Homeland security professionals who want to advance their careers in a dynamic and ever-relevant field may want to earn an online Master’s in Homeland Security program. This master’s degree often focuses on formulating a global perspective on terrorism, emergency management, and other homeland security issues.
Many of the online programs in homeland security cover domestic and international terrorism, policies and strategies in the homeland security sector, and examinations of emergency management.
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The Homeland Security field occupies a keystone position in society, as it deals with the most fundamental security needs from a variety of threats and vulnerabilities, both domestic and international. The field is highly dynamic and rapidly evolving, and professionals looking to launch careers in this field or seek advancement would do well to get the best advanced education they can.
The Labor Statistics Bureau is predicting a career growth of 35% among information security analysts and other homeland security professionals. This makes pursuing an online Master’s in homeland security a wise choice for career advancement and growth.
Looking for the best Homeland Security master’s degree online program? We’ve got you covered! We’ve put together a list of 15 graduate schools that offer the best Online Master’s in Homeland Security degree programs! Each program was selected based on the following characteristics:
- Offers their programs with online and or flexible hybrid options, giving working professionals a degree of flexibility to progress through their coursework with minimal career disruption,
- Feature curricula that provide a comprehensive understanding of key topic areas in homeland security, emergency management, and more, and align with key homeland security framework and mission areas defined by relevant government agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security,
- Also includes courses that develop decision-making, policymaking, and leadership skills,
- Taught, developed, and kept up-to-date by faculty who have extensive experience in one or more areas related to homeland security,
- Feature competitive tuition rates as well as a range of options that let students manage the cost of their education, including financial aid and scholarships,
- Hold the relevant accreditation credentials.
Please visit our Methodology page.
Best Online Master’s in Homeland Security
West Lafayette, IN
Purdue University has a 150-year decorated history of providing quality and accessible higher education. Considered one of the most respected and innovative public universities, Purdue offers online programs designed for adult learners. The university is a Higher Learning Commission-accredited school. Currently, there are approximately 32,500 enrolled students across 175 academic programs.
- Purdue University offers a fully online Master’s Degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Management to help students acquire in-depth knowledge and leadership skills integral to navigating the challenging and dynamic industry.
- Students in this homeland security program will study the different aspects of homeland security, including the legal, social, business, political, and economic sides.
- This homeland security master’s degree requires the completion of 55 credits, with courses ranging from economics and resource availability, regulation and law, politics of security, homeland defense, and interagency cooperation, among others.
- The curriculum utilizes a hands-on, project-oriented, and problem-based approach to learning, allowing students to explore courses that feature real challenges and issues from different perspectives.
Standout Features of Purdue University’s Online Master’s in Homeland Security and Emergency Management Program:
The online master’s in homeland security degree has accreditation from the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC). On top of learning how federal and private institutions come up with sustainable security and emergency management solutions, this master’s program also requires students to examine how the public and private sector business and industries interrelate.
Did You Know?
Purdue Global, part of the Purdue University system, offers exceptional student support services. This includes individual educational advising, an interactive online classroom that focuses on hands-on learning, and no-cost tutoring in writing, math, and science, among others.
University of Massachusetts Lowell
Located in the vibrant city of Lowell, the University of Massachusetts Lowell caters to more than 17,000 students from all 51 U.S. states and territories and 118 countries. It offers at least 120 undergraduate programs and 77 graduate programs. Working professionals and busy students may also take advantage of distance learning by choosing among the 77 online programs on offer.
- A Master’s in Security Studies with a Homeland Defense concentration is offered at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, providing students with informed perspectives on global and national affairs while preparing them for leadership professions in the field of national security.
- The master’s in homeland security program is known for its experienced faculty, made up of top academics in the security studies area and industry experts with security clearances from the U.S. military.
- Some of the courses covered in the program include Intelligence Analysis Policy and Practice, Research Design, Scientific and Technological Dimensions of National Security, Overview of Homeland Security, and Crisis and Emergency Management, among others.
