Course content

Intelligence agencies have reorganised themselves in response to a new globalised threat environment and increased digitalisation. Questions like the non-detection of the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 and the misreading of intelligence of Iraq’s WMD program sparked this movement. More recently, the fall of Kabul in 2021, the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, and the Hammas attack on Israel in 2023 have raised questions about the nature of intelligence knowledge, the field’s methods for analysis, and the politicisation of the intelligence agencies and their assessments. Furthermore, the field has seen an influx of private actors, both companies and individuals, providing intelligence and risk analysis to companies and states, blurring the boundaries between intelligence and risk analysis. In turn, this has opened the field to academia.

Half the course is devoted to discussing the technical, political, and ethical challenges that arise from these developments, including questions of democratic accountability, transparency and responsibility. The other half will centre on a one-day simulation exercise in which the students will be challenged to produce an intelligence estimate for a political decision using the field’s methods.

This exercise will contain four stages: (1) definition of intelligence needs, (2) open-source intelligence gathering, (3) analysis using the field’s methods, and (4) presentation of findings. The purpose of this simulation is that students get a first-hand impression of the field's methods, allowing them to reflect critically on them afterwards.

Handing in the presentation of the findings is mandatory to be accepted for the exam.


Full-degree students enrolled at the Department of Political Science, UCPH

  • MSc in Political Science: Limited intake
  • MSc in Security Risk Management


SRM Students are first priority


In Spring 2025 the course is also open for 

Full-degree students enrolled at the Faculty of Social Science, UCPH:

To be informed.


Learning outcome


  • account for the main developments and schools of thinking in the field of intelligence
  • demonstrate comprehensive theoretical and empirical knowledge about intelligence analysis in a new globalised threat environment and an era of increased digitalisation.



  • provide rigid intelligence analysis and solutions based on a reflexive combination of relevant theories, methods and data, and know how to present findings and recommendations.
  • asses, evaluate and develop new practices for information sharing, collection, analysis, and management of data for private as well as public organisations or companies.



  • independently assess an intelligence challenge and provide timely assessments that support a decision-maker
  • Reflect critically on the field’s methods and develop them.

The course is a combination of classroom lectures and ongoing discussions with students. Each seminar will first consist of a short listing of the main arguments in the assigned reading. The students and the lecturer will develop this list in cooperation. We discuss or analyse a contemporary or historical case using the theoretical framework or arguments from the assigned reading to understand and apply course material critically.

The course includes a one-day exercise where we will walk through a selection of structured analytical techniques to asses an intelligence challenge. The outcome of this exercise is presented in a short paper, such as a press release or threat warning produced at the end of the exercise.

Course literature is a syllabus of 900 pages set by the lecturer and approved by the Board of Studies. To be developed.

The course gives preference to SRM students. Other students that wish to take the course (if remaining slots are available) should preferably have taken courses thematically related to security and risk management.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

- In the semester where the course takes place: Free written assignment

- In subsequent semesters: Free written assignment

Criteria for exam assessment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • English
  • 28


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester

Autumn And Spring
Study Board for Security Risk Management
Contracting department
  • Department of Political Science
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Anders Esmark   (2-6367426b6875306d7730666d)

Søren Sjøgren

Saved on the 02-05-2024

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