If you study to get a Master of Homeland Security you will learn about criminology, terrorism, the American legal system, and, most importantly, data and information security. Many people who earn this degree want to work for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or already work there. Most get the degree for career advancement purposes. Careers in this field extend to corporate enterprises as well.
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Here are just a few of the agencies under the oversight of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security:
- Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
- Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)
- Customs and Border Protection (CPB)
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
- Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
- U.S. Secret Service
- United States Coast Guard (civilian positions)
If you want to work for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security be prepared to meet the following requirements:
- Be a U.S. citizen.
- Be at least 18 years old and not older than 37.
- Pass a drug test.
- Pass a criminal background check.
- Pass a polygraph (lie-detector) test.
- Earn a competitive test score on the civil service exam.
- Be physically fit if you want to work as a field agent.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM.gov) says that an entry-level position at any agency starts at the civil service salary schedule rate of GS-07, which is $41,791 annually. Some positions allow pay-grade raises that go up to the GS-13 pay scale, which is $115,295 annually. Directors at executive-level positions can earn up to $141,000 per year.
Payscale gives an overview of the potential career positions when working for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The average salary is $79,000.
Here is a sampling of the job titles and their average salaries:
- Immigration Officer: Average annual salary of $66,937
- Management Analyst: Average annual salary of $69,019
- Intelligence Analyst: Average annual salary of $74,400
- Border Patrol Agent: Average annual salary of $75,465
- Program Analyst: Average annual salary of $77,927
- Special Federal Agent: Average annual salary of $115,295
The DHS also has job opportunities for students and recent graduates.
|1||Towson University||Towson, Maryland|
|2||University of Massachusetts Lowell||Lowell, Massachusetts|
|3||Sam Houston State University||Huntsville, Texas|
|4||ECPI University||Virginia Beach, Virginia|
|5||Bellevue University||Bellevue, Nebraska|
What is a Certificate in Homeland Security?
Here is an example of a certificate program. A certificate is for those who do not wish to complete the full program to get a master’s degree.
Mississippi College is a Christian school. It offers an online-only program to earn a certificate in Homeland Security. This is NOT a master’s degree but is useful for some people. A certificate is for completing graduate-level credits by taking about two-thirds of the classes required to get a master’s degree. A Certificate in Homeland Security may help with career advancement. It serves as continuing education for those already employed in this field.
- Tuition Per Credit Hour: $645
- Credits and Time Required to Graduate: 21 credits taken over two semesters.
- Tuition Total to Earn a Certificate: $13,545
The rest of the programs we reviewed below are full degree programs; however, some of them offer certificates too.
Here are our reviews of the best full degree programs to earn a master’s in Homeland Security.
What are the top programs to earn a Masters in Homeland Security?
Towson University offers an online-only graduate degree program to earn a Master in Science in Integrated Homeland Security Management. Students in this program learn security strategies, critical agency infrastructure, inter-relationships between agencies, team leading, cooperative planning, and rapid-response-system planning for crisis situations.
University of Massachusetts Lowell
University of Massachusetts Lowell, located in Lowell, Massachusetts, offers a Master’s in Homeland Defense. Students learn how to protect critical infrastructure, how to conduct intelligence, maritime and border protection, cybersecurity, and the use of new threat abatement technology.
Sam Houston State University
Sam Houston State University has a degree program to obtain a Master of Science in Homeland Security. The tuition is the same for in-person classes or if the student completes the coursework online. This program is consistent with the Homeland Security Enterprise Model. Students learn threat assessment, strategic thinking, and policy-making skills.
ECPI University offers an online-only program to earn a Master of Science in Management with a Concentration in Homeland Security Management. This is a military-friendly institution that accepts GI Bill® and tuition assistance programs.
This school offers an Income Share Agreement (ISA) plan to finance your tuition. Under this plan, you pay back the unpaid portion of your tuition from your salary after you finish school and start working. The payments are based on the income you earn in the future.
Bellevue University, located in Bellevue, Nebraska, offers a Master of Science in Security Management that prepares a student for a career in Homeland Security. This program is offered on campus and as online courses. The coursework covers critical infrastructure, cybersecurity, vulnerability assessments, and risk analysis. Students complete two Homeland Security projects instead of a thesis.
