Best Online Master’s in Security Degrees

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Are you ready to find your fit?

Secure a rewarding career and national safety with one of the nation’s best online Master’s in Security degrees.

Are you passionate about national and global safety? Can you envision yourself on the front lines of an emergency or crisis, whether natural or manmade? Do you inspire to lead teams of equally passionate people who are as committed to community safety and health as you?

Then an advanced degree in security may be the next step for you!

Top 10 Best Online Master’s in Security Degrees

Rank School Location
1 Northeastern University Boston, MA
2 Tulane University School of Professional Advancement New Orleans, LA
3 George Washington University Washington, DC
4 Arizona State University Phoenix, AZ
5 Mississippi College Clinton, MS
6 Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA
7 Saint Joseph's University Philadelphia, PA
8 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
9 University of Massachusetts Lowell Lowell, MA
10 Sam Houston State University Huntsville, TX
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What kind of master’s in security degree should you get?

Though each of these 30 programs will fully train you to respond and prepare for disaster, no program is quite like the other.

While some programs emphasize the administrative aspects of security, such as Mississippi College, others offer broad criminal justice degrees wherein you can specialize in security. Even more, some programs are explicitly security degrees that provide specialization opportunities in everything from white collar crime to cyber security.

Or perhaps you want to study emergency management strategies in addition to national security. Arizona State University has the program for you. Just be sure to find a program that reflects your career goals.

Despite the differences in programs, all of the programs on this list can be earned fully online. Distance education is not only a flexible way to advance your career, it’s affordable too. For that reason, be sure to check out College Choice’s Best Online Colleges and Universities.

How much money do people make with a master’s in security degree?

With one of these graduate degrees you will be showing future employers your commitment to advanced training in security. You will also open many vocational doors. Meaning, these degrees can be applied to several job opportunities with varying average salaries.

Jobs in homeland security, whether that means border control or intelligence analysis, can range anywhere from $40,000 a year to $95,000 a year. For example, TSA Agents make around $39,800 annually while those who go into cyber crime security have average salaries hovering around $95,500 a year.

What can you do with a master’s in security degree?

An advanced degree in security opens many doors. Whether you want to work on the front lines, directly serving those affected by natural or manmade disasters, or you want to work in the background, creating effective prevention plans, a Master’s in Security will help you get there.

In fact, graduates from the 30 programs below can speak to the versatility of the degree. They have gone on to secure a variety of rewarding careers in:

  • Law Enforcement
  • Security Analysis
  • Criminal Justice Administration
  • Counter Terrorism
  • Emergency Management

Additionally, many of the programs on our list offer specialized certification in an array of areas, from anti-terrorism to cyber security. Added certification will prepare you for work at higher levels of management, and it will make you stand out from the crowd during the application process.

What are the requirements for an online Master’s in Security degree?

Most of the programs on our list require between one and two years to complete, depending on the level of training. In your first term or year you will build a foundation in security fundamentals. This may include classes on US homeland security, disaster response, emergency management, and the natural and social causes of crisis.

In your second year you can specialize through either a formal concentration or through a customizable curriculum and electives. This is the ideal time to pursue those areas and topics that reflect your career goals.

Once you finished coursework you may have to complete a field practicum, internship, or capstone project. Here at College Choice we’ve been sure to note the nuances of each program and its respective requirements.

What are the best online master’s in security degrees?

Best Online Master's in Security Degrees Badge

While some of these programs are offered through large research universities and others through small religious colleges, they all share one thing one common: they are the 30 best online master’s in security programs in the country.

To find the best we first looked at each program in the country that offers the degree online. From there we looked at the academic reputation of each school and then examined key criteria such as retention rates, affordability, and the early salaries of graduates.

After such extensive research, we determined the best programs in the nation that prepare security officials. 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.

2018 Ranking

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Northeastern University
    Location

    Boston, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Northeastern University is located in Boston, MA. It is a research-driven R1 university known for its experiential learning programs. Northeastern’s co-op education program, for example, is one of the biggest and best in the US. More than 25,000 students attend Northeastern.

