10 Best Grad Schools with Online Master’s in Security

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Updated: June 5, 2024, Reading time: 19 minutes

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Online Master’s in Security degrees help professionals enhance their skills and credentials for advanced security roles. These programs help students understand the threats and risks entailed in global security issues, including terrorism, strategic competition, hostile states, armed conflicts, climate change, and cybersecurity.

With a median wage of $56,000, security and protective service professionals may appear to earn less than the national average. However, holding a master’s degree often leads to higher salaries. Graduates can pursue diverse career paths in government agencies and public and private sectors, including roles such as consultants, intelligence analysts, military officers, geopolitical analysts, and policy analysts.

Additional Information:


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:

Read our Methodology to get more information on our graduate program ranking 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.

Best Online Master’s in Security Degree Programs

Kansas State University


Manhattan, KS

Master’s Degree in Security Studies

Kansas State University enrolls more than 21,000 students annually in its 250 undergraduate programs and 165 graduate programs. Students learn from over 1200 full-time faculty, many of whom are leading scholars who have made outstanding contributions in their respective fields.

Kansas State University offers a rigorous interdisciplinary online master’s degree in Security Studies. It is designed to prepare working professionals for advanced careers in international affairs, military service, and foreign policymaking.

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.

Arizona State University


Tempe, AZ

Master of Arts in Global Security

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.

The MA in Global Security is one of ASU’s most esteemed online programs. It is designed to train students to tackle global conflict and international security critically. This interdisciplinary and thought-provoking program features theoretical knowledge and practical case studies covering academic disciplines such as Anthropology and Sociology.

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.

University of Arizona


Tucson, AZ

Master of Arts in International Security Studies

The University of Arizona is committed to improving students 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 studying empirical and conceptual review of the international system. Students are expected to learn how to address environmental, demographic, developmental, and social challenges.

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. 

National American University


Rapid City, South Dakota

Master of Science (MS) in Strategic Security & Protection Management

National American University, originally a business school, 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. Students learn 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 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.

University of Massachusetts Lowell


Lowell, Massachusetts

Master of Science (MS) in Security Studies – Cybersecurity Concentration

The University of Massachusetts Lowell, a public research university, 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 offers an online MS in Security Studies program with a concentration in Cybersecurity. This program has been known to produce competent professionals who address companies’ and organizations’ vulnerability to cyberattacks and data breaches.

The curriculum incorporates 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.

Standout Features of the University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Online Master of Science in Security Studies Program:

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.

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


Denver, Colorado

Master’s Degree in Security Management

The University of Denver is a private research university that has experienced growth over the decades. UD 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.

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


Boston, Massachusetts

Master of Arts in Security & Intelligence Studies

Northeastern University is a private research university established as an all-male institute in 1898. At present, Northeastern University is a coed institution composed of 9 schools, several research institutes, and several satellite campuses in other states. It’s 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. This program serves as an ideal preparation for students to take on leadership roles in the security industry, utilizing a whole-of-government approach to security studies in defining students’ future professional practice. 

It develops and enhances students’ skills in intelligence collection & dissemination, assessment, research, threat assessment, and information evaluation and policy analysis & development.

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.

CUNY (John Jay College of Criminal Justice)


New York, NY

Master of Science in Security Management

CUNY’s John Jay College is a leader in justice education, with various innovative research, experienced faculty, and online academic resources. The college has an accreditation from the Higher States Commission on Higher Education. It is also a 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. This program allows working professionals to pursue their advanced education while juggling their careers. Its curriculum equips students with a better understanding of security theory along with practical skills that the job requires.

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.

American Military University


Charles Town, West Virginia

Master of Arts in Security Management

Are you a military personnel? Do you have an immediate family who is? If so, perhaps American Military University is the best school option for you. AMU has a population of over 88,500 students, with a significant portion of students receiving financial aid.

American Military University’s online Master of Arts in Security Management is one of the best degrees today. With a faculty of experienced professionals from various sectors of security and defense, students gain valuable insights and practical knowledge that can be applied directly to their military roles or civilian careers.

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?

Students can take their Master of Arts in Security Management further with American Military University’s Doctor of Global Security (DGS) or Doctor of Strategic Intelligence (DSI) programs.

University of Houston Downtown


Houston, TX

Master of Security Management

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 online Master of Security Management with a curriculum designed and developed by security management leaders. It equips students with knowledge and skills integral to addressing the ever-changing environments of cybersecurity and global security.

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.

Continuing Education

For many, a master’s degree is enough to reach their professional goals. However, for some professionals, it’s only the start. Continuing education offers a pathway for many people to delve deeper into specific areas of interest, hone their expertise, and stay ahead of emerging trends and technologies in the ever-evolving security and law enforcement landscape.

A master’s degree, beyond opening more professional opportunities, can also lead to various continuing education paths.

Among the most common and practical continuing education is pursuing certifications. These show that you’re good at certain security parts and give clear proof to bosses and colleagues. Certifications like Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) are well respected in the industry and can make it easier to get better jobs and earn more money.

Graduates must also attend workshops, seminars, and conferences for professional development. These events let you learn more and meet people in the security field, giving you more access to exclusive job opportunities.

You can also pursue a terminal degree. Two popularly suggested doctorates in security are the Doctorate in Security and the Doctorate in Criminal Justice.

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.

What can I do with a Master’s in Security degree?

A master’s degree in security leads to several rewarding career paths, especially since the demand for skilled cyber security professionals continues to soar. In the information security sector alone, there’s a 32 percent expected increase in employment from 2022 to 2032. Here are some of the most common and high-paying jobs you can pursue with a master’s degree in security studies:

CareerAverage Annual Salary
Security Consultant$101,853
Cybersecurity Analyst$120,360
Chief Information Security Officer$229,700

How much is an online Master’s in Security degree?

The cost of an online master’s in security degree varies depending on the school, area of concentration, and additional fees such as technology and resource costs. Generally, tuition can range around $40,000, with factors like technology fees, room and board, and lost wages potentially increasing the overall cost.

However, certain individuals, such as US military officers or federal employees, may have the opportunity to earn a master’s in security degree from institutions like the American Military University at no cost, depending on their employment status.

Online Master's in Security - fact

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