Best Online Master’s in Homeland Security Programs

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Homeland security is a relatively new term referring to the systems, resources and personnel in place to respond to terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and other large-scale emergency situations that threaten people and property in the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was launched in 2002 (largely in response to the 9/11 attacks), and has since grown into one of the largest federal agencies; DHS currently employs more than 240,000 full- and part-time staff working in areas like airport and border security, cyberterrorism, emergency response, and public health.

The academic discipline of homeland security is concentrated in the laws, ethics, protocols, and processes that guide various federal and nonprofit agencies. Coursework will cover a wide array of topics related to different branches of homeland security like terrorism, health, and resource protection. Most careers in homeland security are attainable with a bachelor’s degree ― or less, in some cases ― but a master’s degree in homeland security is the ideal pathway for students who plan to assume leadership positions after graduation. Master’s in homeland security programs often culminate in a capstone course, during which students must use the skills and knowledge they have gained to address real-world concerns related to public safety and security. Internships may be required, as well. Many of today’s students are choosing to earn their master’s degree in homeland security online, rather than in a classroom. Web-based students follow the same rigorous curriculum as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, often leading to the same number of post-degree job opportunities. The flexible, study-from-home schedule are ideal for students with part-time jobs, childcare duties and other important commitments.

Learn more about what you can do with an online master’s degree in homeland security and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN HOMELAND SECURITY PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

A master’s degree in homeland security will prepare students for the challenges of this demanding ― yet often rewarding ― career path. Many programs allow students to concentrate their studies on specific areas of homeland security, such as cybersecurity, chemical warfare, narcotics, and public health. Those who follow a specialized track will be especially well-positioned for job opportunities in their chosen niche field. Capstone experiences and internships further boost a student’s career prospects by exposing them to real-world problems and conditions they can expect to encounter upon entering the workforce.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN HOMELAND SECURITY PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Online master’s degree programs offer a flexible, easily accessible alternative to traditional higher education. Students are able to download course lectures and readings, participate in virtual discussions with other students, submit written assignments, take exams and communicate with their professors from their home with minimal (if any) required campus visits. Current technology also enables them to study on the go using a laptop, tablet, smartphone and other portable Wi-Fi devices. For added convenience, students can usually coordinate internships at locations that are reasonably close to their current residence.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY MASTER’S DEGREE IN HOMELAND SECURITY?

Job eligibility for online master’s in homeland security degree recipients will largely depend on their chosen specialization. Those who concentrate their studies on cybersecurity and digital forensics will be well-positioned for careers in IT, while a specialization in epidemiology or disease prevention will be the ideal track for a career in public health. Other common roles for these degree-holders include emergency management directors, information security analysts, logisticians, and security consultants. Doctoral degrees in homeland security are quite rare, so the master’s is considered a terminal degree path.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MASTER’S IN HOMELAND SECURITY PROGRAMS?

Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online master’s degree in homeland security programs in the United States. Our ranking is based on the courses schools offer, available specializations, student outcomes, career support services, and other criteria used to determine academic excellence. If you are considering an online master’s in homeland security, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific requirements and offerings.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost % Enrolled Online Location Description
1 Nova Southeastern University 71.34 49% Fort Lauderdale, FL

Nova Southeastern University is located near South Beach, Florida. NSU's Department of History and Political Science offers an online MS in National Security Affairs with four options for specializations within the program: cyber terrorism and security, criminal justice, homeland security, or international relations and global affairs. To earn this homeland security degree online, students must complete a core of five courses made up of 15 credits in total. These courses are offered by the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and include subjects such as theoretical and practical studies of terrorism.

Study is conducted asynchronously through the Blackboard platform. The program culminates in a tabletop exam available three times a year in January, May, and August. The exam is open for a 24-hour period. Both the online master's in homeland security track and the international relations and global affairs track feature an optional field research project where students can earn credit for practical experience.

Each of the four specializations include specialty courses. For example, the cyber terrorism specialization includes courses in information security and security technologies. The criminal justice track includes courses in legal regulations, social administration, policy making, and investigative processes. The homeland security track includes courses that cover dealing with intelligence, counterintelligence, community-based conflicts, metropolitan conflict, crisis managements, and critical incidents response. The global affairs specialization includes courses in genocide studies, civil wars, international war, the social aspects of terrorism, and theories of ethnicity and nationalism.

