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Old 05-08-2007   #1
skiguy
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I'm very interested in getting a BA from this University, but I have 2 questions. I ask for raw and brutal honesty in your answers and opinions.

1) Do their UG degree programs have a good reputation among the intelligence community and the military? I'm looking at one of these three fields of study: Intelligence (IO), Int. Affairs, or Middle Eastern Studies

(now here's where I request brutal honesty )
2) By the time I get my degree, I will be 53 or 54 years old. Is my age going to be a hindrance for seeking employment in the Intelligence community? Since I have absolutely zero experience, I will be starting with an entry level position.
Am I thinking realistically when I believe they won't be all that comcerned with age if I have a BA in one of the three area of studies I mentioned AND have the ability to speak/read/write, at an intermediate level, Arabic or another needed language?

Thanks, Ken
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Old 05-08-2007   #2
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Ken,

While I can't speak for the "big name" intel agencies, when I was going the oral board for the Foreign Service selection process, an older lady was going through at the same time.

It seems she had been a military spouse most of her life, and was starting here own career. One of our members (maybe Tom Odom) has previously stated that the Dept of State actually had some good intelligence analysts buried within its structure, and I imagine they started off with the same FS examination and screening.

Although I also cannot speak on the BA aspect of an AMU education, the various master's degrees offered are fairly prevalent among junior to mid-grade military officers, and I've never known anyone in or out of the military to look on AMU as a diploma mill.

Member ericmwalters was once an AMU instructor, so he will likely pop in here and offer his thoughts.
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Old 05-08-2007   #3
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I'm currently taking courses through them, and I have to say that what I've seen so far is at least on par with the other universities I've attended. What sets them apart is the wide instructor base they can draw on. You won't find that many other places.
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Old 05-08-2007   #4
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Steve, that's the thing (and I believe I mentioned this in another thread), there is nothing nearby that even comes close to what they offer. They have degree programs in exactly what I'm looking for.

Thanks for the advice, and thanks for the mention of the old lady.

Looking forward to see what eric and Tom have to say.
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Old 05-08-2007   #5
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Quote:
Thanks for the advice, and thanks for the mention of the old lady.
She was certainly wiser, as she passed the assessment, and I was sent packing with an advisory to know the Bill of Rights a lot better the next time I attempted.
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Old 05-09-2007   #6
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I'm taking the Master's program in Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict and have been very impressed by the professors as well as the ability to shift deadlines because of work, real world stuff like my wife being sick, etc...

Could not recommend them highly enough.
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Old 05-09-2007   #7
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Default Age, AMU, and Federal Intelligence Agencies

SKIGUY (Ken) asks a number of questions regarding American Military University and employment in the intelligence world in general:

Quote:
1) Do their UG degree programs have a good reputation among the intelligence community and the military? I'm looking at one of these three fields of study: Intelligence (IO), Int. Affairs, or Middle Eastern Studies
You have to understand that there is little out there with regard to degrees in intelligence studies in ANY venue. AMU's competition in intelligence studies comes from only a few other institutions: (1) Mercyhurst College, Erie, PA, which offers both bachelor's and master's degrees in intelligence studies but this is done in the traditional residence manner, (2) Tennessee State University, which is just now getting a program up and running, and (3) the Defense Intelligence Agency's National Defense Intelligence College, which offers a Bachelor's in Strategic Intelligence (BSI) and a Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence (MSSI)...of course, you have to already be in the federal government and hold a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information clearance and access to attend the latter.

A number of the AMU faculty in intelligence studies have taught at NDIC at DIA--Jonathan Lockwood is perhaps the most prominent and he's currently doing intelligence education for the Department of Homeland Security.

So, for an entry-level intelligence analyst position that does not require specialized languages, regional expertise, or technical acumen with regard to communications, computers, and other networking/processing systems, an AMU degree is worth something to the federal intelligence agencies. Will it beat out an Ivy League or other prestigious school degree? No.

Regarding the language skills, I'll get to that in a minute.