Standout Features of the University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Online Master’s in Security Studies with a Homeland Defense Concentration Program:
The Homeland Security master’s degree curriculum tackles issues related to the prevention of terrorist attacks along with the defense of the country. It includes the protection of infrastructure, the gathering of regional and national security intelligence, and the use of new technologies when it comes to homeland security practices.
Did You Know?
The University of Massachusetts Lowell is home to the Division of Graduate, Online & Professional Studies. It features a wide range of affordable part-time graduate and undergraduate courses, degrees, and certificates. Many of these choices are available fully online. As an early pioneer of online education, the Division of Graduate, Online & Professional Studies was recognized for its commitment to accessible education, innovative programming, online teaching, and faculty development.
The George Washington University
The George Washington University makes its home in the heart of the country’s capital. This fact is one of the greatest assets of the university, allowing its students to benefit from extraordinary access to leading international and national organizations. Since 1821, it has been providing exceptional education to aspiring students.
- The George Washington University’s Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security is offered fully online, providing homeland security professionals with advanced education and training needed for leadership positions in the field.
- Students can expect to delve deep into a comprehensive curriculum, examining national and international security policy and practices, counter-terrorism, intelligence analysis, relevant legislation, and emerging security threats.
- Those who work in private and public safety sectors or have experience in relevant fields such as law enforcement, corporate security, fire service, emergency management, and public safety will find ample opportunities for innovative professional development.
Standout Features of the George Washington University’s Online MPS in Homeland Security Program:
The Homeland Security degree program boasts an expert faculty comprised of leaders in the field with demonstrated first-hand experience. This means students will gain a strong focus on practical experience along with the strategic application of knowledge.
Did You Know?
The George Washington University’s connection to influential organizations and institutions means that undergraduate and graduate students will have unlimited opportunities to gain hands-on learning experience. There are more than 12,000 internship opportunities at their disposal, including working with a variety of organizations such as the White House, Discovery Communications, Bloomingdale’s, National Institutes of Health, and the World Bank.
With experiential learning at the heart of its mission, Northeastern University has been committed to providing quality education since its foundation in 1898. This top-tier research university offers many master’s degrees and graduate certificate programs that are available online and in hybrid learning formats.
- The MA in Security and Intelligence Studies at Northeastern University is designed for homeland security professionals who want to take on leadership roles in the security field.
- The online master’s degree is available for part-time and full-time commitment and can be completed in as few as 18 months.
- Students can expect a unique interdisciplinary approach, exploring a blend of study areas relevant to the field such as law, diplomacy, security, and constitutional rights.
- Some of the skills students can gain in this degree program include intelligence collection and dissemination, research, analysis, threat assessment, and evaluation of information and policy development.
Standout Features of Northeastern University’s Online Master of Arts in Security and Intelligence Studies Program:
The program features faculty security experts, from constitutional lawyers, military intelligence officers, and White House advisors, among others. Students who wish to specialize their learning to better meet their career goals may choose among three degree tracks. This includes Corporate Security Management, Strategic Intelligence & Analysis, and Homeland Security & Emergency Management.
Did You Know?
At Northeastern University, about 93% of graduates are working full time or are enrolled in a graduate school, all within nine months of their graduation. The university keeps its class sizes small to ensure equal attention and guidance are provided to each student. Moreover, the university has a demonstrated research tradition. In fact, since 2006, faculty and students have filed more than 2,000 patents.
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Fairleigh Dickinson University was established in 1942, becoming the largest private university in the state of New Jersey. It currently offers more than 100 degree programs across four campuses and its online platform. Through its online programs, working students are given the opportunity to achieve and lead in their chosen fields.
- Fairleigh Dickinson University offers an online master’s degree in Cyber and Homeland Security Administration to help professionals who come from a public service background to advance their careers.
- This homeland security master’s degree showcases a state-of-the-art curriculum that helps students develop skills and knowledge integral to leading and managing an organization’s security and administration.
- The program emphasizes theoretical and practical aspects of the field, encompassing courses such as Homeland Security and Constitutional Issues, Terrorism Awareness, Research and Policy Analysis, and Strategic Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation.