In addition to regular classes, students can take part in several support activities designed to improve student life and future employability, such as the mock trial skills workshop and the model United Nations team.


Program Overview
Department: History and Political Science, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Program name: Master of Science in National Security Affairs
Available concentrations: Cyberterrorism and security, criminal justice, homeland security, international relations and global affairs
Accrediting body: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Tuition: $705 per credit hour

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
Credit requirements: 33 semester hours
Field education requirements: Must pass a table top exam after completing coursework

Program Length
Program options: Full-time and part-time
Program length: Approximately two years for full-time students
Program start dates: May, October, and March of each year

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: July 15, Dec. 1, March 6
GPA: Minimum 3.0 (in last 60 semester hours)
Standardized tests: None. Academic writing sample required. Non-native English speakers must provide a passing TOEFL or ILETS score.
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Department phone: (954) 262-7563, (800) 541-6682 (x 27563)
Department email: gradschool@nova.edu
Social Media Accounts: Twitter, YouTube

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2 Monmouth University 63.70 3% West Long Branch, NJ

Located on New Jersey's northern coast, Monmouth delivers more than 50 online courses each semester, such as MU's homeland security degree online -- the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice (Homeland Security Concentration), a 30-credit graduate program. Prospective students should hold a baccalaureate degree with a minimum GPA of 2.5, including a minimum GPA of 3.0 in their academic major.

The program focuses on cyber security and the psychopathology of crime and terrorism. There are additional opportunities for flexible study with the thesis or non-thesis tracks. Other possible courses cover subjects such as terroristic crime scene investigation and weapons of mass destruction.

Monmouth University is partnered with the Center for Homeland Defense and Security at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, which provides a basis for the program curriculum based on their nationally recognized system. MU also participates in the University and Agency Partnership Initiative, giving its students access to the Homeland Security Digital Library. MU hosts its own military bridge program as well, which allows service personnel and veterans a transitional semester as undergraduates. Other benefits and support initiatives for those with a military background include MU's servicemembers' opportunity colleges program, which allows prospective students to translate military service experience into course-equivalent credits. Students may also utilize the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support program, which allows MU students to earn college credit by taking exams without enrolling in classes.


Program Overview
Department: Department of Criminal Justice, School of Humanities and Social Science
Program name: Master of Arts in Criminal Justice
Available concentrations: Homeland security
Accrediting body: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Tuition: $1,142 per credit hour

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous with scheduled assignment due dates

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree
Credit requirements: 30 credit hours
Field education requirements: None

Program Length
Program options: Full-time and part-time
Program length: Two years for full-time students, program must be completed within five years
Program start dates: Rolling

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: May 1, July 1, and Dec 1. International students: June 1 and Nov. 1
GPA: Minimum 2.5 overall with 3.0 in undergraduate major
Standardized tests: None
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Department phone: Brian Lockwood, program director (732) 571-7567
Department email: blockwoo@monmouth.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

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3 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus 59.90 100% University Park, PA

Pennsylvania State University was founded in 1855, and since 1892, PSU has offered distance learning through correspondence study. Fittingly, PSU was one of the first universities to establish online education, starting in 1998. Today, Penn State-World Campus features more than 120 degrees. PSU's master of professional studies in homeland security is a flexible, asynchronous program, made up of 33 credits with nine core credits in subjects such as violence, threats, terror, and insurgency. To earn this homeland security degree online, students complete courses in strategic planning and organizational imperatives in homeland defense and security. A third phase of study is made up of nine elective credits, allowing students a choice of over 25 courses in subjects such as disaster psychology, full range leadership development, and global cross-cultural leadership. The capstone course requires supervised study activities or research projects conducted by individual students or in small groups.

Within the homeland security track, students have the option to give additional focus to their learning by choosing specific courses from among four concentrations in information security and forensics; public health preparedness; geospatial intelligence (which is fully accredited by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation); and agricultural biosecurity and food defense. The homeland security master's degree also features an international track that prepares students for a global career in the field.

