Coursework for a homeland security master's degree can be completed entirely online. However, there are also hybrid programs that require a professional residency. Most schools also require the completion of a project or thesis. Graduate students commonly earn a Master of Science or Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security. The minimum admissions requirement is a bachelor's degree from an accredited school.
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Master's Degree in Homeland Security
Homeland security scholars gain knowledge and develop skills related to terrorism, national security, intelligence, technology, management, organizational change, policy development and infrastructure protection. Common prerequisites for entry to a program include a bachelor's degree from an accredited school; to become employed in the field, a person must be a U.S. citizen and pass a security and background check.
Information and Requirements
These programs usually require 33 credit-hours of study and take approximately two years to complete. Faculty, individual and team interaction are completed via the Internet. Restrictions vary by school but may include limiting the amount of students enrolled each fall and not allowing students to take courses on a pass or fail basis. An online delivery format provides flexibility to global students, while still offering the quality and focus of a traditional master's degree program in homeland security.
Although classes vary by school, all online master's degree programs require specific credits in the concentration of homeland security. Available specialty tracks include information security and forensics, public health preparedness, homeland security base, geospatial intelligence and agricultural biosecurity.
This introductory course provides an overview of strategic and foundational concepts in homeland security. Policy, organization, legal issues and concepts are explored in all areas of American security.
Contemporary Issues, Policies and Programs in Homeland Security
The focus of this course is conveying the history, foundation, development and current management of homeland security policies and programs. Students also examine the policy issues that homeland security leaders face.
Critical Infrastructure Protection
Risk assessment, complexities and vulnerabilities are explored in relation to infrastructure. Students also study the application of techniques used to protect computer and Internet security, communications, energy supply, industry, health care delivery and transport systems during natural disasters and terrorist attacks.
In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that emergency management directors earned a median annual wage of $67,330 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also projects that the need for these workers will show average growth, with approximately 700 new jobs opening between 2014 and 2024.
Continuing Education Information
The International Association of Emergency Managers offers the certifications of Certified Emergency Manager or Associate Emergency Manager to those wishing to pursue further education and credentials in homeland security. A fee is required for application, and an examination must be passed in order to achieve certification.
Over the course of an online master's degree program in homeland security, students can expect to take courses in the prevention of disasters and the response to and management of incidents when they happen. Commonly explored topics include both natural disasters and human-generated threats.