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Schools of Counterterrorism Studies: How to Choose

Those interested in studying counterterrorism have the opportunity to do so through various degree programs concerned with homeland security. Programs that include classes in terrorism and counterterrorism are available at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels.

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The number of colleges and university offering programs in homeland security are continuing to grow across the country. Although degree programs in this specialty are not common, many colleges offer degrees in other fields, such as law enforcement or emergency preparedness, with an emphasis on counterterrorism or homeland security.

Schools with Counterterrorism or Homeland Security Programs

Here is a list of colleges and universities that offer programs in homeland security at various degree levels:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
Missouri State University Springfield, MO and Fairfax, VA 4-year, Public Certificate and Master's In-state: $4,590
Campbell University Buies Creek, NC 4-year, Private Bachelor's $28,820
St. Petersburg College Clearwater, FL 4-year, Public Certificate In-state: $3,352
Georgian Court University Lakewood, NJ 4-year, Private Master's $15,102
Hawaii Pacific University Honolulu, HI 4-year, Private Associate's $22,440
The University of Texas at El Paso El Paso, TX 4-year, Public Certificate, Bachelor's and Master's Undergraduate (In-state): $7,259; Graduate (In-state): $4,336
Citrus College Glendora, CA 2-year, Public Associate's In-state: $1,174
John Hopkins University Baltimore, MD 4-year, Private Master's $48,710
Anna Maria College Paxton, MA 4-year, Private Certificate and Master's $10,530

Source:*National Center for Education Statistics

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School Selection Criteria

Some considerations in selecting a school and program include the following:

  • Prospective students can find schools with full degree programs focusing on areas such as principles of conflict and terror, weapons of mass destruction and general national security.
  • Some institutions have partnerships with outside agencies, providing opportunities for internships and hands-on experience in the field.
  • Schools with state-of-the-art technologies and equipment available will offer the student the best educational environment for studying the ever-evolving threat of terrorism.
  • Many schools discourage students with criminal backgrounds from pursuing degrees, since internships often require background checks.

Associate's Degree in Homeland Security

Students in these programs gain a broad understanding of homeland security and counterterrorism, in addition to general education courses. These programs prepare students for a bachelor's degree program in a related area.

Bachelor's Degree in Homeland Security

The goal of most bachelor's degree programs is to prepare students for counterterrorism and homeland security jobs at the local, state and federal levels. A number of colleges offer internships with agencies throughout the country, as well as computer software and laboratory experience. Many colleges offer courses such as aviation or computer terrorism, as well as student-designed programs.

Master's Degree in Homeland Security

A few colleges offer master's degree programs in homeland security with course offerings in counterterrorism. These programs offer a broad overview of the field, but allow students to strictly focus their areas of study. Most colleges that offer master's degree programs in this area require internships with local, state or national agencies. A comprehensive exam and, often, a thesis are also required.

As the need for homeland security specialists continues to grow, more schools are offering programs in this field. Since it might be challenging to finding a program that meets your needs, it is important to consider other options, like a degree in criminal justice or law enforcement.

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