Courses are typically 12 to 15 weeks in length and conducted on the Blackboard Collaborate platform. PSU has several initiatives to support students, such as the academic military support team. PSU also allows credit for life experience tests and the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) subject standardized tests.


Program Overview
Department: Penn State Harrisburg School of Public Affairs
Program name: Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security
Available concentrations: General homeland security, public health preparedness, geospatial intelligence, information security and forensics, agricultural biosecurity, and food defense
Accrediting body: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Tuition: $821/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s or equivalent degree from a regionally accredited institution
Credit requirements: 33 credits
Field education requirements: Includes an elective internship experience

Program Length
Program options: Full-time and part-time
Program length: Two-year average for full-time students
Program start dates: January, May, and August

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: No stated requirements
Standardized tests: GRE requirement can be waived with an overall 3.0 GPA, graduate degree, or five years of professional work experience. Non-native English speakers must submit a passing TOEFL or IELTS score.
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Department phone: (717) 948-6050
Department email: Lesa Stanford, Homeland Security Program Officer, lis12@psu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

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4 Wilmington University 58.39 52% New Castle, DE

Based in New Castle, Delaware, Wilmington University is a global university offering more than 90 degrees, concentrations, and certificates fully online. WU's master of professional studies in homeland security can be completed in hybrid form at Wilson Graduate Center as well as fully online.

The online homeland security degree requires a minimum of 33 credit hours, and students must maintain a grade point average of at least 3.0 to graduate. The program is comprised of six core courses, including sociology of terrorism, crisis leadership, and research methods in criminal justice.

The program has three possible concentrations: military leadership, organizational leadership, and safety and security. All specialization courses require 12 additional credits chosen from five additional course options. These will culminate in a capstone course where students conduct a field practicum. The military leadership concentration in particular has additional requirements: all prospective students for this concentration must have successfully graduated from the Delaware Leadership Academy under sponsorship of the Delaware National Guard. This concentration frees students from the core course in crisis leadership, allowing the student to take a fifth specialization which is an advanced course in crisis management specific to National Guard leadership.

Wilmington University's MS in homeland security must be completed within five years of enrollment. Up to six credits from an accredited graduate program may be transferred towards the final degree, especially those with an educational background with the Northwestern School of Police Staff and Command, or those who had completed courses from the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy.


Program Overview
Department: College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Program name: Homeland Security Master of Science
Available concentrations: Information assurance, military leadership, organizational leadership, safety and security
Accrediting body: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Tuition: $466/credit, $300/credit for active duty military

Delivery
Format: Online and on-campus
Instruction style: Asynchronous study in 15-week semester or 7-week block schedules

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree from accredited institution
Credit requirements: 33 credits. Must maintain a 3.0 GPA to graduate.
Field education requirements: None

Program Length
Program options: Full-time and part-time
Program length: Two years for full-time students, must be completed within five years
Program start dates: Rolling

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: None specified
Standardized tests: None
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Department phone: Gregory Warren, chair (302) 356-6708
Department email: gradadmissions@wilmu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

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5 LIU Riverhead 57.56 N/A Riverhead, NY

Based in Riverhead, New York, Long Island University's Homeland Security and Terrorism Institute was established at LIU in 2004. The HSTI was designated by an Act of Congress in the "Implementing the Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Report Act of 2007" as a US Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence. HSTI offers an online homeland security degree, the MS in homeland security management. All study is delivered in an asynchronous format through the Blackboard learning management system.

The homeland security master's program comprises a total of 36 credits, offered in two possible concentrations. The homeland security concentration focuses on domestic and international terrorism, while the cyber security policy concentration focuses on the issues and policy of cyber security against terrorism. The homeland security master's offers three credits of practicum graduate internship as part of a planned observation and participation course in the management operations of a homeland security agency.

Required core courses for this degree program include psychological and sociological aspects of disaster and terrorism. In addition, the program allows students to choose between taking three or six credits in elective course choices from a pool of over 18 course options. Subjects include specializing in securing transportation networks, understanding the economics of terrorism and extremism, and organizational skills such as funding and grant evaluation. The master's research thesis is carried out in a two-part sequence.


Program Overview
Department: Homeland Security and Terrorism Institute
Program name: Master of Science in Homeland Security Management
Available concentrations: Homeland security, cyber security policy
Accrediting body: Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools
Tuition: $1,201/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
Credit requirements: 36 credit hours
Field education requirements: Internship or exercise in homeland security

Program Length
Program options: Full-time and part-time
Program length: Two years
Program start dates: Rolling

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 3.0 overall
Standardized tests: TOEFL for students who speak English as a second language
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Department phone: (631)-287-8010
Department email: HSTI Director Harvey Kushner, harvey.kushner@liu.edu
Social Media Accounts: None

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6 Excelsior College 57.49 100% Albany, NY

Excelsior College is based in Albany, New York, and offers the homeland security online degree, a MS in criminal justice (homeland security and emergency management). The homeland security and emergency management concentration program has 30 credits and is made up of 10 graduate courses and a capstone. The MS in criminal justice program shares its core courses with all available concentrations, such as a course in quantitative analysis for criminal justice. The homeland security and emergency management concentration courses are made up of nine credits, in subjects such as homeland security, emergency management, and geopolitical brinksmanship.

Excelsior College offers a generous transfer policy, allowing up to 15 credits from accredited institutions or translatable credits from relevant professional experience to be applied towards the master's degree. The program is made up of eight-week courses per trimester; this timeframe allows students the possibility of completing their degree in less than two years. Students have access to 24-hour technology assistance online, as well as access to the Sheridan Libraries of John Hopkins University.

Excelsior College's School of Public Service is affiliated with the National Cybersecurity Institute Research Center, located in Washington D.C. Excelsior College has been awarded a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Security Agency, a designation which is valid until 2019.


Program Overview
Department: School of Public Service
Program name: Master of Science in Criminal Justice, Homeland Security and Emergency Management
Available concentrations: Homeland security and emergency management
Accrediting body: Commission of Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
Tuition: $645/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
Credit requirements: 30 credit hours
Field education requirements: None

Program Length
Program options: Full-time and part-time
Program length: About two years, can be less with transfer credits
Program start dates: Rolling

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 2.8 in undergraduate major
Standardized tests: None
Work experience: Particularly designed for criminal justice professionals and military personnel

Contact
Department phone: (888)-647-2388 x22
Department email: gradadmission@excelsior.edu
Social Media Accounts: None

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7 Northwestern State University of Louisiana 57.11 63% Natchitoches, LA

Northwestern State University of Louisiana has provided higher learning opportunities to the people of Louisiana for more than 130 years. NSU now offers accredited online homeland security degrees through its eNSU Global Campus, allowing the university to expand its reach to students outside of the state as well. Delivered through NSU's online learning management system and Moodle, the online MS in homeland security has a unique 36-credit thesis option and a 42-credit non-thesis option. The latter option requires students to complete a practicum or transformational learning project in lieu of a thesis project, allowing the student to test their own ability in applying their newfound knowledge and skills in real-world environments and situations.

Courses available include executive leadership, diplomacy and ethics in homeland security, and managing chaotic organizations. These courses are designed to prepare students for management roles in advanced criminal investigation. The program also builds expertise in counterterrorism and covert operations, as exemplified by courses such as domestic terrorism prevention and analysis.

The university's programs run as sixteen- or eight-week sessions in the fall and spring, and students typically take one or two courses at a time. NSU offers summer courses as well in three-, five-, and six-week sessions that give students greater schedule flexibility in addition to the opportunity to accelerate their progression through the curriculum.

Out-of-state students enrolled in this online master's in homeland security are exempt from paying out-of-state fees, though NSU encourages all students to speak with a financial advisor. Transfer credits are judged on an individual basis using the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers to evaluate credits from other institutions.


Program Overview
Department: Criminal Justice, History and Social Science
Program name: Master of Science in Homeland Security
Available concentrations: Thesis and non-thesis options
Accrediting body: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Tuition: $475/credit, up to nine credits, $100/credit thereafter

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, public administration, or related field. Homeland Security 5050 must be taken in the first semester for other degrees.
Credit requirements: 42 credits (non-thesis option), 36 credits (thesis option)
Field education requirements: Practicum course internship or semester teaching assignment is required in the non-thesis option.

Program Length
Program options: Full-time and part-time
Program length: 2-3 years full-time, program must be completed within six years
Program start dates: Spring, summer, and fall

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 2.0 overall
Standardized tests: Minimum GRE score of 280
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Department phone: (318) 357-6967
Department email: crim_justice@nsula.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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8 Thomas Edison State University 50.52 100% Trenton, NJ

Thomas Edison State University offers an online master's in homeland security, a 36-credit program made up of 24 core courses covering theoretical subjects such as domestic and global intelligence for security management. This is combined with more practical courses in administration and finance for security professionals. After the core courses, students choose six credits in elective courses such as the psychology and sociology of disaster, and bioterrorism and biosecurity. A further six credits will be required from advanced-level courses, including a capstone in public service. The MS in homeland security is made up of six terms of 12 weeks, but may also be conducted in an accelerated format of 18 months.

Courses include the study and application of methods in homeland security through the examination of real-world contexts, such as the consequences to the intelligence community in the wake of the attacks on 9/11. This is further exemplified by situational challenges, such as the detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The MS in homeland security at the university's John S. Watson School of Public Service and Continuing Studies enables graduates in the top 20th percentile of their class to join the prestigious chapter of the Order of the Sword & Shield National Honor Society.

Students who have studied at a regionally accredited community college may transfer up to 12 credits earned with a grade of "B" or better. TESU also accepts translatable credit from military training and education, as well as certain professional training relevant to the program.


Program Overview
Department: School of Public Service and Continuing Studies
Program name: Master of Science in Homeland Security
Available concentrations: None
Accrediting body: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Tuition: $396/credit (NJ residents), $499/credit (non-residents)

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited institution
Credit requirements: 36 credit hours
Field education requirements: None

Program Length
Program options: Full-time and part-time
Program length: 18 months
Program start dates: April, July, October, January

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 2.75 overall
Standardized tests: TOEFL for non-native English speakers
Work experience: 3-5 years professional, managerial, or related experience

Contact
Department phone: (607) 777-4351
Department email: watsonschool@tesu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

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9 National University 48.92 73% La Jolla, CA

The Master of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management (MSHSEM) is an interdisciplinary research degree program that explores the theoretical and practical aspects in the demanding fields of management in emergency response, counter-terrorism, and homeland security.

National University has offered online programs since 1996, including the entirely online MSHSEM program. The program is designed to prepare students for managerial and leadership roles in agencies that will be expected to respond to, and recover from man-made crises and natural disasters.

The program is made up of 54 quarter units spanning 12 courses, typically four weeks in length. The MSc has a set curriculum that covers subjects such as infrastructure protection, leading complex environments, and methodological studies such as immigration issues in security. The MSHSEM capstone project is divided into two course phases.

Up to nine quarter units may be earned in a transition program during undergraduate studies to give eligibility to the MSc program. Applicants may transfer up to 13.5 quarter units of graduate credit in equivalent graduate work completed at another institution, on the basis that it is relevant to the MSc in homeland security, and on the provision that the transferred units have not been not used in earning another advanced degree. All transfer credits are considered on an individual basis.

Accelerated study options are available to students through the DANTES Subject Standardized Tests. The online MSc allows rolling admission and has all-year round monthly start dates.


Program Overview
Department: School of Professional Studies
Program name: Master of Science in Homeland Security Emergency Management
Available concentrations: None
Accrediting body: Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Tuition: $416/quarter unit

Delivery
Format: Online and at two campus locations in San Diego
Instruction style: Asynchronous online, evening and weekend on-campus classes

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited institution
Credit requirements: 54 quarter units (12 courses)
Field education requirements: None

Program Length
Program options: Full-time and part-time
Program length: Two years
Program start dates: Rolling

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 2.5 overall or minimum 2.75 in last 90 quarter units
Standardized tests: None
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Department phone: (858) 642-8480
Department email: sops@nu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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10 Pace University-New York 47.95 24% New York, NY

Pace University-New York offers homeland security degrees online, such as the MA in public safety and homeland security delivered through its Dyson College of Arts and Sciences. Pace University's online program is partnered with the Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS), which was founded in 2003 in the wake of 9/11. The online MA degree is delivered in an asynchronous format through the Blackboard LMS, and requires students to attend a one-day, eight-hour residency each trimester.

The MA can be taken in two forms: one made up of 33 credits, or an optional 36-credit model that includes an advanced thesis. Both the thesis and non-thesis options feature a mandatory final capstone seminar that synthesizes course content. The homeland security program's curriculum consists of 18 credits in core courses such as public sector policy analysis and program evaluation. A further 15 credits are made up of elective options, in which the student must choose five subjects from a pool of seven. Elective courses cover aspects of homeland security such as intelligence gathering strategies, international human rights, and technology and critical infrastructure protection.

Due the program's partnership with the CHDS, Pace University-New York students have full access to the Center's vast and cutting-edge Homeland Security Digital Library and CHDS course resources. The online MA program's curriculum incorporates selected CHDS courses as well.


Program Overview
Department: Dyson College of Arts and Sciences
Program name: Master of Arts in Management for Public Safety and Homeland Security Professionals
Available concentrations: Thesis and non-thesis options
Accrediting body: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Tuition: $1,018/credit

Delivery
Format: Online with one 8-hour weekend residency each trimester
Instruction style: Asynchronous, except for residency, which can be attended via scheduled web conference

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
Credit requirements: 36 credits
Field education requirements: None

Program Length
Program options: Full-time and part-time
Program length: Two years
Program start dates: September

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: June 1
GPA: None specified
Standardized tests: TOEFL or IELTS for non-native English speakers
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Department phone: (866) 722-3338
Department email: Joseph Ryan, director, jryan@pace.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

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From concentrations to curriculum and program structure, the options a program offers for earning a homeland security master’s degree online will help you determine which program is right for you. As you explore the best homeland security degrees online, keep in mind that the details of these programs will vary from school to school.

CONCENTRATIONS OFFERED FOR AN ONLINE MASTER’S DEGREE IN HOMELAND SECURITY

Concentration Description Careers this concentration prepares for
Emergency Management Learn how to develop and execute contingency plans for emergencies, from natural disasters to terrorist attacks. You’ll learn how to complete Geographic Information Systems analysis, develop a strategic plan, and budget for disaster relief and humanitarian aid. Emergency management specialist, Peace Corps member
Port Security Examine ways to keep U.S. ports safe and secure. You’ll learn about the policies, laws, and international agreements that govern our ports, including maritime security and aviation security, and which federal agencies play a role in port security. FEMA research analyst, maritime security manager
Cyber Intelligence Learn about the history of cyber intelligence and the impact it has on U.S. safety and policy today. The topics you’ll focus on include computer crimes, the ethics of cyber security, intellectual property and privacy issues, and signals intelligence. Information security analyst, CIA cyber threat analyst

CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE MASTER’S DEGREE IN HOMELAND SECURITY

The courses you choose to take while you earn your online master’s in homeland security will influence what kind of careers you’ll be eligible for upon graduation. While courses vary between schools and programs, you’ll find a sample curriculum below:

  • Crisis Communication: Examine how to communicate within organizations and with the public during a crisis, from natural disasters to sexual harassment accusations. This course often includes analysis of case studies from real life crises, allowing students to determine where an organization may have gone wrong in their own crisis communication efforts. Taking this course prepares you for a variety of careers with organizations like the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
  • Critical Infrastructure: Developing a plan to detect the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure — and how to protect it during a crisis — is a cornerstone of homeland security studies. In this course, you’ll learn how to conduct model-based vulnerability analysis, assess risk within systems, and apply risk-reduction techniques. Taking a course on critical infrastructure is a must for those who want to work at the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Terrorism: Learn about how to detect and monitor threats of terrorism, both foreign and domestic. This course covers the history and ideology of terrorism and helps you identify major terrorist groups operating today and the role homeland security plays in diminishing the threat of terrorism in the U.S. Courses on terrorism are a good foundation for careers in federal agencies like the DHS, FBI, and CIA.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN HOMELAND SECURITY?

Full-time students can typically earn an online homeland security degree in two years. Programs often require you to complete 30 to 40 credit hours. How long it takes you to complete your online master’s in homeland security will depend on how many credits you take and whether you have any transfer credits.

As you develop your shortlist of the best homeland security degrees online, consider whether a program follows a cohort model or allows you to study at your own pace. In a cohort model, you will start your online graduate program at a set time and work through the program at a predetermined pace with your peers. Some homeland security online degrees allow you to work through the program at your own pace. That means you may be able to take more credits per semester or complete coursework during summer semesters, allowing you to earn your degree quicker.

CERTIFICATIONS AND LICENSES A MASTER’S IN HOMELAND SECURITY PREPARES FOR

  • Geographic Information Systems Professional Certification: Many careers in homeland security require thorough knowledge of GIS analysis. GIS users choose to receive certification from the GIS Certification Institute. Before professionals can apply for the GISP certification exam, they must have at least four years of experience in a geospatial career.
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional: Designed for professionals in the information security field, this certification is granted by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium. It certifies that a professional is competent in their field and capable of designing systems that protect against cyber attacks.

Online master’s in homeland security programs vary widely, and it’s important to make sure that the programs you’re interested in are accredited. Accreditation indicates that a school has met certain standards. The schools you encounter will most likely have one of two types of accreditation: national accreditation or regional accreditation. National accreditation is usually reserved for institutions of higher learning that focus on a specific type of education, like distance learning or vocational training. Regional accreditation is given to an institution that has met the standards of a regionally accredited association. There are six regional accreditation associations throughout the U.S. covering different regions, and a degree from a regionally accredited institution is valid in any state.

There is no one organization that’s specifically designed to accredit schools within the field of homeland security, but FEMA does keep a list of masters programs for homeland security. You can find FEMA’s college list here.

Accreditation associations work in tandem with other organizations to establish the standards that institutions of higher learning must meet. Those organizations include the Department of Education (DOE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). DOE, a cabinet-level department in the U.S. government, approves accreditors deemed reliable by the Secretary of Education. This is important because the DOE can only provide financial aid to students who attend accredited institutions. The CHEA advocates for self-regulation among accredited institutions of higher learning to maintain high standards. To learn whether a school you’re interested in is accredited, you can check the list of schools on the websites of the DOE and CHEA.

JOB PLACEMENT: MASTER’S DEGREE IN Homeland Security

Due to an increased demand for qualified homeland security professionals in recent years, the job outlook is fairly strong for master’s degree recipients in this field and healthy growth has been projected in the coming years ― although these trends vary by specific professional title. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the following table has a detailed breakdown of five common career paths in homeland security.

Occupation Current Number of Jobs Projected Job Growth (2014-24) Projected Job Increase (2014-24)
Emergency Management Directors 10,500 6% +700
Information Security Analysts 82,900 18% +14,800
Network and Computer Systems Administrators 382,600 8% +30,200
Financial Analysts 277,600 12% +32,300
Epidemiologists 5,800 6% +400
Logisticians 130,400 2% +2,500

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Comparatively, the BLS estimates that the average job growth projection for all industries between 2014 and 2024 is 6%.

EARNING A LIVING

Earning potential in the homeland security profession is largely tied to one’s master’s degree field and area(s) of specialization. Using data from the 2016-17 PayScale College Salary Report, the following table features earning estimates for four different homeland security-related master’s fields during their first decade in the workforce. Please note that data for the master’s in homeland security was not included in the 2016-17 report.

Master’s Degree Field Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years)
Information Security $74,100 $108,000
Information Technology $66,000 $102,000
Information Security and Assurance $71,300 $98,300
Epidemiology $55,500 $86,700
Public Health $52,400 $81,100

Source: 2016-17 PayScale College Salary Report

Of the five degree fields listed, the average wage premium (or increase) between the entry-level and mid-career stages is 49.82%. In addition to academic studies, specific job titles also determine how much a master’s-holding homeland security employee can expect to make. Other factors include employer size and city/state of employment. The next table looks at 20-year salary growth projections for five popular careers among homeland security professionals with master’s degrees.

Occupation Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ Years)
Emergency Management Specialist $49,680 $57,744 $63,074 $77,713
Emergency Response Coordinator $47,000 $56,000 $61,000 $61,000
Disaster Recovery Coordinator $68,000 $80,000 $97,000 $105,000
Intelligence Analyst $55,738 $66,979 $79,966 $87,510
Logistics Manager $51,554 $61,668 $68,490 $75,567

Source: PayScale

All four occupations experience a salary growth rate of at least 29% after 20 years on the job. Intelligence analysts reported the highest growth rate: a 57% increase in earnings between the entry-level and late-career stages. Emergency management specialists ranked second with 56.4% salary growth, followed by disaster recovery coordinators with 54.4% growth.

Career Opportunities

Those who graduate with a master’s degree in homeland security will be qualified for dozens of positions ― including some managerial roles ― although their eligibility will depend on their areas of expertise. Four common career routes for employees with a master’s in homeland security are outlined below.

Emergency Management Directors: Emergency management directors oversee teams that coordinate response and relief efforts when disasters, attacks and other critical situations arise. They strive to create safe, efficient contingency plans for a wide range of emergency scenarios, many of which depend on support from federal agencies, nonprofits and other peripheral organizations. Nearly two-thirds of emergency management directors work for state or local government agencies.

Project Coordinators: Also known as project managers, project coordinators are responsible for the development and execution of short- and long-term projects; in the homeland security sector, these projects often revolve around emergency and disaster response, relief and reconstruction models, as well as optimizing communications between different organizations and agencies with shared homeland security goals.

Information Security Analysts: Information security analysts are responsible for safeguarding sensitive organizational data from different hackers, cyberterrorists and other online criminals, as well as technical problems like equipment malfunctions and viruses. They rely on an array of tools and platforms to do their jobs ― and in some cases, they may be responsible for developing new programs that address the shortcomings of current ones.

Epidemiologists: Epidemiologists study patterns and trends pertaining to diseases and injuries that impact human health. They publish their findings in medical journals, give speeches at seminars and conferences on behalf of their organizations, and often have a hand in policy-writing.

Occupation Median Annual Salary
Emergency Management Directors $67,330
Information Security Analysts $90,120
Project Coordinators $67,280
Epidemiologists $69,450

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to homeland security is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for homeland security professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.

  • National Homeland Security Association: The NHSA sponsors a national homeland security personnel conference, which was first held in 2005. The association’s website also features an extensive blog network, career tools and archived transcripts from the most recent conferences.
  • International Association for Counterterrorism and Security Professionals: The IACSP’s mission is centered around two overarching goals: the development and dissemination of tools and resources used to minimize the threat of terrorism, and promotion of legal and ethical behavior within the counterterrorism field. Member benefits include online journal and newsletter subscriptions, discounts on entrance fees to IACSP events and access to additional resources on the organization’s website.
  • SEARCH: SEARCH is a national nonprofit organization that seeks to connect and improve communication between various state, local and tribal law enforcement and public safety agencies. SEARCH’s website is a compendium of resources; visitors will find information about cyber-crime, data analysis, public safety and other niche areas of law enforcement and homeland security, as well as podcasts, blog posts and other multimedia resources.

Despite the relative affordability of online master’s degree programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

SCHOLARSHIPS AND FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS

Students who pursue online degrees will be eligible for scholarships, grants and other financial aid that is unavailable to their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Learn more about these financial opportunities for web-based learners.

MASTER’S IN FINANCE

Finance — the study of money and asset management — is one of the most popular degree concentrations for MBA students. Learn about the best schools for this area of study with our comprehensive degree guide.

MASTER’S IN HUMAN RESOURCES

Another popular specialization field for MBA students, human resources (or HR) focuses on hiring, new employee orientation and other administrative needs. Visit our guide to master’s degrees in HR for more information.

BUSINESS RESOURCE

Our page dedicated to resources for business students includes links to professional organizations, open courseware, industry publications, books and business-minded users to follow on Twitter.

BUSINESS CAREERS

Our career page for business degree graduates includes a state-by-state breakdown of business careers and academic options for business students, as well as popular job sites, professional organizations and continuing education opportunities for established professionals.