Will you be ready when disaster strikes? Learn what it takes to respond to any crisis. Here are the Best Online Master’s in Homeland Security!
Do you have a natural instinct to protect the people around you? Do you want a career in which you’ll potentially save tons of lives? A career in homeland security may be perfect for you! Those with an analytical mind, a natural curiosity, and a cool, calm, and collected attitude will really thrive in this fast-paced industry. You’ll need to anticipate both man-made and natural disasters and create innovative and safe ways to mitigate such risks.
What is a Homeland Security degree?
The United States Department of Homeland Security was founded in 2002, shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Since the creation of this department, a number of universities have created degree programs in the area of homeland security. These programs are designed to teach students how the nation prepares for potential risks and what to do if a man-made or natural disaster strikes.
From securing our borders to protecting our airports and seaports, homeland security professionals are critical for our nation’s safety. Not only will you learn how to protect the nation’s citizens with this degree, you’ll also discover planning prevention methods that create sustainable safety and secure environments. It’s an important job with a lot of responsibility, but it also provides plenty of stability and opportunity.
Check out the Best Online Master’s in Criminal Justice for a degree with broader career applications.
How much can you earn with a Homeland Security degree?
The average pay for homeland security graduates varies greatly as there are a number of different employers within the industry. In fact, homeland security professionals work on land, in the air, and even at sea! Those who choose to work for the federal government will earn the highest salaries, starting at a base salary of $40,000 per year with the opportunity to move up quickly.
Individuals who pursue employment in policymaking or other prestigious fields may also earn higher starting salaries. This field is expected to grow rapidly, with jobs in the federal sector growing the quickest – up to 17 percent within the next few years!
What is required for a Homeland Security degree?
Many of the below programs require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree. While you don’t necessarily need to have a background in law enforcement or security, applicants who do are preferred. Most GPA prerequisites for the below programs range from 2.5 to 3.0.
Some of the programs require students to complete a capstone or final project equivalent in order to receive their degree. Many online master’s degrees on this list can be completed in just two years or less.
What are the best Homeland Security degrees?
OSR uses six data points: three school-wide and three program specific. For school-wide, OSR uses Student Satisfaction, Admission Rates, and the number of programs the school offers online. For program specific, OSR checks the Median Debt of graduates from that program, how many degrees are offered within that program’s umbrella department, and what percentage of students at that school graduated from that department.
The six statistics are displayed by each school. The sliding bar under each statistic represents how that school compares to other US institutions. “Not reported” means a school did not release that information to the US Department of Education. A more detailed description of the OSR process can be found on the methodology page.
- Tuition: $14,976(in state) / $14,976(out of state)
- Transfer up to 13.5 quarter units of graduate credit
- Opportunities to collaborate with professors and classmates online
- Year-round enrollment and flexible, four-week classes starting each month
School WideStudent Satisfaction70.80%Programs offered online46
Program LevelMedian Debt$34,142Programs in Department4Popularity at School7.40%100%OSR Score
The Master of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management degree at National University requires students to complete 54 quarter units of graduate work. This 12-course curriculum includes a capstone requirement. Other required classes may include Domestic Terrorism, Global Lessons in Security, and Managing Information Security.
- Tuition: $8,388(in state) / $8,388(out of state)
- Classes start every eight weeks
- There are no on-campus requirements
- Specialize in Safety and Security, Org. Leadership, or Info. Assurance
School WideStudent Satisfaction72.40%Programs offered online18
Program LevelMedian Debt$27,204Programs in Department4Popularity at School7.00%96%OSR Score
The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Wilmington University now offers an online Master of Science in Homeland Security. This 33-credit program made up of eleven courses can be completed in as little as one year. This program requires completion of a capstone project consisting of a field practicum, research project or study and the submission of a final paper/portfolio.
American Public University System
- Tuition: $6,300(in state) / $6,300(out of state)
- Online program offers monthly course starts
- All students pay same tuition rate regardless of residency
- There is no fee to complete the APU admission application
School WideStudent Satisfaction73.20%Programs offered online45
Program LevelMedian Debt$30,967Programs in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School17.70%95%OSR Score
The Master of Arts in Homeland Security at American Public University is only 36-credits. You can choose from one of eight areas of concentration, including Cyber, Transportation Security, Criminal Justice, Intelligence Studies, and more. Online courses at APU are asynchronous, allowing you to work on your own time on scheduled assignments.
Sam Houston State University
- Tuition: $5,391(in state) / $12,861(out of state)
- Boasts one of the most affordable tuition rates on this list
- Ranked first in the nation for online criminal justice programs
- Applications are accepted on a rolling basis for Fall and Spring admission
School WideStudent Satisfaction76.00%Admission Rate74%Programs offered online7
Program LevelMedian Debt$34,124Programs in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School21.00%94%OSR Score
Sam Houston’s 36-credit MS in Homeland Security Studies allows students to choose between two tracks. You’ll either be required to complete an internship or you can elect to complete more coursework. Required core courses may include Information and Intel Management, Critical Infrastructure Protection, and Law and Ethics in Homeland Security.
