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.
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.
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.
See our rankings methodology page.
Arkansas Tech University
Average Net Price: $10,887
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.
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
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.
Angelo State University
Average Net Price: $10,943
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.
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
This program is ideal for those who wish to enter in to criminal justice, law enforcement, or emergency management.
American Public University
Average Net Price: $11,470
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.
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
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.
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Average Net Price: $11,567
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.
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
NSU was ranked as a Top Online College for Law Enforcement programs in 2017 by the SR Education Group.
Eastern Kentucky University
Average Net Price: $12,255
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.
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
In 2016, EKU was included in Forbes’ America’s Top Colleges ranking.
Sam Houston State University
Average Net Price: $12,365
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.
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
The U.S. News & World Report has ranked this program the #1 Graduate Criminal Justice degree in the online program category for 2018.
University of Maryland University College
Average Net Price: $12,483
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.
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
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.
Arizona State University
Average Net Price: $13,007
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.
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
Some possible career titles upon completion of this program include risk management specialist, emergency management director, or health services manager.
Average Net Price: $14,471
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.
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
Students may take this program entirely online or may opt to do a hybrid combination with some classes on-campus.
Average Net Price: $15,597
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.
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
Students may start this program either in the fall, spring, or summer.
Average Net Price: $16,804
Mississippi College is a private Christian school that is affiliated with the Mississippi Baptist Convention. With the goal of pursuing both academic excellence and Christian values, students get to pursue their academic interests while learning more about their faith. MC began in 1826 as a coeducational institution and was the first college in the country to grant degrees to women. Today MC is well recognized for its value and affordability, ranking the #2 Best Online College in Mississippi by Affordable Colleges Online.
MC’s online Master of Social Science in Administration of Justice focuses its curriculum on the fundamentals of Homeland Security and anti-terrorism strategies.
- Two Plans: Plan A (30 credit-hours) or Plan B (36 credit-hours)
- No thesis required
- Sample Courses: Cyber Terrorism, Domestic Terrorism, Legal Aspects of Homeland Security
Students can join the Criminal Justice Club, which regularly hosts career forums with criminal justice professionals.
Purdue University Global
Average Net Price: $17,681
Purdue University Global is a comprehensive online learning community dedicated to providing affordable education to adult learners. All students receive a personalized online experience that is created to fit their needs. Purdue Global is part of the nationally recognized Purdue University System, which was founded in 1869. In April 2017, Purdue acquired Kaplan University and continues to offer innovative and interactive online degrees.
An online MS degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Management from Purdue Global will advance your degree for higher level positions in criminal justice.
- 55 credit-hours
- 3 Start dates (July, September, October)
- Sample Courses: Crisis Intervention, Academic and Professional Communications in Public Safety
Possible career paths following graduation include homeland defense, hazard mitigation, or border and transportation security.
California University of Pennsylvania
Average Net Price: $17,819
The California University of Pennsylvania was founded in 1852 and is located in the city of California, just 35 miles from Pittsburgh. Its 294-acre campus boasts beautiful views of the town’s natural beauty along with its 40 academic buildings and residence halls. Students can be found enjoying their time outdoors, being active in student organizations, or exploring the city. Cal U’s online graduate programs have been ranked among the best for the past four years by the U.S. News & World Report.
CAL U’s online MS in Legal Studies with a concentration in Homeland Security is for those who wish to gain legal insight into our criminal justice system.
- Cohort learning groups
- Professional resources with the Institute for Law and Public Policy
- 15 credit-hour Homeland Security certificate available
Graduates of this program will have the necessary skills to enter into high-paying jobs. Some employers include the Secret Service, Border Control, or the Department of Homeland Security.
Fairleigh Dickinson University-Metropolitan Campus
Average Net Price: $18,016
Fairleigh Dickinson University is the largest private university in the state of New Jersey. It was founded in 1942 and currently has more than 11,500 students enrolled. Its online Master’s in Security degree is offered through its Metropolitan Campus located only 6 miles from New York City. This program is affordable, flexible, and taught by the same professors who teach on-campus classes. In 2017 FDU was ranked #5 in Money’s “The 50 Colleges That Add the Most Value” list.
FDU’s online MS in Cyber and Homeland Security program is delivered through non-traditional formats for the busy adult learner.
- 36 credit-hours; 12 courses
- 50% scholarship within tuition
- Sample Courses: Computer & Network Security, Historical Perspectives of Terrorism, Preparing for Catastrophic Emergencies
High performing students may be invited for membership into the Sword and Shield honor society.
