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An online master’s in security is one of the best choices for students who wish to pursue advanced security programs, enhancing their professional credentials and boosting their earning potential.
The online master’s degree in security is often designed to help students understand the threats and risks entailed in global security issues, including terrorism, strategic competition, hostile states, armed conflicts, climate change, and cybersecurity.
Labor Statistics data show people who work in security and protective services may earn a median annual salary of $52,000. Graduates of this advanced degree can work in various industries and organizations, such as government agencies, and the public and private sectors. Careers in this field include consultants, intelligence analysts, military officers, intelligence specialists, geopolitical analysts, and policy analysts.
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Numerous universities and colleges in the country offer online master’s in security programs, which makes it accessible to security professionals who need to juggle their professional careers and their personal responsibilities. If you are passionate about improving public safety, this online master’s in security program is an ideal choice!
The most impactful and effective security professionals stay one step ahead of the various threats they anticipate, assess, and address. This requires rigorous advanced preparation through skills that expand their skill sets and elevate their practice within the security industry. Students are well-served to choose the best education they can get, in this case, in the graduate degrees they choose to enroll in.
We’ve got you covered! We put together a list of 10 graduate schools that offer the best online Master’s in Security programs, selected according to the following characteristics:
· Offers their degree program and coursework primarily or entirely online, ideal for the busy schedules of working professionals,
· Feature curricula that prepare students for leadership roles in the security field, cover topics in major areas, and develop skills in threat assessment, developing solutions, and more,
· Developed and taught by faculty who have extensive expertise in their respective fields, who are established professionals working in both the public and private sectors of the security industry,
· Readies students for a doctoral program in Security and related disciplines, while qualifying them for top-level positions,
· Feature competitive tuition rates and financial aid options,
· Hold the relevant accreditation credentials.
Read our Methodology to get more information on our graduate program ranking process.
Best Online Master’s in Security Degree Programs
The City University of New York
New York, NY
The City University of New York is home to John Jay College, a leader in justice education. The college makes innovative research, experienced faculty, and extensive online academic resources more accessible to students. The college has an accreditation from the Higher States Commission on Higher Education. It is also an NASPAA-National Association of Schools of Public Affairs & Administration institutional member.
Offered under John Jay College, a Master of Science in Security Management is available online, allowing working professionals to pursue their advanced education while juggling their careers.
- The online Master’s in Security equips students with a better understanding of security theory along with practical skills that the job requires.
- Students can enjoy small class sizes, which means each student can get a chance to have more one-on-one sessions with the instructor.
- With classes offered in various sequences for individualized flexibility, this online program can usually be completed within two years.
- Students will be able to work their way through the program in six accelerated eight-week
- The core courses include Introduction to Protection Management Systems, Privatization: Models and Applications for Private Security; Legal, Regulatory and Administrative Issues in Private Sector; and Risk, Threat and Critical Infrastructure.
Standout Features of John Jay College’s Online Master of Science in Security Management Program:
As part of this online program’s requirement, a comprehensive examination must be taken and passed. This exam aims to measure students’ knowledge essential to security management. Offered every six months, this exam can only be taken if students are able to complete 24 credits in the program.
Usually, the program director will issue a list of readings and texts a month before the exam administration. Should they fail, students are given two additional opportunities to take it again.
Did You Know?
The John Jay College features a distinguished faculty numbering 1,100. The faculty includes among its members Pulitzer Prize winners, widely honored scholars, and experts in various academic disciplines.
They are responsible for advancing knowledge to build and sustain just societies through quality education. Students can choose among 30 undergraduate majors, 13 master’s programs, and 20 certificate programs.
University of Houston Downtown
The University of Houston Downtown houses several colleges, including Business, Humanities and Social Sciences, Public Service, and Sciences and Technology. Currently, the university serves more than 14,000 students.
- The University of Houston Downtown offers an innovative program designed and developed through the collaboration of security management leaders with its Master of Security Management.
- This advanced security management degree equips students with knowledge and skills integral to addressing the ever-changing environments of cybersecurity and global security.
- Students will learn how to reduce the risks faced by organizations, allowing them to identify different threats, including cyber threats, and cyber-terrorism.
- They are also expected to learn about risk assessments and implement risk-based security plans to help protect organizations.
Standout Features of the University of Houston Downtown’s Online Master of Security Management Program:
The program offers two options for specialization. Students may choose between Enterprise Security and Cybersecurity. The core courses for both concentrations are the same though, with topics including Risk Assessment and Abatement, Cyber Crime and Computer Forensics, Enterprise Security Management, and Human Resources Management for Security Executives, among others.