New England College
New England College offers a Master of Arts in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. This program covers threats to homeland security, emergency responses, and how politics influences homeland security policy and decision-making.
Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University offers a Master of Science in Safety, Security, and Emergency Management. Classes can be taken on campus or online. This is an interdisciplinary program that offers a concentration in corporate security, occupational safety, or emergency management. Graduates from this program can apply for an Associate Safety and Health Manager (ASHM) certification. Candidates with two years of experience can take the Certified Safety and Health Manager (CSHM) exam. This is a fast track to that certification, which reduces the usual waiting period by three years.
Trident University offers a Master of Science in Homeland Security. This online program is designed for civilians and military members who work with homeland security. The courses support the goals of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its mission.
Arizona State University
Arizona State University offers an online program to earn a Master of Arts in Emergency Management & Homeland Security. Students can choose one of the specializations that include biosecurity/threat management, community resilience, cybersecurity policy/management, and emergency management.
Thomas Edison State University
Thomas Edison State University offers an online degree program to earn a Master of Science in Homeland Security (MSHS). Students learn about technology, intelligence, risk assessment, and laws. Courses cover protection policies, risk mitigation, and emergency responses to disasters and threats.
Keiser University in Florida offers a Master of Arts in Homeland Security. Classes can be taken online or at any one of the 18 Keiser campuses in Florida. The tuition is the same for online and in-person classes for all students. This program focuses on border patrol, cybersecurity, terrorist assaults, responding to natural disasters, and all homeland security issues. Students learn about the latest security technologies for risk mitigation.
Saint Joseph’s University
Saint Joseph’s University is a Jesuit school. It offers an online degree program to earn a Master of Criminal Justice with a concentration in Homeland Security concentration. This program focuses on risk assessment, emergency responses to natural disasters, and preventing terrorism.
Medaille College offers a Master of Science in Homeland Security that can be earned by taking classes online or in-person at the campus in Buffalo, New York. Subjects covered in this degree program include terrorism, disaster management, emergency management, and relief efforts to mitigate population disruptions.
Nova Southeastern University
Nova Southeastern University located in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida offers an M.S. in National Security Affairs and International Relations. This program is offered as online-only classes or a hybrid format of online work combined with in-person classes. This program covers both national affairs and international relations.
Penn State World Campus
Penn State World Campus offers a very comprehensive, 100% online Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security. This program focuses on an integrated, cross-disciplinary curriculum to help graduates understand and manage the complexities of homeland security in a global environment. Students choose from 7 specialized curriculums, allowing them to tailor their studies and match their strengths, interest, and career needs.
These specialized curriculums include:
- Base Program (policies, organization, and emergency management)
- Agricultural biosecurity and food defense
- Cyber threat analytics and prevention
- Intelligence and geospatial analysis
- Information security and forensics
- Public health preparedness
Northeastern University offers a Master in Arts in Homeland Security for students who attend in-person classes at its Boston or Charlotte campuses. This program can also be taken online. Students can take this program either full-time or part-time. The tuition is the same for all program offerings whether taking classes in-person or online.
Tulane University, located in the New Orleans area, offers a Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security Studies. The classes to earn this degree can be taken on campus, online, and in a combination of online/campus hybrid format. This program has two optional concentrations of either cybersecurity or intelligence. There is no thesis required for this degree.
Long Island University
The Homeland Security and Terrorism Institute of Long Island University offers a Master of Science in Homeland Security Management. This school has a U.S. congressional designation as a US Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence. This online program is designed for working professionals who are corporate security professionals, emergency responders, hazard materials experts, law enforcement officers, military personnel, public safety officials, and those seeking a career in the field of homeland security.
George Washington University
George Washington University offers a Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security. This is offered as in-person classes or an online program. It is designed for working professionals in the homeland security field including military and first-responders to natural disasters. Students learn the best practices for risk assessment, security, and emergency preparedness.
If you need some help understanding the specifics of these programs, please contact us for assistance. We are ready to help you!
Our Ranking Method
We ranked the schools by the time to complete the program and the total cost of tuition to get a masters in homeland security. There may be additional fees not included in the tuition costs so check with the school.
Please help us make any corrections of inaccuracies if you notice anything wrong. If you think there is a school program we left out and should have reviewed, please email us and let us know about it.