Best Online Master’s in Homeland Security Degrees

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Are you ready to find your fit?

Whether you’re drawn to infrastructure design, data analysis, or crisis mitigation, whether you’re interested in working directly with people or with complex systems, a career in homeland security could be an ideal fit for you.

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Getting a degree (especially an advanced degree such as a MA or MS) in homeland security and emergency management will set you up for diverse career options after graduation.

From border protection to non-profit emergency interference, from FBI agent to a leading corrections officer, homeland security education allows you to work within communities, businesses, organizations, and systems that are in critical need of strategic protection and careful prevention.

If you’ve considered a Master’s in Homeland Security but have balked about timing, price, or applicability (or all three!), then note that the employment rate of specific security analysts is projected to rise 18 percent in the next few years, making the demand for those with advanced degrees in homeland security far above and beyond those of other occupations.

And while the career options vary, as do their respective average salaries, you can estimate making at least 40k annually (if, for example, you go into transportation screening), if not way more as a security analystdetective, or coast guard control agent.

Top 10 Best Online Master’s in Homeland Security Degrees

Rank School Location
1 Arizona State University Phoenix, AZ
2 Tulane University New Orleans, LA
3 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
4 Northeastern University Boston, MA
5 Saint Joseph's University Philadelphia, PA
6 Pennsylvania State University University Park, PS
7 University of Colorado-Denver Denver, CO
8 Pace University New York, NY
9 Sam Houston State University Huntsville, TX
10 California University of Pennsylvania California, PA

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Furthermore, it is now easier and more affordable than ever to pursue your graduate degree. Online education is a flexible, convenient way to enhance your professional development at a fraction of the cost of “traditional” degrees.

You can study from a distance while still working, network with leaders in your field, and participate in the same curriculum delivered by the same professors as on-campus students. Meaning, an online master’s in homeland security degree can be obtained at a flexible, affordable rate.

What are the Best Online Master’s in Homeland Security Degrees?

Though some of the homeland security programs below emphasize global terrorism and others domestic security, while some are Master’s of Arts degrees and others Master’s of Science, they are all the best graduate programs in the country for those interested in pursuing homeland security and/or emergency management.

Here at College Choice we investigated a number of fundamental data points for every program across the nation: academic reputation, student retention (a signifier of student satisfaction), affordability, and the early salaries of graduates.

What we found after extensive and exhaustive research were those programs that are not only the best in the nation at training and educating homeland security officials, but those that are also affordable and offer a great return on investment. Our figures and information come from the university and colleges’ websites, PayScale, and nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Arizona State University
    Location

    Phoenix, AZ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Arizona State University (ASU) is a prominent research school with multiple campuses throughout Phoenix and across the state. It is affiliated with major medical schools and hospitals, research facilities and initiatives, and the global campus, which is one of the best distance education programs in the country.

    Features

    Without ever having to step foot in a traditional classroom you can earn a MA in Emergency Management and Homeland Security through ASU Online. This online, thirty-three credit hour program gives students leadership experience regardless of whether they’re seeking work in public, nonprofit, or private sectors. In addition to the four areas of emphasis—biosecurity and threat management, community resilience, emergency management, and homeland security general—plus the opportunity to gain international education and work experience, ASU online students take classes such as:

    • Hazards Governance
    • Applied Data in Criminal Justice
    • Homeland Security
    • Integrated Emergency Management
    • Geographic Information Systems
    • And more

    Notables

    Just this year, U.S. News & World Report ranked ASU first among the most innovative schools in the country for the second year in a row. Likewise, the university is classified as a top research school and is consistently included in the public, national, and global rankings put forth by U.S News, Washington Monthly, and ARWU.

  2. Tulane University
    Location

    New Orleans, LA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Based in New Orleans, Tulane University is a private, research university comprised of around 13k undergraduate and graduate students. Founded as a medical college, Tulane is now considered the most selective, prestigious, and renowned university in the state of Louisiana. It is both research- and public service-based in its curriculum, encouraging students to gain an integrated academic experience that includes community involvement.

    Features

    Through Tulane’s School of Professional Advancement you can earn a Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security degree that equips you to maintain the safety and security of U.S. citizens and residents. Classes cover both practical applications as well as theoretical approaches to emergency management, cyber security, and infrastructure management. On top of completing Tulane’s core classes—emergency management, health and medical issues in emergency management, intelligence analysis, and homeland security and approaches to counter-terrorism—students can take a number of unique electives to round out their degree:

    • Maritime and Border Security
    • Transportation and Border Security
    • Cyber Threats and Homeland Security
    • Law and National Security
    • Intelligence Research, Methods, and Analysis
    • And more

    Notables

    Ranked among the top national universities by U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes, among others, Tulane has graduated a number of Rhodes scholars, U.S. Surgeons General, federal judges, Fulbright scholars, Nobel laureates, and more.

