An online master’s in security studies is a great way to increase your marketability in a competitive industry like homeland security. Earning your master’s in security studies online is perfect for those who want to improve their career prospects with a program that is flexible and cost-effective. Security master’s degrees set applicants apart from the competition and allow them to advance in their careers. They can help graduates get a promotion, advance into management roles, and increase their earning potential.

An online master’s in homeland security and emergency management can prepare graduates for a career as an intelligence analyst, management consultant, program analyst, policy analyst, and more. There is so much room for growth when you earn a master’s in security studies online, that anyone who is interested in the field should consider it.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Online Homeland Security Masters Programs

Best Master’s Programs editors know that online master’s students need to see a return on their investment. That’s why BMP features strictly accredited, reputable colleges and universities. The rankings are determined based on factors like cost, potential salary, and reputation, using current data from IPEDS and Niche.

1. Purdue University Global

Purdue University Global offers one the best online homeland security master’s programs with its MS – Master of Science in Homeland Security & Emergency Management. This homeland security management degree from Purdue University Global requires students to finish 55 semester units to graduate. Applicants are offers multiple start dates throughout the year that adds to the program’s flexibility. Course topics include homeland defense, politics of security, economics and resource availability, and regulation and the law, to name a few. Students graduate from PG’s homeland security master’s program and enter the workforce as directors, first-line supervisors, and specials agents, among others.

Purdue University Global offers online distance education since 2018. PG was founded with the purchase of the existing school known as Kaplan University. The parent institution for PG is Purdue University. Purdue University Global’s student enrollment nears 30,000 students.

Degree: MS in Homeland Security and Emergency Management

2. Thomas Edison State University

Thomas Edison State University offers an MS in Homeland Security that is recognized among the Garden State’s best online homeland security masters programs. This graduate degree from Thomas Edison State University requires degree candidates to complete 36 semester credits, which includes a public service capstone project for three credits. Students enrolled in this master’s degree program can opt for one of three academic tracks – emergency management, cybersecurity, and counterterrorism. Classes for this degree include legal and ethical issues, foundations of homeland security, and leading strategic change in public service, among others.

Thomas Edison State University (TESU) is a public school that was founded in 1972 as a college but was awarded university status in 2015. The university’s urban campus in the Garden State capital is home to approximately 17,150 students. Thomas Edison State University houses significant art from NC Wyeth depicting Washington’s reception in 1789.

Degree: MS in Homeland Security

3. Northeastern University

Northeastern University offers an MA in Homeland Security that is considered among New England’s best online homeland security masters programs. Northeastern University’s online graduate degree in homeland security can be completed in one year as a full-time student or 18 months as a part-time student. Core coursework for this degree program includes crisis communication, strategic planning & budgeting, technology for homeland security, critical infrastructure & protection, and multidisciplinary approaches to homeland security, to name a few. This program is available online in Boston and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Northeastern University (Northeastern) is a multiple campus school that was founded in 1898. From its numerous campuses worldwide (From Boston to San Francisco to London), Northeastern University is home to approximately 27,350 students. Northeastern University is considered a highly residential university.

Degree: MA in Homeland Security (online)

4. Arizona State University

Arizona State University offers two of Arizona’s best online homeland security masters programs with its Master of Arts degree program in Emergency Management and Homeland Security and its Master of Arts (MA) degree in Global Security. The MA in Global Security requires students to complete 30 semester credits, whereas the MA in Emergency Management and Homeland Security requires students to complete 33 semester credits. The MA in Emergency Management and Homeland Security degree offers students these concentrations -homeland security, emergency management, community resilience, biosecurity, and cybersecurity policy & management.

Arizona State University (ASU) is a research entity that was established in 1885, years before Arizona became a state. The school is also a space-grant university with a student enrollment that is approximately 89,000, making it one of the largest institutions of higher education in the country. Arizona State University offers more than 140 online degree programs.

Degree: MA in Global Security or MA in Emergency Management and Homeland Security

5. Saint Joseph’s University

Saint Joseph’s University offers an MS in Criminal Justice with a Homeland Security academic focus that is considered among Pennsylvania’s best online homeland security masters programs. Students enrolled in Saint Joseph’s University’s graduate degree in homeland security are required to finish 30 graduate semester credits. The core curriculum for SJU’s graduate degree in homeland security includes behavior analysis, diversity, inclusion, and belonging, federal law enforcement, intelligence & crime analysis, to name a few.

Saint Joseph’s University (SJU) is a private school that was founded in 1851. Affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, St. Joe’s University is home to approximately 8,060 students, vying for more than 150 degrees offered. Saint Joseph’s University is home to several dozen Jesuits, several of whom participate as faculty at Saint Joseph’s University.

