Best Online Homeland Security Programs

Opportunities for supporting national security are on the rise. Take the first step toward a career by earning an online bachelor's in homeland security.

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by Alison Plaut

Published on June 6, 2022

Edited by Kristina Beek
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Homeland security plays a crucial role in safeguarding our nation from threats both foreign and domestic. Whether dealing with terrorist attacks, hurricanes, or wildfires, homeland security professionals work tirelessly to coordinate emergency responses and mitigate damage. They also protect our national security from complex and dangerous cyberattacks.

Traditional and online bachelor's in homeland security programs prepare students for important roles in law enforcement, emergency management, and cybersecurity. Students develop skills in leadership, management, critical thinking, technology, crisis communication, and strategic planning. Graduates can apply these skills directly to an entry-level career in homeland security or use their degree as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree in their field.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Homeland Security Program?

An online bachelor's in homeland security teaches students the fundamentals of national security, emergency management, and cybersecurity. Consisting of approximately 120 credits, these programs focus on preparing students for entry-level work in the field. Full-time students typically complete their degrees in four years.

Students enrolled in homeland security programs at the bachelor's level can often specialize their degrees by choosing a concentration. Concentrations can help students narrow their focus around their specific career goals. Below are a few of the most popular homeland security concentrations:

Bachelor's in homeland security programs may be offered as either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science depending on the school. BA degrees provide a foundation in liberal arts, whereas BS programs emphasize computer science and information technology. Both degrees prepare students for entry-level careers in homeland security.

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Popular Online Homeland Security Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Homeland Security Program?

While individual bachelor programs in homeland security will all have slightly different course offerings, many will include courses in these general areas.

Counterterrorism

This course explores the origins and motivations of terrorists in order to develop strategies and techniques to defend against them. Students learn to evaluate sources and assets for potential risk, develop contingency plans, ethically manage counterterrorism, and conduct basic research in the field.

Research Methods

Students learn to employ basic research methods and analytical thinking to produce quality research papers on topics within homeland security and other social sciences. Coursework builds skills in writing, critical thinking, data evaluation, research strategy, and communication so students can clearly and professionally present their findings.

Emergency Management

Emergency management courses help students understand how to prepare for, respond to, and mitigate natural and human-made disasters. Students learn about crisis management, risk assessment, disaster response and recovery, and emergency preparedness and mitigation.

Immigration Law and Policy

This course examines how the immigration structure works under the U.S. legal system. Covered topics include citizenship law, naturalization, detention policies, undocumented migration, and immigration enforcement policies.

Cybercrime

Cybercrime courses introduce students to the methods used to detect, investigate, and prevent computer-related crimes. Covered topics include best practices and industry standards in cybersecurity, digital forensic analysis, data encryption, and legal protocols for collecting digital evidence. Students also examine prominent cyberattacks to better understand prevention strategies.

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What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Homeland Security Program?

The admission requirements for an online bachelor's in homeland security vary by program. Some programs have a simplified application process for online students. Other programs require online students to meet the same application requirements as on-campus applicants. Online programs may also ask students about relevant work experience, AP courses, or college credits.

Application

Most online programs require students to fill out and submit an application. Many online programs have rolling admissions or open enrollment so online students don't have to meet a specific deadline. Applications for online and on-campus programs are generally similar and cover basic information about prospective students.

Test Scores

Test score requirements vary by program. Most online bachelor's degrees in homeland security programs don't require test scores, although some programs strongly encourage submitting test scores. If applicants have taken college entrance exams, they can submit those scores with the application.

Letters of Recommendation

Online degree programs in homeland security do not always require letters of recommendation. Many only require an application and official transcripts. Check with your college to see their latest policy. If they do require a letter of recommendation, applicants should choose someone who can highlight their strengths.

Essays

Online bachelor's degrees in homeland security are less likely to require essays as part of the application process. If essays are a requirement, application essay topics typically vary. Applicants can use the essay to highlight unique perspectives and their connection to the program.

Official Transcripts

Most online homeland security degree programs ask applicants to submit official transcripts. Many programs require official transcripts but don't require a minimum GPA. Those that do state minimum GPA requirements usually ask students to possess a 2.0-2.5. Many programs allow transfer credits from accredited colleges. These can be submitted with official transcripts.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Homeland Security Degree?

