Intelligence: Public Service, at the highest level

Overview of the IC Scholar Program

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) sponsored Centers of Academic Excellence (CAEs)

The IC CAE in National Security Studies Program was established during 2005 in response to the nation’s increasing need for IC professionals who are educated and trained with the unique knowledge, skills and capabilities to carry out America’s national security objectives.

The IC CAE Program provides colleges and universities with the opportunity to implement curricula focusing on the critical IC skill sets needed to strengthen the IC workforce and effectively meet mission requirements.  The following chart represents the locations of other CAEs in the United States.

Meeting this need requires the IC to recruit and retain the best and brightest — those with diverse ethnic, cultural and professional backgrounds, as well as regional, geographical, industry, language and technical expertise to protect our citizens and lead this country in the 21st Century.

Participating colleges and universities are required to promote general competencies across a broad range of professional skill sets which will prove useful. These include:

  • Data collection
  • Research
  • Analysis
  • Critical Thinking
  • Communications
  • Management
  • Strategy and Operations

The IC Scholar Program at UNL

What it is and how it will affect your life as a student:

Let’s start with what it’s not: The IC (Intelligence Community) Scholar Program is not a degree, and it’s not a certificate. It is a Career Mentoring Program meant to augment your current academic activities with a focus on Intelligence. You are already doing research, studying abroad, and taking advantage of lectures and speeches on campus; as an IC Scholar you will be able to focus your energy in the direction of a career in Intelligence. The program’s time commitment is modest, and its requirements are flexible. All of your experiences will be focused on the goal of making you competitive to pursue this prestigious career path. Your experience in this program will revolve around five aspects:

1. International Experiences - Compete for funding to study abroad


Every IC Scholar needs international experience. If you are accepted into the IC Scholar Program, you will be able to submit a proposal detailing your study abroad plan. The plan must be a “study” abroad, not tourism; improving language skills or doing research abroad makes your plan stronger. While there is no firm minimum requirement for how long you should be abroad, the longer you are abroad the better chance you have of learning the language and culture, knowledge any potential IC professional should have. The amount awarded will vary depending on the cost of the program you have proposed, whether it is through an existing program or your own plan not connected to a University program. $5000 is the maximum amount awarded.

2. IC Access - Attend IC related community events and speakers

Each year GP NSEC will host a colloquium, bringing in professionals and experts to discuss IC-relevant topics. This is a chance to hear about current IC work, gain practical networking experience and present research. GP NSEC will also consistently bring IC professionals and speakers to our campuses. IC Scholars will not only be able to attend these events, but may be able to meet one-on-one with the speaker before or after the event.

3. IC Skills training - Attend regular IC Familiarization Seminars to learn about the IC and potential career paths

To advantage yourself in the application process IC Scholars become more familiar with the IC through IC Familiarization Seminars. These are bi-weekly, evening seminars (may vary depending on campus) with fellow IC Scholars and mentors. The time is used to discuss IC-relevant topics, as well as share practical advice on getting a job in Intelligence. Some seminar topics include: how to present a briefing, getting a security clearance, writing for the IC, how to do analysis, using GIS, as well as resume editing and interview practice.

4. Career Mentoring

Be more competitive for positions within the IC as a result of your IC Scholar experience. As an IC Scholar, you can navigate your undergraduate or graduate degree and plan your potential career path with the help of an IC-knowledgeable mentor. You will also have priority access to IC recruiters when they are on campus.

5. IC Networking - Tour and network within the agencies

Visit DC with other IC Scholars and tour IC agencies. Meet with IC professionals where they work, and have the opportunity to attend IC career fairs in DC.

Learn more: