2019 Best Online Colleges for Homeland Security Degrees
These 426 online homeland security degrees, available at the associate, bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate levels, provide students with opportunities to pursue careers working against terrorism as well as man-made and natural disasters. The schools on our best online colleges ranking are particularly good options for prospective students to explore. Schools were ranked based on tuition rates as well as alumni salaries provided by PayScale.
There is no specific programmatic accreditation for homeland security degrees. However, prospective students should make sure that the institutions they choose to attend have received institutional accreditation. In addition to institutional academic accreditation, students should look for interdisciplinary programs that include coursework in risk management, technological issues, public policy, and general planning and management concepts.
Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Homeland Security Degrees (108)
Annual Tuition: $10,632 - $13,400
|Full List||Accreditation||Annual Tuition||Recommend Rate|
|Full List (114)|
|DEAC||$7,500||100% (2 reviews)|
38 Programs, 1 in Homeland Security
16 Programs, 1 in Homeland Security
|HLC||Not Provided||66% (163 reviews)|
47 Programs, 1 in Homeland Security
|HLC||$6,880||71% (146 reviews)|
462 Programs, 70 in Homeland Security
|MSCHE||$46,615||100% (2 reviews)|
54 Programs, 5 in Homeland Security
|SACS COC||$26,970||Add Review|
28 Programs, 3 in Homeland Security
|SACS COC||$17,161||100% (1 review)|
44 Programs, 15 in Homeland Security
|NECHE||$37,130||100% (3 reviews)|
8 Programs, 1 in Homeland Security
|HLC||$15,691 - $27,372||71% (88 reviews)|
226 Programs, 11 in Homeland Security
|WASC WSCUC||$10,632 - $13,400||67% (646 reviews)|
212 Programs, 3 in Homeland Security
|SACS COC||$17,140||Add Review|
35 Programs, 1 in Homeland Security
|SACS COC||$23,153||50% (2 reviews)|
60 Programs, 1 in Homeland Security
|HLC||$7,752||69% (58 reviews)|
189 Programs, 12 in Homeland Security
|MSCHE||$15,326||80% (15 reviews)|
108 Programs, 3 in Homeland Security
|HLC||$23,670||67% (3 reviews)|
85 Programs, 2 in Homeland Security
15 Programs, 1 in Homeland Security
|SACS COC||$36,058||100% (2 reviews)|
27 Programs, 1 in Homeland Security
|HLC||$9,000||55% (58 reviews)|
219 Programs, 3 in Homeland Security
|HLC||Not Provided||64% (283 reviews)|
123 Programs, 8 in Homeland Security
|SACS COC||$22,390||100% (1 review)|
71 Programs, 1 in Homeland Security
|DEAC||$6,600||81% (164 reviews)|
75 Programs, 3 in Homeland Security
|NWCCU||$30,270||55% (49 reviews)|
55 Programs, 1 in Homeland Security
|SACS COC||$30,600||100% (1 review)|
21 Programs, 1 in Homeland Security
25 Programs, 2 in Homeland Security
|MSCHE||$35,900||0% (1 review)|
68 Programs, 2 in Homeland Security
2019 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's in Homeland Security Degrees
These top online homeland security programs have annual tuitions ranging from $9,967 to $7,680 and median salaries as high as $100,800. Top-ranked DeSales University offers a BA in Homeland Security for $14,640 per year. Graduates of Mercy College, ranked second, report earning a median salary of $90,400. Excelsior College offers a wide variety of concentrations in the field including counterterrorism, cybersecurity, and emergency response health management.
|Rank||School||Annual Tuition||Median Salary|
- Annual Tuition: $14,640
- Median Salary: $100,800
DeSales University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Homeland Security. The program focus is on general security, and interagency coordination among the federal, state and local levels, including continuity planning. It is part of the ACCESS program, designed for adult students, but students may enter as freshmen. DeSales states that the only admission requirements for admission are a diploma or GED, and "the desire to learn." Up to 75 credits may be transferred, and policies awarding credit for experience are generous. Program courses include Infrastructure Protection, and Psychology of Terrorism and Fear. Online ACCESS tuition is an affordable $488 per credit. The university is associated with the Catholic order of Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. It is located in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, north of Philadelphia.
- Annual Tuition: $18,400
- Median Salary: $90,400
Mercy College features a Bachelor of Science in Computer and Homeland Security. This 120 credit program is offered through the College of Business. This is the first undergraduate degree of its kind, combining business management and security for careers as managers in homeland security and related fields. Admissions is holistic, combining grades, rank and courses. Tests are optional. Up to 75 credits may be transferred. Among the courses in the program are Terrorism, Security Crisis Management, and Advanced Risk Management. Online tuition is an affordable $425 per credit. Mercy's curriculum integrates the liberal arts and professional studies. The college is historically associated with the Sisters of Mercy, but is now nondenominational. The main campus is located in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Mercy is military friendly.
- Annual Tuition: $9,967
- Median Salary: $88,000
Thomas Edison State University has a Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The focus is on the fundamentals of security and emergency management, both of natural and human-caused disasters. Admission criteria are flexible, requiring that applicants be 21 or older, with a diploma or GED. The age requirement can be waived for military. Program courses include War and American Society, and Victimology and Criminal Behavior.TESU is focused on adult degree completion. Up to 117 credits may be transferred. Online options include independent or individualized directed study by utilizing study packs and guided studies. TESU tuition is a quite affordable $396 per credit for residents and $499 nonresident. Tuition for active military is $250. The school is located in Trenton, New Jersey.
- Annual Tuition: $15,300
- Median Salary: $84,300
Excelsior College offers four programs in homeland security. These include a BS in Criminal Justice with Homeland Security concentration, a BS in Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and two concentrations in the BS in National Security, in Intelligence and Security Analysis, and Topics in National Security. All four programs are 33 credits in a 120 credit BS degree. The Topics program allows students to build their own concentration. Both Intelligence and Security are designed for professionals working in government. The other two focus on preparation for careers in managing disasters of all kinds. There is no special admission requirement, other than a diploma, or attendance at an accredited institution. Online tuition is $510 per credit, with a $210 rate for active military. Excelsior is located in Albany, New York.
- Annual Tuition: $10,644
- Median Salary: $77,600
Arizona State University features a Bachelor of Science in Public Service and Public Policy, concentration in Emergency Management and Homeland Security. The focus is developing professional skills to respond to and mitigate disasters, and to coordinate among. Admissions is holistic, requiring a. 3.0 in competency classes, or top 25% of class, or test scores. Transfers should have a 2.5 GPA. Terms last 7.5 weeks. Among the courses are American Government and Politics, Public Service and Policy in the 21st Century, and Public Service Ethics. ASU has one of the largest and best regarded online programs in the country. Support for online students is outstanding. Tuition for this program is $615 per credit unit.
- Annual Tuition: $13,500
- Median Salary: $77,800
Utica College offers a Bachelor of Criminal Justice with a concentration in Homeland Security. The 120 credit program focus is on threat assessment, safeguarding and managing critical national infrastructure. This is a degree completion program. Admission requires an Associate degree, or 57 credits with a 2.5 GPA. The program can be completed in two years. Among the courses offered are Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism, Emergency Management, and Policing Theory and Management. Tuition is a very affordable $450 per credit unit. Utica was formerly a branch of Syracuse University, but now is an independent institution. It is located in Utica, New York.
- Annual Tuition: $14,970
- Median Salary: $77,200
The University of Maryland University College has a Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security. The curriculum emphasizes infrastructure protection, evaluation and planning, terrorism and other threats. A diploma or GED qualifies applicants for admission. Transfers should have a 2.0 GPA. Up to 90 credits may be transferred into the 120 credit program. UMCU has generous policies about assessing prior experience and workplace learning for credit. Among the courses for the major are Public Safety Administration Ethics, Public Safety Leadership, and Infrastructure in Homeland Security. Resident tuition is $294 per credit unit, nonresident $499 and military $250. University College is an online state university focused on adult students and the military.
