"Homeland security" is a broad term encompassing a country's coordinated efforts to mitigate terrorism, natural disasters, and other substantial threats to human life, property, and natural resources. The term originated in 2002 when the Bush Administration created the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Since then, the department has grown to more than 240,000 employees, and homeland security-related jobs continue to emerge across the country.
In response, many colleges and universities created bachelor's degree programs in homeland security. Other schools feature programs in related fields, such as emergency management and information security, with options for homeland security concentrations or minors. Homeland security programs often include internship opportunities as part of the curriculum, allowing students to receive supervised training from experienced professionals.
Today, many students choose to earn their bachelor's degree in homeland security online. Many web-based programs follow the same curriculum as traditional brick-and-mortar options, and the asynchronous (or self-paced) format of most online homeland security degree programs proves convenient for students with part-time jobs, childcare duties, and other important commitments that may interfere with campus-based education.
Read on to learn more subject matter in a homeland security program and the types of career opportunities waiting for you after graduation.
Choosing a Program
WILL AN ONLINE HOMELAND SECURITY DEGREE PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?
Online homeland security programs prepare students for a variety of roles in the industry. The diverse course load covers fundamental aspects of national safety and security, including emergency planning, management, and recovery; terrorism prevention and response; cybersecurity; border and immigration control; infrastructure protection; intelligence analysis; business continuity; and law enforcement.
Courses help students develop vital skills such as critical thinking and analysis, logistical planning, leadership, communication, and problem-solving. Many programs enlist homeland security experts to instruct courses, giving students the chance to glean real-world insight from experienced individuals and establish a professional network.
WILL AN ONLINE HOMELAND SECURITY DEGREE PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?
Online bachelor's in homeland security programs offer a flexible alternative to classroom-based education. Students can access course lectures and readings, submit written assignments, take exams, and communicate with their professors on their own schedule. Current educational technology also enables them to study away from their home computer using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, and other Wi-Fi-compatible devices.
WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY HOMELAND SECURITY BACHELOR'S DEGREE?
Due to the number of jobs in the field, students with an online bachelor's degree in homeland security can choose from a range of professional roles. Emergency managers and coordinators develop contingency plans for national emergencies and manage logistics in times of disaster. Information analysts and network security specialists monitor online traffic for signs of suspicious activity. Other jobs involve securing and protecting borders, airports, waterways, and other areas that experience significant international traffic. Most entry-level positions in homeland security are attainable with a bachelor's degree.
WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE HOMELAND SECURITY BACHELOR'S PROGRAMS?
Choosing a program is a very 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 homeland security programs in the United States. If you want to pursue a homeland security degree and you value the opportunity to study online, read on to learn more about the top online homeland security programs in the country.
Accredited Online Homeland Security Programs
|Irvine, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 79%||
Brandman University in Irvine, California, specializes in academic programs for working, nontraditional students. An excellent choice for distance learners seeking the best online homeland security degree, Brandman offers a BA in criminal justice with a homeland security concentration. Students can complete the bachelor's degree entirely online with no in-person requirements.
Graduates of Brandman's homeland security degree work in a variety of court, law enforcement, and justice careers, including work as police supervisors and detectives, social and community service managers, and emergency management directors. Hiring organizations include the Army National Guard, the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, and private security companies.
Students explore the criminal justice system and learn about forensics; evidence; and local, state, and federal law enforcement. Learners gain skills in communication, community collaboration, and ethical decision-making. Legal and criminal justice experts create and teach curriculum for the online program. Required courses include applied criminology, homeland security, and foundations of law. Students must complete 120 semester units to graduate. Everyone in the online program pays the same tuition price, regardless of their residency.
Applicants must hold at least 12 transferrable bachelor's-level credits and a minimum 2.0 GPA. They also must submit official transcripts from any previously attended colleges. However, Brandman only accepts transfer credit from regionally accredited schools. Prospective students without the necessary transfer credits can earn the required credits online in eight months through Brandman's School of Extended Education. Brandman evaluates admissibility and determines the amount of acceptable transfer credits for active military applicants based on a review of their military transcripts.
|Lynchburg, VA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 47%||
A private, evangelical Christian school in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University boasts more than 100,000 students. Learners who want to earn a homeland security degree online can enroll in Liberty's asynchronous bachelor's completion degree in criminal justice with a specialization in homeland security. Learners complete all program requirements online, with no mandatory on-campus visits or login times.
The program prepares graduates to serve and protect their communities and leaves them well-versed in emergency preparedness and response tactics. Graduates follow career paths in counterterrorism, transportation security, and citizenship and immigration services.
The 120-credit BS typically takes full-time learners 3.5 years to complete. Students need a minimum 2.0 GPA to graduate and must complete at least 30 credits at Liberty. Students take classes like critical infrastructure protection, behavioral dimensions of disaster, and incident command system and emergency planning. Each course lasts eight weeks, and the program offers eight start times each year.
Distance learners pay the same per-credit tuition rate regardless of their residency. All online undergraduates at Liberty receive free electronic textbooks, making the program even more affordable. Liberty's homeland security program offers a 25% tuition discount to active duty law enforcement and other first responders.
Admission criteria typically includes a minimum 2.0 GPA, although Liberty may consider some prospective students with lower GPAs. Applicants must submit a high school self-certification form, college transcripts, an admission application and fee, and proof of English proficiency.