Did You Know?
The University of Houston Downtown keeps the student-to-faculty ratio small at 18 to 1. The small class size means students are provided with a unique hands-on learning environment. Online classes make the programs more accessible to working students, although there are also on-campus and hybrid options. The university also offers one of the lowest tuition rates among the country’s state colleges and universities.
Arizona State University
A member of the Association of American Universities, Arizona State University caters to over 100,000 undergraduate students and more than 30,000 graduate and professional students. The university boasts the most innovative and brilliant professors and researchers.
To date, there are more than 400 academic undergraduate programs and majors at ASU. It also offers more than 500 graduate degree programs and certificates.
- MA in Global Security is one of the online programs at Arizona State University, designed to train students to critically tackle global conflict and international security.
- This interdisciplinary and thought-provoking online program features theoretical knowledge and practical case studies, covering academic disciplines such as Anthropology and Sociology.
- The program curriculum includes courses that explore contexts for current and emerging situations on the domestic and international fronts, preparing students for the emerging issues in global security.
- Students will primarily focus on growing trends that include cyber warfare, compound security threats, and power competition.
- They will need to complete one core course, electives, and a capstone in order to earn the degree, with courses such as U.S. Politics of Security, Global Politics of Security, Comparative Studies of Conflict, Understanding Conflict and War, and Security Studies.
Standout Features of Arizona State University’s Online Master of Arts in Global Security Program:
The program is a collaboration between the Center on the Future of War and the School of Politics and Global Studies. This means a group of committed professionals from diverse backgrounds and experiences will take the helm in preparing students for career advancement in the field of global security and beyond. The faculty includes journalists, academics, high-ranking government officials, and former military members.
Did You Know?
The world’s first comprehensive institution of its kind is found at Arizona State University. Established in 2019, the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory operates akin to a medical center for the planet and its inhabitants. It is dedicated to making sure that humanity exists in equilibrium within the world’s systems.
Kansas State University
A land-grant university, Kansas State University offers more than 250 undergraduate programs and more than 165 graduate programs. Students can learn from over 1200 full-time faculty, many of whom are leading scholars who made outstanding contributions in their respective fields. The university remained committed to providing accessible education and countless opportunities for all.
- Kansas State University offers a master’s degree in Security Studies, designed to prepare working professionals for advanced careers in international affairs, military service, and foreign policymaking.
- This rigorous interdisciplinary online master’s degree requires the completion of 30 credit hours’ worth of coursework, with courses including Foundations of Security Studies, Security Studies Methodology, History and Security: East Asia, International Security, Terrorism and Transnational Security Issues, among others.
- The program features an award-winning faculty that draws from rigorous historical and social scientific research methods.
Standout Features of Kansas State University’s Online Master’s Degree in Security Studies Program:
In this program, students have a choice between non-thesis and thesis options. The thesis option requires 24 credits, 18 of which are allocated for required courses and six for electives. They will also need to complete six credits allotted for either political science or history.
Did You Know?
The financial aid process is made easy at Kansas State University in an effort to help students focus on their education. Some of the available financial aid options for students include scholarships, grants, fellowships, and student loans.
University of Arizona
Founded in 1885, the University of Arizona is a land-grant higher learning institution that aims to transform student lives for the better by providing quality education. It is currently serving more than 46,000 students across more than 150 majors. The university is ranked among the top 20 Public Research Institutions, boasting total research expenditures of $761 million.
- The University of Arizona offers a Master of Arts in International Security Studies degree program that provides prospective students with empirical and conceptual review of the international system.
- Students are expected to learn how to address environmental, demographic, developmental, and social challenges.
- The program equips students with a strong interdisciplinary and cross-regional approach with the application of conceptual framework.
- Some of the courses in the 34-credit program curriculum include Media and International Affairs, Climate Change: Science, Policy and Security, Arming the State, and Geospatial Intelligence – Foundations and Concepts.
Standout Features of the University of Arizona’s Online Master of Arts in International Security Studies Program:
The online master’s in security program helps students build core skills, including foreign policy, research, international system knowledge, and strategy tactics in times of war and peace.
Did You Know?
The University of Arizona has contributed largely to the study of astronomy. In fact, in 1969, its lunar map was used by NASA to land on the moon. It also sampled an asteroid in 2021, the first in the country.