- Annual Tuition: $10,633
- Median Salary: $76,500
SUNY Empire State College features three degrees in Public Affairs and Homeland Security: a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS). Proof of high school graduation admits students. Transfers should have a 2.0 GPA. Assessment of prior experience for credit is generous. The programs stress public service and professional competencies to protect the public and manage emergencies. The BA degree has more general education requirements than the BS. The BPS is more management and career oriented. Online tuition is an outstandingly affordable $286 per credit for New York residents, and $343 for nonresidents. Support for online students is impressive, including readily accessible online tutoring. The school's home campus is Saratoga Springs, New York.
- Annual Tuition: $7,680
- Median Salary: $75,800
The University of Alaska Fairbanks offers a Bachelor of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (BESM). The degree is offered through the School of Management, and its focus is merging business administration skills with security and emergency concerns. The intent is to produce business managers for the field. Admission requires a diploma and a 2.5 GPA, or GED, and test scores. Transfers should have a 2.0. The program is designed for working professionals in areas such as EMT, fire, policing and military. Others may apply. Students must choose a concentration such as Fire Management or Public Safety Management. UAF also has an online MA in the same field that may interest students in the BESM program. Undergraduate tuition is an amazingly affordable $256 per credit.
- Annual Tuition: $16,650
- Median Salary: $66,500
National University offers a Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The program focuses on a foundation in security issues, and coping with and recovering from emergencies. Admission specifies a diploma and 2.0 GPA. Transfer admission is holistic. Terms last four weeks, with one class per term. Among the courses in the curriculum are Domestic Security Management, Interviewing and Interrogation, and Disaster Management. A 6-credit Emergency Medical Technician Certificate is available to enhance the degree. Support for online students is impressive, such as synchronous appointments with the writing center. Undergraduate tuition is an affordable $370 per quarter unit. NU's main campus is in San Diego. The school is very military friendly.
#11 Park University
- Annual Tuition: $11,970
- Median Salary: $63,700
#11 Park University
Park University has a Bachelor's of Public Administration (BPA) in Homeland Security. The overall BPA degree is oriented to public service, and the Homeland Security minor focuses on threat assessment and preparedness. Admission requires a diploma or GED, and transfers need a 2.0 GPA. Park has generous policies regarding transfer credit and credit for experience. For example, completion of basic training converts to four credits. Courses in the program include Geography of Terrorism, The Modern Middle East, and Emergency Management. Online undergraduate tuition is a very affordable $399 per credit, with a $250 rate for active military. The school is very military friendly, and is located in Parkville, Missouri.
- Annual Tuition: $12,270
- Median Salary: $61,800
Eastern Kentucky University offers a respected Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security. The program is based on what WKU calls "three pillars": Disaster Management, Intelligence Studies and Security Operations and Management. The degree focus is on understanding, assessing and planning for man-made and natural threats. Admissions requires a diploma and a 2.5 GPA, and test scores. Transfers need a 2.0. Up to 90 credits may be transferred. There are two 8-week terms per semester, with two classes per term. Courses include Counterintelligence, Cyber and Physical Security, and Homeland Security Technology. EKU's Homeland Security program was one of the first, and is still one of the largest. Online undergraduate tuition is a very modest $409 per credit, with a $250 rate for active military.
- Annual Tuition: $11,700
- Median Salary: $59,000
Liberty University features a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice: Homeland Security and a Bachelor of Science in Government: Homeland Security. Both degrees are 120 total credits and, on average, are completed in 3.5 years. Admission requires a diploma or GED, and transfers should have a 2.0 GPA. Credit transfer and evaluation of experience for credit are generous. Liberty's stated goal is to merge Christian perspectives and career skills. The government program focuses on public service, as well as identifying, assessing, and implementing protection strategies. The criminal justice program focuses on security, disaster preparedness, counter-terrorism, and intelligence. Program courses include Resilient Nations, Strategic Intelligence, and Behavioral Dimensions of Disaster. Online tuition for part-time students is $455 per credit hour. The school is located in Lynchburg, Virginia.