Liberty holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
|Virginia Beach, VA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 61%||
Founded by Pat Robertson as the Christian Broadcasting Network University in 1977, Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia, offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees that focus on Christian values and leadership. The school boasts a $186 million endowment, 129 areas of study, and holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Distance learners can complete a homeland security degree online at Regent that emphasizes a Christian worldview, ethics, and critical thinking skills. Learners explore issues like constitutional law, criminal investigation processes, and criminal law. Career opportunities for graduates include a variety of law enforcement and justice positions, such as homeland security official, detective, and customs officer.
Regent's fully-online criminal justice BS with a homeland security concentration includes a transfer-friendly policy that helps students get the maximum credit for courses completed at previous colleges. The bachelor's degree typically takes four years of full-time study to complete, although students who start the program with prior college credit can graduate sooner.
The 120-credit degree covers courses in disaster preparation, hazard mitigation, and counterterrorism. Regent's general education requirements also include 15 credits of biblical worldview courses. Students must complete at least 50% of coursework at Regent and earn a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA.
Support services for distance learners at Regent include online tutoring, an online peer mentorship program, and access to the university library's vast digital collection. Regent also offers extensive career services for online students, including networking and development opportunities and help finding internships and jobs.
Thomas Edison State University
|Trenton, NJ||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 45%||
Thomas Edison State University in Trenton, New Jersey, boasts a rich history of serving the educational needs of busy students. Today, distance learners can complete TESU's homeland security and emergency managementdegree online without any on-campus requirements. Homeland security majors at TESU receive a broad overview of the emergency management and homeland security professions. The program prepares graduates to understand the post-9/11 law enforcement landscape.
The 120-credit bachelor's in homeland security and emergency management includes 60 general education requirements, 27 elective credits, and 33 credits within the major. Students take classes like protecting the homeland and concepts of emergency management. The curriculum aligns with the National Preparedness System's five mission areas: prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery.
Exceptional students can apply to TESU's chapter of the Sword and Shield National Honor Society, the first honor society dedicated to homeland security, emergency management, intelligence, and protective security. Prospective honor society applicants need to complete 50% of degree requirements and hold a minimum 3.5 GPA to qualify.
TESU offers a generous transfer credit acceptance policy. Learners may transfer up to 117 previously earned credits from regionally accredited universities. Students with community college credit can transfer up to 80 credits. Students can receive a full transfer credit evaluation when they apply for the homeland security program. The university also offers other ways for students to earn credit for prior knowledge, including a credit-by-exam program, portfolio assessment, military training, professional training, and licenses or certifications.
California University of Pennsylvania
|California, PA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 52%||
California University of Pennsylvania offers a bachelor's degree in homeland security online for students with an associate in criminal justice or at least 50 transferable undergraduate credits. The program takes just 16 months to complete for students with an associate degree. The bachelor's completion degree in criminal justice with a concentration in homeland and international security provides a broad overview of the criminal justice field. It also includes an in-depth look at terrorism prevention in the U.S. and around the world. This unique concentration prepares learners to work in justice-related fields or to pursue law or graduate school.
Designed to align with the core content areas that the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences identifies as crucial to the field, Cal U's curriculum covers criminological theory, administration of justice, research methods, and law enforcement. Courses explore issues like counterterrorism, cybercrimes, and forensic science. The program's blend of professional and liberal arts courses helps students gain skills in communication, critical thinking, and leadership.
The fully online, asynchronous program provides flexibility that working, nontraditional students appreciate. Cal U homeland security majors can take advantage of excellent networking opportunities by joining the school's chapter of Lambda Alpha Epsilon, a national criminal justice professional organization.
Cal U also offers an accelerated BA-to-MA program that lets students save time and money while earning a bachelor of science in criminal justice and a master's in applied criminology at the same time. Starting their junior year, learners can take graduate classes that apply to both their bachelor's and master's degrees.
University of Alaska Fairbanks
|Fairbanks, AK||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 30%||
The only program of its kind in Alaska, students can pursue a fully online bachelor's in homeland security and emergency management from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The School of Management boasts accreditation from The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and offers the homeland security degree online, with no required campus visits. The program prepares graduates to anticipate, mitigate, and respond to a variety of natural and manmade disasters.
Graduates pursue careers in risk management, disaster response coordination, and local, state, and federal government agencies. UAF's homeland security bachelor's program boasts membership in both the Department of Homeland Security's University and Agency Partnership Initiative and the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Higher Education Program.
The 120-credit degree requires learners to earn at least a "C-" in each class and takes about four full-time years to complete. Students can choose from six concentrations in areas like fire administration, homeland security, and cybersecurity and information technology management. They can also minor in emergency management or military security studies.
Learners take courses like comparative homeland security, introduction to emergency management exercise design, and all-hazards risk analysis. They also explore professional management issues, organizational theory, and leadership. All UAF distance learners pay resident tuition rates, regardless of where they live.
Applicants with at least 30 transferable semester credits must submit college transcripts. Transfer applicants with fewer than 30 college credits must also send their ACT/SAT scores. Freshman applicants need to hold a high school diploma and a minimum cumulative 2.5 GPA.
|Clinton, MS||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
Students interested in combating terrorism can pursue a BS in homeland security from Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi. One of the oldest Baptist-affiliated colleges in the country and the oldest college in Mississippi, MC began in 1826. The school holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and offers 80 undergraduate majors.