Career Outlook

Earning a bachelor's in homeland security prepares graduates for careers in law enforcement, emergency management, cybersecurity, and immigration. Degree-holders can also find work with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), filling positions in information technology, intelligence, travel security, and disaster prevention and response.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), police and detectives earned a median annual salary of $66,020 in 2021 while emergency management directors made a median salary of $76,730 that year. Information security analysts earned a median annual salary of $102,600 in 2021, with a projected growth rate of 33% between 2020 and 2030.

Find out what else you can do with a bachelor's in homeland security.

Learn more about careers in homeland security

Career Paths

Police Officer or Detective

These professionals respond to emergencies, patrol neighborhoods, collect evidence, interview victims, and interrogate suspects. When they aren't enforcing the law, police officers and detectives write detailed reports and are often required to testify in court cases.

Emergency Management Director

To successfully respond to emergencies like natural disasters, emergency management directors must formulate and execute complex emergency response plans. These directors must coordinate with government agencies and public safety officials to minimize risk, analyze resources, and mitigate damage while prioritizing the safety of first responders.

Information Security Analyst

Information security analysts design and implement security systems that keep computer networks and sensitive data safe from cyber criminals. These analysts detect vulnerabilities in computer networks and develop firewalls and data encryption programs that strengthen the overall security of an organization's computer network.

Transportation Security Officer

These professionals conduct security screenings of passengers and their baggage to ensure they comply with Transportation Security Administration regulations. Since transportation security officers usually work in airports, they also monitor other airport security measures and report suspicious activity.

Transit and Railroad Police

Transit and railroad police ensure the safety of railroad stations and yards by apprehending and removing trespassers from railroad property and coordinating with other security staff. These professionals often work in tandem with local law enforcement to investigate suspicious activity on railroad property.

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Continuing Education

A homeland security bachelor's is a common degree for students interested in pursuing a career with the DHS. Graduates with a bachelor's degree in homeland security can pursue a master's degree in homeland security or related fields.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency maintains a list of federally endorsed homeland security master's and other graduate programs. These advanced degrees can allow graduates to pursue more senior or specialized positions.

A bachelor's degree program in homeland security also prepares students for master's degree programs in criminal justice, cybersecurity, information security, or emergency management. Possible areas for graduate study include counterterrorism, intelligence analysis, security, and cybercrime.

How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Homeland Security Program?

Cost

The cost of homeland security degrees is similar for on-campus and online programs. In-state tuition is usually less at public institutions. Total costs vary, but tuition at some of the top online homeland security bachelor's degrees ranges from $480-$600 per credit. Online students often have lower total program costs than on-campus students because of savings on housing and transportation.

Program Format

Most online homeland security programs feature a flexible asynchronous schedule. In others, students can choose between synchronous and asynchronous program formats. The program format can be part time or full time. Some programs offer an accelerated format. Others allow students to transfer up to 90 of the 120 required credits.

Location

When selecting an online program, location can still be a deciding factor. Many colleges allow online students to use the library or other campus resources. Some programs have on-campus requirements, making a nearby program more convenient. In-state program tuition can also be less than out-of-state tuition.

Accreditation

Accreditation lends authority to online degrees. Online colleges must meet the same strict standards of accreditation as physical campuses. Schools and programs that are accredited adhere to academic criteria to ensure students are prepared after graduation. Accredited degrees are favored by potential employers. An accredited degree is also usually required to pursue graduate studies.

Student Support

Student support services like career advice, course selection, mentorship, and tutoring can improve student outcomes. When selecting an online degree program, consider whether the program offers student support to online students.

Student support services can also include an alumni network, continued mentorship, and career services. Some universities will also help students find internships or jobs after graduation.

Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Homeland Security Programs

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Best Online Homeland Security Degree Programs

  1. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide
    Location

    Daytona Beach, FL

    Founded in 1925 and located in Daytona Beach, Florida, Embry-Riddle offers an online bachelor's in homeland security. Major-specific courses include foundations of information security, studies in intelligence, and two homeland security capstone courses. Capstone courses allow students to identify a real off-campus client and apply their knowledge and research abilities to solve a problem.

    Students focus their degrees by choosing either two minors or one minor and one focused 15-credit block of courses. Motivated students may also begin master's-level courses during their bachelor's program, reducing the time to an advanced degree; students can earn a bachelor's and master's in five years.