Quote:
(now here's where I request brutal honesty )
2) By the time I get my degree, I will be 53 or 54 years old. Is my age going to be a hindrance for seeking employment in the Intelligence community? Since I have absolutely zero experience, I will be starting with an entry level position. Am I thinking realistically when I believe they won't be all that comcerned with age if I have a BA in one of the three area of studies I mentioned AND have the ability to speak/read/write, at an intermediate level, Arabic or another needed language?
Regarding age, the federal government prohibits discrimination in hiring based on age of the applicant. That said, you still have to compete with all the bright young lights out there. If your resume is the same as theirs, you'll be competing based on previous experience that you can leverage into the job which they won't have. I don't know what you've done, but you might want to figure out where you can fit it into the organization/business process.

Regarding language ability, this is absolutely key/critical...but you may find yourself forward "in-country" quite a bit. If you've got family, that may be a bit of an issue for you. If that's not an issue, you can then develop/advance your language skills and regional expertise and then be seen as a true expert, despite your age.

Understand what entry-level means, however. The salary ranges are very, very low...even for those who apply with master's degrees. The civilian workforce in many DoD intelligence organizations are transitioning into a different management system which is going to be separate from the beloved (and very traditional) civil service system that most of us grew up with. It will be based purely on performance and not reward seniority as much as the old system did. So, if you are hired by an organization in the new system, there's a chance you could rocket up the pay band if you are are truly a "front runner."

Hope this helps you in your decisionmaking.

--Eric
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Old 05-09-2007   #8
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Originally Posted by ericmwalters View Post
Hope this helps you in your decisionmaking.

--Eric
It sure did! I'm about 95% sure I know where I'm going now. I'll worry about the job after I get a degree. I'm sure, as well at AMU, I won't have to be concerned about dumb-a, Liberal, Bush-hating, 9-11 conspiracy believing professors. Thatwas actually a concern of mine with other schools.

This of course could change, but I at least have it narrowed down to three areas of study for now. I'm very interested (unless someone really advises me otherwise) in Intelligence studies with a concentration in IO. If the Army would have let me be a PSYOP, I would enlist today...unfortunately age was a problem


One more question about the language courses. I see there are only 2 levels of Arabic. Is that correct? Where can I learn more (preferably to gain credits)?

Just think, in 2 or 3 years from now, I may actually be able to contribute intelligently to discussions here.
If no one minds, I'd still like to (if you all don't mind dumb questions or comments). I have so many questions for you guys, but I don't want to be a pain.
I certainly know where to come, now, to learn things.

Thank you, Eric and thank you everyone!

Last edited by skiguy; 05-09-2007 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 05-09-2007   #9
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The folks who frequent this site the most do not hold a monopoly on intelligent discussion Ken. We are all probably guilty of posting from where we sit (or have sat) to some degree, and I'll go out on a limb and say that we have studied issues and regions because it was part of what kept us out of harms way.

With only a few exceptions since I've joined the site, everyone has contributed in some way, even if only to shock the older hands back to reality and make them wonder, "why didn't I think of that?"

I applaud you for your desire and drive.
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Old 05-10-2007   #10
skiguy
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Again, thank you all for your help. I enrolled at AMU today. Intelligence Studies with a concentration in IO.

Only "problem" I have is they offer only 2 levels in the Arabic language. So I guess I'm on my own with that if I want to advance to a higher level. By the way, do they use the Rosetta Stone in those courses?

Any suggestions?
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Old 07-18-2007   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
Again, thank you all for your help. I enrolled at AMU today. Intelligence Studies with a concentration in IO.

Only "problem" I have is they offer only 2 levels in the Arabic language. So I guess I'm on my own with that if I want to advance to a higher level. By the way, do they use the Rosetta Stone in those courses?

Any suggestions?

Hi, Skiguy. I just joined this forum and saw this thread about American Military University. How are your studies going thus far?

I'm interested in AMU myself, and have been trying to do some research on it. Are there any others here who are currently taking courses there or who have done so in the past? What can you tell us? Thanks!
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Old 07-18-2007   #12
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I've taken courses from them. We also have some former instructors on the board.
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Old 07-18-2007   #13
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I've been taking Master's courses from them since the summer of 06, and will be 50% complete in AUG 07.

Most of the instructors are superb, they are also very flexible in assignments as required.

Most of the courses I've taken are paper-writing based, although all of them also have had a discussion board that you need to use for grades - it surrounds the topics that you are reading about. I have not taken a single test yet.