MC's Department of History and Politics coordinates the homeland security bachelor's program, which combines a foundational overview of the justice system with a focus on homeland security issues. The department houses the Center for Counterterrorism Studies, giving learners access to educational resources and research opportunities. Faculty members boast extensive experience and use their professional connections to help pupils get internships and jobs.
Students take 36 credits of major coursework, including classes like legal aspects of homeland security; arrest, search, and seizure; and grant writing for homeland security. Designed for working professionals with busy lives, MC's flexible homeland security degree follows an asynchronous format. Graduates work for local, state, and federal agencies in intelligence analysis, law enforcement, and emergency management.
Freshman applicants must submit official high school transcripts, ACT/SAT scores, and a completed application. Transfer students with at least 24 credits from a regionally accredited institution must hold a minimum 2.0 GPA and submit college transcripts. Transfer students with less than 24 credits must submit college and high school transcripts and ACT/SAT scores. All MC students pay the same online tuition rates, regardless of residency.
|Albany, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 45%||
A private, nonprofit school in Albany, New York, Excelsior College offers a homeland security degree online. The program covers incident response and management, domestic and international terrorism, and security planning and threat assessment. Excelsior's affordable online programs boast low student fees and include flexible payment plans.
The 120-credit bachelor of science in criminal justice with a concentration in homeland security includes 60 general education credits, 33 major credits, and 27 elective credits. At least 30 of the required credits must come from upper-division courses. Students take classes like research methods in criminal justice, introduction to law enforcement, and a criminal justice capstone. Full-time learners can complete the degree in four years. Students with transfer credit can graduate sooner.
Excelsior accepts undergraduate transfer credits with a minimum grade of "C-" from degree-granting institutions. Students may also receive academic credit for military and job training and professional licenses and certifications. The criminal justice bachelor's program awards academic credit to students with corrections and law enforcement backgrounds through its Credit for Criminal Justice Training program.
Excelsior provides numerous services to support online learning, including academic advising, a career center, financial aid resources, accessibility services, a veteran's center, 24/7 tech support, and library online resources. Enrolled students participate in an online orientation that includes an introduction to the learning management system and interaction with faculty members. Excelsior holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
|Longview, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 60%||
Distance learners searching for homeland security degree online programs can find two criminal justice degrees with concentrations in homeland security from LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas. A private, interdenominational Christian university, LETU's academic programs take a Christ-based approach that emphasizes restorative justice.
LETU's School of Arts and Sciences offers a criminal justice BS and BCJ. Both programs require 120 credits and provide an overview of the criminal justice profession by exploring criminal psychology and behavior, conflict resolution, and criminal justice management issues.
Curriculum emphasizes a hands-on approach that gives learners practical job skills. LETU offers the BCJ to veterans, active duty military, and law enforcement personnel, who may qualify to receive academic credit for their professional experience and training. Students can complete both the BS and BCJ entirely online, with no required campus visits.
Applicants must submit official high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. Students with at least 12 transferable college credits only need to submit official college transcripts.
Learners take courses like domestic human trafficking, police and the community, and terrorism and counterterrorism. After passing all major courses, criminal justice majors also complete a three-credit, supervised internship in a criminal justice-related setting. The internship can take place in the learner's local community. Students can join accelerated distance courses year-round. All LETU students must take 12 theology and vocation credits. Graduates of LETU's programs can find jobs as federal agents, victim advocates, and fraud investigators.
Middle Tennessee State University
|Murfreesboro, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
Founded in 1910 as a teacher training school, Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, offers more than 240 programs of study, including an affordable and flexible homeland security degree online. The distance education program does not include any on-campus requirements, allowing students to work full-time while completing their degrees. The program prepares graduates for future criminal justice careers in police departments, district attorney offices, and the U.S. Border Patrol.
MTSU's 120-credit BS in criminal justice administration with a concentration in homeland security includes 30 credits within the concentration. Students take homeland security courses, such as terrorism and criminal justice, security administration, and intelligence analysis. The program's robust internship program allows students in their senior year to receive on-the-job training and to apply classroom theories to real situations.
The nine-credit internship program requires 320 hours working in a criminal justice agency in the student's community. Learners can also complete an in-person practicum in law enforcement at the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy in Donelson, Tennessee. Students must arrange to complete the practicum at least one semester ahead of time and pay for room and board while attending the academy.
Admission requirements vary depending on whether the prospective student comes straight from high school, transfers from another degree-granting institution, or is returning to school after some time. Transfer students must hold at least 24 credits with a minimum 2.0 GPA and submit official high school and college transcripts.
Touro University Worldwide
|Los Alamitos, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 60%||
Based in Los Alamitos, California, Touro University Worldwide delivers online academic and professional programs with a global mindset. Distance learners can earn a homeland security degree online by enrolling in TUW's bachelor of science in business administration with a concentration in homeland security emergency disaster management.
The 120-credit BSBA includes 45 general education, 39 core, 24 elective, and 12 concentration credits. Distance learners take classes like homeland security and terrorism, emergency preparedness and response, and first and second responder roles in crises. The rest of the curriculum covers fundamental business concepts, such as management strategies, organizational behavior, and general principles of finance and budgeting.
At the end of the program, students take a three-credit capstone that integrates their knowledge in a final, cohesive project. Full-time learners who take 12 credits a semester can graduate in 3.5 years. Part-time students who take six credits a semester complete the degree in seven years.
