10 Best Grad Schools with Online Master’s in Public Safety Administration

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Updated: December 13, 2023, Reading time: 18 minutes

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An online Master’s in Public Safety Administration can help interested students and working professionals become effective administrators in numerous public safety organizations and agencies.

In this online program, students are taught to develop important skills in effective decision-making, management, conflict resolution, policy-making, and communication when dealing with potentially dangerous environments.

Depending on the university or college offering public safety administration programs, the curriculum may include courses such as criminal justice, homeland security, public safety law, emergency management, and more.

Additional Resources:


Online master’s degree programs can help working professionals pursue leadership roles in public safety efforts, ensuring a rewarding career in public safety organizations and agencies that provide emergency response services.

If you want to acquire advanced theoretical and practical knowledge in the field, then an online master’s program in public safety administration is an ideal choice.


The area of Public Safety is one of the cornerstones of a healthy and functioning society, as it is directly related to ensuring the safety and well-being of a society’s members. Success in this field requires not only experience but knowledge of concepts and techniques that are provided by a masters-level education.

Students would also do well to choose the best education they can get that would help them advance their proficiency, as they continue to practice and aim for leadership in the field.

We’ve got you covered! We’ve put together graduate schools that offer the best online Master’s in Public Safety Administration Programs, selected according to the following characteristics: 

Visit our Methodology page for further details.

Best Online Master’s in Public Safety Administration Programs

Arizona State University


Tempe, AZ

Master of Public Safety Leadership and Administration (PSLA)

Arizona State University is fully committed to providing quality programs for students all over the country and beyond. Its extension, ASU Online, was created to provide accessible, quality education anytime and anywhere. Students can expect an exceptional digital learning experience under the tutelage of world-class professors.

Standout Features:

Considered a leader in online education, Arizona State University has a total of 10 years of experience in providing high-quality online education. Currently, the university offers more than 300 programs to accelerate career growth. It has catered to over 80,000 online graduates and counting.

Did You Know?

Students who want to prepare for a rewarding career in the field and meet their professional goals may want to choose a public safety concentration that they can focus on. Their options include:

Liberty University

Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA

Master of Science in Public Safety

Established in 1971, Liberty University is considered one of the largest nonprofit universities in the country. Committed to preparing students to join today’s workforce, the university makes education more accessible by offering online programs.

It has a SASCOC or Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges approval.

Standout Features:

The online Master of Science in Public Safety Administration program allows students to customize their online learning experience to help them better align with their career goals and interests. They can specialize in:

Did You Know?

Liberty University’s nonprofit prominence is more than a status. It is fully committed to investing in students’ success by maintaining low tuition rates, offering award-winning online degrees, and providing students with scholarships and other financial aid resources.

University of Maryland

University of Maryland

College Park, MD

Master of Professional Studies – Public Safety Leadership & Administration (PLA)

Founded in 1856, the University of Maryland grew from a state agricultural school to become one of the top public national universities in the country.

It is home to 12 schools and colleges, offering 104 undergraduate majors, 115 master’s degree programs, and 84 doctoral programs. Currently, it is serving more than 40,000 students.

Standout Features:

Along with the master’s degree in Public Safety Leadership and Administration, students will also be able to earn two graduate certificates:

They are expected to acquire essential skills such as program assessment, leadership, and legal skills, among others.

Did You Know?

In 2021 alone, the University of Maryland recorded combined research expenditures of $1.1 billion. In the National Science Foundation’s Higher Education Research and Development Survey, the university ranked number 16 among public institutions for research and development spending.

It also made it to the top 10 among the country’s public institutions in terms of patents awarded, as vetted by the National Academy of Inventors and Intellectual Property Owners Association.

Southern Illinois University

Southern Illinois University

Carbondale, IL

Master of Science (MS) in Public Safety Administration (PSA)

Established in 1869, Southern Illinois University is considered one of the top higher education institutions for research. The university has been committed to fostering diversity since its foundation, with 29% of minority students making up its total enrollment. Currently, it is home to more than 11,000 students.

Standout Features:  

The online master’s in public safety administration features faculty and staff members who are known experts in the field of homeland security and public safety. Students can gain real-world skills from the faculty’s combined years of research and professional experience.

Did You Know?

The Carnegie Foundation (or Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching) ranked Southern Illinois University among the top 5 percent in terms of research expenditure. The university offers research opportunities in a wide range of categories. Students can take advantage of research facilities such as:

Tennessee Tech University

Tennessee Tech University

Cookeville, TN

Master of Professional Studies: Public Safety

Focusing on providing transformative experiences, Tennessee Tech University cultivates a lifelong desire for learning under the guidance of supportive faculty. To date, the university offers degrees across eight academic schools and colleges.

This includes Education, Engineering, Arts and Sciences, Agriculture and Human Ecology, Fine Arts, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Nursing, among others.

Standout Features:

As the final course of the program, the Professional Project must be completed. Students are required to start planning the project the moment they enter the program. This serves as the integrative culmination of the program of study, serving as a substantial piece of independent research consistent with the theme and content of the program of study.

Did You Know?

Tennessee Tech University has an accreditation from the SACSCOC. The university is considered one of the best public universities in the South.

University of Virginia

University of Virginia

Charlottesville, VA

Master of Public Safety

The University of Virginia, or UVA, is a public research university located in the city of Charlottesville. It is the state’s flagship university and was established in 1819 by then-US President Thomas Jefferson, who envisioned a university anchored on the emerging Liberal Arts education at the time.

Presently, UVA is composed of 12 colleges and schools and has a population of around 26,000 students. It is also a member of the Association of American Universities, and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”. 

