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Homeland Security Degree

A homeland security degree can help individuals qualify for a wide range of positions within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other federal agencies that aid in protecting the United States from the growing threat of terrorism. Homeland security degree programs are available online and at numerous college campuses across the US.

Homeland Security Training

In a homeland security degree program students learn how to identify domestic and international threats and neutralize those threats, and how to perform homeland security investigations. In addition, students will learn the managerial skills necessary to lead teams and departments while identifying and neutralizing threats to US security.

Those who wish to specialize in a specific area of homeland security may consider more specialized training like an emergency management degree or cybersecurity degree.

CJDS FACT: The Department of Homeland Security has become one of the federal government’s largest employers, with over 200,000 employees.

Homeland Security Courses

Homeland security degree programs at universities and colleges aim to provide students with a strong foundation of knowledge and analytical skills to enter a career in homeland security. Students gain an understanding of the modern challenges of transnational security, terror groups, and cyberwarfare.

Here is a sample of courses in homeland security that may be offered through such a degree program:

  • Concepts of Terrorism
  • Psychology of Terrorism
  • The Politics of Terrorism
  • Root Causes of Terrorism
  • Covert Action & Intelligence
  • Homeland Security and the Legal System
  • Homeland Security Administration: Policies and Programs
  • Border Security
  • Public Health Evaluation of Disasters and Bioterrorism
  • Critical Infrastructure Protection
  • National Security and Intelligence
  • Emergency Organizations and Management
  • Risk and Vulnerability Assessment
  • Constitutional Issues and Global Security
  • Network Security and Cyberterrorism
  • Domestic Terrorism Prevention and Analysis
  • Technology Solutions for Homeland Security
  • International Security and Trade
  • Open-Source Intelligence

Homeland Security Degree Requirements

homeland security degreeMany federal jobs in homeland security require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. There are a number of certificate, associate’s, and bachelor’s degree programs in homeland security available. Admission requirements for most include a high school diploma or GED and an understanding of the criminal justice system. A master’s degree in homeland security may be required for some positions of leadership; admission to a master’s-level program usually requires evidence of strong academic performance at the undergraduate level.

Should you get a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Homeland Security?

There are many colleges that offer both bachelor’s and master’s programs in homeland security. A bachelor’s degree can help job candidates meet the minimum requirement of a four-year degree for many federal jobs. A master’s degree can help individuals advance in their field by acquiring advanced knowledge in the field of homeland security. Research the common education level of the position that you would like to get by visiting the DHS website, USA Jobs, or talking to people who are currently in that position.

Homeland Security Degree Program Profiles

San Diego State University (California)
San Diego State University offers a Master of Science in Homeland Security degree, which was the first degree of its kind to be offered in the US. The academically challenging curriculum combines scholarship, academics, and research in the study of real-world situations. Many of the program faculty work professionally in homeland security and have other experience working at high levels in law enforcement. The program also has close partnerships with government agencies, private companies, and non-governmental organizations. The curriculum includes courses on emergency preparation and response, intelligence, international security, and ideology and conflict. Admitted students may elect to undertake a semester of studying abroad in Mexico for a border security thesis and practicum. Program graduates are prepared to become leaders in preventing, defending, and responding to homeland security incidents in public, private, and non-profit spaces in a variety of homeland security-related industries.

Penn State University (Pennsylvania)
Penn State awards a Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security that prepares graduates to work in leadership positions in the private and public sectors. This master’s program takes 33 credit hours to complete, with the entire program taking place online. The core curriculum is formed around courses in homeland security administration, social and ethical issues, and domestic and global violence, threats, terror, and insurgency. A capstone research project is also included in the curriculum. Students can choose from five specializations in general homeland security, public health preparedness, geospatial intelligence, information security and forensics, or agricultural biosecurity and food defense. Students may also choose to pursue additional graduate certificates in homeland security and defense from Penn State to compliment the master’s degree.

Tulane University (Louisiana)
Tulane University offers a Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security degree program that emphasizes practical, applied learning. The core curriculum of the program consists of four 600-level courses: Health and Medical Issues in Emergency Management; Intelligence Analysis/Critical Thinking; Homeland Security and Approaches to Counter-Terrorism; and Maritime and Border Security. Students take six additional master’s courses beyond the core curriculum to complete the degree, choosing from approved courses in homeland security, public health, social work, politics, and related disciplines. The tailored curriculum allows students to develop individualized plans of study that compliment personal and career goals. The academically rigorous program typically requires students to maintain a 3.0 GPA across all graduate courses for graduation eligibility. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree from diverse disciplines are welcomed to apply to the program.

Homeland Security Resources

Homeland Security Today – News and commentary about homeland security topics.
Department of Homeland Security official site – News and information about DHS programs and career opportunities.

Online Homeland Security Degrees and Featured Criminal Justice Schools

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What Can I Do With A Degree in Homeland Security?

There are a wide range of career opportunities in the DHS for individuals who want to serve and protect their country including positions in mission support, law enforcement, and cybersecurity. There are many different career opportunities including Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Transportation Security Administration, the US Secret Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Customs and Border Protection. In addition to federal jobs, the DHS also employs a large number of contractors for various roles.

Some examples of job titles in homeland security include:

You can find current openings at the Department of Homeland Security at USA Jobs. We also provide a criminal justice job board that is updated daily with current job openings in each state.