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Open Source Intelligence (Module)

Module description

The role of open source intelligence (OSINT) has assumed increasing prominence in intelligence communities since the end of the Cold War, largely as a result of the prolific growth of OSINT sources as a result of the rapid spread of worldwide use of the Internet. This module will cover thoroughly both theoretical and practical aspects of OSINT, including OSINT collection, analysis and management methodologies. The latter will be addressed by the application of OSINT by students to study varied case studies in two key security issues: nuclear non-proliferation and humanitarian crises.

This module will appeal most strongly to students taking the MA in Intelligence and International Security. However, it is anticipated that in line with the commitment of the Department of War Studies to the inter-disciplinary study of war, the module will appeal also to students on the whole range of existing MA programmes and contribute to their respective learning outcomes.


This module aims to provide students with:

  • an understanding of the history, theory and use of OSINT;
  • a critical understanding of the difference between collection and analysis of OSINT;
  • specialised knowledge of the methods of collection and analysis of OSINT;
  • a framework for applying these methods to two key security issues: nuclear non-proliferation and humanitarian crises;
  • practical experience of the application of these methods in both individual and group contexts;
  • and an appreciation of the strengths and limitations of these methods.

Learning Outcomes:

On successfully completing the module students will be able to carry out the following:

  • plan and organise substantial OSINT projects;
  • conduct highly advanced internet research, including the identification of rich sources of information, and the evaluation of the reliability and utility of sources;
  • synthesise information from a range of sources, using the full variety of source formats (including hard copy and verbal communications in addition to online sources);
  • perform a number of methods and modes of analysis;
  • select these methods for use according to their suitability for collected sources;
  • and to assess critically the theoretical rigour of their OSINT work.

Staff information

Not applicable

Teaching pattern

Not applicable

Module assessment - more information

Not applicable

Key information

Module code 7SSWM026

Credit level 7


Credit value


Study abroad module No