What Is Homeland Security?
Homeland security is an academic field that teaches students how to secure borders, airports, waterways, and seaports. Students also learn about how to respond to natural and man-made disasters, as well as how to provide intelligence support to law enforcement.
How Much Money Can I Earn Working in Homeland Security?
The area of homeland security covers a number of important careers, making it a valuable and lucrative career path. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, Emergency Management directors earn a median salary of around $72,000.
But that is only with a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree in homeland security will qualify candidates for some of the highest levels of pay in this career path. The highest paid 10 percent of emergency management directors made more than $141,000 per year in 2017.
Why Choose A Master’s Degree in Homeland Security?
Having a strong undergraduate background is a great start for entering the professional world. But in a highly competitive market, it’s important for students to stand out. A graduate degree gives students a deeper understanding of their subject, while also signaling high competency and skill-levels to employers.
Homeland security has a number of variable career path opportunities. Graduates can work in local, state, or federal government agencies working as intelligence or cyber security analysts. They can also work in more localized areas organizing responses to natural disasters or supervising security at airports.
What Are the 10 Best Master’s in Homeland Security?
College Choice considers a multitude of factors including institutional excellence, student satisfaction and return on investment to develop rankings.
Institutional excellence looks at stats such as graduation rates, student-to-faculty ratios, and endowment sizes to judge each school’s ability to follow through on providing an excellent education for each student. Student satisfaction measures how satisfied current and former students felt with the services and programs offered at each school. And finally return on investment looks at the financial benefits students are likely to receive from the school’s education, weighed against the costs of attendance.
In the end, these are the 10 Best Master’s in Homeland Security.
See our rankings methodology page.
Saint Joseph's University
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $36,058
Saint Joseph’s University is a private Roman Catholic Jesuit university located in Philadelphia, PA. Saint Joseph’s was founded by the Society of Jesus in 1851 and is the seventh oldest Jesuit University in the United States. They offer more than 60 undergraduate majors, 53 graduate programs, 12 special-study programs, and a co-op program. In 2001, the school added the Maguire Campus, which added a number of new buildings and a large amount of land to the university.
Saint Joseph’s University offers a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice with a concentration in homeland security. It is a 30-credit Master of Science degree, which includes four core courses, four specialized courses, and two additional electives. Sample courses include:
- Federal Criminal Justice
- White Collar Crime
- Mental Health and The Law
- Forensic Financial Analysis
The program does not require the completion of a thesis.
Applicants to the program are required to have an undergraduate degree from selected regionally accredited colleges or universities and a minimum GPA of 2.8. It is a fully online degree that does not require an on-campus residency. There are six available start times for the program in January, March, May, July, August, and October.
College Choice Score: 98.75
Average Net Price: $29,998
Northeastern University is a private university located in Boston, MA. Northeastern programs are known to utilize the co-op method, which mixes in class learning with real-world experience. They have over 1,600 academic staff members and a student population of around 25,000. Approximately 7,500 of those students are postgraduates.
Northeastern offers a Master of Arts degree in Homeland Security. The program last two to three years and can be completed either part-time or full-time. Courses from the program include:
- Technology for Homeland Security
- Intelligence for Homeland Security
- Multidisciplinary Approaches to Homeland Security
- Crisis Communication
Students complete the program by either taking the Topics in Homeland Security course or by completing an original thesis project.
Students are given the option to complete the program using a co-op system, as well as to participate in experiential learning in the classroom. Students may also complete independent study projects to pursue their unique academic or professional interests. They also offer specializations in Emergency Management, Geospatial Services, Organization and Infrastructure Continuity, and Port Security.
College Choice Score: 97.01
Average Net Price: $32,515
Tulane University is a private research university located in New Orleans, LA. Tulane was founded as a public medical college in 1834, and some of the oldest law and medical schools in the United States. They have around 14,000 total students and 1,200 academic staff members.
Tulane has a Master of Professional Studies degree program in Homeland Security Studies. Students may complete the program online or through a combination of online and on-campus courses. Courses from the program include:
- Emergency Management
- Intelligence Analysis/Critical Thinking
- Cyber Threats and Homeland Security
- Law and National Security
Students are not required to complete a thesis as a part of the program. Students must complete a total of ten graduate courses (30 credits), which includes a maximum of two independent study courses.
Certain elective courses within the program are offered only on campus and not in online formats. Successful applicants generally have a 3.0 average in all coursework taken. Certain applicants may be conditionally admitted and required to take undergraduate coursework before being fully admitted. In-residence students may substitute department courses with approved substitutes such as Crisis and Emergency Communication in the Global Environmental Health Science department.
College Choice Score: 96.69
Average Net Price: $6,349
Bellevue University is a private, non-profit university located in Bellevue, NE. The school was founded in 1966 and has traditionally focused on providing adult education, with most of its undergraduates being 25 or older. They have a student body of around 10,000 total students and an endowment of approximately $28 million. It became a full university in 1994, after originally starting as Bellevue College.
Bellevue offers a Master of Science degree in Security Management. The program requires 36 credit hours of study and is offered both online and in class. The program offers courses such as:
- Critical Infrastructure
- Homeland Security Projects One and Two
- Cyber-Security and Information Protection
- Vulnerability Assessment and Risk Analysis
In addition to Homeland Security projects, students also complete two Security Management projects.
Applicants to the program must posses a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. They must also have maintained a minimum GPA of 2.5 or better in their most recent 60 credit hours of coursework. Graduates from the program have pursued careers including computer and information analysis, as well as information security analysis.