Eastern Kentucky University
- Tuition: $9,900(in state) / $14,850(out of state)
- Graduate in as few as two years
- Included among “America’s Top Colleges” rankings
- EKU offers six start dates each year for your convenience
School WideStudent Satisfaction74.40%Admission Rate87%Programs offered online17
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department3Popularity at School16.70%88%OSR Score
Eastern Kentucky University offers a completely online 36-credit Master’s in Safety, Security, and Emergency Management with a focus in Homeland Security. Concentration courses may include Critical Infrastructure Protection, Intelligence for Homeland Security, and Hazards and Threats to Homeland Security. Students can earn additional degree credits for completed work experiences and industry training programs.
- Tuition: $8,217(in state) / $8,217(out of state)
- Graduate in as little as 1.5 years
- Eight-week courses are offered completely online
- Up to 50% of your master’s degree can be transferred in
School WideStudent Satisfaction73.40%Admission Rate30%Programs offered online23
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School6.20%83%OSR Score
Liberty University offers a 36-credit Master of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Homeland Security. You will be able to choose between a thesis and non-thesis track. There are no specific required login times during the week, making this program flexible for working professionals.
George Washington University
- Tuition: $29,790(in state) / $29,790(out of state)
- There is no need to visit campus at any point
- Flexible online format allows you to balance your life and career
- Coursework can be completed online virtually any time, day or night
School WideStudent Satisfaction73.80%Admission Rate41%Programs offered online8
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department2Popularity at School1.20%79%OSR Score
The College of Professional Studies at George Washington University now offers an online Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security. This 36 credit-hour master’s degree program is intended for individuals who are involved in the public or private safety sectors. It’s possible to complete this degree in about 16 months.
Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
- Tuition: $20,470(in state) / $20,470(out of state)
- All students pay same tuition rate regardless of residence
- Penn State is recognized as a Center of Academic Excellence
- You’re not expected to have any previously earned credit hours
School WideStudent SatisfactionNot ReportedAdmission Rate67%Programs offered online42
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School10.40%79%OSR Score
Pennsylvania State University–World Campus now offers a comprehensive 33-credit online Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security. Students will learn the fundamentals of cyber security, including data breaches, phishing, cyber attacks, and malware. All Penn World Campus students, including distance learners, are expected to complete an internship.
University of Massachusetts-Lowell
- Tuition: $14,590(in state) / $26,370(out of state)
- Applications are accepted and processed year-round
- UMass Lowell’s online programs are award-winning
- UMassOnline students receive the same benefits as their on-campus peers
School WideStudent Satisfaction74.00%Admission Rate69%Programs offered online12
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department1Popularity at School10.40%73%OSR Score
UMass Lowell’s Master of Arts Degree in Security Studies offers a concentration in Homeland Defense that can be completed entirely online. This 10-course, 30-credit master’s program offers courses during the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters. Students have the flexibility to take one or more courses per semester.
- Tuition: $10,584(in state) / $10,584(out of state)
- There is no need to visit campus at any point
- All students pay same tuition rate regardless of residency
- U.S. News and World Report ranks MC fourth for Best Value Colleges
School WideStudent Satisfaction77.40%Admission Rate39%Programs offered online6
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department1Popularity at School3.80%72%OSR Score
Through MC’s Administration of Justice department, students can earn an online Master of Social Science degree in Homeland Security. Though this degree is fully online, you’ll still have access to all the same resources as those on-campus, including comprehensive career advising services. Career opportunities for graduates include immigration and customs enforcement, transportation and security administration, and more!
East Carolina University
- Tuition: $4,749(in state) / $17,898(out of state)
- Degree offers four areas of emphasis
- Students may choose either a thesis or non-thesis option
- Faculty for this program are drawn from more than 15 departments
School WideStudent Satisfaction75.40%Admission Rate79%Programs offered online19
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School4.00%70%OSR Score
East Carolina University’s Department of Political Science offers an online MS in Security Studies degree that can be paired a concentration in Homeland Security. This 36-credit program requires the completion of a security core, the homeland security elective base, and an internship or practicum. Students with more than one year of experience in the industry can request to opt out of the internship.
Tulane University of Louisiana
- Tuition: $50,920(in state) / $50,920(out of state)
- All students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency
- Courses are asynchronous so you can access the learning materials 24/7
- Tulane was ranked a Top School in the Nation by U.S. News and World Report
School WideStudent Satisfaction76.80%Admission Rate21%Programs offered onlineNot Reported
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department1Popularity at School2.30%69%OSR Score
The Tulane School of Professional Advancement offers a Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security completely online. This unique program is made up of ten courses and does not require a thesis. Required courses may include Populations Issues During Disasters, Public Health Law, and Psychological Aspects of Disasters.