    Features

    When you earn an MA in Homeland Security from Northeastern you will be introduced to varieties of threats to social, political, and economic systems. You will also explore disaster cycles, develop your media and communication skills, and learn how to effectively gather and report data. Northeastern’s required core consists of:

    • The Unconventional Threat to Homeland Security
    • Technology for Homeland Security
    • Intelligence for Homeland Security
    • Crisis Communication

    Notables

    In addition to its many academic accolades and rankings, Northeastern has built a solid reputation for its distance education and online learning. Several of its online graduate degrees, from security to computer information technology are ranked among the best in the nation.

  2. Tulane University School of Professional Advancement
    Location

    New Orleans, LA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Tulane University is located in New Orleans and is a private, research institution. It is recognized as being one of the best schools in Louisiana. Among its many strengths, Tulane is known for its programs and research in technology, medicine, policy, and law. Around 13,000 students attend Tulane.

    Features

    At Tulane you can earn a Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security Studies entirely online. In addition to electives that cover everything from the psychological aspect of disasters to maritime and border security, Tulane ensures you have solid footing in security fundamentals. This includes a comprehensive core set of courses such as:

    • Emergency Management
    • Health and Medical Issues in Emergency Management
    • Intelligence Analysis/Critical Thinking
    • Homeland Security and Approaches to Counter-Terrorism

    Notables

    Tulane has graduated hundreds of Fulbright, Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, and Goldwater Scholars. It is ranked fortieth among all universities across the nation by U.S. News & World Report. And it was designated by the Carnegie Foundation has having some of the most active “community engagement” programs.

  3. George Washington University
    Location

    Washington, DC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Founded on of the visions of our nation’s first president, George Washington University is a private, research-based university. It is organized into over a dozen schools and colleges, many of which are globally and nationally ranked. Nearly 30,000 students attend GWU.

    Features

    When you earn an online Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security degree from GWU you will learn directly from industry and government leaders and experts. GWU’s proximity to the Capital and its established relationships with government agencies and departments makes this program hard to argue with. Classes you’ll take at GWU include:

    • Political Violence and Terrorism
    • Globalization of Threats and International Security
    • Information Systems Protection
    • Methods of Analysis in Security

    Notables

    With GWU’s longstanding history in education, research, and innovation, it comes as little surprise that the University is home to several famous alumni. For example, the “father” of the Big Bang Theory attended GWU, as did dozens of MacArthur fellows, Nobel laureates, Olympic athletes, and so much more.

  4. Arizona State University
    Location

    Phoenix, AZ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Arizona State University is a sprawling research university with locations throughout Phoenix and online. Home to one of the largest enrollments for a public university, over 70,000 combined undergraduate and graduate students attend ASU. And Carnegie classifies ASU as an R1, meaning it has some of the most research activity in the US.

    Features

    ASU’s MA in Emergency Management and Homeland Security program offers an ideal combination for those who want to become experts in both disaster relief and national security. Graduates have gone on to become everything from EMS crew members to risk management specialists. Coursework covers:

    • Hazards Governance
    • Program Evaluation for Emergency Management and Homeland Security
    • Applied Data Analysis in Criminal Justice
    • Geographic Information Systems

    Notables

    The virtual college, ASU Online, offers an impressive 150 academic programs that can be earned entirely from a distance. These programs are nearly identical to those provided on campus, and they have been ranked among the top 10 best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

  5. Mississippi College
    Location

    Clinton, MS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Mississippi College is a Christian school located just outside of Jackson in Clinton, MS. It is affiliated with the Baptist Church and is one of the nation’s oldest baptist colleges, having been founded in 1826. Around 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students attend Mississippi College.

    Features

    At Mississippi College you can earn a broad degree in administration of justice while specializing in homeland security. This unique program means you’ll graduate with a Master of Social Science degree that highlights your expertise in anti-terrorism and homeland security. At Mississippi College you’ll take classes such as:

    • Legal Aspects of Homeland Security
    • Grant Writing for Homeland Security
    • International Terrorism
    • Cyber Terrorism

    Notables

    Mississippi College is ranked among the top 35 best universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report. In addition to its academic recognitions, the College is also praised for its service to student veterans, its affordability, and its online programs.

  6. Pennsylvania State University
    Location

    University Park, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Penn State is a huge research university with campuses throughout Pennsylvania. While its flagship campus is located in University Park, its World Campus is a renowned center for innovative, flexible learning. In fact, the World Campus offers more than 60 programs and has provided distance education opportunities since 1998.

