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Best Online Master’s in Homeland Security

Earning your online master’s in homeland security prepares you to be a leader when natural and manmade disasters strike. Whether the country faces the threat of terrorism or the devastation of a hurricane, you can confidently help prepare for, mitigate, and respond to these kinds of dilemmas thanks to your education.

Increasing efforts to prepare for disasters and minimize their consequences mean experts like you with a master’s in homeland security online degree are sure to be in demand. After all, the local, state, and national government need highly skilled professionals who know what to do in emergency situations. This is why the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an 8% growth in emergency management occupations by 2026.

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

1

Nova Southeastern UniversityFort Lauderdale, FL

Admissions Rate 59%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 44%
Online Enrollment 39%

Through a foundation of theoretical, research, and applied skill development, Nova Southeastern University boasts one of the nation's top online master's degrees in homeland security. The program consists of 36 credits. Of these, 21 credits are core classes in national security, intelligence collection, and U.S. foreign policy. For the remaining 15 credits, students can choose from a list of electives, including bioterrorism, cybersecurity, and economic statecraft. Graduates of the program will be prepared for careers in military service, law enforcement, and academia. Prospective students must have earned a bachelor's degree with a GPA of at least 3.0 in their final two years (or alternatively, a master's degree with a GPA of 3.0).

2

Monmouth UniversityWest Long Branch, NJ

Admissions Rate 74%
Default Rate 6%
Retention Rate 83%
Graduation Rate 67%
Online Enrollment 3%

Monmouth University offers a master of arts in criminal justice with a concentration in homeland security. This 30 credit program features coursework in advanced criminology, civil liberties, the causes and consequences of terrorism, and psychopathology. This program can help graduates enter or advance in professional fields like corrections, border security, and emergency management. Admission to the program requires an undergraduate degree with at least a 2.5 GPA, as well as a 3.0 GPA in the student's undergraduate major. Monmouth University offers scholarships to incoming graduate students enrolled in its online programs based on academic excellence and financial need.

3

Pennsylvania State University-World CampusUniversity Park, PA

Admissions Rate 61%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 53%
Graduation Rate 40%
Online Enrollment 100%

Penn State's World Campus hosts one of the most comprehensive online master's in homeland security degrees in the country. All students receive a fundamental introduction to homeland security studies, and then can choose from five specializations: public health preparedness, policy and organization, information security and forensics, geospatial intelligence, or agricultural biosecurity and food defense. Courses and career paths vary greatly depending on the chosen specialization. The program is noteworthy in that it covers a diversity of threats, including both natural disasters and terrorism, as well as their unique prevention and response strategies. Students can also choose to follow an international track to gain a perspective of homeland security in a global context. The program is open to all applicants who have earned a bachelor's degree.

4

Pace University-New YorkNew York, NY

Admissions Rate 84%
Default Rate 6%
Retention Rate 78%
Graduation Rate 53%
Online Enrollment 3%

Pace University's master of arts in management for public safety and homeland security professionals is ideal for students who want to prepare for upper-level careers in emergency response and prevention. Students study alongside a cohort of equally dedicated professionals. Although the majority of the coursework is online and asynchronous, the program does require residency sessions. Students can attend these sessions at a distance, but they must do so on the same schedule as their classmates. This 36 credit program, which can be completed in roughly two years, requires a master's project in which students are asked to develop new and innovative strategies for community safety and defense. As a way of creating a strong and collaborative learning experience, Pace enrolls only 25 students in each cohort.

5

Northwestern State University of LouisianaNatchitoches, LA

Admissions Rate 84%
Default Rate 14%
Retention Rate 72%
Graduation Rate 38%
Online Enrollment 36%

For students interested in earning a homeland security master's degree online, there are few better choices than Northwestern State University of Louisiana. Through courses in venue and event security, constitutional issues and global security, and cyberwarfare, graduates develop the knowledge and skills they need to address a broad scope of challenges and threats. The program has a thesis (36 credit hours) and a non-thesis option (42 credit hours). All coursework can be completed online. This program is suited for working professionals who are looking to take the next step in their careers or pivot to a new area within the field of homeland security. All online students enrolled in this program are able to pay in-state tuition.

6

National UniversityLa Jolla, CA

Admissions Rate N/A
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 64%
Graduation Rate 33%
Online Enrollment 60%

National University's master of science in homeland security and emergency management equips students with the skills needed to combat both natural and manmade disasters. The program consists of 54 quarter units, of which 13.5 can be transferred from another accredited institution. Notable classes include infrastructure protection, domestic terrorism, and immigration issues. All courses can be completed entirely online in an asynchronous format. Applicants must have earned their bachelor's degree with a 2.5 GPA or 2.75 GPA in the final two years, though some exceptions are made based on outstanding test scores or non-academic accomplishments. Credits can be transferred only if the student earned a B- or above in the relevant courses.