Degree: MSCJ – Homeland Security

6. Penn State World Campus

Penn State World Campus offers a Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security that is among the nation’s best online homeland security masters programs. The graduate degree in homeland security from Penn State World Campus requires degree candidates to complete 33 semester credits but offers students and international track within the homeland security program. The core curriculum from Penn State World Campus’s graduate degree in homeland security includes violence, threats, terror and insurgency, social and ethical issues of homeland security, and homeland security administration, to name a few.

Pennsylvania State University (PSU WC) is a sizeable statewide school that was founded as a land-grant university in 1855. In addition, Pennsylvania State University is the flagship school with a student enrollment of approximately 96,350 students. Pennsylvania State University operates two dozen campuses across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Degree: MPS in Homeland Security

7. Tulane University

Tulane University offers a Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security Studies that is among Louisiana’s best online homeland security masters programs. Tulane’s homeland security degree is available online, on-campus, or as a hybrid delivered program. Students graduating from Tulane University’s homeland security degree find rewarding careers as counterterrorism analysts, transportation security analysts, immigration officers, and infrastructure protection specialists, to name a few. This homeland security degree offers students two academic tracks in intelligence or cybersecurity. Classes for this degree include emergency management, intelligence analysis, and critical thinking, and approaches to counterterrorism, to name a few.

Tulane University was founded as a research facility in 1934 as a medical college in response to the health issues of cholera, yellow fever, and smallpox. The university’s campus in the Big Easy is home to 14.050 students. Tulane University operates the nation’s twelfth oldest school of law.

Degree: MPS in Homeland Security Studies

8. American University

American University offers one of Washington DC’s best online homeland security master’s programs with its Master of Science degree program (MS) in Terrorism and Homeland Security Policy that can be completed on-campus or entirely online. Students graduating from American University’s graduate degree in homeland security enter the workforce as intelligence officers, law enforcement officers, or government agency employees, to name a few. Classes for these homeland security degrees include domestic terrorism & political violence, justice in the face of terror, intelligence analysis, and cyber threats & security, among others. All students – online and on-campus must complete an internship to graduate.

American University (American) was established by an act of congress as a research school. The university’s urban/suburban campus in the nation’s capital is home to approximately 14,250 students. American University is organized into eight colleges/schools representing arts/sciences, communication, business, education extended studies, public affairs, law, and international services.

Degree: MS in Terrorism and Homeland Security Policy

9. Excelsior College

Excelsior College offers an MS in Criminal Justice with an academic focus in Homeland Security that prepares graduates for rewarding careers as emergency management directors, federal investigators, criminologists, or police chiefs, to name a few. Excelsior College’s best online homeland security masters programs allow students to transfer 15 eligible credits upon approval. Classes include the study of criminology, the courts, the corrections department while learning to negotiate ethical/legal dilemmas in a work environment. Total semester units required to graduate is 30 semester credits, plus a criminal justice capstone project.

Excelsior College is a nonprofit, private school that was founded in 1971 by the NY Regents Board. The school’s urban campus in the state’s capital region is home to approximately 29,950 students. Excelsior College’s student to faculty ratio is 20 to 1.

Degree: MSCJ – Homeland Security

10. University of Arizona

The University of Arizona offers an MA in International Security Studies (ISS) that is among Arizona’s best online homeland security masters programs. Students enrolled in Arizona’s graduate degree in homeland securities can opt for several academic tracks in global studies, Latin America, Eurasia, non-traditional security threats, violent & non-violent conflict, US foreign policy, and technology/security. Classes include security in new democracies, media & international affairs, the politics of energy security, and geospatial intelligence, to name a few.

The University of Arizona (U of A) was founded under the Morrill Act in 1885, a few decades before Arizona reached statehood. The university’s 350+ acre urban campus in Tucson is home to approximately 49,850 students. The University of Arizona is ranked among the top 35 public schools in the United States, as noted by the Center for World University Rankings.

Degree: MA in International Security Studies

11. UMass Lowell

The University of Massachusetts Lowell offers two of New England’s best online homeland security master’s programs with its Master of Science degree program (MS) and its Master of Arts (MA) degree program in Security Studies. Each of these homeland graduate degrees require students to finish 30 semester credits to graduate. Academic concentrations include homeland defense, industrial & economic security, international security, critical infrastructure protection, CBRNE security, and cybersecurity. Core classes for UMass Lowell’s graduate degree in homeland security include intelligence analysis, research design, contemporary security studies, and the scientific/technological dimension of national security, to name a few.