University of Massachusetts Lowell
The University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) is a public research university with its main campus in the city of Lowell and a satellite campus in the city of Haverhill, Massachusetts. The university first came about in 1975 after a merger of its two parent institutions, Lowell State College (established in 1894), and Lowell Technological Institute (established 1895), formed the University of Lowell.
The University of Lowell then joined the University of Massachusetts in 1991, taking on its current name. At present, the UML is made up of 6 schools & colleges and has a population of around 18,300 students. It is classified among “R2: Doctoral Universities – High Research Activity”.
- The University of Massachusetts Lowell’s MS in Security Studies program, with a concentration in Cybersecurity, produces competent professionals who address companies’ and organizations’ vulnerability to cyberattacks and data breaches.
- The program consists of 10 courses, which add up to a total of 30 credit hours and can be completed in as little as 18 months.
- The program curriculum covers topics in security management, intelligence policy, national security, and cybercrime. This is paired with coverage of network security topics including virtual systems management, secure mobile networks, digital forensics, and cloud computing.
- UML also offers an Online Graduate Certificate in Security Studies, and students who finish the certificate with a GPA of 3.3 or better will be automatically approved for admission into the MS in Security Studies: Cybersecurity program.
Standout Features of the University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Online Master of Science in Security Studies Program:
This is a uniquely designed program that sits at the intersection of information technology, cybersecurity, and criminal justice. Being a public research university, students also get the benefit of tuition rates, whether they enroll as in-state or out-of-state.
Did You Know?
Speaking of quality and leadership in the field of security studies, the University of Massachusetts Lowell is a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research designated by the NSA and Department of Homeland Security.
University of Denver
The University of Denver is a private research university, with roots in the Methodist Church, but currently operates as a nonsectarian institution. Located in Denver, Colorado, it was established in 1864 as the Colorado Seminary, and in the 1870s established its current campus to the south of downtown Denver.
It was then renamed the University of Denver in 1880, and experienced growth over the succeeding decades, especially after the surge of students after World War II. The University of Denver is currently composed of 11 schools and colleges, along with over a dozen research institutes. It has a population of over 13,700 students.
- The University of Denver offers a Master’s Degree in Security Management program. The program prepares students with the skills to examine, assess, and address various security risks and threats.
- The program features three concentration areas: Emergency Planning and Response, Information Security, and Organizational Security, with the three areas available either as full Master’s Degrees or Graduate Certificates.
- All three concentration areas consist of 12 courses, which add up to a total of 48 credit hours.
- The certificate programs can be earned in as little as 6-12 months, while the Master’s Degree can be completed within 18 months.
- The program is designed to develop a number of key skills, including strategic planning & management, security risk evaluation, and analysis.
Standout Features of the University of Denver’s Master’s in Security Management Program:
The University of Denver’s Master’s in Security Management features concentration areas from a wide range of areas, that cater to a diverse range of fields of expertise. Each of these concentration areas features curriculums that are based on recommendations from ASIS International, the country’s largest professional organization for the field of security.
Did You Know?
Relative to other universities, the University of Denver has a high ratio of graduate students, with over half of the university’s 13,700 students being enrolled in graduate programs.
Northeastern University is a private research university in Boston, Massachusetts. It has its roots in the Boston chapter of the YMCA, which established it as an all-male institute in 1898. It was subsequently incorporated in 1916 as Northeastern College and became Northeastern University in 1922. At present, Northeastern University is composed of 9 schools and features several research institutes.
It also operates several satellite campuses in other states, including North Carolina, Washington, California, Maine, and two campuses in Canada. Northeastern University is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”, and has a population of over 36,800 students.
- Northeastern University offers an online Master of Arts in Security and Intelligence Studies program, which serves as an ideal preparation for students to take on leadership roles in the security industry.
- The 45-credit hour program is offered online, and students can enroll on either a full- or a part-time basis. The program can be completed within 18 months of study.
- The program’s curriculum features three tracks: Corporate Security Management, Homeland Security & Emergency Management, and Strategic Intelligence and Analysis.
- The program is designed to develop students’ skills in a number of key skills including intelligence collection & dissemination, assessment, research, threat assessment, as well as information evaluation and policy analysis & development. Likewise, it utilizes a whole-of-government approach to security studies in defining students’ future professional practice.
Standout Features of Northeastern University’s Master of Arts in Security and Intelligence Studies Program:
The program features a unique interdisciplinary design that synthesizes concepts from the areas of security, law, politics, diplomacy, and constitutional rights. The program’s faculty members include experts with a wide range of expertise, who include constitutional lawyers, White House advisors, from the field of military intelligence, and more.