- Annual Tuition: $13,770
- Median Salary: $54,700
Mercer University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The program focuses on developing communication and leadership skills in high-risk situations, and on planning for potential crises. It's offered through Mercer's Penfield College, which administers the school's online programs. Admission is holistic, based on GPA, class rank, strength of curriculum and other material. Transfer students need a 2.0 GPA and may transfer in up to 96 credits. Terms last 8 weeks and courses include The Effects of Disaster on Society, Forensic Behavior, and Ethics and Public Safety Leadership. Online undergraduate tuition is $459 per credit. Mercer historically is associated with the Baptist church, but is now interdenominational. The school is located in Macon, Georgia.
- Annual Tuition: $13,640
- Median Salary: $40,300
Tiffin University offers an online Bachelor of Criminal Justice (BCJ) in Homeland Security and Terrorism. The program considers all aspects of terrorism; it focuses on identifying and assessing threats, and response planning. Admission for freshmen requires a diploma with a 2.25 GPA, or the GED. Transfer students need a 2.0 GPA. Policies on credit transfer and credit for experience are generous. There are two, 7-week online terms per semester. Among the courses in the program are Psychology of Terrorism, Global Infrastructure Protection, and Criminal Procedures. Online undergraduate tuition is $440 per credit, with a 30% discount for military members. The school is located in Tiffin, Ohio, near Toledo.
Online Homeland Security Degree Overview & Career Information
Individuals interested in pursuing an online degree in homeland security can find options at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral level. There are also certificate programs available. At the associate level, students will spend two years studying general education courses as well as specialized classes that cover the basics needed to start a career in the field. Graduates of an associate degree can find entry-level work in such areas as law enforcement and security, or go on to earn a bachelor's. At the bachelor's level, students will gain the skills and knowledge that they need in order to address a variety of security threats, such as how to prepare for and respond to disasters, protect infrastructure, and address terrorism. Upon completion of a bachelor's program, graduates will be able to find work in a variety of settings, from the government to private security.
Master's degree programs are also available for those who wish to seek additional education in order to advance their careers and gain higher leadership positions within the field. A master's degree program will usually take two years to complete. Students in the program may be able to focus their studies in a particular area, such as information security, food defense, or geospatial intelligence. Doctoral degrees are another advanced educational option, and may be a good choice for those who wish to teach at the university level or who want to work in research or as a consultant. A doctoral degree will take anywhere from four to seven years to finish and will require writing a dissertation.
Lastly, there are also certificate programs available in the field of homeland security. These programs may be an appropriate option for someone who is not ready to commit to a full master's degree, but who still wants to earn additional education to advance their career. These certificate programs are commonly offered at the graduate level, meaning applicants must already have a bachelor's degree. Certificate programs are usually intended for professionals with experience in the field.
An associate degree in homeland security prepares students for entry-level jobs in security, law enforcement, and criminal justice. Associate degree holders also go on to pursue advanced undergraduate and graduate degrees. An associate degree takes two years to complete, and includes a total of 60 credits with specialized courses in biosecurity, international terrorism, criminology, and disaster planning. Students are provided an introduction to basic domestic and international security through tactical security strategies for physical buildings as well as virtual intelligence. Students must have a high school diploma or GED and can find associate degrees in homeland security at private or public security schools, colleges, and universities that offer bachelor's degrees. Similar associate degrees include emergency response, computer science, and law enforcement.
An online bachelor's degree in homeland security provides a solid foundation in safety and security issues, focusing on vital components of the homeland security field such as critical infrastructure protection, disaster preparedness and response, and intelligence sharing and analysis, in order to address concerns ranging from terrorism to natural and man-made disasters. Bachelor's degrees are offered by colleges and universities, usually taking four years to complete the required 120 credit hours. With an associate degree, 60 credits are covered and two additional years are sufficient to complete the bachelor's degree. Applicants need at least a high school degree or GED to apply for a bachelor's degree program and must have achieved minimum GPA standards. A bachelor's degree in homeland security covers general education courses, writing and seminar classes, electives, and a final capstone project, depending on the program. Homeland security coursework includes classes on risk analysis, mitigation & disaster recovery, government security, border & immigration control, transportation security, and more. Job security upon graduation is very high, with graduates landing careers in government positions, in the military and Coast Guard, law enforcement, and public and private security.