The University of Massachusetts (UMass Lowell) was established as a normal school in 1894. The University of Massachusetts, Lowell’s campus offers its 18,350 students more than 140 urban acres upon which to study. The University of Massachusetts @ Lowell offers more than 200 academic and certificate programs.

Degree: MA or MS in Security Studies

12. National University

National University offers the west coast’s best online homeland security master’s programs with its Master of Science degree (MS) in Homeland Security and Emergency Management (MSHSEM). This program in homeland security can be completed online or on National University’s more than twenty campuses. The program requires the completion of 54 quarter units, including domestic terrorism, fundamentals of recovery, global lessons in security, immigration issues, and infrastructure protection, to name a few. Up to 13.5 quarter units of completed credits may be transferred if the credits meet eligibility requirements.

National University (National) was established as a research school in 1971. As a military-friendly institution of higher education, National University offers more than 70 academic degree programs. More than 12,050 students attend classes offered by National University. National University was founded by a retired lieutenant commander of the US Navy.

Degree: MS in Homeland Security and Emergency Management

13. Towson University

Towson University offers an MS in Integrated Homeland Security Management that is considered among Maryland’s coast’s best online homeland security masters programs. Students enrolled in Towson’s graduate homeland security degree program can opt for several academic tracks in health preparedness, security policy, or information assurance. Classes for the master’s degree in homeland security include emergency communication, planning, prevention & risk management, intro to information assurance and technology, and strategic and tactical planning, to name a few.

Towson University (Towson) was established as a public teacher’s training school in 1866 by an act of the state’s legislature. Towson University’s suburban campus I home to approximately 22,250 students. Towson University holds the distinction of producing more educators in the state of Maryland than any other higher learning institution.

Degree: MS in Integrated Homeland Security Management

14. University of Maryland Global Campus

The University of Maryland Global Campus offers a Masters in Management (MEM) degree program with an academic specialization in Homeland Security Management that is recognized among Maryland’s best online homeland security masters programs. Students enrolled in UM’s graduate degree in homeland security requires students to finish 36 semester credits, of which six may be transferred if they meet eligibility requirements. Classes for the University of Maryland’s graduated degree include concepts in homeland security, organizational theory & behavior, financial decision making, statistics for managerial decisions, among others.

The University of Maryland Global Campus was established in 1947 as the school’s University College, offering educational opportunity for non-traditional students. This multiple campus university is home to approximately 60,100 students who study domestically and internationally. UM Global Campus is an open enrollment school with an acceptance rate of 100% and operates as one of the largest online platforms for education across the globe.

Degree: Masters in Management – Homeland Security Management

15. Mississippi College

Mississippi College offers a Master of Social Science in Homeland Security that is ranked as one of Mississippi’s best online homeland security masters programs. Students graduating from Mississippi College’s graduate degree in homeland security enter the workforce in the areas of FEMA, immigration and customs, transportation & security administration, and the office of the Inspector general, among others. Classes included in Mississippi College’s masters in homeland security include domestic terrorism, international terrorism, legal aspects of homeland security, introduction to homeland security, cyber terrorism, and grant writing for homeland security, among others.

Mississippi College (Mississippi) is a Baptist school that was established in 1826 by a governor’s charter. The college’s suburban campus is home to approximately 6,250 students. Mississippi College holds the distinction of being the oldest college in the state.

Degree: MS in Homeland Security

16. Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University’s Wilder Government and Public Affairs School offers an MA in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness that is ranked among the best online homeland security masters programs in Virginia. This 36-semester unit graduate degree in homeland security include classes in the survey of terrorism, law enforcement policy & judicial precedent, risk assessment, private sector issue in security & preparedness, and intelligence and counterintelligence, plus a capstone seminar in homeland security, among others.

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is a research university that was established in 1838 as a satellite division of the Hampden-Sydney College. The school’s urban campus in Richmond is home to approximately 31,150 students. More than two dozen of Virginia Commonwealth University’s degree programs are recognized by US News among the nation’s best degree programs.

Degree: MA in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness

17. Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Southern Illinois University offers a Master of Public Safety and Homeland Security that is recognized among Illinois’s best online homeland security masters programs. Students enrolled in SIU Carbondale’s graduate degree in homeland security can be finished in only sixteen months, either online or on-campus. This 39-semester credit program includes classes in financial management for fire service, disaster preparedness and crisis management, critical issues in homeland security, dispute resolution, and strategic planning in fire, homeland security, and emergency management, to name a few. The program offers two academic tracks – pre-service track and in-service (graduated from the National Fire Academy) curriculum.

