About the Institute for Intelligence Studies at Mercyhurst University

The Institute of Intelligence Studies at Mercyhurst University offers a bachelor of arts degree in intelligence studies, a master of science degree in applied intelligence, an online master of science degree in applied intelligence, and two graduate certificate programs that give students the education they need to pursue a career as an analyst in national security, law enforcement or business sectors.The Center for Intelligence Research Analysis & Training (CIRAT) brings together the students and faculty of the Institute for Intelligence at Mercyhurst University (IIS-MU) to perform high quality, low cost, open source research and analysis for private businesses and institutions and for governmental agencies through grants, partnerships and contracts. The students and faculty make full use of the theoretical and applied principles taught by IIS-MU to present actionable information for CIRAT’s customers and clients. CIRAT also leverages the expertise of IIS-MU faculty and subject-matter experts to offer a variety of standard and custom intelligence course development and training packages to clients.

Founded in 1995, CIRAT’s primary goal is to give IIS-MU students exposure to actual intelligence problems and questions and the experience of applying what they have learned in the classroom to those problems and questions. CIRAT provides the flexibility of trained individuals or teams, led by experienced faculty and staff, who respond to unmet open source research and analytical needs in surge situations or longer-term requirements. These students are generalist analysts. They have been trained to conduct in-depth research on virtually any topic assigned to them and then to apply their analytical skills to the question or problem. From there, they present their results in a variety of formats customized to the need of the decision maker. These range from massive spreadsheets to short written reports to highly visual or digital presentations.

CIRAT has worked with scores of businesses ranging from start-up companies of one or two persons in northwest Pennsylvania to Fortune 500 companies. It has provided research and analysis to a variety of federal, state and local agencies ranging from the nation’s highest profile intelligence agencies to local businesses and police departments.  The National Intelligence Council had this to say about CIRAT’s contribution to a major project on global health:  “…we consider this product an invaluable contribution to the NIC's global disease project: not only in terms of content, but also for the insights it provides into methodological approaches.”

Recently, CIRAT embarked on the two of the largest paid research projects in its history with two separate and distinctive 100 student research projects that will contribute to how intelligence will be practiced in the future.   These particular projects will assess and contribute to scientific efforts in the areas  cognitive biases, forecasting, and game based learning. 

Additionally,  CIRAT has expanded its research and training  footprint to include  the European and Middle Eastern markets by way of Dungarvan, Ireland in partnership with the Waterford Institute of Technology and Lockheed Martin Corporation.  Domestically, CIRAT is developing higher education offerings for a 2-year security/intelligence administrator associates degree and the first on-line masters degree in applied intelligence.