  3. Michigan State University
    Location

    East Lansing, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Based in Michigan’s capital, East Lansing, Michigan State University (MSU) is a notable public research university that was founded as an agricultural and land-grant college. In fact, it was one of the country’s first schools to teach scientific agriculture. Though now MSU offers hundred of academic programs to its 50k students.

    Features

    Though not a full masters degree, you can earn a Certificate in Homeland Security online through MSU. This certification can be paired with another online degree or it can stand alone. Either way, you will take three courses to complete this nine-credit-hour program. Those include Foundations in Homeland Security, Issues in Criminal Justice (Public and Private Partnerships in Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security), and Terrorism. If you don’t want to earn just the certification, but are seeking a full masters degree, then consider pairing it with another of MSU’s online options:

    • Masters in Criminal Justice
    • Masters in Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysis
    • Masters in Judicial Administration
    • MS in Management, Strategy, and Leadership
    • Among many others

    Notables

    Included among the top 100 universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, MSU holds similar accolades from Times Higher Education, QS World University Rankings, Businessweek, Forbes, and Washington Monthly. MSU is also home to some of the largest and most renowned library archives, art museums, and research facilities.

  4. Northeastern University
    Location

    Boston, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in Boston, Northeastern University is a private school with a high research classification. Approximately 25k students, among them around 7k graduate students, are enrolled in one of Northeastern’s 125 academic programs. Though a large school with a high degree of research activity, Northeastern’s curriculum is steeped in a liberal arts and experiential learning education.

    Features

    Through Northeastern’s online MA in Homeland Security you will learn all aspects of disaster cycles, how to develop critical communication skills related to the public and media, how to utilize geographic information technologies to coalesce and analyze data, and you will understand the impetus of threats to social, political, and economic systems. At Northeastern you can further specialize by taking on one of three concentrations, in organization and infrastructure continuity, emergency management and geographic information technology, or in port security. However you specialize, you will take a core course load comprised of the following classes:

    • Intro to Homeland Security
    • The Unconventional Threat to Homeland Security
    • Technology for Homeland Security
    • Critical Infrastructure: Vulnerability Analysis and Protection
    • Multidisciplinary Approaches to Homeland Security
    • Crisis Communication
    • Intelligence for Homeland Security

    Notables

    Northeastern students are privileged to have access to several academic and experiential learning opportunities, from study abroad programs to research collaboration. Northeastern also boasts one of the largest co-op/internship programs in the world, one that is over 100 years old and allows students to alternate between academic study and paid professional employment.

  5. Saint Joseph's University
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    A Catholic school based in Philadelphia’s suburbs, Saint Joseph’s University (St. Joe’s) is one of the nation’s oldest Jesuit universities and is a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Around 8k combined undergraduate and graduate students attend St. Joseph’s and are enrolled in one of the four schools: the College of Arts & Sciences, the School of Business, the Program of Professional and Liberal Studies, or the Haub Degree Completion program.

    Features

    Saint Joseph’s offers a Master’s in Criminal Justice degree with a concentration in Homeland Security that can be completed online and that trains students to respond effectively to threats (both terrorism and natural catastrophic events) against the country and its citizens. Coursework covers the causes and effects of terrorism from political, religious, and historical perspectives; the sociological outcomes of disasters on communities; and risk assessment and management. Saint Joe graduates from this program have found work in:

    • Border security
    • Security research technologies
    • Customs and TSA services
    • Federal Emergency Management agencies
    • Center for Disease Control and Prevention
    • Among others

    Notables

    Saint Joe’s receives high praise for its academic standards. It is well-ranked by Princeton Review, Forbes, and U.S. News & World Report. In addition to its general rankings, many of the university’s specific departments and schools are recognized as among the best, especially its business, marketing, accounting, and security programs.

  6. Pennsylvania State University
    Location

    University Park, PS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    With over 100k students, Penn State is one of the largest universities on our list. And one of the most renowned. It has two dozen campuses spread throughout the state and a huge online World Campus, which proffers degrees in over sixty areas.

    Features

    There are many reasons to consider Penn State: it’s renowned name and reputation, but also because students have the opportunity to specialize, to collaborate in state-of-the-art security research, and to take coursework that emphasizes international security. This is a Master of Professional Studies degree in Homeland Security that requires thirty-three completed hours of coursework in administration, social and ethical issues pertaining to homeland security, terrorism and violence, strategic planning and defense, and much more. Penn State students can also specialize by enrolling in one of the four concentration areas:

    • Agricultural Biosecurity and Food Defense
    • Geospatial Intelligence
    • Information Security and Forensics
    • Public Health Preparedness

    Notables

    U.S. News & World Report ranks Penn State 50th among all national universities and colleges. Among just the top public schools, it falls to 14th; and according to the Wall Street Journal, Penn State is ranked first for graduating the best-trained students. And that’s just keeping it domestic. Penn State is also globally ranked by QS World University Rankings and Academic Ranking of World Report.

