Online Homeland Security Administration Degree Program Overview

Learn about online degree programs in homeland security administration. Get an overview of the program types, requirements and course descriptions available for this field, as well as available career options.

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Essential Information

Many schools offer online degree programs in homeland security administration at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels. Sometimes, homeland security administration is a concentration in another degree program, such as public safety, public policy and administration, or criminal justice. The bachelor's degree programs can generally be completed entirely online, but there may be some required visits to campus at the graduate level for in-person residencies, classes or presentations.

In a bachelor's degree program, students get a broad overview of homeland security issues, including recognizing terrorist threats and managing an emergency situation. Programs generally focus on topics relevant to situations that could be faced by a public safety worker, such as a police officer or an emergency medical technician. Students may be required to research and present a final project that involves analyzing a security problem.

Graduate-level programs usually offer courses in management to persons already working in the field of public safety. Courses at the master's level include strategic planning and security intelligence, and a capstone project may be required. A doctoral program is research-based. Students study public policy and leadership and learn to conduct research projects. They must prepare a dissertation.

Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security Administration

Bachelor's degree students in homeland security administration learn to recognize terrorist threats and manage public security. Different techniques are covered for maintaining homeland security, including technological, intellectual and diplomatic solutions. Courses are usually centered on topics of criminal justice, law enforcement, emergency medical services, fire science and public security. Graduates are prepared to work in corporate and government security.

Program Information and Requirements

Online bachelor's degree programs in homeland security administration typically take 36-48 months of full-time study to complete. Programs in this area of study that are offered completely online are quite common.

Course Topics

Homeland security administration programs often include classes in criminal justice, domestic and international terrorism, emergency management and communications. A capstone project is commonly required during a student's final year of study. Students typically formulate solutions to public safety problems and come up with a plan to implement their ideas.

Criminal Justice

This course introduces students to the criminal justice system in the United States. Students learn theories behind the system, as well as how it has changed over time.

Domestic and International Terrorism

Students analyze different types of terrorism, including psychological, social and cultural threats. Both international and domestic terrorism are examined, and students learn ways to protect the country from such threats.

Emergency Management

Students learn to identify threats to safety and develop strategies for dealing with them. Emergency management is examined on the local, state and federal levels.

Communications

Students learn to communicate professionally, both orally and in writing. Interactive activities with classmates help students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills while working within a team.


Master's Degree in Homeland Security Administration

Online master's degree programs in homeland security administration are very common. These programs are designed to advance the careers of those already working in public safety, emergency management, fire service, corporate security, public health or transportation security. Students learn about economic damage caused by both natural and man-made disasters, the legislative process behind policies that affect homeland security and the impact of terrorism on both society and individuals.

Program Information and Requirements

Most programs require 33-36 credits. Full-time students can earn their degrees within 12-16 months of study. Many programs are offered fully online. However, some programs may require students to complete some classes on campus and present their capstone projects in person.

Course Topics

Master's programs in homeland security administration typically include courses in terrorism, security intelligence and strategic planning. Students must also complete a capstone project, which should demonstrate their ability to analyze a problem and come up with a solution.

Terrorism

This course covers the dynamics of terrorism. This includes the evolution of terrorism, as well as the motivations behind terrorist attacks.

Security Intelligence

Students learn the role of intelligence in maintaining homeland security. Its benefits and limitations are discussed, and students present ideas for improving security intelligence.

Strategic Planning

The importance of strategic planning as it relates to homeland security is discussed. Students learn different organizational techniques and security strategies.


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Doctorate in Homeland Security Administration

Homeland security is often offered as a specialization in broader doctoral programs, such as management, public safety or public policy. Related specializations include public health, criminal justice, public policy, environmental and social sustainability, forensics and fire service administration. Many programs focus heavily on research and the development of problem-solving and analytical skills. Doctoral programs in homeland security administration are geared toward working professionals who are looking to advance their careers.

Program Information and Requirements

The time required to complete a doctoral program in homeland security administration varies based on individual factors, but most can be completed in as little as three years. Programs offered completely online are rare. Many programs are offered predominantly online, but require some residency portions to be completed on-campus. These typically last less than a week at a time and are required 2-4 times per year.

Course Topics

Required courses typically include qualitative research, quantitative research, leadership and public policy. Most programs also require that students complete a dissertation after completing the program courses.

Qualitative Research

Students learn to design and conduct qualitative research projects. Students gain skills in observation, data analysis and interpretation. Ethical issues are discussed.

Quantitative Research

Students learn to apply their knowledge of statistics to design quantitative research projects. Statistical software is used to interpret and present research findings.

Leadership

Theories of leadership are explored, as well as the role that leaders play in making change. The course also covers ethical issues, boundaries and historical context.

Public Policy

This course goes over the democratic principles behind public policy. The way social organizations and political agendas affect public policy is also discussed.


Career Information

Bachelor's graduates are prepared for jobs as law enforcement officers, security officers, public safety officers, Secret Service agents, homeland security officers, border patrol agents and customs investigators. According to Payscale.com, transportation security officers employed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security earned salaries of $31,659-$52,851 in 2016, while security officers earned salaries of $25,782-$72,460. Earnings generally increased with experience.

A master's degree in homeland security administration prepares graduates to take on leadership positions. It can also help graduates move up in their previous homeland security jobs. Security supervisors who worked for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security earned salaries of $37,332-$115,882 in 2016, according to Payscale.com.

Graduates of doctoral programs in homeland security administration are prepared to conduct research and solve problems related to homeland security. Payscale.com reported that intelligence analysts employed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security earned salaries of $41,667-$123,386 in 2016.

Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in homeland security administration are available fully online or in hybrid formats that have a few in-person requirements and train students in criminal justice, public policy, strategic planning, security intelligence and more. Employment opportunities vary by level of education, but may include jobs as security officers, security supervisors and intelligence analysts.

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