Can't recommend them highly enough - where else can one study Unconventional Warfare?
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Old 07-18-2007   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Man View Post
Hi, Skiguy. I just joined this forum and saw this thread about American Military University. How are your studies going thus far?

I'm interested in AMU myself, and have been trying to do some research on it. Are there any others here who are currently taking courses there or who have done so in the past? What can you tell us? Thanks!
Hi J-Man. Going very well so far, thanks, but it's only my first class (week and a half left). I can't really give a good assessment yet, but if this course is any indication, writing skills are very important. Make sure you can back up your arguments and points. I'll be taking the writing course next and heard it was pretty intensive...but I'll learn how to cite stuff from SWJ.

I've only heard good things about this school and am looking forward to my upcoming courses (except Math)

However, all this talk here lately makes me think of changing majors to anthroplogy.

Last edited by skiguy; 07-18-2007 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 07-19-2007   #15
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Originally Posted by Ski View Post
I've been taking Master's courses from them since the summer of 06, and will be 50% complete in AUG 07.

Most of the instructors are superb, they are also very flexible in assignments as required.

Most of the courses I've taken are paper-writing based, although all of them also have had a discussion board that you need to use for grades - it surrounds the topics that you are reading about. I have not taken a single test yet.

Can't recommend them highly enough - where else can one study Unconventional Warfare?
Thanks for the feedback, Ski. How many classes do you take at one time? And how much time would you say you spend per week on your studies?
They sure have some fascinating programs there.
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Old 07-19-2007   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
Hi J-Man. Going very well so far, thanks, but it's only my first class (week and a half left). I can't really give a good assessment yet, but if this course is any indication, writing skills are very important. Make sure you can back up your arguments and points. I'll be taking the writing course next and heard it was pretty intensive...but I'll learn how to cite stuff from SWJ.

I've only heard good things about this school and am looking forward to my upcoming courses (except Math)

However, all this talk here lately makes me think of changing majors to anthroplogy.
What class are you taking, skiguy? And how much classwork would you say you do each week?
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Old 07-19-2007   #17
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Is there anyone on this board who has completed one of the intelligence degrees at AMU? That's one area I'm looking at.
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Old 07-19-2007   #18
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J-Man, taking RQ295 now. It's a required course for all who are starting out in any BA program. I only started off with one class because I wanted to see how I'd do. Proficiency in Writing and Math begins in August.
I'll do about 16 hours average/week schoolwork. (that might be overkill, but I'm maintaining a 95 average) Depends on the assignments. Most of my courses are 8 weeks, some (like this Math and Writing) are 16.

If you do enroll, contact Dr. Berry (the Intel Studies Dept head). He's been very helpful and answers all my questions. Also, check out the student lounge discussion board. Lot's of useful Q&A over there.

If you decide to this (especially if you're going to major in Intelligence) let me know. Are you thinking of a BA or going to Graduate school?
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Old 07-19-2007   #19
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J

I take two classes per semester. I spend about 90 minutes every other day reading (but I read very quickly) and then I spend about 4-5 hours writing and then proofreading a paper.
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Old 07-22-2007   #20
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J-Man, taking RQ295 now. It's a required course for all who are starting out in any BA program. I only started off with one class because I wanted to see how I'd do. Proficiency in Writing and Math begins in August.
I'll do about 16 hours average/week schoolwork. (that might be overkill, but I'm maintaining a 95 average) Depends on the assignments. Most of my courses are 8 weeks, some (like this Math and Writing) are 16.

If you do enroll, contact Dr. Berry (the Intel Studies Dept head). He's been very helpful and answers all my questions. Also, check out the student lounge discussion board. Lot's of useful Q&A over there.

If you decide to this (especially if you're going to major in Intelligence) let me know. Are you thinking of a BA or going to Graduate school?
Skiguy, I think you're smart to start out with one course. As time goes on and you get more used to school you'll not only be able to handle a bigger workload (if you want), but you'll become more efficient. It sure sounds like you're doing well though.

Thanks for that tip about Dr. Berry. I'm looking at some different options right now, and AMU is one of them. I already have a BA degree. So if I did enroll, I would probably go the Master's degree route.
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