The entirely online program includes asynchronous instruction, making it easy for students to complete coursework on their own time. Each online class lasts eight weeks, and the program starts six times each year. The affordable degree charges distance learners the same tuition rate per credit, regardless of their residency. Veterans, active duty service members and their families, and reserve military personnel receive tuition discounts at TUW. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED or be a transfer student in good academic standing from an accredited university to receive admission to the program.
|La Jolla, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 42%||
Founded in 1971, in La Jolla, California, National University offers online programs designed for working, nontraditional student. The school holds regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. NU's BS in homeland security and emergency management prepares students to work in the disaster management, business continuity, and security fields.
Graduates of the homeland security and emergency management program find work in the private, nonprofit, and public sectors. Military personnel looking for upward career mobility may also choose to enroll in the program. Students receive a broad introduction to the emergency management and homeland security professions and gain skills in leadership, research, communication, and management. The School of Professional Studies oversees the distance degree.
The homeland security degree online program curriculum covers the politics of domestic and international terrorism and best practices for preventing, mitigating, and responding to manmade and natural disasters. Each accelerated course lasts four weeks, and students can enroll year-round. Homeland security majors take classes like legal issues of security, interviewing and interrogation, and leading diverse groups and teams. Students must complete 180 quarter credits, including 76.5 upper-division credits. Learners must complete at least 45 of the 180 required credits through NU.
First-time college students must take an orientation course from the Division of Extended Learning before they can apply to NU. Applicants without college English or math transfer credits must take the ACCUPLACER test as part of the admissions process. Transfer students coming from regionally accredited colleges receive admittance as degree-seeking students if they hold at least a 2.0 GPA. Applicants with lower GPAs may receive probationary admission. Admitted students choose from 12 program start dates each year.
Southern New Hampshire University
|Manchester, NH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 49%||
Southern New Hampshire University offers an affordable and convenient degree in homeland security online. Students can complete the asynchronous program at their own pace, enrolling in eight-week courses with six terms each year. SNHU offers the same low-cost tuition rate per credit hour for all online students, regardless of their residency. U.S. service members and the spouses of active duty personnel receive a substantial discount.
The BS in criminal justice with a concentration in homeland security and counterterrorism explores the history and nature of terrorism and how to respond to terrorist attacks. Students develop the policy and analytical skills required for careers as terrorism prevention agents, intelligence analysts, and federal agents.
The 120-credit degree includes courses like counter terrorism techniques; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; and research methods for criminal justice. Students complete a criminal justice capstone as their culminating experience, synthesizing the knowledge and skills gained throughout the program. SNHU's transfer-friendly policy means that students can transfer up to 90 credits toward their homeland security bachelor's degree. Learners may get up to 12 credits toward their degree for law enforcement academy training.
SNHU's simplified admissions process means that prospective students only fill out a free online application. The university does the work of requesting transcripts from previously attended schools and performs a credit evaluation. The admissions office accepts applications on a rolling basis throughout the year, with no official deadlines. The university strives to make college accessible for everyone and does not require students to submit SAT or ACT scores or meet a minimum GPA requirement.
Arizona State University - SkySong
|Scottsdale, AZ||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 14%||
Graduates of Arizona State University - Skysong's BS in public service and public policy (emergency management and homeland security) program pursue careers like emergency manager, security manager, and detective. Headquartered in Scottsdale, ASU Skysong offers a robust distance education program with more than 175 online programs and 30,000 enrolled students. Online learners choose from six start dates each year and pay the same per-credit rate, with no distinction between in-state or out-of-state tuition. ASU offers numerous scholarships to distance students in addition to those qualifying for federal financial aid.
ASU's Watts College of Public Service & Community Solutions delivers the homeland security and emergency management degree online program. Students learn to mitigate and respond to both natural and manmade disasters. The 120-credit, 40-course curriculum explores issues like public service ethics, policy challenges, and the history of terrorism.
Students take courses in comprehensive emergency management, simulation and exercising, and the national incident management system. Learners must complete at least 30 of the 120 required credits at ASU -- and at least 45 credits must be upper division. ASU students must earn a minimum 2.0 GPA to graduate.
Freshman applicants need a high school diploma or GED with a minimum 3.0 GPA and should submit ACT or SAT scores for admission. Transfer students with 12-23 credits need a minimum 2.5 GPA and ACT or SAT scores. Transfer students with at least 24 credits must hold a minimum 2.5 GPA but do not need to submit ACT or SAT scores.
|New Orleans, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 83%||
For students interested in a criminal justice-related online degree, homeland security programs offer a relevant and focused field of study that leads to careers protecting the public from natural and manmade disasters. Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, offers a hybrid BA in homeland security studies that combines primarily online coursework with some in-person requirements. The program does not offer all electives online.
The practical, professionally focused degree gives students skills to protect communities on a large scale in emergency and security careers, such as emergency management specialist, disaster recovery coordinator, and counter terrorism analyst. The program accepts both students with no relevant experience and professionals already working in the field, such as emergency medical technicians and military personnel.
The 120-credit degree includes classes in health and medical issues in emergency management, human intelligence and counterintelligence, and transportation and border security. Instructors include experienced homeland security professionals with connections at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, emergency response organizations, and law enforcement intelligence. Homeland security majors build a professional network of classmates, instructors, and industry experts while pursuing their degree.