Average Net Price: $18,329
Aurora University is an inclusive higher education institution that is proud to offer personalized teaching and attention. As a small liberal arts university, students are able to receive the educational and career support they need. Founded in 1893 as a seminary, AU reached university status when it merged with the George Williams College in 1992. Today its main campus is located in Illinois and has over 5,500 students enrolled.
The online MA degree in Homeland Security offered by AU partners with the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security to train the next generation of national security leaders.
- Program Length: 1 year
- 8-week courses
- Sample Courses: The Asymmetric Threat to Homeland Security, Terrorist Financing and State Response
Graduates will be able to work for a variety of governmental or private sectors, including immigration, first-response, or law enforcement.
University of Massachusetts Lowell
Average Net Price: $18,348
With the mission of providing affordable and accessible higher education, the University of Massachusetts Lowell prepares students to take on the world. Ranked as having the #35 best return on investment in the country, UMass Lowell awards over $179 million worth of aid a year. In total, about 90 percent of the university’s students’ financial aid needs are met. Affordability is a major component of the school’s online programs. Affordable Colleges Online ranks UMass Lowell among the Best Public Online Colleges in the US.
UMass Lowell’s online MA in Security Studies: Homeland Defense Concentration program will learn to synthesize human behavior, systems, and intelligence analysis with policy making.
- 30 credit-hours
- 274/7 online technical support
- Sample Courses: Contemporary Security Studies, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Terrorism Networks
The tuition rate is the same for in-state and out-of-state residents. Graduate online students pay a flat rate of $575 per credit.
Virginia Commonwealth University
Average Net Price: $20,544
Virginia Commonwealth University is an urban public research institution that is dedicated to excellency. Beginning in 1838 as a medical college, VCU is proud to be a university of many “firsts.” It was the first place where organ transplants took place in the state and the first to receive a $20 million National Institutes of Health grant for special research. VCU’s history of innovation is seen throughout its many programs, as seen by many of its graduate programs being ranked among the top 50 in the nation.
The online MA in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness at VCU is an interdisciplinary program to train students for various sectors in security fields.
- 36 credit-hours
- Offered through the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
- Sample Learning Themes: policy making, economics, national defense, law enforcement
Exceptional students may be selected as Wilder Graduate Scholars, who are placed in yearlong work experiences and given financial support.
Average Net Price: $20,972
Tiffin University is located in the state of Ohio and was founded in 1888 as a private university. Its humble roots and origins has allowed them to serve a variety of students, from traditional to online. Tiffin currently offers more than 25 graduate programs, with its Criminal Justice and Homeland Security degrees among the most popular at the school. A Tiffin education is also affordable, with over 90 percent of students receiving financial aid.
Tiffin’s online MS in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Homeland Security combines the theories from both sectors to give students real-life examples.
- 30 credit-hours
- 7-week courses
- Sample Courses: Emergency Management, Homeland Security Sectors, Contemporary Criminal Justice: Issues and Trends
This program has several start dates throughout the year: January, March, May, July, August, and October.
Average Net Price: $22,377
National University was founded in 1971 by a retired US Navy Lieutenant Commander with the goal of providing accessible education to adult learners, particularly military. It is currently the largest nonprofit university in San Diego with over 100 on-campus and online programs. All courses are flexible, offered in a unique four-week format. Tuition discounts and aid is given specially to military personnel and veterans.
NU’s MS in Homeland Security and Emergency Management program prepares students for a career in national security.
- 54 credit-hours; 12 courses
- Residency experience
- Sample Courses: Immigration Issues in Security, Fundamentals of Recovery, Communication and Security
Students who earned a BS in MSHSEM may waive up to two master’s courses.
Average Net Price: $24,794
Liberty University is a private Christian university that was founded by Reverend Jerry Falwell in 1971. At Liberty, students will engage in research, practice, and on-campus organizations while being in a safe place to practice their faith. From the mid-80s, the university began offering online distance education programs to reach more students. With over 30 years of experience serving the educational needs of the online community, Liberty is a great place to get a personalized, flexible set of classes to advance your career.
Liberty’s online MS in Criminal Justice – Homeland Security degree trains criminal justice professionals for administration and management positions.
- 36 credit-hours
- Completion Time: about 1.5 years
- 8-week courses
- 25% tuition discount
Those who currently work in public service and are enrolled in this program may qualify for the Towns/Kopis Emergency Response tuition discount.