Upon completion of a bachelor's degree, graduates may consider continuing their education with a master's degree. A master's degree takes two years to complete, with around 30 credit hours and a master's thesis research project or final examination depending upon the program. In addition to a bachelor's degree and minimum GPA, master's degree programs generally require a GRE test score and work experience for admittance. Professionals in homeland security as well as other fields such as public health, technology, insurance, or law enforcement may be interested in a master's degree in homeland security to boost their professional profile and seek higher positions of administration and government. Specializations offered within master's programs include degrees in information security and forensics, public health preparedness, geospatial intelligence, agricultural biosecurity and food defense. Courses are similar to those offered in the bachelor's degree level but with greater depth and specialization, including geospatial intelligence, public health, agricultural biosecurity, and cyberterrorism. Some programs offer an international track, which allows master's students to focus on homeland security in a global context, and the difference between local, national, and international security. Master's programs in homeland security can be found at graduate schools of public policy or public affairs.
Online doctoral degrees in homeland security are ideal for professionals looking to go into the homeland security field as professors, high level organization managers and leaders, private and public researchers, and consultants. Doctoral candidates need at least a bachelor's degree, though many have completed their master's or a graduate certificate. In many cases, graduate admissions exam scores are also necessary. A PhD can take anywhere from four to seven years to complete, depending on how long students take to complete and defend their thesis dissertations. Coursework typically consists of 60 credits of graduate level studies in research methodology and statistics, ethics, management systems, transportation security, and dissertation research.
Many programs which offer online master's degrees also offer certificates in homeland security, which can be completed in less time and the credits can eventually be used towards a full graduate degree. Graduate certificate programs require applicants to have a bachelor's degree. Certificate programs can be completed in around 12 credits with coursework covering the origins and organization of the homeland security enterprise, relevant laws and public policies, roles of key agencies in government and private providers, and planning and strategies related to homeland security and emergency management. Certificates are ideal for mid-career professionals in federal, state, and local emergency management official positions, military and law enforcement, as well as private sector employees such as security consultants, insurance agencies, and finance corporations.
The Importance of an Accredited Online Homeland Security Degree
In the United States, over 3,000 regionally accredited institutions of higher education educate nearly 17 million students. Seven regional accrediting agencies are responsible for setting quality standards for certificates and degree programs offered by these schools. The primary goal of accrediting commissions is to ensure that students get the learning resources they need to build professional skills in their fields of study. Regional accrediting agencies conduct annual reviews of each institution to ensure that it maintains quality standards on a school-wide and regional basis. Regional agencies also share information so that quality standards for schools have a level of consistency on a nationwide basis. There are no rules or regulations in the homeland security field that require professionals to hold degrees from a regionally accredited school. However, a credential from a regionally accredited institution can offer an edge in the job market because employers can feel assured that applicants from these schools have an excellent academic preparation for current demands in the field.
Careers in Homeland Security
Jobs in homeland security provide high job security, performance-based increases, flexible hours, and a wide variety of promotion opportunities. Students and graduates can work for the Department of Homeland Security, the military, law enforcement, government, security consulting companies, and private insurance companies. For government jobs in homeland security, veterans are considered preferential hirees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, military career job growth is expected to remain stable through 2024. Day-to-day responsibilities differ depending on the career, but individuals can expect variance in their schedule and a combination of interpersonal and technical duties.
- Homeland Security Undergraduate Degree Program. Eastern Kentucky University. Accessed March 3, 2018. http://homelandsecurity.eku.edu/homeland-security-undergraduate-degree-program.
- Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security. PennState World Campus. Accessed March 3, 2018. http://www.worldcampus.psu.edu/degrees-and-certificates/homeland-security/overview.
- Military Careers. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed March 3, 2018. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/military/military-careers.htm.
- Work With Us. Department of Homeland Security. Accessed March 3, 2018. https://www.dhs.gov/homeland-security-careers/work-us.