    Embry-Riddle is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security
    School Status: Private
    Tuition: $250 per credit (active-duty military); $447 per credit (civilian)
    Credit Requirements: 123 credits
    Degree Completion Program: No
    Program Length: 4 years
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: 2.5 minimum required
    Standardized Tests: Not required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  2. DeSales University
    Location

    Center Valley, PA

    A Catholic university located in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, DeSales offers students an opportunity to complete a bachelor's in homeland security entirely online. Course topics include an introduction to homeland security, critical infrastructure protection, digital forensics, and cybercrime and cyberterrorism. Students can reduce the program's length by transferring up to 75 eligible credits from other institutions. They may also qualify for credit based on prior learning assessments.

    To complete the degree, students must participate in a senior seminar to demonstrate their knowledge. Motivated students can begin graduate-level courses during their undergraduate years to complete a bachelor's and a master's in five years.

    DeSales is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Accelerated Bachelor of Arts in Homeland Security
    School Status: Private
    Tuition: $523 per credit
    Credit Requirements: 120 credits
    Degree Completion Program: No
    Program Length: 4 years
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: Not minimum requirement
    Standardized Tests: Not required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  3. Mercer University
    Location

    Macon, GA

    Founded in 1833 and located in Macon, Georgia, Mercer offers an online bachelor's in homeland security and emergency management. Graduates may pursue careers as air marshals, border patrol agents, emergency management planners, and disaster services analysts.

    Course topics include ethics and public safety, intelligence gathering and dissemination, and the effects of disaster on society. Two field mastery courses give students hands-on experience in approved settings with the supervision of faculty and mentors. Students can choose from five different start dates during the year, and courses last eight weeks.

    Mercer is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management
    School Status: Private
    Tuition: $485 per credit
    Credit Requirements: 120 credits
    Degree Completion Program: No
    Program Length: 4 years
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: 2.25 minimum required
    Standardized Tests: Not required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  4. Marian University
    Location

    Fond Du Lac, WI

    Based in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Marian offers an online bachelor's in homeland security. Courses include an introduction to homeland security, an introduction to terrorism, and critical perspectives of disasters. The curriculum also offers field experience opportunities, including a homeland security capstone based on academic or practitioner methods.

    Each course takes seven weeks to complete, and the school only requires students to enroll in one course per term. The curriculum adheres to guidance established by the Department of Homeland Security and Defense Education Consortium Association. The school also offers transfer credits for prior military or related work experience.

    Marion is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security
    School Status: Private
    Tuition: $470 per credit
    Credit Requirements: 120 credits
    Degree Completion Program: No
    Program Length: 4 years
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: 2.0 minimum required
    Standardized Tests: Not required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  5. Angelo State University
    Location

    San Angelo, TX

    Tuition

    $11558

    Based in San Angelo, Texas, ASU offers an online bachelor of security studies in border and homeland security. Students are taught by a community of experts, taking courses such as an introduction to cybersecurity, wildlife crimes, and critical communications infrastructure. The 120-credit program also covers current issues in modern security, immigration, and trafficking.

    The university also offers an online bachelor of border security for students with an associate degree from the Community College of the Air Force or for learners who maintain active-duty status. ASU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Bachelor of Security Studies in Border and Homeland Security
    School Status: Private
    Tuition: $2,758 per semester (in-state); $8,893 per semester (out-of-state)
    Credit Requirements: 120 credits
    Degree Completion Program: No
    Program Length: 4 years
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: No minimum specified
    Standardized Tests: Not required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  6. Keiser University
    Location

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Keiser offers an online bachelor's in homeland security. Students learn the management-level skills needed to pursue successful careers in homeland security at the local, state, and federal levels.

    Students take lower-division courses such as introduction to homeland security and constitutional law for the homeland security professional. Later, students advance to upper-level courses such as preparation and response for terrorism, issues in disaster response, and critical infrastructure protection. Students develop an understanding of management principles, emergency plans, and current threats facing the U.S.

    Keiser is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Bachelor of Arts in Homeland Security
    School Status: Private
    Tuition: $9,504 per semester
    Credit Requirements: 120 credits
    Degree Completion Program: No
    Program Length: 4 years
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: No minimum requirement
    Standardized Tests: Not required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  7. Campbell University
    Location

    Buies Creek, NC

    Located in Buies Creek, North Carolina, Campbell offers an online bachelor's in homeland security. The program focuses on key areas like intelligence and warning, border and transportation security, domestic counterterrorism, and emergency preparedness and response.