Admission requirements include a high school diploma or GED. The Tulane School of Professional Advancement offers the degree and offers an open admissions policy. Applicants do not need to take standardized tests or meet minimum GPA requirements. The program accepts transfer students in good standing from their most recent college and accepts up to 60 transfer credits toward the bachelor's in homeland security. Students must earn a grade of "C-" or higher for Tulane to accept the transfer credit.
Eastern Kentucky University
|Richmond, KY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
Distance learners can pursue one of the best online homeland security degrees from regionally accredited Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond. EKU's bachelor of science in homeland security emphasizes intelligence studies, disaster management, and security operations. Graduates enjoy careers as critical infrastructure analysts, transportation security officials, and border patrol agents.
The 120-credit, entirely online bachelor's program accepts up to 90 transfer credits, making it an excellent option for transfer students. The homeland security curriculum explores homeland security technology, critical infrastructure protection, and disaster preparedness and response. Students take classes like critical problem analysis, strategic planning and leadership, and disaster preparedness and response. Each course lasts eight weeks, and classes run year-round. The asynchronous program lets students complete coursework anytime, from anywhere, and each student develops their own personalized graduation plan.
Distance learners receive many opportunities to engage with their classmates and instructors through discussion boards, chat sessions, email, and Facebook groups. Students can also take advantage of EKU's online tutoring service and library resources. In fact, EKU's library maintains a website of distance and online learning resources.
A military-friendly campus, active duty service members and veterans receive a special tuition discount for online programs at EKU. Additional support for military students includes waived application fees and personalized advising support. All online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of their residency status. Distance learners may qualify for federal financial aid, including student loans and grants.
Saint Leo University
|Saint Leo, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 48%||
A Roman Catholic university founded in 1889, Saint Leo University in Saint Leo, Florida, offers one of the best homeland security degree online programs in the United States. The school's bachelor of arts in criminal justice with a specialization in homeland security prepares students to prevent terrorist attacks, respond to disasters, and keep the country safe. Saint Leo's Catholic spirit guides its approach to criminal justice, emphasizing the value and dignity of all people.
The curriculum explores issues like law enforcement ethics, weapons of mass destruction, and domestic and international terrorism. Learners take courses in legal issues in counterterrorism, exploitable weaknesses in terrorist organizations, and the modern Middle East. Students gain hands-on experience in security issues, with opportunities to examine evidence in a forensics lab and roleplay as a testifying witness in a mock trial. The 120-credit degree includes 18 credits in the homeland security specialization. Learners can join Saint Leo's chapter of the national criminal justice honor society, Alpha Phi Sigma.
Senior homeland security majors can complete a 6- to 15-credit intensive professional field placement in criminal justice, including one at the Pasco-Hernando Police Academy for students located near campus. Students also complete internships at the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Secret Service, and U.S. Customs. Graduates find careers in counterterrorism, immigration, and disaster management.
Saint Leo accepts applications year-round and allows new online students to choose from six start times a year. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED and submit official transcripts for admission.
|Utica, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 49%||
Originally founded as Syracuse University, Utica College began in Utica, New York, in 1946. UC's bachelor of science in criminal justice with a focus on homeland security gives students a strong foundation in criminology, the justice system, and serving the public. Graduates find jobs in private security, regulatory enforcement, and policing at organizations like the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Department of the Treasury, and private corporations. The International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts recognizes Utica's homeland security degree online program for excellence.
UC's homeland security, 120-credit curriculum explores the Incident Command System, emergency management response cycle, and risk assessment. Learners take classes in homeland security and counterterrorism, emergency management, and international criminal justice: issues and comparisons.
Most students also complete a 240-hour internship during which they enroll in a complementary 15-week internship course. The internship course instructor outlines learning objectives and monitors student progress. Students get hands-on experience in the criminal justice field, and many learners receive job offers because of their internship experiences. Learners unable to complete an internship can finish a senior project worth 6-8 credits if they receive permission from the program director.
UC supports homeland security distance learners by offering 24/7 technical assistance, online library resources, academic advising, financial counseling, and career planning tools and advice. Prospective students need an associate degree or at least 57 credits from a regionally accredited college to qualify for admission. Applicants to UC's homeland security bachelor's program must submit official transcripts and a current resume.
|Anderson, SC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 57%||
The South Carolina Baptist Convention-affiliated Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina, started in 1911 as a women's college. The private, regionally accredited university offers a 123-credit, Christ-centered homeland security and emergency management degree online. The bachelor of criminal justice with a homeland security/emergency preparedness concentration teaches learners to think critically about homeland security and emergency management issues. Graduates work for homeland security and emergency preparedness government agencies, correctional institutions, and city and state police departments.
Designed for students without an extensive background in criminal justice, the curriculum explores crime prevention, victimization, and correctional systems. Students take classes like strategic planning: homeland security and emergency planning, social dimensions of a disaster, and information and intelligence fusions operations. Each course lasts eight weeks. The 123 required credits for the homeland security and emergency management degree include 30 criminal justice and 12 homeland security credits. Students must receive a grade of "C" or better in all major courses. Online learners benefit from small classes and experienced professors who encourage interaction.