Southern Illinois University (Carbondale) was established as a public institution of higher education in 1869. The college-town campus in Carbondale is home to about 11,350 students. Southern Illinois University Carbondale holds the distinction of being the oldest member school of the state’s university system.

Degree: Master of Public Safety and Homeland Security

18. Pace University

Pace University offers an MA in Homeland Security (MHS) that is ranked among the best online homeland security masters programs by US News & World Report. This graduate degree from Pace University requires the completion of 36 semester credits to graduate, which is available entirely online. The core curriculum includes public sector management, US Constitution and Ethical Issues, public sector policy analysis, and public-sector strategic planning and budgeting, to name a few.

Pace University was established in 1906 as a coeducational higher learning institution. Pace University operates campuses in New York City and to the north in suburban Westchester County, with approximately 13,250 students. Pace University is the home of the long-running successful TV show – Inside the Actor’s Studio.

Degree: MA in Homeland Security

19. Park University

Park University offers an MA in National Security Studies that is ranked among Missouri’s best online homeland security masters programs. Degree candidates enrolled in Park’s graduate degree in homeland security are required to complete 36 graduate semester units, which culminates in a thesis paper. Students who graduate from Park University’s graduate degree find rewarding careers as cybersecurity specialists, law enforcement officers, investigators, and national security analysts, to name a few. Applicants must already possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited higher learning institution that is accredited.

Park University was established in 1875 with a campus that overlooks the majestic Missouri River. The campus of Park University is home to approximately 11,350 students. Park University was created with the unique concept that all students receive tuition and board for working for the school each day.

Degree: MA in National Security Studies

20. Angelo State University

Angelo State University offers two of the best online homeland security master’s programs in the Lone Star State with its Master of Science in Homeland Security or its Master of Security Studies (MSS) in Intelligence & Analysis. The MSS degree program can be completed in about 1.5 years, with 21 semester credits required for graduation. In addition, Angelo State’s MS degree in Homeland Security also requires degree candidates to complete 21 semester credits of graduate coursework.

Angelo State University (ASU) was established as a state college in 1928. Angelo State University’s urban campus is home to approximately 10,650 students vying for the more than 100 undergraduate academic programs offered. Angelo State University is recognized as the second largest of all member schools in the Texas Tech University System.

Degree: MS in Homeland Security or Master of Security Studies

21. Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University offers one of Florida’s best online homeland security master’s programs with its Master of Science degree program (MS) in National Security Affairs. Students are required to complete 36 semester units to graduate from Nova’s graduate degree in national security affairs. Nova Southeastern University offers its graduate homeland security students an optional cybersecurity concentration with this degree. Classes for this degree include international relations, ethical issues in national security, US foreign policy & national security, and research/evaluation in national security affairs, to name a few.

Nova Southeastern University (NSU) is a multi-campus school that was established in 1964. Nova Southeastern University’s student enrollment is approximately 20,350 students vying for degrees offered by the university’s eighteen schools/colleges. Nova Southeastern University’s campus was once a naval outlying field.

Degree: MS in National Security Affairs

22. Northwestern State University of Louisiana

The Social Sciences, Criminal Justice, and History Department at Northwestern State University of Louisiana offers an MS in Homeland Security that is recognized among Louisiana’s bestonline homeland security masters programs. This online graduate degree from Northwestern State University requires the completion of 36 semester units for non-thesis students and 30 semester units for those completing the degree with a thesis option. Classes for this master’s degree in homeland security include international terrorism, homeland security, research design & methods in homeland security, constitutional issues & global issues, and executive leadership, diplomacy, and ethics, to name a few.

The Northwestern State University (NSU) of Louisiana was established as a public institution of higher education to train teachers. NSU’s student enrollment is approximately 10,950. Northwestern State University is a member school of the state’s university system.

Degree: MS in Homeland Security

23. Colorado Technical University

Colorado Technical University offers one of Colorado’s best online homeland security master’s programs with its Master of Science (MS) degree program in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) with an academic concentration in Homeland Security. Colorado Technical University’s graduate degree in homeland security is regularly ranked among the top online programs by US News. Degree candidates are required to complete 48 credits to graduate from Colorado Technical University’s program. The core curriculum for this degree program includes leadership & ethical decision-making, criminology & public policy, special topics in criminal justice, and terrorism & homeland security management, to name a few.

Colorado Technical University (Colorado Tech) was established as a for-profit school in 1965. The university’s student population exceeds 23,000 students, of which more than 90% study entirely online. Colorado Technical University originally began to offer training options and facilities for former military personnel.

