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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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.

  • 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 second residency requirements. The course includes professional development for writing proposals and abstracts. Year 1, Term 2.

  • 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. During the final weeks of the course students will schedule and complete their formal year one annual review which assesses their overall progress in their doctoral program of study. Year 1, Term 3.

  • DOCT706 - Professional Practice IV (1 semester hour): In this course, students begin pre-work on their dissertation proposal.  Students will gain additional insight into strategies for building their dissertation committees and will review year two and three program milestones.  Students will also receive additional training on the Institutional Review Board as well as on research grant writing.  Within this course students will be introduced to emotional intelligence and its impact on personal and professional development. Year 2, Term 1.

  • DOCT707 - Professional Practice V (1 semester hour): The focus of this course is on portfolio development and the dissertation proposal. Peer review will be critical to this process. Students will work in study groups to prepare for the upcoming portfolio defense. Within this course students will craft their portfolio to reflect doctoral learning outcomes and career aspirations. Students will also gain additional detail on the practicum planning process, and the development of personalized practicum learning objectives.  Finally, students will take a deeper look into emotional intelligence to include the different EQ-I elements and levels. Year 2, Term 2.

  • DOCT708 - Professional Practice VI (1 semester hour): Students will continue to work in study groups to prepare for their oral portfolio defense at the end of this course. Students will complete a portfolio reflection piece to help shape the portfolio and place the artifacts within the current body of knowledge. 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 doctoral work. To be eligible for their portfolio defense, students must have completed all required artifacts, to include the residency 2 requirement. Year 2, Term 3.

Elective Requirements (9 semester hours)

Select 3 courses from the following:

  • INTL740 - 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • INTL743 - 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.
  • 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.
  • SSGS741 Big Data and Social Media Analysis (3 semester hours): Big data and social media have been promised to hold critical importance in the current generation of information technology, with applications ranging from business to academic to defense sectors.  Since the pervasiveness of open source data from social media is only increasing, the potential of big data to influence national security and intelligence studies has been trumpeted.  This course reviews the scope of big data sciences in the functioning of global communities/organizations and their overall impact factor on intelligence and global security scholarship.  It focuses not only on the supposed positives, but also on the inherent limitations of big data, which might affect organizations across a broad range of aspects: from the gathering of information to anticipating surprises to even evolving the hiring process for future analysts.  Students will also experiment within the course with producing their own forms of analysis utilizing big data and social media analytic techniques.

  • SSGS770 From Academics to the Profession: Publishing in the Social Sciences (3 semester hours): This professional writing seminar is an introduction to the complex world of academic writing and publication. It is designed to give students in the social sciences an opportunity to overcome anxiety about professional level writing and the publishing process.  Students in this course will gain practical experience in revising their work so that it may be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal for possible publication. Using Wendy Laura Belcher’s best-selling Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success, the course explains the publication process to students and shares strategies for achieving success in the academic writing arena, including setting up a work schedule, identifying appropriate journals for submission, working with editors, writing query letters, clarifying arguments, and organizing material. In a supportive environment, participants revise a previously completed classroom paper, conference paper, thesis, or other work into a peer-reviewed article and submit it for publication. The goal of this workshop is to aid participants in taking their papers from classroom quality to conference, and ultimately, journal quality.

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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

Dissertation Requirement (variable semester hours)

  • DOCT894 - Dissertation Proposal Defense (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.
  • 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.

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