First-time college applicants must submit an official copy of their high school transcripts or GED. Transfer students must submit official college transcripts from prior schools. Online learners at AU recieve help from a dedicated enrollment coach during the application process. After admission, distance students get help from a personal academic coach who stays with them until graduation. The coach assists students with creating a degree plan, managing their time, accessing other student support services, and registering for classes.
|Macon, GA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 64%||
Distance learners can earn a leadership-focused homeland security and emergency management degree online at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. The oldest private university in the state, Mercer began in 1833. Mercer's homeland security and emergency management bachelor's program instills communication, critical thinking, and management skills, while students explore threats to public safety from a global perspective. They learn to create national security policies, manage public reactions to disasters, and understand how different facets of the public safety system work.
Mercer's homeland security and emergency management degree includes courses in intelligence gathering and dissemination, ethics and public safety, budgeting for non-financial leaders, and a field experience. The 120-credit degree includes 42 major, 39 general education, and 39 elective credits. Each online course lasts eight weeks, and students choose from five program start dates each year. Graduates find work as disaster services analysts, emergency response coordinators, and immigration and customs enforcement agents.
Applicants to Mercer's bachelor of science in homeland security and emergency management program must hold a minimum 2.5 GPA and be in good academic standing at their most recently attended regionally accredited college. Prospective students with fewer than 30 college credits must submit official high school or GED transcripts. Learners with 30 or more credits must submit official transcripts from every previously attended college.
The program accepts up to 64 transfer credits from two-year institutions and up to 96 from four-year universities. Transfer students can use Mercer's transfer equivalency estimator to see how much of their coursework can transfer.
North Carolina Central University
|Durham, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
North Carolina Central University's bachelor of science in criminal justice with a concentration in homeland security gives students both classroom and hands-on learning experiences. The Criminal Justice Department's mission includes preparing students to advocate for social justice and take leadership positions in criminal justice. Learners explore issues like crime prevention, the administration of justice, and crime control. NCCU's criminal justice program holds accreditation from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) and remains one of only seven bachelor's programs to meet all ACJS certification standards.
NCCU students who complete their homeland security degree online take courses in infrastructure protection; emergency management and response; and homeland security theory, policy, and practice. Full-time learners can graduate with the 120-credit degree in four years.
Students may complete the entire degree online with no required campus visits. Graduates pursue careers in forensics, homeland security, and corrections. Applicants must hold a minimum 2.5 GPA to qualify for admission. The program accepts criminal justice transfer credits from accredited community colleges and four-year institutions. Students may also receive academic credit for some military training.
Located in Durham, North Carolina, NCCU offers affordable, quality, and convenient online learning programs. Distance learners get access to career service programs, networking opportunities, and supportive faculty. NCCU also grants online students access to library resources and research help, online tutoring, student disability services, a veterans center, and counseling. Each learner also receives ongoing help from a dedicated distance education adviser.
Thomas Jefferson University
|Philadelphia, PA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 66%||
Distance learners who want to earn a homeland security degree online can pursue the BS in law enforcement leadership through Jefferson Online, a joint effort from Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University. Jefferson Online offers an interdisciplinary approach to distance education undergraduate and graduate programs that combines liberal arts with professional studies.
Designed for students who want to protect and serve their communities, the law enforcement leadership BS provides an overview of policing and explores leadership strategies. Although the program does not specifically offer a homeland security concentration, students gain many skills useful for careers in homeland security.
The 120-credit degree takes 2-3 years to complete and includes general education and elective, major, and concentration coursework. Students take classes like police administration and management, advanced law enforcement theory and management, and planning for law enforcement organizations. Each semester lasts 16 weeks and includes two, eight-week modules.
All online undergraduates pay the same tuition regardless of their residency. Students who take at least six credits per term may qualify for federal financial aid. Potential careers for graduates of Jefferson's law enforcement leadership program include positions in law enforcement agencies such as sheriff, fraud investigator, and customs agent.
Jefferson's rolling admissions policy means that prospective students can apply any time of the year and receive an admissions decision soon after applying. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED. The school also encourages home-schooled students to apply. Students with college credit must submit official transcripts from all previously attended schools.
|Portland, OR||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 48%||
A Christian liberal arts university in Portland, Oregon, Concordia University instills a commitment to social justice, moral integrity, and compassion in its students. Concordia offers a homeland security degree online that takes 16 months to complete. Learners can earn their BS in homeland security and emergency preparedness entirely online without ever traveling to campus.
The flexible, asynchronous program allows homeland security majors to work full time and maintain other personal responsibilities while simultaneously earning their degree. Students learn to prevent and prepare for disasters, implement emergency plans, get aid to citizens, and manage resources. Learners gain skills in critical thinking, leadership, and ethical decision-making.
The curriculum explores the roots of terrorism, emergency preparedness, and the intelligence community. Students take eight-week courses in subjects like technology for homeland security and emergency management, building resilient communities, and the psychology of terrorism. Optionally, learners can take up to six internship credits and get hands-on experience at an organization in their local community.
Experienced instructors, including federal agents, fire commanders, and military leaders, teach Concordia's homeland security online program. Graduates pursue careers in local, state, and federal government agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Transportation Security Administration, and law enforcement. Homeland security graduates also find that their skills transfer to other fields, such as public health, intelligence, and cybersecurity.
Applicants to the homeland security program must hold a minimum 2.5 GPA. Concordia offers a rolling admissions process, accepting applications year-round, but it recommends that prospective students apply 6-8 weeks before the beginning of their first preferred semester.
