 1, Term 1.

    • Analyze existing organizational theory to determine its relationship to the challenges faced by the U.S. Intelligence Community.

    • Synthesize the establishment and growth of the U.S. Intelligence Community and the implications for management and integration.

    • Appraise the current state and evolution of the Global Threat Environment.

    • Appraise the intelligence customer and the challenges that it presents to the U.S. Intelligence Community

    • Evaluate the vertical integration issues facing the U.S. Intelligence Community

    • Evaluate the horizontal integration issues facing the U.S. Intelligence Community

    • Analyze the Transformational Model and its variables to assess their relationship to the U.S. Intelligence Community

    • Assess the implications of the future challenges facing the U.S. Intelligence Community

  • SSGS711 - Psychology of Actors in the Global Environment (3 semester hours): This seminar examines the role of theory and applies some of the major psychological theories and approaches, regarding individuals and groups in the global environment. These groups inform the understanding, communication, and decision making of global actors. This is the third program requirement.   Year 1, Term 1.
    • Appraise the role that theory plays in the global environment

    • Assess motivation theories related to political actors at the individual level

    • Evaluate personality theories related to the assessment of individuals

    • Analyze the role that beliefs and images play in decision making

    • Critique theories related to the assessment of groups

    • Differentiate social identity categories

  • DOCT700 - Qualitative Methods (3 semester hours): This course provides an overview of methods used in qualitative research and its theoretical concepts. Elements of the research design such as ethics, developing research questions, sampling techniques, and data collection methods such as observation, interviews, documentary evidence, and audio-visual materials are addressed and applied. Year 1, Term 2.
    • Assess the major research designs used in qualitative or mixed methods research
    • Critique approaches to inference and causality
    • Evaluate approaches to data collection
    • Apply the methods of data collection and analysis in qualitative research
    • Critique qualitative research through critical interpretation of data and analysis
    • Develop skill in using computer assisted qualitative data analysis software to organize, code, and draw connects from data
  • SSGS712 - Nationalism and Identity (3 semester hours): This seminar analyzes contemporary theories of nationalism and identity. Students will examine the complexities of building a nation state: how diaspora groups challenge national identity, subnational groups threaten national cohesion, and gender relations reevaluate social hierarchies.  By utilizing modern case studies across Europe and the Middle East, participants will utilize multidisciplinary approaches to analyze the rise of contemporary nationalism. This is the fifth program requirement. Year 1, Term 2.

    • Analyze theories and approaches to contemporary nationalism

    • Critique concepts related to nationalism and culture

    • Assess concepts of nation building and diasporas creating national identity

    • Analyze approaches related to gender and social hierarchies

    • Evaluate sub-national identities and national identity building

    • Assess theories, concepts, and approaches related to language and national identity

    • Synthesize issues related to nationalism and group identity formation

    • Analyze religion as the basis for national identity

    • Apply select theories, concepts, and approaches to a modern case study

    • Apply theories, approaches, and explain the rise of global nationalism

  • INTL711 - Comparative Intelligence Institutions (3 semester hours): This course examines in comparative perspective the intelligence communities of various states around the globe, to include both allies and adversaries of the United States. Content covers how various intelligence agencies are structured, how they formulate their respective national interests, how they address transnational problems and cultivate potential for cross-national cooperation. Students will evaluate all of these issues with the American intelligence community, while also learning about fundamental aspects of intelligence gathering, including core problems and criticisms, and considering differences between Western and non-Western approaches to intelligence. Year 1, Term 3.

    • Identify contemporary problems and obstacles for intelligence gathering

    • Evaluate strategic mission objectives and adversary/alliance relationships between various global intelligence agencies

    • Assess likely future issues and dilemmas facing intelligence communities moving forward in the 21st century

    • Differentiate between the various intelligence agencies around the globe in terms of their organizational structure, historical culture, geographic legacies, and specific national security interests

  • DOCT701 - Quantitative Methods (3 semester hours): This course provides an overview of the scientific method and methods used in quantitative research, addressing theoretical concepts and practical considerations. The basic elements of quantitative research design are examined and applied, including constructing research questions and hypotheses, defining and measuring concepts, identifying threats to validity and reliability, implementing sampling techniques, and designing research instruments. Experimental design, quasi-experimental design, survey research, and statistical research are covered. Year 1, Term 3. 

