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King University News :: Major in Security and Intelligence Studies Now Offered by King University

BRISTOL, Tenn., Jan. 21, 2015 –King University has launched a new degree program in Security and Intelligence Studies (SIS). The SIS major is designed for students who have a serious interest in working for the government or private sector in any type of security or intelligence capacity. The major is also designed to provide students with the strong critical thinking and writing skills they will need if they choose to go on to graduate school.

This burgeoning field in security and intelligence is relatively new when it comes to the undergraduate environment. “Currently, King is at the forefront nationally in offering an undergraduate program of this kind,” said Gail Helt, assistant professor of Political Science at King University and former analyst with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Students who major in Security and Intelligence Studies will have the opportunity to learn how to think and write like an intelligence officer, to distinguish terrorist groups around the world, to assess the dynamics surrounding global events, and to discern reality from fiction when it comes to intelligence, among other issues of security and intelligence.

“There has been a debate as to whether a program of this nature is strictly vocational or if it is truly of an academic nature,” Helt commented. “King’s SIS program has vocational components, but is firmly academic and is rooted in the tradition of the liberal arts. Intelligence and security agencies like the FBI, CIA, the DEA, and others tend to seek out those who have a well-rounded understanding of the world as it relates to matters of security and intelligence. Those who are able to think both critically and holistically tend to fare better in these types of careers.

“One of the main strengths of King’s SIS program is that it is rooted deeply in the liberal arts. This provides King’s SIS students with the critical thinking skills required to adapt easily in the world of security and intelligence,” added Helt.

In 2011, King began offering Security and Intelligence Studies as a minor.

Fields of study at King University which complement the new SIS major include Political Science, History, and Business – particularly Accounting, Finance, Economics, Management, and Administration. Other areas of study enhanced by SIS are Neuroscience, Toxicology, Forensic Science, Physics, Mathematics, Psychology, and foreign language.

“One thing that makes our program different is the interdisciplinary aspect of it; there are so many areas of SIS that connect or overlap with other fields of study. Students with an interest in a career with a government agency may find it beneficial to double major in Security and Intelligence Studies alongside their other area of interest,” said Helt. “One example is if a student has an interest in a career with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the National Institutes of Health (NIH), they may choose to double major in SIS and Neuroscience, Biology, or another area of science.”

The SIS program will encourage internships and international study. Several students who have minored in SIS have participated in internships within the US government. Several have also included study abroad educational experiences in locations such as the South Korea, Israel, and the West Bank.

For more information on King University’s Security and Intelligence program contact Gail Helt at 423.652.4890 or or contact King’s Office of Admissions at 800.362.0014 or


King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.