Most Affordable Online Master’s in Security Degrees

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Ever since the events of September 11, 2001, our country has significantly changed the way it views national security threats.

As the world has become more connected thanks to technology and data, the demand for people who understand current world events as well as the nation’s criminal justice system is on the rise. A Master’s in Security is the perfect way to become a leader in this change.

The field of security not only deals with top security threats such as terrorism, but also relates to issues such as natural disaster’s, everyday public safety, and information technology. Master’s degrees in security programs allow students to get a deeper understanding of the field, as well as specialize in a particular area that interests them. Through various coursework and internships, students can feel confident in their ability to assess, analyze, and take action.

Top 10 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Security Degrees

Rank School Location
1 Arkansas Tech University Russellville, AR
2 Angelo State University San Angelo, TX
3 American Public University Charles Town, WV
4 Northwestern State University of Louisiana Natchitoches, LA
5 Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY
6 Sam Houston State University Huntsville, TX
7 University of Maryland-University College Adelphi, MD
8 Arizona State University Phoenix, AZ
9 Wilmington University New Castle, DE
10 Towson University Towson, MD
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What kind of security degree should you get?

As the field of security is so broad, there are many types of degrees out there on the market. The most common ones are a Master of Science in:

  • Homeland Security
  • Cyber Security
  • Emergency Management/Administration
  • Public Safety

In addition, it is not common to find degrees that have a more general title but then have an option to concentrate in a specific security area such as terrorism. All degrees are highly sought out by government agencies and private businesses. However, some degrees may be slightly more research-focused rather than professional or administrative.

An online degree may be preferable for those who wish to continue working while going to school. Online programs tend to have quicker course lengths, flexible time schedules, and are more affordable, too. Considering a degree other than Security? Check out College Choice’s list of the Most Affordable Online Colleges for a Master’s Degree.

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

As this degree is for those who already have professional experience within the field, graduates can expect to earn significantly more than those with just a bachelors. Although there is no national average salary for this degree, mid-level career positions ranged anywhere from $45,000 to well over six figures.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, general security managers earned a median salary of $104,970. Risk management specialists earned $69,470. Based on data, jobs in this field are expected to have a positive growth trend in the coming years.

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

A master’s in security prepares individuals for mid-level positions, typically managerial or administrative. Security professionals tend to work for the government or private security companies. These people not only have the duty of directly protecting citizens but work closely with top officials in the country to devise strategies that set the foundation for many policies.

The top 5 security positions currently include: information security analysts, network security administrators, cyber crime investigators, network security engineers, and system & network penetration testers. Because our world is so connected through data online, those who have experience and understand technologically are in high demand.

What are the requirements for a master’s in security?

A strong applicant will have a bachelors from an accredited university with ideally a GPA of at least 3.0. Depending on the program, applicants must also have at least two years of professional working experience in the field.

Most programs will require a resume to be submitted along with personal statements and letters of recommendations.

Most Affordable Online Master's in Security Badge

What are the most affordable online master’s in security?

College Choice has compiled the top 20 most affordable online master’s in security based on overall institutional excellence and student success factors. These schools were chosen using data from a variety of sources, such as the National Center for Education Statistics’ IPEDS database, PayScale, and individual college websites. We looked at factors such as tuition costs, average amount of financial aid given, graduation rate, and student-to-faculty ratio.

2018 Ranking

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Arkansas Tech University
    Location

    Russellville, AR

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Arkansas Tech University first opened in 1909 as an agricultural school. The achieved university status and changed its name to its current one in 1976. ATU’s curriculum aims to prepare students to pursue intellectual development and civic engagement following a tradition of employing technology. ATU is also very supportive of its students financially, offering scholarships to even its graduate students.

    Program Features

    ATU’s online MS in Emergency Management & Homeland Security degree introduces students to the political, social, and legal structures of the field.

    • 36 credit-hours
    • First program to be nationally recognized by The Council for Accreditation of Emergency Management Education
    • Sample Courses: Crisis Communications, Foundation of Leadership

    Notables

    Program curriculum can be adapted for a variety of goals, whether it be to advance in one’s career or to eventually pursue a Doctorate.

  2. Angelo State University
    Location

    San Angelo, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Angelo State University was founded thanks to the generous citizens of the city of San Angelo in 1928. ASU continued to grow despite being founded right before the Great Depression. Throughout the 70s, the university experienced a big boom and by the 90s they were nationally recognized by the U.S. News & World Report as an up-and-coming university. Today ASU shares its campus with a vibrant city and encourages its students to seek new opportunities whenever possible.

    Program Features

    ASU’s online MS in Homeland Security degree faces issues such as crime and terrorism and ways to combat them within our government structure.

    • Eight-week classes
    • Carr Graduate Scholarship for graduates based on one’s undergraduate GPA
    • Sample Courses: National Security Policy, Cryptology, Transportation Security

    Notables

    This program is ideal for those who wish to enter in to criminal justice, law enforcement, or emergency management.

  3. American Public University
    Location

    Charles Town, WV

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    American Public University was founded in 1991 by a retired Marine Corp officer with the primary purpose of serving the nation’s military. Today APU is one of the largest providers of online higher education with over 200 degrees. Because programs are created with the working adult in mind, all classes have flexible start times. APU’s Master’s in Homeland Security is the #7 most popular degree offered.

    Program Features

    APU’s online MA in Homeland Security’s goal is to enhance student’s leadership skills as well as educate them on national security issues.

    • 36 credit-hours
    • Completion Time: 2 years
    • Monthly course starting times

    Notables

    Tuition per credit-hour is $350, or $325 with a military grant. There is no tuition difference for in-state or out-of-state residents.

