Online Public Security Degree Program Overviews

Learn about online degree programs with public security courses. Get an overview of the program types, requirements and course descriptions available for this field.

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Essential Information

There are many online and hybrid bachelor's and master's degree programs in public security, including homeland security, security management, and criminal justice. Some online programs allow students to complete externships with public security agencies. In online courses, students access lectures online and communicate with instructors and classmates via e-mail and online message boards.

Bachelor's degree programs include general education course requirements as well as core courses in topics such as ethics in criminal justice, private security and criminal investigations. In a homeland security degree program, students learn about weapons of mass destruction, emergency planning and legal issues regarding homeland security.

Students in a master's degree program study advanced topics, such as the corrections system, technology for homeland security and white-collar crime. They learn about research methods and the use of statistics and may be required to complete a capstone project prior to graduation.

Bachelor's Degree in Homeland Security

Online degree programs related to public security include a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) with focuses in homeland security and disaster response and a Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security. These programs examine domestic and international terrorism as well as community safety. Students learn about the coordination between local, state and federal security efforts. Some programs are offered with a concentration in security management.

Program Information and Requirements

Online programs require consistent Internet access and a computer capable of playing audio and video lectures and demonstrations. Course materials are available wherever and whenever students have access to the Internet. Students can submit assignments through an electronic drop box. Communication with instructors is primarily through e-mail. Students discuss class topics through online forums.

Course Topics

To complete the bachelor's degree program, students take general education courses in humanities, science, math, social sciences and communication. Classes for the major include topics on law enforcement, mental health, legal studies, computing, fire safety and leadership.

Homeland Security

This course familiarizes students with the institutions charged with the protection of the United States of America. These organizations include federal and state police, as well as local, community and private agencies responsible for security and emergency response. Students learn about the policies and procedures mandated by the Homeland Security Act.

Studies on Terrorism

Students learn about the history of domestic and international terrorism. Case studies of threat responses and countermeasures are analyzed for success and future improvement.

Security Management

In this course, participants are trained to organize security agencies through effective planning, staffing, and budgeting. Students also learn business techniques in marketing, labor management and security liability.

Master's Degree in Justice and Public Safety

Those looking for graduate study in public security can enroll in online Master of Science in Justice and Public Safety programs. While some of these programs focus mainly on criminal justice and judicial administration, many programs address issues of homeland security and general public security. Some schools may offer concentrations within the program in areas such as homeland security or security policy.

Program Information and Requirements

Students must have a bachelor's degree in any major before enrollment. Programs may require a capstone project before graduation. Class materials are available through a Web-based platform that supports an electronic library, e-mail, discussion forums and bulletin boards.

Course Topics

Course subjects include correctional rehabilitation, white-collar crime, juvenile crime, statistics for criminal justice and research methods. Many classes focus on issues of modern terrorism, including weapons of mass destruction and the psychology of terror.

Emergency Management

This course teaches students to build emergency response plans for the government, community and businesses. It includes a study on the most efficient infrastructure planning as well as its use in preparation for and response to emergencies.

Crime Analysis and Mapping

Crime mapping matches crimes to specific locations in order to create a map of the frequency and intensity of criminal activity. This course teaches methods of crime mapping and analysis to identify patterns for use in crime prevention.

Homeland Security Technology

Students become familiar with the latest technology that monitors and responds to domestic security issues. Types of technology include communication technology, information technology, inspection technology and surveillance equipment.

Career Opportunities

Homeland security graduates can work in a variety of fields and specializations. Roles include officers in immigration, police, customs and transportation agencies. The concentrations chosen in school can affect what jobs a graduate is prepared for; for instance, a student who focused on computer networking courses in a homeland security program could become a cybersecurity specialist.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (, in May 2015 police and sheriff's patrol officers earned a median annual wage of $58,320. Detectives and criminal investigators had a median annual wage of $77,210. Police and detective first-line supervisors had a median annual wage of $82,090.

A master's degree in public safety is often used to qualify one for managerial or other leading roles in safety and emergency response organizations such as fire departments or law enforcement. According to the BLS, supervisors of fire fighters earned a median annual wage of $72,230 in May 2015. Programs that focus more on government regulation and policy can lead to jobs in local, state or federal government helping to craft and decide on public security policies.

A wide variety of online programs are available in the public security fields at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. All of these programs educate students on the relationships and workings of local, state and federal safety and security organizations.

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