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Intelligence Analysis PG Cert (Distance Learning)

Enquire now Apply Distance Learning Subject area: History Subject area: Politics and International Relations
Study mode

PG code



Nine months distance-learning and one residential week on-campus

Start date


Study location

Distance Learning


About the course

We are pleased to offer our PG Cert which has some of the same features as the MA, via distance learning, starting in September. 

Intelligence and security policy issues are now one of the fastest growing areas of academic and public concern, especially since '9/11' and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today more than ever before national governments, international agencies and most major international corporations have an identified need for staff with a strong grasp of intelligence and security issues who can also demonstrate first-rate skills of research and assessment.

Taught by the internationally respected scholars of the Brunel Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, backed up where required by practitioner expertise, the PG Cert in Intelligence Analysis (by Distance Learning) offers a unique opportunity for practical, policy-oriented graduate study of intelligence issues applicable across the private and public sectors around the world.


To provide you with a systematic understanding of the role of intelligence policy and intelligence operations in national strategy and decision-making.

To provide you with a systematic and critical understanding of the role national intelligence institutions and their products have in the context of contemporary international history and politics.

To provide you with a systematic and critical understanding to the effectiveness of different methods of intelligence analysis to domains and applications of intelligence and introduce students to the core concepts of the cognitive process involved in intelligence analysis and associated cognitive errors and biases.

To provide general training in policy-oriented research and analytical skills.


Contact our Enquiries team.
Course Enquiries: +44 (0)1895 265599 (before you submit an application)
Admissions Office: +44 (0)1895 265265 (after you submit an application)

Course content

The PGcert consists of two compulsory modules. Modules can vary from year to year, but these offer a good idea of what we teach.

Intelligence Analysis Foundations, Methods and Applications

This module examines the core concepts of the cognitive process involved in intelligence analysis and associated cognitive errors and biases, and promotes critical understanding to the effectiveness of different methods of intelligence analysis to domains and applications of intelligence. You will gain hands on experience in applying structured analytic techniques, quantitative methods, and traditional analysis methods. The module also draws lessons from other disciplines and examines the analytical implications of organisational aspects in intelligence. Throughout the module, you will undertake the Validation of Intelligence Scenarios and Analysis (VISA).

  • VISA is a scenario based intelligence analysis exercise covering open source intelligence collection plan, source evaluation and analytical techniques evaluation on contemporary case where denial and deception is potentially involved.

Contemporary Threats and Analytical Methodology

This module hosts the Brunel Analytical Simulation Exercise (BASE).

BASE provides you with an opportunity to undertake a simulated intelligence analysis on a real-world subject. It is designed to emulate the interdepartmental assessment methods of the British Joint Intelligence Committee, and gives you a chance to apply hands-on analytical principles and methods learned abstractly in the other Intelligence Analysis taught courses.

Read more about the structure of postgraduate degrees at Brunel and what you will learn on the course.


The PG Cert in Intelligence Analysis (as well as the MA in Intelligence and Security Studies) provides solid transferable skills in analysis and drafting, skills whose applicability cuts across a wide range of public and private pursuits. Our BCISS students have had great success in seeking employment once they have completed their course. Many have come from, and then continue to work for, government agencies in the UK and abroad — we have taught police, military, and other government officials from the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, Belgium, Turkey, Japan, Jordan, the Philippines, Brunei, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, Botswana and several other nations beside.

Careers and your future

Within the UK, students with no service experience have gone on to work for the British Security Service, the Metropolitan Police Counter-Terrorism Centres, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, and other departments of government. Many students have noted to us that the innovative studies they undertook on our programme were important topics of discussion in their interviews. Those already in Government employment have successfully used their degrees to leverage promotion or commissioning.

Students who have sought work in the private sector have likewise had success. Former students have gone to work for large banks conducting market analysis, to large oil-industry firms, to large consultancies such as McKinsey & Co, to specialist private analysis firms such as Olton. Indeed, Olton have had such success with our graduates that they have offered to fund a prize for the BCISS student who writes the best dissertation, annually.