Angelo State University
|San Angelo, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 37%||
Affiliated with the Texas Tech University System, Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas, offers more than 100 academic programs. The U.S. Department of Education designated ASU as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and has given the school more than $8 million in HSI grants since 2010. Distance learners inside and outside of Texas can earn ASU's homeland security degree online.
The bachelor of security studies in border and homeland security introduces students to current border issues within the larger context of homeland security. The curriculum emphasizes the development of analytical and critical thinking skills. Learners take courses in introduction to the discipline of intelligence, critical infrastructure protection, and professionalism and ethics in criminal justice agencies.
Students explore intelligence organizations, homeland security policy, and the U.S.A. Patriot Act. The degree requires students to complete general education, major, minor, and elective credits. ASU offers distance learners extensive library resources, disability services, and online tutoring.
Individuals applying as first-year students must meet minimum SAT or ACT scores and/or rank in the top 25% or top 50% of their high school class to receive guaranteed admission. ASU reviews the applications of prospective students who do not meet these requirements on a case-by-case basis. Transfer students, or those who hold 12 or more transferable college credits, must meet freshman admissions criteria, hold a 2.0 GPA, and submit official college transcripts.
ASU encourages students that hold an associate degree from the Community College of the Air Force to pursue the bachelor's in border security degree.
|Fort Lauderdale, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
Founded in 1977 as a private, nonprofit school where nontraditional learners could get a career-focused education, Keiser University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, now serves more than 20,000 students. The third largest nonprofit university in Florida, Keiser's mission includes helping students gain the skills they need for successful employment in their field of study. The regionally accredited university offers more than 100 programs, including a bachelor of arts in homeland security. The program emphasizes management skills and introduces students to local, state, and federal issues in homeland security.
The curriculum explores critical infrastructure protection, cross-cultural management, and emergency management planning. The 120-credit degree requires courses in organizing the war on terrorism, introduction to cyberterrorism, and bioterrorism: hazardous material and weapons of mass destruction. Learners must complete all lower-division major and general education credits before enrolling in upper-division courses.
Distance students get access to an online career center that offers resume help, professional development workshops, interview skills coaching, and job postings. They can also join Keiser's student organizations, including Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and the student government association. Distance learners can also access library resources online.
Prospective students who want to earn a homeland security degree online from Keiser must possess a high school diploma or GED. The school does not hold any other minimum admissions criteria for applicants. In an effort to make education more affordable, Keiser awards more than $44 million in scholarships to its students each year.
What Else Can I Expect from an Online Homeland Security Degree Program?
While specific courses vary by program, most online homeland security degrees address key national security and public safety issues, including emergency management, disaster preparedness and response, risk assessment, domestic and international terrorism, immigration control, and cybersecurity. This section gives you an idea of what to expect from a homeland security degree.
Curriculum for an Online Bachelor's in Homeland Security
- Principles and Practices of Homeland Security: This introduction for all students entering the field covers the emerging role of homeland security and its relation to public safety and national security. The course focuses on the administrative, legislative, and operational elements of homeland security programs. Subject matter includes federal and regional legislation and policies, incident management, emergency response, and risk assessment.
- Disaster Preparedness and Response: Designed for students interested in careers in emergency management and planning, this course uses case studies and enactments of disaster scenarios to examine principles and approaches to disaster preparedness and response. Students learn to evaluate and establish strategic plans to respond to disasters, conduct threat assessments, and consider environmental impacts.
- Risk Analysis, Assessment, and Management: This course examines the principles of risk management for students planning to enter careers as emergency managers, disaster recovery specialists, and intelligence and information security analysts. Students explore vulnerability and risk assessment techniques applied to threats posed by international and domestic terrorism, natural disasters, and dangerous events caused by negligent or deliberate human actions.
- Terrorism and Counterterrorism: This course examines several contemporary examples of international and domestic terrorism, including narco-terrorism, environmental terrorism, and threats to critical infrastructure. Students analyze extremist groups and their ideologies, radicalization, past and current attacks, and new approaches for the response and prevention to these attacks. Those entering positions in law enforcement, government agencies, and the military commonly enroll.
- Immigration Law and Border Control: Designed for students interested in immigration law, or those considering law enforcement or immigration and border security careers, this course critically examines the enforcement of federal immigration laws and regulations. Topics include federal initiatives to protect border security and the Immigration and Nationality Act, as well as Fourth Amendment search and seizure cases.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Bachelor's in Homeland Security?
A degree in homeland security earned online or on campus requires approximately 120 credits, including 30-40 credits in the major. Graduation requirements, which differ from school to school, and the number of courses completed each term affect the length of time needed to earn an undergraduate degree. Many programs require four years to complete, while some accelerated programs may finish in 18-24 months with full-time, continuous enrollment. Students handling work or family responsibilities may choose to take one or two courses each term, prolonging the time needed to graduate.
The course delivery format will also affect the length of time needed to complete an online degree. Many schools offer self-paced programs based on asynchronously delivered courses, allowing students the flexibility to progress through the program at their convenience. Several schools have adopted a cohort model, which places each new class of students into groups. These cohorts take each course together at fixed times and dates in sequence throughout the entire program.
Accreditation for Online Bachelor's in Homeland Security Degrees
Before enrolling in an online degree in homeland security, make sure you confirm that your intended school holds either regional or national accreditation. Accreditation means that colleges and universities have received approval from independent agencies that validate overall academic integrity. Vocational, technical, and career-focused, for-profit schools typically hold national accreditation.