  4. Northwestern State University of Louisiana
    Location

    Natchitoches, LA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Northwestern State University of Louisiana is located in the river port city of Natchitoches. With over 130 years of history, NSU continues to be a well-respected university that offers more than 50 degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level. In fact, the university was the first one in the state to offer master’s degrees. NSU also offers an extensive online learning program with competitive tuition rates.

    Program Features

    NSU’s online MS in Homeland Security degree allow students to understand the changing world order and the various transnational security issues that come with it.

    • Thesis (36 credit-hours) and non-thesis (42 credit-hours) option
    • $475 per credit-hour up to 9 credits; $100 per credit thereafter
    • Sample Courses: Domestic Terrorism Prevention and Analysis, Venue and Event Security

    Notables

    NSU was ranked as a Top Online College for Law Enforcement programs in 2017 by the SR Education Group.

  5. Eastern Kentucky University
    Location

    Richmond, KY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Eastern Kentucky University is located in Richmond, one of the Commonwealth’s fastest-growing cities. Enacted in 1906, the university’s purpose is to provide intellectual and cultural opportunities for its students. Its three specific functions, high-quality instruction, scholarship, and service, guide the way EKU develops its academic programs. EKU offers an array of hands-on online degrees, including multiple programs in Homeland Security.

    Program Features

    EKU’s online Master’s in Safety, Security, and Emergency Management degree is a nationally recognized program that improves one’s knowledge on our nation’s security.

    • 8-week terms
    • Competitive internship program
    • GRE waived for applicants with a GPA above a 3.0

    Notables

    In 2016, EKU was included in Forbes’ America’s Top Colleges ranking.

  6. Sam Houston State University
    Location

    Huntsville, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    With the motto, “The Measure of a Life is its Service,” Sam Houston State University’s research, curriculum, and campus programs all reflect its community-oriented goal. Founded in 1879, SHSU is dedicated to educating the Texas workforce, preparing students for the fast-pace economy. Through its online programs, students are able to achieve their career goals in a time that works for them. SHSU programs are also known for its affordability, being ranked among the Best Colleges for the Money by College Factual.

    Program Features

    SHSU’s online MS in Homeland Security Studies degree is an affordable, nationally recognized program in the field of criminal justice.

    • $1,000 scholarships available
    • Faculty ranked as the #1 most productive researchers according to the Journal of Criminal Justice Education
    • Curriculum follows the Homeland Security Enterprise model

    Notables

    The U.S. News & World Report has ranked this program the #1 Graduate Criminal Justice degree in the online program category for 2018.

  7. University of Maryland-University College
    Location

    Adelphi, MD

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Maryland University College is an online state university that specializes in adult education. With multiple locations throughout Maryland and around the world, students are able to earn their degree from the comfort of their own home. Founded in 1947, UMUC began to offer its first online courses in the mid-90s. Today over 80,000 students are enrolled. In 2014, Best Value Schools ranked UMUC the #4 Best Affordable Online College.

    Program Features

    UMUC’s online MS in Management with a specialization in Homeland Security Management degree is ideal for those who wish to gain mid-level positions in security risk assessment.

    • 36 credit-hours
    • Ability to join the Public Safety Administration Forum academic club
    • Sample Courses: Organizational Theory and Behavior, Critical Infrastructures

    Notables

    For those who are still undergraduates but who are interested in gaining a Master’s in Homeland Security, a fast-track degree program is available.

  8. Arizona State University
    Location

    Phoenix, AZ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    As the nation’s #1 most innovative school, Arizona State University is a top-tier research university. Founded just 30 years before Arizona officially became a state, ASU continues to be a leading institution thanks to its dedicated staff, students, and community members. Its strong push for excellence is not just limited to its on-campus program but is also seen through its extensive online learning community. ASU’s master’s programs in the criminal justice field are ranked #5 in the nation.

    Program Features

    ASU’s online MA in Emergency Management & Homeland Security degree is offered through the College of Public Service and Community Solutions, a college dedicated to using technology to address new challenges.

    • 33 credit-hours
    • 7.5-week courses
    • Sample Concentrations: Homeland Security, Community Resilience, Biosecurity and Threat Management

    Notables

    Some possible career titles upon completion of this program include risk management specialist, emergency management director, or health services manager.

  9. Wilmington University
    Location

    New Castle, DE

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Wilmington University is a private institution with its main campus located in the state of Delaware. With the goal of having students exceed their potential, all programs are made to produce career-ready workers. A WilmU degree is convenient, with multiple locations and online degrees. Course schedules are also flexible, with many different learning options to fit your unique schedule.

    Program Features

    WilmU’s online MS in Homeland Security degree is a professional program for those who want to make an impact in the nation’s security division.

    • 33 credit-hours
    • Sample Concentrations: Military Leadership, Information Assurance, Organizational Leadership
    • Sample Courses: Sociology of Terrorism, Radio Frequency Identification Applied Systems

    Notables

    Students may take this program entirely online or may opt to do a hybrid combination with some classes on-campus.

  10. Towson University
    Location

    Towson, MD

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Towson University is a beautiful campus that is located just eight miles north of Baltimore. As a premier regional public university, Towson has strong public and private partnerships with local businesses to give students fantastic opportunities. The university is the second largest in the Baltimore area, with over 22,000 graduate and undergraduate students enrolled. In 2016, Towson was ranked among the Best Bang for the Buck – Northeast ranking by the Washington Monthly.

    Program Features

    With an online MS in Integrated Homeland Security Management degree from Towson, students get to learn about a variety of security threats and how to solve them.

    • Specializations: Health Preparedness, Information Assurance, Security Policy
    • Policy-centered research capstone project
    • Courses offered via the Blackboard system

    Notables

    Students may start this program either in the fall, spring, or summer.

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