The Research/Intelligence Analyst Program (R/IAP), as the undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree in Intelligence Studies was previously known, was approved in February 1992 as a concentration within a History major. Its goal, which is unchanged, is to produce a graduate who is qualified to be an entry-level intelligence analyst for the government and the private sector. The program started the following September with fourteen students. 

In 1995 a prototype for a Master of Science in Applied Intelligence was initiated based on student pressure to create such a program. This effort capitalized on the college's successful Administration of Justice graduate program by creating an intelligence concentration therein. It has been eminently successful, attracting students and employer interest. The degree in applied intelligence is the world's first broad-based non-governmental intelligence masters.

At the twenty year anniversary of the intelligence programs at Mercyhurst, over 400 students from across the United States and many foreign countries participate in the Institute's undergraduate and graduate programs. Its 500+ alums are spread throughout premier government agencies, Fortune 500 corporations, and non-governmental organizations.