The more popular regional accreditation, usually awarded to four-year degree-granting schools, requires stricter admissions and academic standards. Both types of accreditation provide reliable indicators of overall educational quality, but students planning on transferring credits or applying for federal financial aid should choose schools holding regional accreditation. Many employers and graduate schools look for applicants from regionally accredited schools.
In addition to regional or national accreditation, some programs obtain specialized accreditation recognizing their academic standards. For example, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences awards programmatic accreditation to a small group of criminal justice programs, but no separate programmatic accreditation currently exists for specific bachelor's programs in homeland security.
Schools receive regional and national accreditation from independent accreditation agencies that provide a regulatory function for higher education institutions across the U.S. These agencies receive recognition from the U.S. Department of Education (ED), which establishes national educational policy and administers federal financial aid programs; and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which coordinates postsecondary accreditation.
The accreditation process considers many variables, including curriculum quality, faculty reputation, student services, and financial stability. Accreditation directly impacts eligibility for student loans and grants, credit transferability, graduate school admissions, and employment prospects. Prospective students considering homeland security programs should always confirm a school's accreditation status by checking the ED and CHEA directories online.
Employment Outlook for Homeland Security Graduates
Bachelor's in Homeland Security Salary
|Industry||Annual Mean Wage|
|Federal Executive Branch||$149,710|
|Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services||$114,450|
|Scientific Research and Development Services||$113,100|
|Management of Companies and Enterprises||$109,550|
|Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution||$109,530|
Bachelor's in Homeland Security Careers
A strong commitment to the protection of national security motivates students to pursue undergraduate homeland security degrees. Career opportunities for graduates continue to expand in a variety of fields, including emergency management, intelligence analysis, and immigration enforcement. The skills required for homeland security positions differ based on occupation. Some careers require strong research, computer, and managerial skills, while other positions, specifically those in law enforcement and government agencies, may require weapons training and physical fitness qualifications.
Emergency Management Directors: These directors develop plans for responding to disasters and emergencies in order to minimize the risk to people and property. They work with public safety officers and government agencies to coordinate readiness and response, in addition to analyzing damage assessments after emergency and disaster situations. Most positions require a bachelor's degree and some employers look for specialized certifications in emergency management or disaster recovery.
Information Security Analysts: Information security analysts develop and implement security measures to protect computer networks and systems in the public and private sectors. They must monitor threats, research the latest information security technology applications, and conduct penetration testing to search for vulnerabilities. Most positions require a bachelor's degree with specialized training in computer science, cybersecurity, information assurance, and related fields.
Immigration Officers: These officers work with government agencies to administer immigration regulations and procedures. They coordinate with law enforcement officials to apprehend individuals suspected of violating immigration laws and assist state and federal authorities to prevent national security threats. As their job responsibilities require research and analytical skills, most immigrant officers hold a bachelor's degree or specialized work experience.
|Position||Median Annual Salary||Projected Growth Rate|
|Emergency Management Directors||$72,760||8%|
|Information Security Analysts||$95,510||28%|
Making connections and learning as much as you can about homeland security is crucial to your professional 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 training, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates.
National Homeland Security Association: The NHSA sponsors a national homeland security personnel conference, 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 centers 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 counterterrorism. 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 offers a compendium of resources. Visitors will find information about cybercrime, data analysis, public safety, and other subfields of law enforcement and homeland security, along with podcasts, blog posts, and other multimedia resources.
Financing Your Online Bachelor's in Homeland Security Program
Despite the relative affordability of online 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.
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.
Completing the 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 learning is equivalent to what you will find for campus-based learning, but that has not always been the case. Learn about changes in aid, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.
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.
Online college programs offer a flexible, affordable option for single parents interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We have compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.
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.
- Best Online Homeland Security Programs of 2018
Ranking School Location 1 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA 2 Arizona State University - Tempe Tempe, AZ 3 Touro University Worldwide Los Alamitos, CA 4 Excelsior College Albany, NY 5 LeTourneau University Longview, TX 6 Brandman University Irvine, CA 7 Mississippi College Clinton, MS 8 Thomas Edison State University Trenton, NJ 9 National University La Jolla, CA 10 Anderson University Anderson, SC 11 University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, AK 12 Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY 13 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL 14 Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA 15 Keiser University - Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL 15 Clayton State University Morrow, GA 17 Tulane University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA 18 North Carolina Central University Durham, NC 19 Mercer University Macon, GA 20 California University of Pennsylvania California, PA 21 Angelo State University San Angelo, TX 22 Philadelphia University Philadelphia, PA 23 Utica College Utica, NY 24 University of Maryland - University College Adelphi, MD 25 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY
- Best Online Homeland Security Programs of 2017
Rank School Location 1 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA 2 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL 3 Anderson University Anderson, SC 4 Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL 5 University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, AK 6 Concordia University-Portland Portland, OR 7 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH 8 National University La Jolla, CA 9 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY 10 Campbell University Buies Creek, NC
- Best Online Homeland Security Programs of 2016
Rank School Location 1 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA 2 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL 3 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH 4 National University La Jolla, CA 5 University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, AK 6 Tiffin University Tiffin, OH 7 Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY 8 Kesier University - Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL 9 Franklin University Columbus, OH 10 Angela State University San Angelo, TX