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Entry criteria 2019/20

  • A 2:2 (or above) UK Honours degree, or equivalent internationally recognised qualification, with an understanding of the realities of academic intelligence and security study, and the frameworks within which intelligence and security operations work.

  • Applicants with other qualifications,  or with relevant work-related experience,will be considered on an individual basis.
  • Applicants will be interviewed by telephone or in person.

Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

International and EU entry requirements

If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions

This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 65% (min 60% in all areas)

You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.

If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must prove knowledge of the English language so that we can issue you a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS). To do this, you will need an IELTS for UKVI or Trinity SELT test pass gained from a test centre approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and on the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) list. This must have been taken and passed within two years from the date the CAS is made.

Should you wish to take a pre-sessional English course to improve your English prior to starting your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider for the same reason.

We offer our own BrunELT English Test and have pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet requirements or who wish to improve their English. You can find out more information on English courses and test options at the Brunel Language Centre.

Teaching and learning

Thematic Video Lectures (TVLs) 

The thematic video lectures and reading materials will provide grounding in the theoretical, methodological and practical issues upon which good research in intelligence and security studies is conducted. It will focus on providing conceptual mapping to the subject. The Lecturer video interaction with students will be supported by well-structured lecture slides. This is to be followed by problem based learning where students engage in practical exercises, case studies, and simulations.

Multidisciplinary Teaching

The programme design enables students to examine intelligence analysis in multidisciplinary approach. Security Studies, Military History, Organisational Theories, Law, Cognitive Psychology and Probability together contribute to thorough and comprehensive approach to studying Intelligence.

Video:  Multispectral Imaging

Video: Improving Intelligence Analysis by Learning from Other Disciplines

Residential Week

Students join Brunel campus for one week, dedicated to supporting the teaching and assessment. During the Residential Week, you will benefit from live seminars and discussions with experts in the field.

Video:  Info Cyber Space System

The residential week hosts the Syndicate Meetings of Brunel Analytical Simulation Exercise (BASE), where students’ teams engage in discussions and produce their joint assessments.

Video:  Intelligence Analysis as a Social Science

The residential week evening seminars enables the distance learning students to engage in discussions with leading intelligence scholars and experts from Europe and United States. 

Video:  Analysis of Competing Hypotheses (ACH)

Attendance of the Residential Week is compulsory. Each student will be hosted in campus accommodation.

Effective Interaction

Lecturers provide timely feedback on students’ regular short assignments, where they demonstrate understanding of key concepts and develop regular interaction with teaching team.

Peer-to-Peer review is an integral part of the online design, where students comment in their colleagues short assignments and engage in discussions. 

Lecturers have regular real-time online office hours, where they can engage with students in live discussions.

The Residential activities further supports the cohort atmosphere where students engage in joint academic and social events.

Online Resources

To further utilise the online platform, students learning will be supported by the use of specialised analysis software tools in intelligence and they will engage with multimedia material where possible. Moreover, students will have access – via the integrated online platform – to supportive teaching materials and workshops provided by Brunel Graduate School and the several units of Brunel Educational Excellence Centre.

Students will have access to Online Journals, E-Books, Digital Copies, and other online materials (such as government declassified documents).

Assessment and feedback

Intelligence Analysis Foundations, Methods and Applications

The module is assessed via three types of assignments. The first leg of assessment is a portfolio of short assignments to be submitted online and aims at engaging with the key readings on regular basis, getting regular feedback for lecturers, and interaction among students.

The second leg of assessment is to be conducted while you are on campus. The residential week consists of Workshops – involving presentations and exercises – that will be used as opportunities to ‘test-fly’ your arguments that you wish to make in your final essay in a setting of open discussion and challenge from your peers as well as academic staff.

Finally, you submit your final essays where you reflect on your learning throughout the module.