Did You Know?
A defining feature of the education at Northwestern University has always been its use of Cooperative and Experiential Learning. This strategy sees students combining their didactic coursework with significant amounts of valuable real-world experience in a structured manner.
American Military University
Charles Town, West Virginia
American Military University (AMU) is a private, for-profit online university headquartered in the city of Charles Town, West Virginia. It is owned by American Public Education, Inc., and together with the American Public University (APU), forms the American Public University System (APUS).
AMU is the older of the two institutions, having been established in 1991, with APU being established as an expansion in 2002. AMU has a population of over 88,500 students, with a significant portion of these reportedly being on active duty or having served in the military.
- American Military University’s online Master of Arts in Security Management focuses on developing students’ skills in the area of security management.
- The program contains a total of 36 credit hours. Courses are fully online and vary in length between 8 to 16 weeks.
- The program’s curriculum focuses on the following key security management areas: asset protection, loss prevention management, security program evaluation, international security, and security management ethics and administration.
Standout Features of American Military University’s online Master of Arts in Security Management Program:
AMU’s Master of Arts in Security Management program includes coverage of cost-effective architectural security design of various facilities, airports, and other critical infrastructure. It is also offered with a sub-$500 per credit hour nominal cost, and this can be reduced further through veteran or military grants.
Did You Know?
National American University
Rapid City, South Dakota
National American University (NAU) is a private, for-profit online university headquartered in Rapid City, South Dakota. It is currently owned by National American University Holdings, Inc., and was first established back in 1941 as the National School of Business. NAU first began to develop and offer online courses for students across the country and overseas. NAU is currently composed of 4 academic divisions, which together host a population of a little over 1,000 students.
- National American University offers a Master of Science in Strategic Security and Protection Management. This program is designed to prepare students to meet a wide variety of protective and security services for individuals and businesses.
- The online MS program consists of 12 courses, for a total of 54 credit hours. This is broken down into 8 core courses and 4 electives.
- The program covers advanced protection skills and also emphasizes proactive strategies, safety and preparedness, critical thinking, and professionalism. The program also emphasizes civic-minded and ethical approaches to policy and reform.
- The program also trains students to evaluate preventive, deterrent, and response actions, critique and analyze various information, as well as communicate and collaborate effectively.
Standout Features of National American University’s MS in Strategic Security & Protection Management Program:
This program is designed specifically with Strategic Security and Protection Management Professionals in mind, as well as Military Service Members. The program serves as serves as good preparation for career advancement, or for the latter, entering related careers in security and law enforcement.
Did You Know?
Going beyond, National American University also offers a Doctor of Strategic Security program, which expands on the training offered in the MS in Strategic Security & Protection Management program.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the common admission requirements to an online Master’s in Security program?
To get admitted into the program, students must have a bachelor’s degree in security or related programs. Sometimes, universities will require them to have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA on their post-baccalaureate transcript.
Other requirements may include official transcripts, updated resume or CV, letters of recommendation, personal statement, and more. in the case of international students whose native language is not English, proof of English proficiency must be provided.
How long does it take to complete an online Master of Security?
An online master’s in security degree can be completed within two years. This, however, will largely depend on the program requirements. For one, a program that requires the completion of thesis work or a capstone project may take longer to accomplish. Other security programs may offer accelerated options and multiple start dates, allowing students the option to complete the coursework at their own pace.
What are some differences between Master’s in Security and Integrated Homeland Security Management programs?
Both master’s degrees cover roughly the same ground and are orientated toward the same goal of homeland defense, and ensuring public safety against various threats, such as terrorism and natural disasters. Some Master’s in Security programs, meanwhile, are designed with a narrower scope, focusing on a specific area of security concerns, such as emergency response and management, or cybersecurity.
- A Master’s in Security is an advanced degree that prepares graduate students for leadership roles in the field of security, and a wide range of careers in local, state, and federal agencies, as security analysts, or in private security firms.
- The typical curriculum in most online Master’s in Security degree programs covers major areas of concern for ensuring security, including cyber threats, terrorism, organizational security, emergency response, and more.
- Online Master’s in Security programs tend to have a broad scope, although some programs are designed with a narrower focus on a specific sub-field, such as cybersecurity, or emergency response.
- A key feature of Master’s in Security programs is developing students’ skills in risk management, and analyzing, assessing and addressing specific threat situations.