    • Examine the purpose of quantitative methods in social science research

    • Explain how to construct research questions for quantitative research

    • Apply causal reasoning and measurement in quantitative research

    • Understand threats to reliability and validity in quantitative research

    • Evaluate the role, purpose, and use of quantitative research designs

    • Apply quantitative concepts

    • Assess the analysis, organization, and presentation of quantitative data

  • DOCT702 - Statistics (3 semester hours): This doctoral seminar provides an overview of basic statistical procedures used in quantitative research and their application. Its focus is to enable students to develop a foundation of basic statistical literacy. Students will assess the role of statistics in quantitative research and develop the competency to perform basic statistical calculations. Both descriptive and inferential statistics are addressed. Statistical concepts involving variables, sampling, analysis of variance, probability theory, inference, and the foundations of multivariate regression are addressed. Students will use gain competence in the SPSS statistical software program. Students will analyze data and research situations to interpret the meaning underlying the data, and how statistics can be used to address important research questions. Year 2, Term 1.

    • Understand terminology used in statistics

    • Examine and apply statistical concepts

    • Examine the basic properties of statistical data

    • Evaluate the role of probability in statistical concepts

    • Evaluate the purpose of hypotheses and their role in the construction of models in statistics

    • Assess the purpose of significance testing in statistics

    • Evaluate correlation and variability of data in statistics

  • INTL712 - US Intelligence Law and Ethics (3 semester hours): This seminar examines ethics in U.S. government intelligence related decision making, the conduct of intelligence activities and oversight, with regard to hackers and intelligence leaks.  It also examines the role that the law plays in the basic U.S. intelligence authorities, in oversight, and in decision making and the ways in which these authorities and decision making influence the development of new legal frameworks. Year 2, Term 1.

    • Analyze different perspectives on ethics and U.S. intelligence

    • Analyze different perspectives on law and U.S. intelligence

    • Apply law and ethics to a simulated real-world setting

    • Analyze lessons learned from partaking in the simulated real-world exercise

    • Apply law and ethics to a case study

  • DOCT715 - Seminar in Strategic Leadership (3 semester hours): This seminar examines classic and contemporary literature on best practices in leadership relevant to developing personal leadership skills, and also on the role of strategic leadership in developing a vision and strategy for an organization. Year 2, Term 2.

    • Analyze the classic literature on leadership

    • Analyze the contemporary literature on leadership

    • Evaluate approaches to creating a vision and strategy for an organization

    • Create a vision and strategy for an organization

    • Evaluate personal leadership skills

    • Apply personal leadership skills in a simulated real-world organizational setting

  • DOCT716 - Seminar in Business and Financial Management (3 semester hours): This course will expose doctoral students to practical research in business and financial management. The emphasis will be on developing an integrated framework for understanding issues in financial management. The course will examine the fundamentals of financial management, models in corporate finance, and contemporary topics in financial research. Topics include the theory of the firm's choice, financial statement analysis, financial instruments, capital markets, project and corporate valuation, global finance operations, and ethics in finance. Year 2, Term 3.

    • Analyze the role that financial management plays in decision making and risk

    • Analyze the role that financial management plays in use of resources and organizational climate

    • Analyze the role that financial management plays in compliance and safeguarding assets

    • Apply financial management concepts to a case study

    • Analyze business management practices

Professional Practice Requirements (6 semester hours) 

  • DOCT703 - Professional Practice I (1 semester hour): During this seminar students will work with their faculty to plan out their semester. The seminar also lays the foundation for peer mentoring between cohorts. Students will be introduced to principles of the research process, collaboration, research ethics, and academic integrity. Year 1, Term 1.

    • Develop a work plan that maps first term requirements and goals
    • Assess ethical issues present in proposed research
    • Integrate information literacy skills into their research practices
    • Develop a concise and specific research question
    • Prepare constructive feedback for peers
    • Implement feedback received by peers and faculty
    • Produce a clear articulation of personal, professional, and research based goals
  • DOCT704 - Professional Practice II (1 semester hour): During the course, students gain familiarity with the professional academic conference circuit, and presentation expectations.  Students will also begin to create their research framework based on dissertation interests. Students will begin background research for their project-based international residency. The course includes professional development for writing. Year 1, Term 2.

    • Appraise the professional conference circuit

    • Evaluate “calls for papers” for conference goodness of fit

    • Assess conference abstracts

    • Differentiate curriculum vitaes from resumes

    • Examine the utility of concept mapping and its role within research planning

    • Develop a concept map based on a research idea

  • DOCT705 - Professional Practice III (1 semester hour): The focus of this course is on final preparations for the 2nd year residency. All students will gain experience developing conference proposals. Peer reviewed presentations and communication skills will be a focus of this course. Year 1, Term 3.

    • Plan a research presentation for an academic conference

    • Synthesize sources as background research for residency

    • Examine conference papers

    • Develop a conference proposal

    • Critique peers through peer review of writing and presentations

    • Demonstrate project management skills through residency preparation components

  • DOCT706 - Professional Practice IV (1 semester hour): Students will begin work on their dissertation prospectus. Students will also finalize their practicum placements and expectations. Students will receive training on the Institutional Review Board for human subjects research as well as on grant writing skills. Year 2, Term 1.

