Students who want to pursue studies related to the protection of the United States against threats such as terrorism and natural disasters can enroll in undergraduate- or graduate-level programs in homeland security. Top schools have programs in this field that often work in partnership with federal agencies. Two of the best schools with homeland security programs are located in the large metropolitan areas of Los Angeles and New Orleans, while a third is located in Washington, D.C. U.S. News & World Report nationally ranked each of these schools in 2016.
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California (USC) was ranked tied for 23rd on the 2016 list of top national universities published by U.S. News & World Report. USC hosts the nation's first homeland security center, called the National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE), which is a research institution funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Through partnerships with other research centers across the nation, CREATE develops risk and economics modeling as a guidance tool for counter-terrorism responses and policies.
USC offers a Master of Public Policy program with a homeland security emphasis. Of the program's 48 course units, 20 are devoted to specializations, such as homeland security. Courses in the homeland security specialization, offered by CREATE, include risk analysis, human behavior, international conflicts, and decision modeling.
Tulane University in New Orleans
Tulane University was tied for 39th on U.S. News & World Report's 2016 ranking of the best national universities. Tulane offers bachelor's degree and minor programs in homeland security studies, in addition to a master's degree and a post-baccalaureate certificate program in the field. Students in the homeland security studies major are educated in the theory and assessment of the two primary areas of national threats: disasters and terrorism. Since New Orleans is an international port and a national rail juncture, the program is focused on the security of maritime and transportation networks.
The Bachelor of Arts in Homeland Security program is offered by the School of Continuing Studies. Some of the required courses, including English composition and economics, are available online. Course topics include history of the Middle East, cyber security, emergency management, and constitutional law. Tulane's Homeland Security Studies program is a member of the Naval Postgraduate School's Center for Homeland Defense and Security and University and Agency Partner Initiative.
George Washington University
The College of Professional Studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. offers a master's degree in homeland security. This program is specifically intended for professionals with at least two years of homeland security-related work experience who want to advance in the field. The program is available entirely online, or it can be completed in a hybrid format consisting of a mix of classroom and online coursework. In total, students complete 36 credits of coursework in topics such as political violence, civil liberties, inter-agency cooperation, and analytical security methods. The program culminates in a capstone project. In 2016, U.S. News & World Report ranked the school as tied at 56th among national universities.
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Top Homeland Security Programs
Strong homeland security programs can also be found at these universities:
|Missouri State University||Springfield, MO||The interdisciplinary M.S. in Administrative Studies program, offered through the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, has a homeland security and defense track.|
|Pennsylvania State University - World Campus||University Park, PA||The online Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security offers four areas of concentration: agricultural biosecurity, geospatial intelligence, information security and forensics, and public health preparedness.|
|San Diego State University||San Diego, CA||The M.S. in Homeland Security program has a study abroad requirement, which can be tailored for full- and part-time students, including those who may be balancing employment, too.|
|Towson University||Towson, MD||The M.S. in Integrated Homeland Security Management program requires a final project for a related company or agency.|
|University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||Champaign, IL||The Illinois Fire Service Institute conducts homeland security-related research and offers National Incident Management System courses as part of its mission.|
|University of Maryland - University College||Adelphi, MD||Offers a homeland security management track through its online M.S. in Management program.|
|Virginia Commonwealth University||Richmond, VA||Offers B.A., M.A., and graduate certificate programs in homeland security and emergency preparedness.|
|West Virginia University||Morgantown, WV||The school offers Federal Emergency Management Agency-approved training courses to first responders, in partnership with the Joint Interagency Training Education Center, along with the West Virginia National Guard and the Transportation Security Administration.|
|Western Kentucky University||Bowling Green, KY||Students in the graduate homeland security sciences program have access to specialized research centers, including the Cyber Defense Laboratory, the Advanced Materials Institute, and the Biotechnology Center.|
Homeland security programs are most commonly offered at the master's degree level. Some of the best schools provide access to top-notch research facilities, and some offer convenient scheduling options for working professionals.