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M.S. in Security and Intelligence Studies

The Master of Science in Security and Intelligence Studies (MSSIS) degree program is offered by the College of Security and Intelligence. It is designed to produce competitive graduates for professional service in the intelligence, aviation, military, homeland defense, and corporate security communities. The MSSIS degree will enhance the career prospects both for entry-level professionals and mid-level leaders, managers, operators, and analysts. For many security and intelligence professionals currently working in these communities, the Master’s degree will be seen as one qualification for promotion in the middle and even upper levels of management or military command.

The degree program provides graduate students and security and intelligence professionals with an opportunity to explore both theoretical and practical knowledge across the disciplines that compose the field that security and intelligence studies has become. These include: strategic concepts; the integration of science and technology in the security and intelligence realms; the principles, processes, and presentation of products; the importance of cultural understanding in key regions of the world; the evolution, nature, and roles of states and non-state actors; and the forms of international conflict and cooperation that constitute the playing field of the intelligence and policy communities. The elective course offerings in the MSSIS provide the student with the opportunity to specialize to a degree in one of the areas of security and intelligence studies. In this way, the program enables the student to structure his or her own elective program within the schedule of courses offered each semester.

The MSSIS is a 36 credit hour program, composed of a General Core (9-12 credit hours), an Area of Concentration (15-24 credit hours) and Electives (0-12 credit hours). Normally, elective course work will be selected from the list of courses below, although occasional experimental courses may also be considered. Not all elective courses are offered every year. Check with an advisor for a schedule of current course offerings. 

The MSSIS program will consider applicants with an undergraduate background in college-level history, political science, international relations, geography, foreign language, psychology, computer science and applications, and any of the physical and natural sciences. The prerequisite knowledge for any graduate course must be satisfied before enrollment in the course is permitted.

Areas of Concentration (AOC): Security, Intelligence, or dual Security and Intelligence. 

The Intelligence AOC provides targeted study in intelligence analysis and practice, international affairs, world cultures, as well as counterterrorism and counter intelligence. It is recommended for those interested in fields of intelligence in government agencies (domestic and foreign), non-governmental organizations, and international corporations in overseas operations.

The Security AOC provides targeted study in all aspects of integrated security studies including corporate security (domestic and international), physical and emergency security management, investigations, and advanced counterintelligence. It is recommended for those seeking a career in all levels of law enforcement, including emergency management, corporate security, and advanced investigations in counterintelligence.

The Security and Intelligence AOC provides integrated study of intelligence analysis and practice, corporate security, international affairs, physical and emergency security management, world cultures, and counterintelligence. It is recommended for those interested in the integration of security and intelligence in the public or private sector. Students in this AOC must complete both SIS 505 and SIS 510 and 12 credits from each from the Intelligence and Security AOCs.  

Degree Requirements

Intelligence Area of Concentration

Core Requirements3
Strategic Intelligence: Diplomacy, Covert Operations, and War
Research Methods3
Research Approaches in Security and Intelligence Studies.
Complete one of the following options:3-6
Graduate Research Design
and Graduate Research Project
Applied Research in Security and Intelligence Studies
Graduate Thesis
Total Core Credits 9-12
Required 15 Credit Hours of Intelligence Electives15
Fundamentals of Security and Intelligence
Strategic Analysis
Comparative Global Intelligence
Legal and Ethical Issues in National Security and Intelligence
Intelligence and the Spectrum of Social Conflict
Intelligence, Globalization, and the World Political Economy
Intelligence in Military Operations: Conventional and Asymmetrical
Strategic Counterintelligence: Deception, Espionage, and Active Measures
Counter-terrorism
Intelligence, Technology and Future Space Conflict
Area Studies
The Security Implications of Climate Change
UAS/UAV Operations and Policies in Contemporary Conflicts
Graduate Internship in Security and Intelligence Studies
Special Topics in Security and Intelligence
Other courses as approved by Department Chair
Open Electives9-12
Total Credit Hours 36

Security Area of Concentration

Core Requirements3
Homeland Security and Intelligence Integration
Research Methods 3
Research Approaches in Security and Intelligence Studies.
Complete one of the following options:3-6
Graduate Research Design
and Graduate Research Project
Applied Research in Security and Intelligence Studies
Graduate Thesis
Total Core Credits 9-12
Requirement of 15 Credit Hours15
International Security Operations and Management
Strategic Counterintelligence: Deception, Espionage, and Active Measures
Global Transportation and Supply Chain Security
Cyber Warfare: Threats and Counter-Operations
Mastering and Managing Security Operations
Graduate Internship in Security and Intelligence Studies
Special Topics in Security and Intelligence
Other courses as approved by Department Chair
Open Electives9-12
Total Credit Hours36

Security and Intelligence Area of Concentration 

Core Requirements6
Homeland Security and Intelligence Integration
Strategic Intelligence: Diplomacy, Covert Operations, and War
Research Methods3
Research Approaches in Security and Intelligence Studies.
Complete one of the following options:3
Applied Research in Security and Intelligence Studies
Graduate Thesis
Total Core Credits12
Choose from each AOC
Intelligence Area of Concentration 12
Security Area of Concentration 12
Total Credit Hours36

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships are academic appointments that are reserved for qualified graduate students. Graduate assistants may be involved in research activities under the direction of a faculty member or may assist with administrative duties. In the case of research, a graduate assistant should be paired with a faculty member such that the graduate student is involved in research that will enhance his or her own topical interests and progress towards the graduate capstone.