    Features

    Penn State’s World Campus offers a Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security degree that applies to both private and public sectors. In addition to coursework that covers homeland security administration, ethics, domestic issues, and global issues, you’ll also explore all corners of security through electives such as:

    • Agricultural Biosecurity
    • Disaster Communication
    • Engineering Across Cultures and Nations
    • Intelligence Analysis, Cultural Geography, and Homeland Security

    Notables

    Penn State is a “Public Ivy,” meaning its academic programs can be easily compared to those of the private Ivy Leagues. It is ranked fiftieth among all universities across the country by U.S. News & World Report. Compared to just public schools, though, Penn State comes in at #14.

  7. Saint Joseph's University
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Saint Joseph’s University is located in Philadelphia, PA. It is a private, Roman Catholic school and a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Offering more than 100 academic programs, SJU serves approximately 9,000 students.

    Features

    For those seeking a broader degree in criminal justice, SJU has the program for you. It offers a MS in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Homeland Security. As an SJU student you will focus on how to respond to risk and disasters as well as how to mitigate the potential for disaster. You will also learn the causes of terrorism from political, religious, and historical perspectives through coursework such as:

    • Terrorism: Threats and Strategy
    • Sociology of Disasters
    • Risk Assessment

    Notables

    The SJU campus is marked by research facilities, cultural institutes, and community service centers. The university is known for its emphasis on community and its many opportunities to get involved, whether studying online or on campus. SJU is nationally ranked by Forbes, among others.

  8. Liberty University
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Liberty University is located in Lynchburg, VA and has more than 110,000 students, though only a fraction study on campus. Liberty is known for its massive online programming. And, of course, Liberty is known for its conservative, evangelical Christian focus.

    Features

    Liberty’s MS in Criminal Justice degree can be paired with a specialization in Homeland Security. You can complete this degree in just one-and-a-half years, taking classes eight weeks at a time. This expedited program is still comprehensive, however, giving you a sturdy foundation in homeland security organization and administration. Classes include:

    • Legal Issues in Homeland Security
    • Leadership, Ethics, and Policing
    • Topics and Trends in Criminal Justice
    • HR Management in Criminal Justice Organizations

    Notables

    Liberty’s online programs are often among the best ranked in the nation. For example, U.S. News & World Report ranks the online graduate programs in criminal justice as being among the top 20 best in the nation.

  9. University of Massachusetts Lowell
    Location

    Lowell, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The Lowell campus within the wider University of Massachusetts System is a public research school. Though the primary campus is in Lowell, it also has a campus in Haverhill and online. UMass Lowell offers more than 200 academic programs, its most popular and prestigious being the criminal justice, engineering, technology, and science programs.

    Features

    UMass Lowell offers an MA in Security Studies with a concentration in Homeland Defense. This comprehensive program covers everything security related from cyber crime to weapons of mass destruction. Indeed, UMass Lowell’s explicitly stated emphasis on “big picture” policy can be seen in the breadth of the curriculum. For example, classes you’ll take include:

    • Transportation Systems Safety and Security
    • Descriptive and Inferential Statistics
    • Crisis and Emergency Management
    • Domestic Terrorism and Violent Extremism

    Notables

    UMass Lowell is not only a well-ranked university. It is known for its affordability. In fact, Forbes ranks it among the top 10 universities with the highest returns on investment.

  10. Sam Houston State University
    Location

    Huntsville, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Sam Houston State University is located in Huntsville, just north of Houston, TX. It is a member of the Texas State University System and has more than 20,000 students. SHSU offers around 150 academic programs across all degree programs.

    Features

    When you earn an MS in Homeland Security Studies from SHSU you will examine security in both the private sector as well as in government agencies. SHSU offers its online students scholarship opportunities and access to a faculty recognized as the top most production researchers nationally by the Journal of Criminal Justice Education. Some of the classes you’ll take at SHSU include:

    • Unconventional Threats
    • Global Perspectives in Homeland Security
    • Information and Intel Management
    • Critical Infrastructure Protection

    Notables

    The College of Criminal Justice at SHSU is the largest and one of the most established criminal justice schools in the nation. It was the first to offer doctoral and graduate degrees in criminal justice and forensic science. Today the College works closely with the Texas Forensic Science Commission, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and more.

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