Standout Features of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Online Master’s in Cyber and Homeland Security Administration Program:
The master’s in homeland security degree program requires prospective students to possess a four-year bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. While no GRE or GMAT scores are required for admission, students still need to meet the minimum GPA requirement of 2.75.
Did You Know?
Fairleigh Dickinson University has been authorized by the NC-SARA or National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements for all states except California. It is also accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Founded in 1971, Liberty University is an accredited liberal arts institution. It is home to more than 100,000 students across over 700 programs of study. The university offers 600 of these programs online, allowing thousands of students around the globe to pursue their higher education, anytime and anywhere.
- Of the online programs offered at Liberty University is a Master’s in Homeland Security, designed to reach the goals of homeland security professionals.
- This fully online program equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed as a protector of the country’s security.
- To earn the master’s degree, students will need to complete a total of 36 credit hours, with transfer credits of up to 50% of the degree total.
Standout Features of Liberty University’s Online Master’s in Homeland Security Program:
The program allows students to choose between a thesis and a non-thesis track. The thesis track lets them go beyond textbook knowledge and apply what they learned to solve real-world problems.
Did You Know?
At Liberty University, students can access course content in one online learning platform called Canvas. These state-of-the-art digital resources let students get hold of thousands of electronic books, journals, and peer-reviewed articles.
Established in 1939, Endicott College offers forward-thinking higher education. Currently, it serves more than 5,000 students, enrolled across more than 80 undergraduate and graduate academic programs. The college offers a unique approach to hands-on education where every student in every major is required to take part in an internship.
- Those who want to pursue leadership roles in the growing fields of cybersecurity, intelligence, and emergency management may want to earn the Master of Science in Homeland Security.
- This 36-credit online degree program features faculty from military branches, FBI, and DHS and a collaborative learning environment.
- Students in this program are expected to explore and examine the complex functions of federal, state, and local agencies when it comes to law enforcement, intelligence, and other homeland security concerns.
Standout Features of Endicott College’s Online Master’s in Homeland Security and Emergency Management Program:
Online students earning the master’s in Homeland Security and Emergency Management will find ample opportunities and job placement support, with many students and alumni working in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Grid, Raytheon, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Department of Homeland Security, among others.
Did You Know?
Endicott College offers associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs along with graduate-level certificates. It is home to the Van Loan School of Professional Studies, which offers accelerated undergraduate programs.
Arizona State University
Committed to its mission of providing accessible, quality higher education to all, Arizona State University offers a digital learning experience complemented by world-class professors and instructional designers. It is currently serving more than 41,000 undergraduate students and 13,194 graduate students.
- Arizona State University’s Master of Arts in Emergency Management and Homeland Security provides students with an essential understanding of the principles and values integral to the homeland security field.
- Students will explore topics such as management best practices, public policy, and disaster prevention and response.
- Some of the homeland security courses include Hazards Governance, Integrated Emergency Management, Applied Data Analysis in Criminal Justice, and more.
Standout Features of Arizona State University’s Online MA in Emergency Management & Homeland Security Program:
Students in this master’s degree program can learn from the impressive faculty at the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions. Some of the faculty members Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, the American Psychological Association, and the National Academic of Public Administration fellows.
Did You Know?
Arizona State University offers hundreds of online degrees and certificates in numerous fields, including digital media, business, engineering, and sustainability, among others. Interested students can choose from more than 300 online degrees and certificates to help them pursue their passions and advance their careers.
Pennsylvania State University
University Park, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania State University draws from more than 125 years of experience in distance education to launch the World Campus in 1998. Since then, the Penn State World Campus has been offering distance learning to thousands of students in the country and beyond. Today, there are more than 175 fully online programs to choose from.
- Pennsylvania State University offers one of the most comprehensive homeland security programs in the form of the MPS in Homeland Security.
- This online program requires 33 credits, featuring online courses focused on knowledge that is readily applicable to the workplace.
- Some of the courses include Homeland Security and Defense in Practice, Multifaceted Approaches to Homeland Security, Whole-community Disaster Preparedness, and more.