  7. University of Colorado-Denver
    Location

    Denver, CO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Part of the University of Colorado System with two campuses, one in downtown Denver and the other in Aurora, UC Denver is a major public, research university known for its medical schools and hospitals. It is the largest research institution in the state, granting more degrees and bringing in more research funds than any other school in Colorado.

    Features

    Through the UC Denver’s online Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree you can specialize in homeland security and go on to work in law enforcement, juvenile justice, community corrections, policy and planning, and much more. At UC Denver you can take all your homeland security classes online or through a hybrid program, which allows you to take some traditional, on-campus courses as well as distance courses. Whichever way you design your degree you will have the privilege of receiving an education from the nationally recognized School of Public Affairs, ranked ninth in the nation for its criminology programs. Courses include:

    • Criminology Theory
    • Statistics
    • Capstone Seminar
    • Special Topics in Criminal Justice
    • Plus a number of electives covering Homeland Security

    Notables

    Unsurprisingly, considering its achievements in and accolades for its research endeavors, UC Denver is well-ranked by The Chronicle of Higher Education, U.S. & World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Its health science, medicine, and nursing programs are, of course, among the most notable, but so are its public affairs and business departments.

  8. Pace University
    Location

    New York, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    With a campus in Manhattan (plus two others in Westchester County) Pace University gives students access to the intersection of culture and academia that is New York City. Pace is a private school with around 10k undergraduates and 5k graduate students.

    Features

    At Pace University you can earn an online MA in Management for Public Safety and Homeland Security Professionals. This degree is specifically for those who want to pursue leadership roles in emergency management, as students are trained in meeting a diversity of challenges facing the post-9/11 world, including those wrought by terrorism and natural disasters. This is a two-year degree that can be completed fully online and is comprised of core courses covering everything from public sector management to budget analysis. Electives distinct to the Pace program include:

    • Comparative Governments
    • International Human RIghts
    • Multidisciplinary Approaches to Homeland Security
    • Public Health for HS Leaders
    • And more

    Notables

    Many of Pace University’s colleges and schools are well-ranked by U.S. News & World Report, such as it law and business programs, and the university as a whole is ranked nationally among the top 200 best schools in the country.

  9. Sam Houston State University
    Location

    Huntsville, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    One of the oldest public universities in the state of Texas, Sam Houston State University (SHSU) is located outside of downtown Houston in Huntsville, Texas. SHSU is a member of the Texas State University System with over 20k students enrolled in one of its many degree programs. Though SHSU is most known for its education school, it has also been praised for its performing arts, mathematics, science, and criminal justice programs.

    Features

    Ranked first in the nation for online criminal justice programs, Sam Houston’s MS in Homeland Security Studies develops leaders in the theoretical and experiential facets of security management. SHSU students choose between two tracks, one of which requires an internship and the other requiring more elective coursework; but all students complete the same same core course load:

    • Research Methods in Homeland Security
    • Unconventional Threats
    • Law and Ethics in Homeland Security
    • Critical Infrastructure Protection
    • Global Perspectives in Homeland Security
    • Information and Intel Management
    • Among others

    Notables

    Sam Houston State University is well-ranked by Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, and Washington Monthly. Additionally, its online education programs consistently receive accolades and the College of Criminal Justice is ranked in the top five nationally by the Journal of Criminal Justice.

  10. California University of Pennsylvania
    Location

    California, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    California University of Pennsylvania (Cal U) is a member of the larger Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Approximately 10k students, a majority of whom are undergraduates, are enrolled in one of Cal U’s 150 academic programs and participate in the university’s distinctive Outreach Mission program, which provides educational experiences and professional development opportunities to students and community members alike.

    Features

    Polygraph and Lie Detection, Justice Studies, Law and the International Community, Digital Imaging and Forensic Photography, and Financial Investigations are just some of the unique electives you can take when earning your MS in Legal Studies with a concentration in Homeland Security degree at California University. This program trains students to develop strategies, plans, and programs to prevent attacks of all kinds. Equally, students also learn how to strengthen and reinforce security structures already in place. In addition to the classes above, the homeland security core at Cal U is comprised of the following classes:

    • Terrorism, Threat, and Vulnerability Analysis and Protection
    • Biological, Chemical, and Nuclear Threats
    • Domestic Extremism
    • U.S. Homeland Security
    • Intelligence Practice in Homeland Security

    Notables

    California University’s Global Online program is ranked third in the nation among online colleges by the Online College Rankings. It is also consistently recognized by the Guide to Online Schools for its excellence in distance education.

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