    Students take courses covering various modern security issues, including an introduction to cybersecurity, terrorism, and criminal infrastructure protection. While completing 124 credits, students gain competency in key areas of intelligence, emergency preparedness, and critical infrastructure. Military service members with at least one year of service may also apply for up to 12 transfer credits based on their military activities.

    Campbell is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security
    School Status: Private
    Tuition: $250 per credit (military); $450 per credit (non-military)
    Credit Requirements: 124 credits
    Degree Completion Program: No
    Program Length: 4 years
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: 2.0 minimum required
    Standardized Tests: Not required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  8. SUNY College of Technology at Canton
    Location

    Canton, NY

    Tuition

    $12954

    SUNY Canton offers an online bachelor of technology in homeland security. The program prepares students to respond to and defend against natural disasters and terrorism. Graduates can go on to pursue career opportunities with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. intelligence community.

    Students learn to work in both the public and private sectors, mastering the fundamentals of pressing security issues. Courses include fundamentals of homeland security, threats to homeland security, and emerging issues in homeland security. Students can choose to take a culminating field experience course in criminal justice as part of the 122-credit program.

    SUNY Canton is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Bachelor of Technology in Homeland Security
    School Status: Public
    Tuition: $295 per credit (in-state); $353 per credit (out-of-state)
    Credit Requirements: 122 credits
    Degree Completion Program: No
    Program Length: 4 years
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: 2.5 minimum required
    Standardized Tests: Not required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  9. Excelsior College
    Location

    Albany, NY

    Based in Albany, New York, Excelsior College offers an online bachelor's in homeland security and emergency management. The asynchronous program allows for flexible scheduling, which may appeal to busy learners.

    Students learn to lead during natural disasters, domestic terrorism events, and other emergencies. Courses include emergency management, comparative national security analysis, and a capstone project designed to showcase student knowledge. Students work with advisors to develop an elective block in an area of emphasis; emphasis areas are based on a student's interests but require departmental approval.

    The school allows students to transfer in up to 113 credits (the typical student has about 70 credits). Excelsior College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security
    School Status: Private
    Tuition: $510 per credit
    Credit Requirements: 120 credits
    Degree Completion Program: No
    Program Length: 4 years
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: No minimum requirement
    Standardized Tests: Not required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  10. National University
    Location

    La Jolla, CA

    Based in La Jolla, California, NU offers an online bachelor's in homeland security and emergency management. Each class lasts just four weeks, allowing students to focus on one course at a time.

    Course topics include domestic security management, crisis management, and network defense. The program also requires participants to complete a supervised senior project addressing a modern issue in security; students carry out their project over the course of two months. The program accepts applications on a rolling basis throughout the year.

    NU is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

    Program Snapshot

    Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management
    School Status: Private
    Tuition: $370 per quarter credit
    Credit Requirements: 180 quarter credits
    Degree Completion Program: No
    Program Length: 4 years
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    GPA: 2.0 minimum required
    Standardized Tests: Not required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Homeland Security Programs

Is a bachelor's in homeland security worth it? true

Students who are passionate about protecting the U.S. can find meaningful careers after earning a bachelor's in homeland security. Graduates can find satisfaction in their work and earn strong salaries.

What can I do with a bachelor's in homeland security? true

Graduates with a bachelor's in homeland security can pursue careers as police officers and detectives, emergency management directors, firefighters, customs and immigration officers, agricultural specialists, and cybersecurity professionals.

Are homeland security majors in demand? true

Yes. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the DHS is one of the largest federal agencies, with 193,867 employees in 2013. Additionally, the BLS projects 33% employment growth for information security analysts and 7% employment growth for police and detectives between 2020 and 2030.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in homeland security?

Annual salaries for graduates of bachelor's in homeland security programs vary by location, position, and level of experience. For example, the BLS reports that the lowest 10% of police and detectives earned less than $40,420 per year in 2021, while the highest 10% earned more than $105,540.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a bachelor's in homeland security?

Some of the most lucrative positions in homeland security are in cybersecurity and information technology. For instance, according to the BLS, computer systems analysts earned a median annual salary of $99,270 in 2021, and information systems analysts made a median salary of $102,600 that year. Professionals in these fields can earn even higher salaries after gaining experience.

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