Standout Features of Pennsylvania State University’s Online Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security Program:
The Homeland Security program offers two concentrations, the International track, and Business Management Foundations track. Students who pursue the latter may also have the option to earn the Business Management and Foundations Certificate, in addition to their degree.
Did You Know?
This nationally recognized university is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. It is known for its career-focused curriculum designed with the latest industry trends. It also offers exceptional services to online students, including academic advising, career counseling resources, mental health services, financial aid, and leadership opportunities, among others.
Sam Houston State University
For more than 135 years, Sam Houston State University has been offering quality education. This commitment extends to students all over the country and beyond through the advancements in distance education and instructional technologies. The university takes pride in offering accredited online degree programs with the same quality and faculty as its face-to-face offerings.
- Sam Houston State University delivers the MS in Homeland Security Studies, designed to prepare students for homeland security leadership roles across all levels of government agencies and private sectors.
- The program requires 36 credit hours, with a curriculum that is consistent with the Homeland Security Enterprise model.
- Courses included in the program curriculum include Global Perspective in Homeland Security, Critical Infrastructure Protection, Emergency Management Integration, and Internship in Security Studies, among others.
Standout Features of Sam Houston State University’s Online MS in Homeland Security Studies Program:
The program offers multiple term starts. It also allows students to choose between attending face-to-face classes and the online option.
Did You Know?
The Carnegie Commission on Higher Education classifies Sam Houston State University as a Doctoral Research University. This qualifies the university among the top 7% of all US colleges and universities.
Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is a public research university located in Richmond, Virginia. The current university came about in 1968 when the Virginia General Assembly merged the Medical College of Virginia (established 1838) with the Richmond Professional Institute (established 1917). At present, VCU is composed of 15 colleges and schools and hosts a population of almost 29,000 students. VCU is also classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”.
- Virginia Commonwealth University offers the MA in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, an expansive program that develops skills in the leadership and policymaking aspects of homeland security and emergency preparedness.
- The 36-credit-hour program can be completed in 1.5 to 2 years.
- The program presents students with both theoretical and practical knowledge as well as hands-on experiences, done through simulations, case studies, and class discussions.
- The program sits at the intersection of policy and action and is designed to prepare students for leading and supporting first responders and rescuers in addressing domestic and global threats. Graduates of the program typically occupy careers in various fields as planners, resource managers, and educators.
Standout Features of Virginia Commonwealth University’s MA in Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness Program:
The program’s comprehensive coverage goes beyond policymaking and implementation and includes the organizational, political, social, ethical, and economic aspects of disaster studies. VCU has a very close proximity to Washington DC, the country’s decision-making nerve center. This filters through the program’s insights and opportunities that are available to students.
Did You Know?
VCU’s MA in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is the country’s first program of its kind to integrate and specialize in the fields of emergency preparedness and homeland security. The program was designed with the intention of going beyond traditional emergency preparedness & national security programs at the time and including skills in decision-making, policymaking, and leadership at both the micro and macro levels.
University of Alaska Fairbanks
The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) is a public, land-grant, research university in the city of Fairbanks, Alaska, and is the flagship campus of The University of Alaska System. It was founded in 1917, with the first classes being held in 1922, and was then known as the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines. UAF is composed of 9 schools and colleges and also operates 6 other rural and urban campuses, as well as the UAF eCampus. It is classified among “R2: Doctoral Universities – High Research Activity”, and has a population of over 6,800 students.
- The University of Alaska Fairbanks offers a Master’s in Security and Disaster Management (MSDM) program, ideal for both active practitioners in homeland security and emergency management as well as those looking to enter the field.
- The program contains a total of 30 credit hours and is offered on-campus, online, and hybrid formats. Students can opt to transfer up to 6 graduate-level courses from programs approved by the American Council on Education (ACE).
- The program offers concentration areas in Business Continuity, Climate Security, Cybersecurity, Arctic Security, Disaster Management, Strategic Leadership, and STEM.
- The program also accepts those who do not have a background in Homeland Security and Emergency Management, however, they are required to take a prerequisite course, which doesn’t count toward the program’s required credits.
