Online Intel program nationally ranked

Melanie Todd, Contributing writer

Mercyhurst’s Applied Intelligence Online Master’s Program received recognition from Successful Student website. The program ranked 21st for Best Homeland Security Colleges Online. The programs are ranked based on their relevance to Homeland Security careers, accreditation and academic reputation.

“It was a surprise because we are an applied intelligence program and this is a Homeland Security ranking. It is nice that we are recognized in that area,” said James Breckenridge, dean of the Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Applied Sciences.

Both the undergraduate and graduate programs are applied intelligence programs.

“We are well known enough in the Intelligence Community that we are known to contribute to Homeland Security. It also tells us that we may want to spend more attention there,” Breckenridge said.

The online program started in 2006. The program offers a master’s in Applied Intelligence and two certificate programs in Applied Intelligence and Business Analytics and Intelligence. Each term there are about 80 to 100 total students.

“Just about everyone (in the online program) is in a professional capacity. A good many are in national security, government employees, military, corporate area, financial area and medical area,” said Linda Bremmer, director of Online and Off-site Applied Intelligence Graduate Programs. “The skills that any analyst has are transferable to many professions. It’s something they can do in any career.”

The traditional on-campus master’s program began in 2004.

“Booz Allen Hamilton almost immediately contacted Bob Hiebel (the founder of the Intelligence Studies Program) about offering classes to their employees in D.C. because they felt they needed more training. Then Northrop Grumman jumped on board and SRA International. We also did a year in the Hoover building for the FBI analysts,” Bremmer said.

With the encouragement of Hamilton in 2005, the first online classes began, which grew into the program it is now.

“It just grew like topsy,” Bremmer said.

The program is the same as the on-campus Applied Intelligence master’s program but is taught to and by instructors around the globe. Some of the instructors are even Mercyhurst graduates.

“Now we have people all over the world from different countries and agencies. We have instructors in South Africa, Switzerland and Australia,” Bremmer said.