Standout Features:

The program is designed to be forward-thinking and is ideal for professionals who are ready to challenge the status quo and confront new realities in the modern field of public safety.

Also, students in the program who have completed training in the FBI National Academy, FBI ELEVATE, or the UVA’s National Criminal Justice Command College can apply for a number of graduate credits from these, letting them finish the program sooner. 

Did You Know?

While it doesn’t appear on its official seal, a lot of symbolism used by the UVA features The Rotunda, a building located on the university’s original grounds. It was originally designed by President Thomas Jefferson and is modeled after the Pantheon in Rome.

Mercer University

Mercer University

Macon, GA

Master of Science (MS) in Criminal Justice & Public Safety Leadership

Mercer University is a private research university in the city of Macon, Georgia. It was established in 1833 as the Mercer Institute, a preparatory school, later gaining university status in 1837, granted by the state’s legislature.

At present, Mercer University is composed of 12 colleges and schools and operates campuses throughout 6 other locations in the state aside from the main campus at Macon.

Mercer University has a total population of around 9,000 students, and is classified among “R2: Doctoral Universities – High Research Activity”.

Standout Features:

Mercer University’s MS in Criminal Justice and Public Safety Leadership program features a comprehensive coverage of key public safety topics and includes related subject areas such as deviant behavior, forensic psychology, and disaster response.

Did You Know?

Mercer University is named after Jesse Mercer, who was at the time a prominent leader of the Baptist church. He provided a founding endowment for the school and also served as the first chairman of the university’s Board of Trustees.

Lewis University

Lewis University

Romeoville, IL

Master of Science in Public Safety Administration

Lewis University is a private university in the city of Romeoville, Illinois. It is a Roman Catholic institution and is affiliated with the De La Salle Brothers.

It was established in 1932 as the Holy Name Technical School, and started focusing on aviation technology courses, and eventually became Lewis University in 1973. It is currently composed of 6 colleges and schools and has a population of around 6,500 students.

Standout Features:

Students to the program who are active First Responders receive a 20% tuition discount, as well as a tuition deferral of six weeks after the end of each class. The program also features a comprehensive coverage of various approaches to risk and crisis management, as well as financial, analysis, budgeting, and data analysis, and emphasizes developing ethical and professional practice.  

Did You Know?

As a university affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, Lewis University was founded by the Archdiocese of Chicago. It is named after Frank J. Lewis, a philanthropist who provided funding for many of the university’s buildings.

Western Illinois University

Western Illinois University

Macomb, IL

Master of Arts in Public Safety Administration

Western Illinois University is a public university located in the city of Macomb, Illinois. It was established in 1899 as the Western Illinois State Normal School, originally dedicated to teacher training, with the first classes being held in 1902.

It grew over the decades and finally became a university in 1957. At present, Western Illinois University is composed of 4 colleges and has over 7,600 students.

Standout Features:

Western Illinois University’s MA in Public Safety Administration is highly regarded for its quality not only within the state but nationally as well. The program provides students with the most current information in key areas of the practice, including:

The program also includes content from the fields of policing, fire, corrections, the courts, and security.

Did You Know?

Western Illinois University’s public safety education has a lot to show in terms of community impact. The latest figures from WIU indicate that over 30% of first-line supervisors and administrators in law enforcement agencies within the state obtained their degrees from WIU.

Charleston Southern University

Charleston Southern University

Charleston, SC

Master of Science in Public Safety Management

Charleston Southern University (CSU) is a private university located in Charleston. CSU was first established in 1960 and was originally called the Baptist College of Charleston.

The university was renamed Charleston Southern University in 1990 following a vote by the South Carolina Baptist Convention.

At present, Charleston Southern University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees from over 50 fields of study and has a population of around 3,400 students.

Standout Features:

Charleston Southern University aims to maximize students’ learning experience, whether through their online or on-campus programs. Class sizes are small, and are taught by expert practitioner-scholars.

Also, all active and retired First Responders and Public Safety Personnel are eligible for a 20% First Responders/Public Safety Tuition Discount.

Did You Know?

Charleston Southern University is SACSCOC-approved. It is a Christian institution that is affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a Master of Public Safety Administration program differ from a Master’s in Homeland Security Program?

Public Safety Administration is considered part of the Criminal Justice field of discipline and is focused on the specific needs of communities in the areas of law enforcement/policing, corrections, policy, crime deterrence and prevention, and other allied emergency and public safety concerns, such as responding to fire and health emergencies.

Homeland Security programs, meanwhile, tend to have a broader focus. It is a younger field with its current form born out of the events surrounding 9/11. Its original focus was on detecting and responding to terrorist threats, but has since expanded to include a wider range of threats including cyberattacks, and even natural hazards.

Is a master’s degree required to work in public safety?

Generally, entry-level jobs or even leadership roles in the field of public safety do not require a graduate degree for one to be competitive in the job market. However, a master’s degree can give them an edge when pursuing advanced roles in the industry.

A master’s degree in Public Safety can equip them with safety skills integral to lead along with modern techniques that are useful in managing public safety in the community.

What can I do with an online Master’s in Public Safety Administration degree?

Students who want to pursue careers in management, leadership, and administrative positions within public safety agencies and organizations will find an online master’s in public safety administration program highly beneficial.

Other potential career paths for public safety administrators include emergency medical technicians, public safety officials, emergency management directors, federal law enforcement officers, firefighters, police officers, paramedics, rescue professionals, and more.

Online Master's in Public Safety Administration - fact

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