Degree: MSCJ – Homeland Security

24. Liberty University

Liberty University’s Helms School of Government offers one of Virginia’s best online homeland security masters programs with its Master of Science degree (MS) program in National Security. Liberty University’s online degree in homeland security requires students to complete 36 semester units over approximately 18 months. Liberty University offers tuition discounts for first responders and other law enforcement professionals. Classes for this degree include sovereignty & and national security challenges, cyberspace policy and operations through political challenges, and national security and national defense, to name a few.

Liberty University (LU) operates as an evangelical school with a strict honor code. Liberty University was founded in 1971. Liberty’s student enrollment numbers top 100,000, with more than 700 academic program options. Most of Liberty University’s students study for their academic degrees online, with all students required to take three bible-studies classes.

Degree: MS in National Security

25. Salve Regina University

Salve Regina University offers an online MS in Administration of Justice and Homeland Security that is recognized among Rhode Island’s best online homeland security masters programs. Students typically complete this degree from Salve Regina University in 1.5 to 2 years, depending on course load. This graduate degree in homeland security offers students a rolling admission policy throughout the year. Salve Regina’s homeland security master’s degree program includes classes in theories of justice, public policy in the global environment, cultural competency, criminal justice research methods, and management issues in the justice system, among others. Salve Regina University’s graduate homeland security degree offers three academic concentrations – leadership injustice, digital forensics, and cybersecurity & intelligence.

Salve Regina University (SRU) was established in 1934 as a private Roman Catholic university. The school’s suburban campus is home to approximately 2,850 undergraduate and graduate students and borders the famous Newport Cliff Walk. Salve Regina University was established by the Sisters of Mercy as a women’s college.

Degree: MS in Administration of Justice and Homeland Security

What Kinds of Security Master’s Degrees Are There?

There are a variety of different subjects you can choose to focus on if you get your master’s in security studies. Which program you pick depends on your goals and interest. Here are a few of the most common programs that you can take if you decide to pursue a master’s degree in homeland security.

Masters in intelligence: a master’s in intelligence is a program designed to prepare graduates for a career in the CIA or another branch of intelligence. It is designed to equip students with an understanding of intelligence analysis, data collection, and homeland security operations.

Master’s degree in counterterrorism: a master’s degree in counterterrorism is a program designed for those who want to learn the skills to help fight the war on terror at home and abroad. Students will learn skills related to threat management and cybersecurity that will prepare them for a career combatting real-life dangers.

Masters in national security studies: a master’s in national security studies will prepare students for executive positions in national security administrations. It will equip students with the traditional methods that have been used to protect national security, as well as the critical thinking skills to innovate in this rapidly changing industry.

Masters in intelligence and national security: a master’s in intelligence and national security is a program that focuses on the vital aspects of both fields to equip students with the skills that will allow them to excel in the intelligence community. This is a great degree for those who want to pursue a managerial or executive position and need coursework that will give them a comprehensive understanding of the security landscape as a whole.

Masters in global security and intelligence: a master’s in global security and intelligence is a program that focuses on worldwide threats, not just domestic issues. Although all masters’ in security studies will discuss international issues, this program will provide students with a more holistic understanding of the security landscape across the world and prepare them to potentially work on missions abroad.

How Much Can I Make with Homeland Security Master’s Degrees?

Those who achieve their masters in homeland security can expect a comfortable salary, benefits, and the opportunity for career advancement. The exact salary depends on your field and the level of seniority you have within the organization with whom you’re employed. Within the federal government, the average homeland security job salary is $119,755. The average homeland security special agent salary is closer to $135,000.

The average homeland security management salary is between $118,446 and $154,501 for intelligence analysts who have achieved upper-level positions. Not all security master’s degrees will allow you to work in The Department of Homeland Security. However, this shows the earning potential that is possible with a career in this industry. Many homeland security graduates go on work in other government agencies, law enforcement, or private sector businesses.

The average homeland security degree salary varies greatly depending on what field you go into. For instance, a supervisory program manager for customs and border control can make between $117,191 and $152,352 per year, whereas the salary for an intelligence analyst ranges from $87,000 to 110,000 per year. You can contrast these figures with the average homeland security job salary for positions that do not require a graduate school to see the difference security master’s degrees can make.

For example, the average salary for an emergency management director employed by a local government is around 65,000 per year. A master’s degree in security will help set you apart from the crowd and prepare you for a career in a high-level government agency. Whether you’re looking to make a homeland security special agent salary or a homeland security management salary, a master’s degree will put you on the right course to find opportunity in these lucrative professions. Ever since 9/11, national security has been one of the fastest-growing fields in the United States. Getting an online master’s in security studies is a great way to increase your career prospects in this exciting industry.

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