    • Create research question and preliminary literature review for prospectus

    • Arrange practicum placements and establish expectations

    • Apply the tenets of the responsible conduct of research for human subjects research

    • Create a funding proposal based on dissertation research interests

  • DOCT707 - Professional Practice V (1 semester hour): The focus of this course is on portfolio development and on the writing of the dissertation prospectus. Peer review will be critical to this process. Students will work in research groups to hone research design and methodology for dissertation data collection and analysis. Students will craft their portfolio to reflect doctoral learning outcomes and career aspirations. Year 2, Term 2.

    • Draft dissertation prospectus and receive feedback

    • Curate elements of portfolio with self-assessments

    • Refine research methodology skills for data collection and analysis

  • DOCT708 - Professional Practice VI (1 semester hour): Students will complete and defend their portfolio with an oral presentation. In preparation for the dissertation proposal defense, students will give a 3 Minute Thesis-style presentation to articulate the academic and professional practice significance of their dissertation project. Year 2, Term 3.

    • Create oral defense of portfolio to demonstrate mastery of doctoral learning outcomes

    • Critique peers by offering constructive suggestions on oral defense

    • Create 3 Minute Thesis presentation regarding dissertation project

Elective Requirements (9 semester hours)

Select 3 courses from the following:

  • INTL740 - Seminar in Intelligence Cooperation and Sharing (3 semester hours): This seminar examines the relationship within and amongst the various U.S. domestic intelligence organizations and with other domestic organizations, and with foreign intelligence and law enforcement organizations. It also addresses some of the challenges faced with regard to cooperation and sharing information. Several case studies are provided to illustrate areas of cooperation and sharing.

    • Analyze the relationship between U.S. domestic and foreign intelligence organizations
    • Analyze the relationship between U.S. domestic intelligence organizations
    • Analyze the relationships between U.S. law enforcement and foreign intelligence organizations
    • Assess challenges regarding intelligence cooperation and information sharing
    • Analyze theoretical perspectives on intergroup conflict and cooperation
    • Defend arguments regarding intelligence cooperation and information sharing
    • Create an executive level report and webinar briefing on intelligence cooperation and sharing
    • Operate effectively on a group project
    • Critique the role and participation of peers on a group project
    • Evaluate work presented by peers
  • INTL741 - Intelligence and Policy-Making (3 semester hours: This seminar explores the dynamics of one of the most fundamental relationships that drives the Intelligence Community—that of the Intelligence Community and the policy-maker. The seminar first explores the theoretical principles on the relationship between the intelligence professional and the policy-maker and then examines the underlying formal and informal structures that are utilized to facilitate these relationships. The seminar endeavors to illustrate the inherent friction and perspectives between the Intelligence Community and the policy-maker while exploring some of potential “best practices” and principles to optimize the relationship. The seminar concludes with an examination of how the intelligence professional and the policy-maker can prioritize and function within a rapidly changing global environment.
    • Evaluate the underlying theory defining the relationship between the Intelligence and Policy-Making communities

    • Assess the influence of modern-day issues and how they relate to the intelligence professional and policy-maker

    • Synthesize other intelligence and policy-making models and frameworks

    • Design a new intelligence and policy-making framework to meet the new global environment

  • SSGS742 National Security Decision Making (3 semester hours): This seminar examines different perspectives on decision making processes of U.S. decision makers and other actors in the global environment. In particular, it examines and applies various disciplinary concepts, theories and approaches to decision making related to individuals and groups, case study examples of how these are applied, and also challenges encountered in the decision making process.
    • Analyze theories, approaches, and concepts related to decision making
    • Assess the strategy of the prisoner’s dilemma game
    • Critique decision making literature
    • Apply theories, approaches, and concepts related to decision making
    • Apply decision making theories, approaches, and concepts to a simulated real-world setting
    • Analyze lessons learned from partaking in a simulated real-world exercise
  • INTL743 - Seminar in Intelligence and Technology (3 semester hours): The seminar focuses on the role and influence of technology. Specifically, it examines the advances in technology, and the impact they have on U.S. intelligence and security. Strategies for addressing the impact are also addressed.
    • Analyze current technological advances
    • Analyze the impact technology has on U.S. intelligence and security

    • Create an executive level report and webinar briefing on an emerging technology and its impact on U.S intelligence and security

    • Operate effectively on a group project

    • Critique the role and participation of peers on a group project

    • Defend ideas regarding emerging technology and its impact on U.S. intelligence and security

    • Evaluate work presented by peers

  • INTL790 - Independent Study (3 semester hours): This course is an opportunity to pursue an independent research project under the mentorship and direction of a faculty member.  A research proposal and timeline must be submitted, and approved by the faculty member and Doctoral Director in advance of enrollment.