College Choice Score: 95.23
Average Net Price: $17,482
Purdue University is a public research university located in West Lafayette, IN. Purdue offers more than 200 undergraduate programs, over 69 masters and doctoral programs, as well as professional degrees in pharmacy and veterinary medicine. At around 40,000 students, Purdue has the second largest student population in the state of Indiana, and also maintains the fourth largest international student population of any university in the country.
Purdue offers a Master of Science degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Students complete a total of 55 credits through courses such as:
- Critical Issues in Terrorism
- Risk, Vulnerability, and Capability Assessment Methods
- Crisis Intervention
- Academic and Professional Communications in Public Safety
Students complete the program by way of an applied research capstone project. The course helps teach about applied research before focusing on the student’s own original project.
Students are limited to enrolling in one course per term. There is a pre-set course progression that students must follow for their first two years in the program. Purdue Global’s programs are not designed to meet any specific state’s licensure or certification requirements.
University of Massachusetts Lowell
College Choice Score: 92.78
Average Net Price: $18,348
The University of Massachusetts Lowell is a public research university located in Lowell, MA. Lowell is the second largest public school in Massachusetts, with over 18,000 students and more than 1,000 academic staff members. They have an endowment of $84.8 million and a campus of 150 acres.
U-Mass Lowell offers a Security Studies degree program, which may be completed as a Master of Arts or Masters of Science degree. The program includes an option for a concentration in Homeland Defense, which includes core courses such as:
- Research Design
- Intelligence Analysis: Policy and Practice
- Contemporary Security Studies
- Scientific and Technological Dimensions of National Security
The program concludes with a Security Studies Capstone Research Paper course, completed in the student’s final semester.
The other concentrations available in the security studies program include Industrial and Economic Security, International Security, Cybersecurity, and Critical Infrastructure Protection. Applications to the program are reviewed and accepted year-round. Students may begin the program in the spring, summer, or fall. Students applying to the MS program should have a major in a STEM field.
Pennsylvania State University
College Choice Score: 90.84
Average Net Price: $25,055
Pennsylvania State University is a public doctoral university with its main campus being located in University Park, PA. Penn State is often dubbed to be one of the “Public Ivies,” – a public school that offers an education comparable to an Ivy-League institution. Penn State maintains an endowment of over $3.6 billion, as well as a student population of almost 100,000, including almost 15,000 postgraduate students.
Penn State offers a Master of Professional Studies program in Homeland Security through its online World Campus. Students choose between a base multidisciplinary degree program or choose a specialty to focus on. Sample courses from the program include:
- Homeland Security Administration
- Homeland Security: Social and Ethical Issues
- Violence, Threats, Terror, and Insurgency
Overall the program requires the completion of 33 credits of coursework. A minimum of 24 of these credits must be earned at Penn State, and at least 18 must be at the 500 or 800 level.
Students may transfer up to ten graduate credits into the program. If the full number of transfer credits is used then the overall credit requirement for the degree increases to 34. Students must meet all requirements for graduation within five years of beginning the program.
College Choice Score: 87.86
Average Net Price: $15,597
Towson University is a public university located in Towson, Maryland, a little outside of Baltimore. Towson began in 1866 as a “normal school,” but now has eight different colleges with 20,000 total students. Towson’s student population is comprised of mostly undergraduates and they also have 1,600 academic staff members.
- Team Building and Leadership Skills
- Planning, Prevention, and Risk Management
- Strategic and Tactical Planning
- Critical National Infrastructures
Students take five core courses, before focusing on courses such as specialization courses and their final capstone project.
Available specializations in the program include Information Assurance, Health Preparedness, and Security Policy. Applicants to the program should possess a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as political science or health science. They should also have at least three years post-bachelor experience working in health, information technology, security, or related issues.
Sam Houston State University
College Choice Score: 86.53
Average Net Price: $12,365
Sam Houston State University is a public university located in Huntsville, TX. Sam Houston began as the Sam Houston Normal Institute in 1879, educating teachers for the state of Texas. It is the third oldest public university in the state of Texas. SHSU has more than 20,000 students and offers almost 70 different graduate degree programs.
Sam Houston has a Master of Science degree program in Homeland Security studies, which may be completed either online or on campus. It requires 36 credit hours of study and may be started in the fall or spring. Courses from the program include:
- Global Perspective in Homeland Security
- Unconventional Threats
- Foundations of Homeland Security
- Critical Infrastructure Protection
Students may choose to either complete three electives and an internship or four elective courses on top of the core coursework.
The program ends with a capstone experience research project course that contains a portfolio of reflexive elements on Homeland Security Doctrine. There is also an option for students to pursue an original thesis instead of the capstone or internship. Students must submit an academic writing sample that demonstrates the capacity to write at the graduate level.
Eastern Kentucky University
College Choice Score: 81.44
Average Net Price: $12,255
Eastern Kentucky University is a regional, comprehensive university located in Richmond, KY. Around 16,000 students attend EKU annually, and there are around 700 academic faculty members employed there. The school was originally founded as a teacher training school called the Eastern Kentucky State Normal School No. 1. The university has an endowment of a little over $60 million.
Eastern Kentucky offers a Master of Science degree program in Safety, Security, and Emergency Management. The degree is available online and requires a total of 36 credit hours. Students take core courses and then choose a concentration from the following options:
- Emergency Management and Disaster Relief
- Corporate Security Operations
- Occupational Safety
Students complete the program either through a capstone applied research project or a comprehensive examination.