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CISS Courses

The Intelligence and Security Studies Minor consists of 6 mandatory courses (18 hours). The minor takes 2 years to complete.

ISS-125: Introduction to Intelligence Studies

ISS-125 is the only ISS course that is open to all UM students, and it is the gateway to acceptance into the ISS minor. The course introduces students to the history, structure, and current focus areas of the IC; the strengths and weaknesses of the various collection disciplines; the challenges associated with covert action; the tradecraft practiced by all-source analysts; and issues related to Congressional oversight and reform of the IC.

ISS-351: Advanced Analytics I

The first of a two-course sequence, ISS-351 teaches students the cognitive and communicative components of critical thinking.  Students are introduced to several Structured Analytic Techniques (SATs) that are used by IC analysts, learn core elements of the IC’s writing style, and practice incorporating the ODNI’s Analytic Integrity Standards into a series of short, original, analytic articles.  Students also are given opportunities to brief on national security issues corresponding to an account that they choose at the beginning of the semester and follow throughout the duration of the course.

ISS-352: Advanced Analytics II

The second of the two-course sequence, ISS-352 introduces students to additional SATs used in the IC and examines historical case studies of both intelligence failures and successes.  The course also introduces research methodologies used outside of the IC and provides additional opportunities for students to hone their analytic tradecraft in written and oral products on subjects of their choosing.

ISS-480: National Security Issues of the 21st Century

ISS-480 provides students with an opportunity to apply the cognitive and communicative tools taught in ISS-351 and ISS-352 to their analysis of current national security challenges. The course focuses on the primary geographical and transnational threats to US interests identified in strategic documents including the DNI’s Annual Threat Assessment, the National Security Strategy, the National Intelligence Strategy, and the National Defense Strategy.

ISS-490: Internship

Students must complete an internship that involves intelligence/national security issues and that provides opportunities to practice the critical thinking and analytic skills that are the core of the ISS curriculum. CISS faculty will work with students to identify internship opportunities that are appropriate for their academic circumstances.  Students are encouraged to consider internships at IC agencies, as these frequently lead to full-time employment after graduation.  A limited number of scholarships and stipends may be available for internships at select IC agencies.    

ISS-499: Capstone Intelligence Assessment

Analysis in the IC increasingly is a collaborative endeavor between units within and across agencies, requiring analysts to overcome bureaucratic hurdles, maximize diverse organizational resources, and function as a team.  This capstone project gives students an opportunity to develop collaborative analytic skills by requiring them to work as members of an “intelligence team” that is tasked with producing an original analysis of a pressing national security challenge.