5 Best Grad Schools with Online Doctorate in Homeland Security

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Updated: March 14, 2024, Reading time: 15 minutes

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Homeland security is one of the most exciting fields to explore today. Homeland security professionals are in high demand due to the rise in natural disasters brought on by climate change and the rise in cyberterrorism. The Labor Statistics Bureau forecasts a 3% job increase for emergency directors and 32% job growth between 2022 and 2032 for information security analysts who play key roles in the homeland security industry.

Although a bachelor’s degree can help you get started in the field, a doctoral degree will advance your homeland security and national defense career.


A homeland security doctorate is the highest degree a professional in the sector can earn. Students who want a more flexible way toward exciting career prospects can pursue an online Doctorate in Homeland Security program.

A doctorate in the field helps students build competence in various areas, including emergency management, counterterrorism, intelligence analysis, border security, cybersecurity, risk assessment, and disaster response. Doctor of Homeland Security students also study theoretical frameworks, policy analyses, leadership techniques, and cutting-edge research methodologies.

Quick audio summary:


Each homeland security degree program was picked based on the following premises:

Visit our Methodology page for details on our doctorate degree program selection process.

Grad School Center is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Top 5 Online Doctorate in Homeland Security Programs

Liberty University

Liberty University

PhD in Criminal Justice – Homeland Security

Liberty University offers a fully online PhD in Criminal Justice degree that allows students to focus on Homeland Security. This criminal justice-homeland security degree is designed to help professionals in criminal justice gain the knowledge and skills necessary to do research in the field.

This Doctor of Homeland Security online is best suited for students who want to learn from a Christian perspective. It is a 60-credit-hour degree with 8-week accelerated courses.

Students complete several courses and gain advanced knowledge and abilities in cybersecurity, counterterrorism, counterintelligence tactics, vulnerability analysis, and protecting vital infrastructure. Students can also enroll in courses to help them contribute to homeland security efforts for national security.

The program’s core courses were created to help students manage huge organizations and assist staff members in coping with the stresses of modern policing. Some of the courses students will explore are Comparative Criminal Justice Systems, Contemporary Issues in Cyber Security and WMD (CBRNE) Threat Analysis, Critical Infrastructure: Vulnerability Analysis and Protection, and Counterterrorism and Counterintelligence Strategies.

National University

National University

PhD in Homeland Security Leadership and Policy

The 100% online Ph.D. in Homeland Security at National University is focused on helping students advance their professional education and research skills in the field’s leadership and policy development sector.

The program includes various homeland security-related disciplines, such as policy formation, risk assessment, intelligence analysis, counterterrorism, and emergency management.

The PhD curriculum strongly emphasizes developing homeland security leadership skills and policies. Students investigate the theories and methods of strategic planning, policy analysis, and effective leadership.

Faculty members with knowledge of homeland security and related fields instruct the curriculum. Their scholarly interests and practical expertise help shape the program’s content and student mentoring.

Students who want a more hands-on, face-to-face approach can enroll in a hybrid learning format. Online, on-campus, and hybrid students benefit from the same student services, including counseling, networking opportunities, research resources, and career guidance. This 60 credit hours program can be completed in 45 months.

Colorado Technical University

Colorado Technical University

Doctor of Management – Homeland Security

Students who want to obtain advanced management and leadership knowledge and abilities in homeland security can pursue Colorado Technical University’s online Doctor of Management in Homeland Security. This degree offers a curriculum designed for professionals applying for upper-level management positions in homeland security.

A variety of subjects about management, leadership, and homeland security are covered in the program. Strategic planning, risk assessment, emergency management, intelligence analysis, policy formation, and organizational leadership are some topics covered in the courses. Students learn how to apply management principles and techniques to actual problems with homeland security.

Students must complete a doctorate research dissertation that adds to the body of knowledge in the field of homeland security, even though the program has a significant practice focus. While coursework is done online, students in the online doctoral program must complete the residency requirement. This face-to-face requirement allows online students to build relationships with fellow students and faculty.

Walden University

Walden University

PhD in Criminal Justice concentrating on Homeland Security Policy and Coordination

A Homeland Security-focused Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice is available at Walden University. With a particular focus on homeland security challenges, this program is created to offer advanced knowledge in criminal justice. This degree is best for prospective students seeking advanced expertise beyond homeland security.

Furthermore, the program offers a Fast-Track option that allows students to pursue accelerated courses, allowing them to graduate faster.

The program covers a wide range of homeland security and criminal justice subjects, such as terrorism, emergency management, intelligence analysis, border security, cybercrime, and policy formation. The specialty allows students to delve deeper into the unique difficulties, regulations, and tactics in various areas of a homeland security enterprise.