Standout Features of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Master’s in Security and Disaster Management Program:
This program is a member of the Emergency Management Higher Education Program run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the University and Agency Partnership Initiative (UAPI) of the Department of Homeland Security.
Did You Know?
UAF is one of the most northerly research universities in the country and is located very close to the Arctic Circle. It is known for its research expertise in Arctic and northern research and hosts a number of institutes focused on the matter, including the International Arctic Research Center, the Institute of Arctic Biology, and the Institute of Northern Engineering.
Thomas Edison State University
Thomas Edison State University (TESU) is a public university located in Trenton, New Jersey. It is a relatively young institution, having been founded in 1971, and moving to its current historic campus in downtown Trenton in 1979. It gained its university status in 2015, and stands as one of the state’s 11 senior higher education institutions. Thomas Edison State University is composed of 5 schools and has a population of over 13,800 students.
- Thomas Edison State University offers the MS in Homeland Security, a program designed to provide students with a comprehensive view of the entire federal homeland security enterprise.
- The program is offered entirely online and consists of a total of 36 credit hours. Students may transfer in up to 12 credits.
- The program curriculum contains areas of study in Counterterrorism, Cybersecurity, and Emergency Management. It covers the five mission areas of the homeland security enterprise: border security, terrorism, cybersecurity, immigration, and administration, as well as key topics in emergency management, public safety, and public administration.
- The program is designed to give training on advanced aspects of emergency preparedness and homeland security, covering day-to-day operational and strategic planning and decision-making skills.
Standout Features of Thomas Edison State University’s Online Master of Science in Homeland Security Program:
The program is highly regarded for its quality, being among the best homeland security master’s degree programs in the country. The program also isn’t designed only for those with formal training in security; those who come from the fields of business, the health professions, engineering, or law will also benefit, as it prepares them to apply their expertise in security and all-hazards situations.
Did You Know?
Thomas Edison State University’s campus in downtown Trenton houses a number of historic buildings, most of which are older than the university itself. Perhaps the most iconic is the Kelsey Building, which was built in 1911, and previously housed 3 other schools before becoming TESU’s executive center.
Western Connecticut State University
Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) is a public university in the city of Danbury, Connecticut. It began life in 1903 as a teacher’s college and was then known as the Danbury Normal School. It underwent a series of expansions over the decades and finally gained its current name in 1983. WCSU is composed of 5 schools and has two campuses both located within Danbury. It currently has a population of over 4,400 students.
- Western Connecticut State University offers a Master of Science in Homeland Security, a program that prepares students for career advancement and leadership in the fields of law enforcement, public safety, and emergency management in both the public and private sectors.
- The program contains a total of 36 credit hours, consisting of 11 courses and a Capstone project worth 3 credits. The program has a maximum completion limit of 6 years.
- The program’s courses rely heavily on real-life case studies, and students are encouraged to develop prevention methods, response strategies, and threat assessment scenarios based on these.
- The program emphasizes a data-driven instructional approach, which involves students integrating data analytics and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in their capstone projects.
Standout Features of Western Connecticut State University’s Master of Science in Homeland Security Program:
The program’s curriculum is designed to align with the missions and practices of the Department of Homeland Security. The program is also part of the University & Agency Partnership Program (UAPP), which gives faculty and students access to the resources of the Naval Postgraduate School – CHDS or Center for Homeland Security and Defense.
Did You Know?
On July 2021, Western Connecticut State University established the Center for School Safety and Crisis Preparation, an institute that serves as a statewide school crisis and safety resource center and serves to conduct research & training and offers technical assistance on various topics relevant to school safety. Students of the MS in Homeland Security program will be able to collaborate with the center in terms of research, prevention strategies, and policy development.
Angelo State University
San Angelo, TX
Angelo State University is a public university in the city of San Angelo, Texas. It was first established as a two-year college and became Angelo State University in 1969. It had originally been part of the Texas State University System, but was moved under the supervision of the Texas Tech University System in 2007, and is its second-largest member campus. Angelo State University is composed of 6 colleges, which altogether host a population of over 10,700 students.