Contemporary Threats and Analytical Methodology - Brunel Analytical Simulation Exercise (BASE)

Brunel Analytical Simulation Exercise will involve you working in groups in a simulated joint, all-source intelligence assessment modelled on the actual joint assessment processes in the US and UK governments. You are assessed on a mixture of individual and group work.

Special features

Residential Week

Distance Learning Intelligence Analysis students join Brunel campus for one week for the Residential Week, dedicated to supporting the teaching and assessment.

In 2016, students who attended the Residential Week had the opportunity to engage in a seminar and roundtable discussions with two distinguished experts who visited UK especially to speak at distance learning students seminars.  

Video:  Satellites Vs. Satellites

Permanent Space-based Intelligence by Professor Serge Plattard, Chair of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) Committee on Space Security, European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) and Honorary Professor of University College London.

Discussant: Prof Philip Davies, Director of Brunel Centre of Intelligence and Security Studies

Opening Remark: Mohamed Gaballa, Seminar Series Convenor and Programme Leader of MA ISS DL.

VideoUsing Satellites in Intelligence Acquisition

Opportunities to Improve Intelligence Analysis: Learning from Other Disciplines by Dr Stephen Marrin, Associate Professor, James Madison University and former CIA Analyst.

Video: Structured Analytical Techniques

External Speakers and Industry Seminar Series

Video:  Political Risk

Intelligence and Security Distance Learning students enjoy online access to video recordings of external speaker seminars and hear from industry specialists for seminars on practical job-related analytical skills and understanding the needs of potential employers.


Video: Political Risk Methods

Thematic Video Lectures (TVLs)

Thematic Video Lectures are a specially designed and professionally filmed video lectures. Students have full online access to a complete portfolio of video lectures for all modules. More information about the TVLs can be found in the Teaching and Learning section.

Brunel Analytical Simulation Exercise BASE

The Brunel Analytical Simulation Exercise provides a hands-on, practical experience in the skills and techniques of simulations in intelligence collection and analysis. It provides students with a conceptual understanding of the strengths and pitfalls of collective intelligence analysis, assessment, and decision-making; and gives students first hand insight into the management problems of generating an agreed, collective or joint assessment. More information about the BASE can be found in the Teaching and Learning section.

Brunel Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies (BCISS)

The Brunel Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies is Britain's first academic centre dedicated to intelligence scholarship and policy-analysis.

The Centre is an inter-disciplinary endeavour, and includes participation from some of the leading Brunel University London academics in the fields of cryptography, computer networking, imagery, economics and even law. Many of these experts already assist our teaching. As well, the centre benefits from the assistance, from time to time, of various officials of Her Majesty’s Government. The Intelligence Analysis PGCert, therefore, benefits from practitioner input and insight as well as instruction by leading international academics.

Flexible and Interactive Features

  • Online office hours with lecturers
  • Timely feedback on students’ regular short assignments
  • Individual and team assignments
  • Use of multimedia materials and software resources in teaching and assessments
  • Pre-recorded lectures and materials are available throughout the week
  • Materials can be accessed via standard and Apple computer devices

Fees and funding

Fees for 2020/21 entry

Some courses incur additional course related costs.

UK/EU students: £4,380

International students: £7,685

 Read about funding opportunities available to postgraduate students


UK/EU students can opt to pay in six equal monthly instalments: the first instalment is payable on enrolment and the remaining five by Direct Debit or credit/debit card.

Overseas students can opt to pay in two instalments: 60% on enrolment, and 40% in January for students who commence their course in September (or the remaining 40% in March for selected courses that start in January).

Fees quoted are per year and may be subject to an annual increase. Home/EU undergraduate student fees are regulated and are currently capped at £9,250 per year; any changes will be subject to changes in government policy. International and postgraduate fees will increase annually in line with RPI, or 5%, whichever is the lesser.

There is a range of financial support available to help you fund your studies. Find out about postgraduate student funding options.