The specialization offers concentrated research methods topics related to homeland security and how they intersect with criminal justice.

Research techniques are emphasized in the PhD program at Walden University, and students are encouraged to conduct original research. A doctoral dissertation that advances the body of knowledge in homeland security or criminal justice is required for graduation. For online students, Walden University provides various support services, including academic counseling, access to research materials, help with writing, and a virtual library.

Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University

Doctorate in Criminal Justice: Homeland Security

Saint Leo University’s online Doctoral degree in Criminal Justice offers a Homeland Security specialization to educate students and prepare them for leadership and management positions in homeland security careers.

This program aims to provide participants with advanced knowledge and abilities in homeland security and criminal justice, with a particular emphasis on homeland security policy creation, leadership, and strategic analysis.

Through the program’s research component, students can strengthen their research abilities and add to the body of knowledge in homeland security and criminal justice. Students will also be required to complete their dissertations. This is a 60-hour program that can be completed in 3-4 years. Students have the option to enroll full- or part-time.

Excellent academics and opportunities for practical learning are guaranteed for online students. In addition to entertaining departmental activities, criminal justice students have access to many exciting learning opportunities within and outside the classroom.

Common Courses for a Homeland Security Doctorate Major

This course explores the field’s historical evolution, legal systems, and policy considerations. It includes topics about the principles, ideas, and theories underlying homeland security.

The causes, beliefs, tactics, and trends of terrorism are all covered in depth in this course. Additionally, it looks at counterterrorism tactics, intelligence-driven operations, and global cooperation in fighting terrorism.

This course focuses on ethical issues and leadership traits important to homeland security specialists. It addresses crisis management, decision-making under duress, and moral problems in security operations.

This course analyzes emergency management’s guiding principles and best practices of homeland security. Planning for disasters, coordinating responses, communicating during crises, and recovery efforts are possible topics.

The function of intelligence analysis in homeland security operations is examined in this course. It covers methods for gathering, processing, and sharing intelligence data to aid security and terrorist operations.

The main topics of this course include risk assessment and management for diverse homeland security threats, including terrorism, natural disasters, and cybersecurity. It contains methods for risk analysis, decision-making procedures, and risk-reduction tactics.

This course will teach students more about data protection, risk management, incident response, and network security. Topics involve specific issues and methods for protecting vital infrastructure and information systems from cyber threats.

This course examines the problems and regulations surrounding immigration, customs enforcement, and border security. It explores international collaboration, immigration regulations, cross-border risks, and border control tactics.

This doctoral-level course includes topics on creating, implementing, and assessing homeland security policies and governance frameworks. It looks at interagency coordination, legal and ethical issues, and working with both public and private organizations.

These courses instruct students in academic writing, data analysis, and research methodology—a doctoral dissertation resulting from the student’s training in unique research design and execution.

What Careers Can I Pursue with an Online Doctorate in Homeland Security Degree?

What Careers Can I Pursue with an Online Doctorate in Homeland Security Degree?

A doctorate in homeland security earned online may lead to more advanced employment prospects. With a doctorate in homeland security, you could pursue the following possible job paths:

Chief Security Officer (CSO)

Graduates with doctorates are encouraged to apply for executive-level jobs like Chief Security Officer. As CSO, you will be responsible for all security and risk management elements in firms using your extensive knowledge and expertise in homeland security.

Median Annual Salary: $290,047

Homeland Security Director/Manager

You can become a director or management in governmental organizations, law enforcement agencies, or private businesses with a doctorate in homeland security. You would be in charge of directing and carrying out operations, policies, and strategies related to homeland security.

Median Annual Salary: $114,844

Homeland Security Consultant

Another high-paying career path is homeland security consulting. You can work alone or with consulting firms as a consultant, offering knowledgeable direction and counsel on homeland security issues to governmental organizations, groups, or global entities.  

Median Annual Salary: $108,963

Policy Advisor/Analyst

Policy advisors/analysts are responsible for directing, creating, and analyzing homeland security policies. Governmental organizations, think tanks, research facilities, or private businesses hire these professionals.

Median Annual Salary: $92,550

Intelligence Analyst/Strategist

As an intelligence analyst or strategist, you can use your research expertise to analyze intelligence data, evaluate threats, and create plans to stave off potential threats to national security.

Median Annual Salary: $89,984


You can pursue a career in academia or research with a PhD degree. You can work as a professor, instructing university-level courses in homeland security and conducting research in particular field areas.

Median Annual Salary: $80,840

International Security Advisor

You can use your knowledge of homeland security to advise on issues relating to international security, working with governments, non-governmental organizations, or other international bodies to create strategies and policies addressing these issues.