- Angelo State University offers the MS in Homeland Security, a high-quality, comprehensive program that is geared towards launching or advancing careers in the military, in emergency management, or in local, state, and federal level law enforcement.
- The program contains a total of 36 credit hours, divided into 18 credits of core courses and 18 credits worth of electives. Courses are 100% online.
- The comprehensive program covers key topic areas in the domestic and global areas, including counter-terrorism, federal immigration laws, international trafficking, disaster preparedness, cybersecurity, and more.
- The program’s Electives cover also covers a wide range of topics, which include International Police Development, Data Mining, Emergency Planning, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Maritime Defense, Transportation Security, Transnational Crime, and more.
Standout Features of Angelo State University’s Online Master of Science in Homeland Security Program:
The program continues to earn national recognition for its quality, largely because of its top-quality faculty, who have extensive expertise in the full range of homeland security issues, and who are active scholars who regularly conduct and publish relevant research. Angelo State University also offers automatic graduate scholarships to students who meet the GPA requirements, as well as up to over 600 other scholarship types that students can avail of.
Did You Know?
Angelo State University also offers a number of related master’s programs, including the Master of Science in Global Security Studies, and the Master of Security Studies (MSS) in Intelligence and Analysis.
Defining Homeland Security
The need to address the security needs of a collective, a society, or a state is not a new concept; humans have had to grapple with this need ever since the age of the earliest civilizations. However, to a great extent, Homeland Security continues to evade the definition. The concept in its current form came out of the events surrounding 9/11, and in the context of the United States, is a product of the Homeland Security Act of 2002. It should be clarified, however, that the concept of Homeland Security should be treated separately from the Department of Homeland Security, which is the main overseeing federal government agency.
Despite the initial focus on terrorist threats, the succeeding years saw the practice evolve in scope. The next decades highlighted the need to also revisit the country’s approach to other hazards like natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005, among others.
Herein lies the tension in the field. The opinion is split among practitioners between limiting the scope of Homeland Security to addressing threats from terrorist attacks and extremist activities, including natural disasters, and even expanding all the way to adopt an “all-hazards” approach. With regard to master’s degree programs, meanwhile, many of these tend to take a more all-hazards route and include the relevant courses in their curriculum designs accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to come from a specific set of professions/academic backgrounds in order to be suitable for a Master’s in Homeland Security degree?
Not necessarily. While a lot of prospective students to master’s in homeland security programs tend to be first responders, information security analysts law enforcement agents, and members of the intelligence community, there are some programs that are designed to be more open to a wider range of backgrounds. Some programs also integrate homeland security with emergency management, and the latter in particular requires the expertise of a wide range of fields, in terms of preparation, mitigation, response, and recovery. It’s best to consult directly with a particular university/department to be sure.
What are some career paths can graduates of Master’s in Homeland Security explore?
This degree program sees a wide range of applicability. Graduates can go on to work in the fields of law enforcement and intelligence, addressing issues in immigration, border protection, or securing points of entry into the country and various forms of critical infrastructure. Still, some go on to work in cybersecurity and as part of the country’s intelligence agencies.
Many of these master’s programs integrate disaster management into their coverage, which prepares graduates for careers in agencies like FEMA, or as disaster response, disaster communication, or emergency management directors in state and local agencies. Career options aren’t limited to government agencies, of course; there is a wide range of private organizations that play supporting roles in addressing homeland security needs.
- The field of Homeland Security is expected to continue to see growth over the next decade, as the country needs to address a wide range of complex threats and vulnerabilities that continue to evolve.
- The curricula of typical Master’s in Homeland Security programs can roughly be divided into two general content areas: homeland security, which includes courses focused on issues in terrorism, crime, and other human threats, and emergency management, which tends to focus on key issues related to emergency preparedness and disaster response.
- Typical students to Master’s in Homeland Security degree programs often are first responders and those who work in law enforcement, the military, or intelligence agencies; however, many programs are also designed to accommodate other fields of expertise that can contribute directly to issues in homeland security and emergency management, such as the health sciences/public health, engineering, business, and law.