District of Columbia Online Homeland Security Masters Degree
Online Masters in Homeland Security Programs teach how to evaluate specific threats and security challenges facing the United States and other nations in the 21st century. This may include courses in emergency management, cyber security, and counterterrorism. Plus, by choosing to earn your masters degree online, you may have the freedom and flexibility to complete your assignments whenever, and wherever, it’s convenient for you.
Did You Know?
According to a Symantec study, 64% of Americans are willing to pay a ransom if their computer is attacked by ransom ware, as opposed to 34% globally. The average ransom in 2016 spiked 266%, with cyber criminals demanding an average of $1,077.
Online Masters in Homeland Security: Basics
Online Masters in Homeland Security Programs examine how to respond to and mitigate risks associated with domestic crises, terrorist-based events, and natural disasters to keep communities and the country safe. Typically, these programs are designed to teach strategies and techniques at different levels of government, all they way from the municipal level to the federal government. Some programs also integrate how to protect the assets of businesses or organizations in order to keep personal data and private information safe.
Key concepts in Online Masters in Homeland Security programs include the following.
- The research, development, and analysis of security strategies
- Critical agency infrastructure and their relationships
- Rapid responses in crisis situations
- FEMA guidelines and the development of disaster response plans
- The nature and source of threats to social, political, and economic systems
An Online Masters in Homeland Security program may allow you to explore these concepts, and others, anywhere with an internet connection. Courses, assignments and resources are often made available on a digital platform 24/7. Discussion groups and video lectures may even bring the classroom experience to your computer.
In addition to providing more flexibility, many online programs also allow you to choose your own pace for earning your masters. For instance, you may choose between being a full-time student or a part-time student. Many schools even allow you to switch between the two if your situation changes. Plus, the online format may open up additional opportunities to pursue degrees near and far, helping you find an online Homeland Security Masters Program that truly matches your interests.
Online MS in Homeland Security: Admissions Requirements
Some of the common admissions requirements for Online Masters in Homeland Security programs include the following.
- Bachelors degree from an accredited university with a 2.5 GPA or higher
- Personal Statement
- Letters of recommendation
Every school has unique admissions requirements. For instance, some schools are stricter than others and may require a higher minimum GPA while earning your bachelors degree or a higher GRE or GMAT score. Other schools may not require either. In fact, some online Masters in Homeland Security programs don’t ask that you even take the GRE or GMAT.
Some schools may also require that you have professional experience in fields related to homeland security. This may include health, information technology, security, or other related fields. Be sure to check the requirements of a number of schools in order to find one that matches your academic standing.
Typically, the graduation requirements for an Online Masters in Homeland Security program are pretty straight forward. For instance, many programs require that you complete the following components.
- Core curriculum
- Certain number of electives
- Concentration courses (if selected)
- Capstone or thesis project
Remember that every school will have a unique design. As a result, the specific graduation requirements to earn your masters degree may vary. For instance, some schools don’t offer concentrations for homeland security degrees. Other schools may not require a capstone or thesis project. Consider these and other differences before applying to different schools in order to find the perfect program for you.
How Long Does It Take to Earn an Online Masters Degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Management?
Most Online Masters in Homeland Security programs are designed so that full-time students may earn their degree in two years. However, some programs are designed for part-time students, who are already working full-time.
These part-time programs usually appeal to online students because it adds an extra layer of flexibility. Online schools often allow students to perform coursework around their busy schedule. For instance, many online students have full-time jobs and therefore cannot attend classes during the day. Choosing to pursue your degree in an online format may allow you the opportunity to post assignments and to class message boards at night or in the morning before work and other responsibilities.
Homeland Security Courses Online
In order to teach the principles and key concepts of homeland security, online programs usually combine research and critical analysis. These concepts are applied through writing assignments and group projects. Online Masters in Homeland Security programs may also work to develop leadership, management and communications skills to help students prepare for advanced roles in national defense.
Some of the courses you may take while pursuing an Online Masters Degree in Homeland Security are listed below.
- Critical National Infrastructure
- Strategic and Tactical Planning
- Information Systems Vulnerability and Risk Analysis
- Bioterror Public Health Preparedness
- The Unconventional Threat to Homeland Security
- Legal and Regulatory Issues for Security Management
- Advanced Principles of Security Management and Threat Assessment
- Domestic and International Terrorism
- Detection and Analysis of Chemical Agents and Explosives
- Biological Applications in Homeland Security
Remember that every Online Masters in Homeland Security Program is different. Therefore, the specific courses you take, their titles, and the order in which you take them will vary from school to school. Keep this in mind while researching various programs and before applying in order to find the perfect program for you.
Variations for Online Homeland Security Masters Degrees
Online Homeland Security Masters degrees come in a variety of options in order to provide students with the ability to choose a program that suits them. These variations may include the type of degree that you earn, whether it is a Master of Public Studies (MPS), Master of Science (MS), or Master of Arts (MA). Each of these degree types may cover core issues in national security but approach topics with a different lens.