Residency Requirements (6 semester hours)

  • DOCT720 - Residency: Doctoral Program Foundations (2 semester hours): This course fosters interaction amongst students and introduces them to the Dean, Doctoral Studies Program Directors, Doctoral faculty, the Doctoral Advisor, and support staff. It also provides students an overview of the Doctoral Program and its requirements. Students must complete this course before beginning program coursework. Year 1, Term 1.

    • Identify readiness characteristics that lead to success

    • Operate in a collegial team environment
    • Examine Doctoral Program purpose and objectives
    • Identify Doctoral Program requirements and timelines
    • Explain student support and resources
    • Analyze the role of applied research
  • DOCT721 - Residency: Preparing for the Practicum and Dissertation (2 semester hours): This on-site course fosters interaction amongst student cohorts, program administrators, faculty, and support staff. A detailed overview of faculty research areas, collaborative research opportunities, and the dissertation proposal and dissertation requirements are provided. Students will present their practicum experiential learning plan for approval. With guidance from doctoral program staff, students also choose their dissertation chair. Year 3, Term 1.
    • Operate in a collegial team environment 
    • Discuss components of the dissertation process, including the Dissertation Committee, the Dissertation Proposal, Dissertation Seminars and other dissertation requirements illustrated in the Dissertation Manual
    • Present Practicum plan in alignment with requirements
    • Recognize collaborative research opportunities with faculty
    • Compare and contrast faculty research and service interests
    • Identify a Doctoral Committee Chair
  • DOCT722 - Residency: Scholar/Practitioner Presentation (2 semester hours): This residency involves presenting to the academic and/or practitioner community original research that advances academic and professional practice in the discipline. This residency must be successfully completed by the end of Year 2, Term 3.
    • Create a professional conference paper using original research and that advances academic and professional practice
    • Defend ideas in a professional environment
    • Appraise conference presentations
    • Identify professional and academic contacts
    • Judge how the conference advanced knowledge of academic and professional practice

Practicum Requirement (3 semester hours)

  • DOCT897 – Practicum (3 semester hours): The Practicum provides a hands-on experience in a professional environment. This is a supervised opportunity where academic skills and knowledge are applied to a professional environment.  Refer to Practicum guidelines in the Doctoral Manual. Year 3, Term 2.
    • Create a Practicum plan
    • Analyze an issue related to the discipline

    • Apply multidisciplinary theories, approaches, and concepts to a real-world setting

    • Analyze lessons learned from partaking in the practicum

    • Produce a self-evaluation of the practicum experience

Dissertation Requirement (variable semester hours)

  • DOCT894 - Seminar in the Dissertation (3 semester hours): This seminar focuses on the framing and writing of part of the dissertation proposal. This includes analyzing and producing a comprehensive description of the problem/research question(s), a literature review, and detailed research design. By the end of this course students will defend their dissertation proposals. Year 3, Term 1.
    • Prepare a dissertation proposal around a discipline related topic

    • Create a description of a problem and associated bibliography

    • Evaluate the body of literature on a discipline related topic

    • Synthesize the body of literature on a discipline related topic

    • Develop a research design which assesses a discipline related research question

    • Evaluate work presented by peers

    • Defend the dissertation proposal

  • DOCT899 – Dissertation (1 semester hour):  The dissertation is a comprehensive document that is an original contribution and one that advances theory, research, and practice in the global security discipline. The dissertation is written under the direction of the dissertation committee and students must be enrolled in the dissertation course to proceed to this stage. All program requirements and the proposal defense must be successfully completed before beginning the dissertation. This is a 16-week course and students must continuously enroll in the course until successful completion of the dissertation and scheduling of the defense. Refer to dissertation guidelines in the Dissertation Manual.
    • Produce a dissertation that advances research in the discipline
    • Defend completed dissertation

Program Milestones

  • Portfolio Defense: This is an oral defense of the portfolio to demonstrate mastery of disciplinary knowledge and the program learning outcomes for doctoral coursework.

  • Dissertation Proposal Defense: This is an oral defense of the dissertation proposal in order to receive dissertation committee approval of the dissertation concept and research plan.

  • Dissertation Defense: This is an oral defense of the complete dissertation at the conclusion of the research and writing process. Students must pass the dissertation defense, make any necessary revisions, and submit the final dissertation to the library before the doctoral degree can be conferred.

Total = 58 semester hours plus continuing registration for dissertation requirement