To be eligible for a graduate assistantship, a student must have been accepted to full graduate status in the MSSIS Program. Current students submit an application form, resume, and a 500-word essay directly to the College of Security and Intelligence Office. Newly admitted students submit their application materials via the Graduate Admissions Office. After the first semester of working as a graduate assistant, in order to retain the assistantship, the student must have maintained a CGPA of 3.50 out of a possible 4.00 or above. Please note that any student who is eligible to receive VA benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill® Yellow Ribbon Program is not eligible to apply for a graduate assistantship.

Graduate assistantships carry a stipend set by the University, and recipients are expected to devote a set number of hours each week. Students are permitted to accept other University employment; however, University policies limit all students to a total of 25 hours of work per week, including the graduate assistantship. All graduate research and administrative assistantships require that the recipient be registered for at least six graduate credits at Embry-Riddle for any semester of their appointment.

Guidelines for Graduate Research Projects and Theses

The MSSIS Program requires the completion of Applied Research, Graduate Research Design and Project, or Graduate Thesis, each of which carries its own specific credit load. Those students planning to do Applied Research Project should register for SIS 693 (3 credits), those planning to complete a Graduate Research Design and Project should sign up for the SIS 580/SIS 694 sequence (3+3 credits), and those wishing to conduct a Graduate Thesis should register for SIS 701 (3 credits).

Applied Research in Security and Intelligence Studies (SIS 693) provides space to deepen a student’s professional research questions in close relationship with a faculty mentor. With the support of the Department Chair or designee, the student will select a research mentor whose professional expertise matches a student’s interests  The research question should be professional in nature, in that it addresses a pressing problem for government or industry.  As a graduation requirement, this course should lead to the creation of a final product of sufficient caliber to be useful to a government agency or an industry whose main role is the practice of security and intelligence.

The Graduate Research Design and Project sequence (SIS 580/SIS 694)  provides space to deepen a student’s academic and experimental research expertise in close relationship with a faculty mentor. With the support of the Department Chair or designee, the student will select a research mentor whose scientific expertise matches a student’s interests. The research question should be academic in nature, in that it addresses a pressing question in the scientific literature. This sequence should lead to the design of an experimental research project and, if applicable, successful approval by the Institutional Review Board. It should also lead to the implementation and write-up of a final experimental project of sufficient caliber to be at least considered for publication in a journal whose interests include security and intelligence studies.

The Graduate Thesis (SIS 701) provides space for traditional academic thesis writing, including the drafting of a proposal, formation of a committee, the conduction of a literature review, field or library research, collation of data, writing, editing, and defense. With the support of the Department Chair or designee, the student will select a research mentor whose academic expertise matches a student's interests. The research question should be academic in nature, in that it addresses a pressing question in the scholarly literature of a discipline related to the field of security and intelligence studies. It should lead to the creation of a final project of sufficient caliber to be at least considered for publication in a journal whose interests include security and intelligence studies.

Steps in the Completion of the Research Requirement

  1. TOPIC: Generate ideas for research in consultation with the graduate faculty. This will allow the student to arrive at a research and/or thesis topic that is consistent with the curriculum and objectives of the MSSIS Program and is of genuine interest for the student. It would also be useful if the research project or thesis would be consistent with the student’s professional interests.
  2. COMMITTEE SELECTION: Choose a committee of three people. This committee must consist of two faculty members of the College of Security and Intelligence, one of whom must be chair of the committee.  The third member may be anyone from the faculty or from outside the University who can contribute to the project. Note that a faculty member may remove him or herself from the committee at this (or any) stage of the process. If this happens, the student must then choose an alternate member.
  3. PROPOSAL: Write a proposal of from 3-5 pages. The proposal  must consist of: an introduction, a clear problem statement normally (but not always) in the form of a hypothesis, an outline of the methods to be used, and a preliminary list of sources. The format for the proposal and all other documentation should conform to the APA Guide. A copy of the proposal signed by the entire committee should be placed on file with the Administrative Assistant to the College.
  4. HUMAN SUBJECTS: For all projects that require the use of human subjects, the student must submit an approval from through the University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). Forms for this process are available through the Sponsored Programs Pre-Award Office at Daytona Beach.
  5. RESEARCH: The research should be conducted in close consultation with the committee. If the committee is not consulted on a regular basis through this process, the chance of approval of the final product diminishes.
  6. DOCUMENT PREPARATION: Writing the Research Project results or the Thesis should not be started until the student’s committee has given approval. The process of writing should begin as early as possible, but no later than the beginning of the semester of anticipated graduation. As the committee approves each section, the student may move on to the next section. The student will be allowed to finish when and only when the committee has signed the “approval to defend” sheet. Note that summers are allocated for completing the research and starting the writing process.
  7. FINAL DEFENSE: Once the penultimate document is prepared and approved for defense, the oral defense will be scheduled by the College and invitations to the campus faculty and student body will be issued. The final defense of the Research Project or Thesis will require a formal presentation using PowerPoint or other presentation software. This presentation will be limited to 30 minutes, with another 15 minutes for questions from the committee and the audience. After the defense, the student’s committee will advise the student whether he or she has passed and what revisions are necessary for the final document.  At this point, the committee will decide whether to sign the signatory page.
  8. COMPLETION: Finally, the student must complete all necessary paperwork for graduation (assuming that all coursework has been completed as well). Both the final report of a Research Project and the final version of the Thesis must be bound and two copies presented, one to the Library and one to the College’s Administrative Assistant.
  9. ENROLLMENT: Once a student has enrolled in SIS 694 or  SIS 701, he or she must enroll in a subsequent semester for 1 credit while he or she is working on either the Research Project or Thesis. Additional enrollments must be approved by the Dean.

Deadlines for Research Project and Thesis Preparation

Each semester the College establishes and posts the deadlines for committee organization, proposal submission, completion the first three chapters of the Research Project or Thesis, the defense confirmation, delivery of the penultimate document to the committee, final defense, and delivery of the bound copies.

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