The “Academy of the Ministry for State Security” was created on October 17, 1955, taking over the former “School of the Ministry for State Security” that had existed near Potsdam in Eiche since 1951. Although the Academy was not granted official university status, the new name suggested the claim to a higher level of education. The focus shifted towards the training of the middle leadership level of the MfS. Unlike in previous years, prospective students had to pass an entrance examination and could not be older than 35 years of age. The course of education now took two years to complete and had an academic character. It was based on instruction in eight teaching fields:
- Dialectical and historical materialism
- History of the German worker’s movement
- History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (KPdSU)
- The state and the law
- Political economy - special discipline (basic questions regarding operative work, disruptive activities, defense, investigative work, and criminal procedural law)
- Military training
Studies finished with the successful completion of examinations in all eight subjects. Upon completion of training, graduates were given the rank of second lieutenant.
The status of the “Academy of the MfS” was raised in 1956 when it began reporting directly to the Minister for State Security. The number of Kursants (students of military and police academies) rose by nearly fifty percent. At the same time, beginning in 1957, efforts began under the new Minister for State Security, Erich Mielke, to adapt the Ministry’s own educational institutions gradually to the GDR’s university system. Along with numerous restructuring efforts and expansions in teaching operations, the duration of studies was raised from two to three years for full-time study in 1960, and a five-year distance learning program was also established. Because the distance learning program was conducted primarily in an office created exclusively for this purpose, this enabled a combination of studies and active service. This quickly developed into the most frequently selected type of studies.
Thanks to the expansion of teaching content and courses, the “Academy of the MfS” experienced constant expansion, becoming a forge for leading MfS cadres.