Other variations of Online Masters in Homeland Security Programs may include whether it is a concentration as part of a different degree. For instance, some schools offer a concentration in homeland security for their Criminal Justice or Emergency Management Masters Programs. Typically, these types of programs have different requirements than a specific masters degree in homeland security. They may include fewer courses that focus on homeland security and more courses that focus on criminal justice or emergency management, depending upon which program the degree falls under.
In addition, some schools have their Online Masters in Homeland Security under the umbrella of a different subject. Therefore, it may be offered in the School of Criminal Justice or School of Emergency Management.
Keep in mind that each of these different ways of earning an Online Masters in Homeland Security will have a different overall focus and may impact your course of study. Therefore, it’s important that you thoroughly research a number of schools to find one that matches your goals and expectations.
What is a Masters of Professional Studies in Homeland Security?
A Masters of Professional Studies, or MPS, usually combines the focused study of traditional graduate degrees (Master of Science or Master of Arts programs) with industry-specific skills through hands-on research and first-hand experience. Typically, these Online Homeland Security Masters programs are more focused on the application of research and theories, as opposed to MA or MS programs. This may make an online MPS in Homeland Security a great choice for those hoping to immediately go work in the field, or those already in the industry looking to pursue more advanced roles.
However, there are many Masters in Homeland Security programs that offer an MS or MA degree instead. These programs are usually more focused on research and critical analysis, and may be better preparation for students who want to continue their education and earn a doctorate.
Potential Concentrations in Homeland Security
Homeland security and national defense are complex initiatives, touching many fields of study. For this reason, programs often emphasize an integrative approach so students might understand how they work together to protect a nation. However some schools may allow you to choose a concentration. In this case, you could take a number of core courses in homeland security and a number of courses in a specific topic in the field.
Below are some of the common concentrations that are offered.
- Agricultural Biosecurity and Food Defense
- Geospatial Intelligence
- Information Security and Forensics
- Intelligence Studies
- Transportation Security
- Criminal Justice
Concentration areas vary, so follow up with schools to learn what might be available to you.
Key Areas of Online Homeland Security Masters Programs
As a result of the many variations of Online Masters in Homeland Security programs, every school has a different design and may put a different emphasis on each of the aspects of protecting America’s borders and citizens. Below is a bit more about a few major subject areas to help you determine if a concentration or specific type of degree is of interest to you.
Emergency management is the managerial function responsible for creating the framework in communities and organizations to reduce vulnerability to natural and manmade disasters. This can include weather, disease, terrorism, and many other hazards to communities. As opposed to intelligence gathering and strategies for defending America, Online Emergency Management Masters Degrees focus on preparing citizens to keep themselves safe during an emergency.
Homeland security programs that are connected with emergency management typically examine the following areas.
- Leadership principles to improve policy and practices
- Mitigation and preparedness measures to minimize societal impacts
- Local and national response and recovery from emergencies
- Emergency training and exercises
Counter terrorism concentrations focus on analyzing geopolitics and the influence terror attacks have had on the social, economic, and political systems around the world. Some courses may also deconstruct common biases and mindsets about terrorism in order to understand motives and end goals of terrorists.
If you choose to pursue an Online Homeland Security Masters degree with a concentration in counterterrorism, you might explore some of the following key concepts.
- History of global terrorism
- Response to terrorism
- Intelligence collection and analysis
- Threat assessment
- Advanced surveillance
- Counterterrorism techniques
As threats to the cyber security infrastructure continue to be a growing concern to our government and to the field, some schools offer cyber security courses as part of an Online Masters in Homeland Security program. Other schools offer an Online Masters in Cyber Security as a completely seperate degree.
Typically, some of the common topics of cyber security include the following.
- Analytical and communication tools for cybersecurity policy-making
- The design of secure software, networks, and systems
- Use virtual machines to apply forensic tools to real-life scenarios and threats
What Could You Do With a Homeland Security Degree?
Upon earning your Online Masters in Homeland Security degree, you may have the opportunity to pursue a number of different careers. Often these jobs are associated with the local, state, or national government, though there are positions in private organizations to minimize risk and the loss of life and other resources.
Some of the different departments inside the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and some job titles for these departments, are as follows.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- Federal Coordinating Officer
Federal Law Enforcement Training Center
- Law Enforcement Specialist
Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate
- Protective Security Advisor
- Intelligence Operations Specialist
- IT Specialist (Information Security)
Transportation and Security Administration (TSA)
- Criminal Investigator
- Program and Management Analysti
These are just a sample of some of the positions in the DHS that you may pursue. Each of these have different responsibilities and might have different minimum requirements. Plus, there are many similar positions at the state and local level. However, these jobs may have different responsibilities and requirements.
Earn Your Online Masters in Homeland Security
Are you looking for a masters degree where you can learn how to keep your friends and family safe? Then take the next step to earn your Online Masters in Homeland Security degree.
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American University's Master of Science in Counter-Terrorism and Homeland Security is an online, 33-credit degree for law enforcement and intelligence professionals who wish to specialize in homeland security.