7

Angelo State UniversitySan Angelo, TX

Admissions Rate 77%
Default Rate 15%
Retention Rate 63%
Graduation Rate 37%
Online Enrollment 14%

Angelo State University's online master's degree in homeland security is designed to meet the evolving needs of anti-crime and anti-terrorism professionals. Courses are available 100% online. Each class lasts eight weeks, allowing students to complete coursework whenever it is most convenient for them. Topics covered include criminal justice ethics, cryptology, and weapons of mass destruction hazards and responses. Applicants to the program are required to hold a bachelor's degree and to have maintained at least a 2.75 GPA in their undergraduate studies. This requirement may be waived if a student earned a 3.0 GPA in their final two years of undergraduate education. Carr Graduate Scholarships are available to all incoming students and are awarded based on undergraduate GPA.

8

Wilmington UniversityNew Castle, DE

Admissions Rate N/A
Default Rate 8%
Retention Rate 60%
Graduation Rate 23%
Online Enrollment 31%

The master of science in homeland security at Wilmington University is delivered online, in a traditional classroom format, and in a hybrid format. Students looking to earn their master's in homeland security online do not have to complete an on-campus residency. In addition to core courses in crisis leadership and the sociology of terrorism, students can select from one of four specializations: information assurance, military leadership, organizational leadership, and safety and security. In order to graduate, students must complete the required 33 credits while maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA. The program must be completed in five years. Students may transfer in up to six credits from another institution, including the FBI National Academy.

9

Thomas Edison State UniversityTrenton, NJ

Admissions Rate N/A Default Rate 6% Online Enrollment 99%

Thomas Edison State University's master of science in homeland security provides essential leadership preparation for emergency and security professionals. The 36 credit program covers issues such as bioterrorism, pandemics, and technology and information security. Courses are roughly 12 weeks in length, and all are offered completely online. This allows for a great deal of flexibility in how long students can take to earn their master's in homeland security online. The average student finishes the program in about 18 months. Admitted students are expected to have earned a bachelor's degree, and it is recommended that applicants have a 2.75 GPA in their undergraduate studies.

10

Excelsior CollegeAlbany, NY

Admissions Rate N/A Default Rate 7% Online Enrollment 100%

Excelsior College's master of science in criminal justice with a concentration in homeland security and emergency management is tailored to the working professional. All classes can be taken online anytime and anywhere. The degree requires 30 credits; up to 15 of those credits can be transferred from another accredited graduate-level institution. Notable topics include risk assessment, disaster response, and international terrorism. This program is designed to help aspiring homeland security professionals enter the field and help established professionals obtain leadership roles. Excelsior offers generous financial aid and scholarships to its online students.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Homeland Security Program

Selecting which program is best for your online master’s in homeland security is a decision that requires due diligence. You must be certain the program you choose not only meets your academic requirements, but also allows you to achieve your career goals once you graduate.

Consider which kind of course format you prefer — one that is fully online or one that combines online and on-campus studies — and look for an online master’s degree in homeland security program that offers it. If you require flexibility around when you attend class, then select a program with asynchronous course delivery. It’s also important to consider your budget for tuition and related expenses. You should determine what you can afford and how you will pay for it. If you require financial assistance, explore what kinds of financial aid and scholarships the school you select may provide.

Careers for Graduates of Master’s in Homeland Security Programs

A career in homeland security means you guard the country’s safety, whether on land, in the air, or at sea. Many of the jobs available are within government, but you can also work for private companies and nonprofits. The homeland security profession is never boring; it requires you to continuously increase your understanding of the risks that exist and the ways in which to mitigate them. Those who possess this kind of expertise are well compensated for it.

Job Outlook and Salary for Graduates of Homeland Security Master’s Degrees

According to the BLS, the emergency management occupation will grow 8% by 2026. The unpredictability of disasters requires experts who carefully prepare for them to reduce the losses people sustain when they strike. This means homeland security degree graduates will always be in demand. What you earn depends a great deal on the specific career you pursue, the organization you work for, and where you are located in the country. While these variables greatly influence your salary, earning your online master’s in homeland security means you can enjoy a professionally and financially rewarding career.

Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024
10,100 10,908

Salary Growth by Experience for Graduates of Homeland Security Master’s Programs

Expect your salary to increase over time after you complete your master’s in homeland security online program. Your years of experience demonstrate the depth and breadth of your knowledge in the career you choose, and your compensation will reflect what you have learned both in the classroom and on the job. Without question, graduates of online homeland security degree programs possess significant earnings potential. In fact, even entry-level professionals in homeland security earn upwards of $50,000 a year.


To determine the best online master’s in homeland security programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the best online master’s in homeland security programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.