Median Annual Salary: $54,389

Emergency Management Directors

Emergency management directors coordinate and direct emergency management initiatives at many levels, from state to international agencies. It is their primary duty to plan, prepare for, respond to, and recover from catastrophes so they can protect the people and lessen the effects on local communities.

Median Annual Salary: $79,180

Risk Assessment Specialist

You can become an expert in identifying vulnerabilities and evaluating risks in homeland security by specializing in risk assessment. This may entail conducting risk analyses, creating risk management plans, and advising businesses on security precautions.

Median Annual Salary: $97,060

Online Doctorate in Homeland Security - fact

Homeland Security Certifications and Licensure

Professionals can pursue a variety of certificates and licenses in the area of homeland security to improve their knowledge, abilities, and job prospects. The following list of notable certificates and licenses:

Certified Homeland Protection Professional (CHPP)

The CHPP certification is intended for experts in the homeland security industry. It certifies their proficiency in risk analysis, intelligence analysis, emergency management, and critical infrastructure protection.

Certified Homeland Security Level I-V (CHS-I to CHS-V)

These credentials show competence in various homeland security disciplines, such as emergency management, intelligence, counterterrorism, and critical infrastructure protection. Each level symbolizes a progression in knowledge and skill.

Certified Emergency Manager (CEM)

The CEM certification honors people who have proven to have high emergency management expertise. It addresses issues including disaster response, recovery, readiness, and mitigation.

Certified Protection Professional (CPP)

The CPP certification is well respected in the security business even though it is not specialized in homeland security. It exhibits proficiency in various security fields, including physical security, risk management, investigations, and crisis management.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

Information security is the focus of the (ISC)2 CISSP certification, which applies to the homeland security field, notably in the field of cybersecurity. It includes risk management, access control, cryptography, and security operations.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Certifications

The National Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT), the Incident Command System (ICS), and the Professional Development Series (PDS) are among the disaster management and homeland security-related certifications that FEMA offers.

State-Specific Licenses

For professionals working in certain facets of homeland security, such as private security, private investigation, or emergency management, several states require specific licenses. Depending on the state, these licenses may require particular education, testing, or background checks.

Homeland Security Concentrations

Homeland security is a broad field. Students can often decide which area they would focus their studies on. The following are some common concentrations in homeland security:

This specialization focuses on securing borders, ports, and transportation networks to stop illegal operations and safeguard national security. It addresses issues such as immigration laws, border security tactics, law enforcement of customs, and risk management for transportation security.

The security of vital infrastructure from physical and digital threats is a focus of this specialty. Examples include the energy, water, transportation, and communication sectors. Risk assessment, infrastructure resilience, security planning, and public-private partnerships are some subjects it addresses.

This specialization examines the defense of vital infrastructure, information systems, and networks from cyber attacks in light of the growing significance of cybersecurity in efforts to strengthen homeland security. It covers cyber risk management, digital forensics, incident response, and network security.

The main objectives of this concentration are to prepare for, respond to, recover from, and lessen the effects of natural and artificial catastrophes. It addresses emergency response coordination, risk assessment, crisis communication, and catastrophe planning.

This focus looks at how homeland security policies are created, implemented, and evaluated and the governance systems that underpin them. It addresses issues such as policy analysis, interagency collaboration, governing laws, moral issues, and the effect of policy choices on national security.

This emphasis dives deeply into threat assessment, intelligence analysis, and the creation of anti-terrorism tactics. It includes gathering intelligence, counterterrorism strategies, terrorist beliefs, and tools for spotting and preventing terrorist activity.

This specialization looks at the international aspects of homeland security and how different countries work together to combat transnational security threats. It addresses issues like international law, diplomacy, cooperation in cross-border security, and tactics to fight terrorism and transnational crime.

This emphasis focuses on the relationship between public health and homeland security, especially concerning biosecurity risks and pandemics. It covers topics like coordinating response activities, public health policies, disaster preparedness, and the surveillance of infectious diseases.

Is Homeland Security a good career choice?

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Homeland Security a good career choice?

If you work well under pressure and are passionate about securing the country’s assets and helping people deal with crises, a career in homeland security might be the perfect fit for you.

How stressful is a Homeland Security environment?

Homeland security positions can be stressful due to the nature of the work. For starters, homeland security experts frequently deal with urgent crises involving the defense of vital infrastructure, public safety, and the nation’s security. Stress might result from the pressure of responsibility and the potential repercussions of their choices.

Do students need to pursue an online Doctorate in Homeland Security online degree to work in the field?

You can jump-start a career in homeland security even without a doctorate degree. The homeland security industry does not require applicants to obtain it for many positions. Pursuing one, however, will significantly improve your knowledge, abilities, and career prospects!

Key Takeaways

Additional Information:

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