- The GRE is not required
- Excelsior allows up to 15 credits in transfer
- Online criminal justice classes are available 24/7
School WideStudent Satisfaction66.80%Programs offered online51
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School2.30%68%OSR Score
Excelsior College’s online Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree now offers a 30-credit Homeland Security and Emergency Management concentration. All graduate students must complete a three-credit capstone course at the end of the program. Along the way, you’ll receive personalized guidance from Excelsior’s top academic advisors.
Virginia Commonwealth University
- Tuition: $14,493(in state) / $35,834(out of state)
- Tuition and fees are charged at an affordable flat rate
- Ranked a Top Public School by U.S. News and World Report
- Participate in faculty-student and student-student communications
School WideStudent Satisfaction75.20%Admission Rate84%Programs offered online2
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School7.70%68%OSR Score
Through VCU’s Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, you can earn an online 36-credit Master of Arts in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. The curriculum focuses on international and domestic security and preparedness issues related to terrorist threats and natural disasters. Additionally, all graduate students must take a Capstone Seminar.
Angelo State University
- Tuition: $3,856(in state) / $11,326(out of state)
- In-state students receive a tuition break
- Faculty includes nationally recognized industry experts
- Classes are 100 percent online and in an eight-week format
School WideStudent Satisfaction76.80%Admission Rate74%Programs offered online8
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School5.60%67%OSR Score
Angelo State University’s College of Graduate Studies and Research offers an online Master of Science in Homeland Security degree. All students in this program will complete a variety of core Homeland Security courses, electives, and a comprehensive capstone course. This program is intended for working professionals in the fields of law enforcement, criminal justice, and emergency management.
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
- Tuition: $5,738(in state) / $16,526(out of state)
- Internet-only students do not pay any out of state fees
- NSU’s Counseling and Center Services Center is available to all students
- Flexible courses are offered in 8-week sessions during the fall and spring
School WideStudent Satisfaction77.00%Admission Rate80%Programs offered online19
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department1Popularity at School4.30%66%OSR Score
The Northwestern State University online Master of Science in Homeland Security is offered through the Department of Criminal Justice, History, and Social Sciences. Students may choose to complete a 42-credit thesis option or a 36-credit non-thesis option. Distance courses here involve a combination of online lectures, reading course content, and referring to textbooks.
- Tuition: $25,124(in state) / $25,124(out of state)
- Program was created by experts in homeland security
- Monmouth is a partner to the Center for Homeland Defense and Security
- Students work closely with federal, state, and local governmental agencies
School WideStudent Satisfaction75.40%Admission Rate74%Programs offered onlineNot Reported
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School6.00%66%OSR Score
Monmouth University’s Master of Arts in Criminal Justice with a Homeland Security track combines both online and on-campus courses. Students in this 30-credit program will take 15-credits of criminal justice courses in a traditional classroom setting, as well as 15-credits of online coursework. Students may choose to pursue a thesis or a non-thesis degree track.
Thomas Edison State University
- Tuition: $12,024(in state) / $12,024(out of state)
- Earn your degree in as little as 18 months
- Flexible, high-quality online courses taken at your own pace
- Transfer graduate credits and earn credits from prior learning assessment
School WideStudent Satisfaction72.80%Programs offered online18
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School1.80%65%OSR Score
Through the Watson School Of Public Service, Thomas Edison State University offers an online 36-credit Master of Science in Homeland Security program. The curriculum focuses on domestic and global issues in security and developing competencies in theory, analysis, practice, and policy making. Additionally, all graduate students must complete a Capstone in Public Service.
Purdue University-Main Campus
- Tuition: $9,208(in state) / $28,010(out of state)
- Students can get credit for work experience
- Purdue Global offers multiple start dates during the year
- Military members and their families receive tuition discounts
School WideStudent Satisfaction74.00%Admission Rate57%Programs offered online1
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School< 1%64%OSR Score
The Master of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management at Purdue University is made up of 55-credit hours. Courses include Planning and Operations in Crisis and Emergency Management, and Crisis and Emergency Management Fundamentals. Graduates will be prepared for careers in information analysis, emergency management, hazard mitigation, and more.
Arkansas Tech University
- Tuition: $5,112(in state) / $10,224(out of state)
- One of the most affordable programs on this list
- Residents of contiguous states can pay in-state tuition rates
- Ranked one of the Best Universities in the South by US News and World Report
School WideStudent Satisfaction77.40%Admission Rate95%Programs offered online6
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department1Popularity at School5.80%64%OSR Score
The Master’s in Emergency Management and Homeland Security at Arkansas Tech University is a 36-credit program that can be completed entirely online. All graduate students must either complete an oral defense of the completed thesis or a comprehensive examination to earn their degree. Other required courses may include Principles of Emergency Management and Research Design and Methods.