A career in Homeland Security can be prestigious and financial rewarding. However, these jobs are highly competitive and sought after by both college graduates and people who are already working in law enforcement. If you are seriously considering a career with the Department of Homeland Security, you may want to take advantage of the internships offered to college students. These internships focus primarily on language immersion and can help you understand the job requirements and duties. Another source of employment data can be found at USAJOBS.gov, an official website of the U.S. Government.
For those determined to pursue Homeland Security as a career, the following ranking of online colleges is intended to provide insight into undergraduate choices. No ranking system is infallible. We have relied on our subjective assessment as well as notable sources, such as U.S. News & World Report, military publications, example-Military Times, as well as the school’s history, accreditation, awards and accolades, and association with law enforcement agencies (NSA, FBI, DHS, ATF).
U.S. News has been ranking colleges in various categories since 1983. Military Times is the trusted, independent source of news, events, finance, education, and other topics for the military community. Forbes has been ranking colleges since 2008, basing their system on quality of education and achievement. Even these reputable publications should not to be taken as gospel. They are not without their detractors. Hence, we encourage prospective students to conduct your own research into the program(s) that best suits your ambitions and budget.
1. Colorado Technical University
Colorado Technical University’s (CTU) Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice – Homeland Security and Emergency Management program was developed with guidance from the Center for Homeland Defense and Security, Naval Postgraduate School. The number of quarter credits needed to complete the overall bachelor’s degree can vary based on the concentration selected by the student. At CTU, core classes comprise 56 quarter credits and include:
- Criminal Law
- Criminal Procedures
- Juvenile Delinquency
- Laws of Evidence
In addition to the 56 quarter credits needed in the core criminal justice classes, students take another 66 quarter credits in general education. Within the criminal justice major at the school, students then have the opportunity to choose one of five areas of specializations. One of which is Homeland Security and Emergency Management. While the concentration area requires completion of 60 quarter-credit hours, approximately 20 hours of these are in required coursework while the remaining 40 are chosen from elective options.
CTU’s online bachelor degree programs were recognized by U.S News & World Report in 2016. For the second year, CTU was recognized for its online Bachelor’s degree programs as well as its Master of Science in Computer Science, Master of Science in Information Technology and Master of Science in Criminal Justice. Additionally, the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recognize CTU as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense.
CTU’s Fast Track is a series of mini-modules designed to test your knowledge of key course objectives. This provides the opportunity to earn college credit for what you already know and earn your degree faster. By passing a CTU Fast Track test you can save up to 30% on time and money.
Tuition: $325 per credit hour; $210 Active Duty, Reserve & National Guard
2. Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) offers a 100% online homeland security degree program with instruction on border protection; securing airports, waterways and seaports; preparing for and responding to natural and man-made disasters; providing counter-terrorism strategies and law enforcement intelligence support; and employing the latest security technology. This Online Homeland Security program is one of the few programs in the nation based on the model undergraduate curriculum developed by the Homeland Security and Defense Education Consortium and the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security. The Homeland Security bachelor’s degree program was established in 2007 in response to the nation’s growing homeland security needs and issues.
Their online format with accelerated 8 week terms is taught by the College of Justice & Safety faculty, a national leader in homeland security and emergency management education. The minimum curriculum of 120 credits consists of 45 hours of Homeland Security Core and Electives. There are 15-17 hours of Supporting Course Requirements, 36 hours of General Education, and 18-20 hours of Free Electives.
In 2014, EKU was ranked among the Best Online Programs for Bachelor’s by U.S. News & World Report. Their online Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security has been ranked as a best value program in the OnlineU – SR Education Group’s 2016 Best Value Homeland Security College rankings. The university is listed by Forbes Magazine as being in the top 10 percent of America’s colleges and universities for the sixth year in a row. It has also been recognized by Military Times Edge magazine as second in the nation in the “Best for Vets: Colleges” issue.
Tuition: $400 per credit hour
3. American Intercontinental University
American Intercontinental University (AIU) was founded in Europe in 1970 as the American College. For more than 45 years, AIU has offered specialized, flexible degree programs. Today, it operates campuses in Atlanta and Houston as well as at AIU Online, which launched in 2001. In January 2001, Career Education Corporation (CEC) acquired the university. Over the years, the university has formed corporate alliances with 70+ companies. Examples are: AT&T, Bank of America, Boeing, Ford, Microsoft, Raytheon, and UnitedHealth Group.
Through their Educational Alliance Center, the school has created partnerships with businesses and organizations to train current employees and find quality candidates among AIU’s students and alumni.
AIU’s Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program with a Specialization in Homeland Security and Crisis Management can provide students with an industry-focused look at the relationship between police agencies and the communities they serve. Students will learn how to:
- Apply foundational knowledge of homeland security & crisis management across a range of disciplines
- Conduct risk analysis and create emergency plans and strategic communications for homeland security & crisis management
- Demonstrate foundational knowledge of laws, national security and public policies governing homeland security and crisis management
- Apply research and analysis of homeland security & crisis management issues
- Demonstrate foundational knowledge of technology and critical infrastructure protection as they apply to homeland security & crisis management
- Apply key research areas on terrorism, counter-terrorism and natural disaster concepts of homeland security & crisis management through various scenarios
This 180 total credits program has 45 credits in the specialization. This undergraduate degree can be completed online in as few as 36 months. The curriculum is comprised of 58.5 credits hours of General Education, 31.5 General Electives, 27 Lower Division, 22.5 Upper Division, 4.5 Capstone, and the balance is the specialization courses in Homeland Security and Crisis Management.
AIU’s online bachelor’s degree programs have been recognized among the country’s best, by U.S. News & World Report’s prestigious Best Online Bachelor’s Programs listing for 2016. It also earned a high spot on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans listings in 2016. The school is proud to have been named a “ TOP SCHOOL” in the Military Advanced Education 2015 Guide to Colleges and Universities. ELearning! Magazine awarded AIU a 2015 Best of Elearning! Award for Intellipath, the university’s proprietary adaptive learning platform.
Tuition: $302 per credit hour; $166.66 Military
4. St. Leo University
At Saint Leo University, faith has remained a constant since 1889, when the Florida legislature authorized the Order of Saint Benedict of Florida to establish the university. As the oldest Catholic institution of higher education in Florida, Saint Leo welcomes online learners of all faiths, and those with no religious affiliation. Today, the school is a leading Catholic teaching institution that enrolls nearly 16,000 students across their traditional Florida campus and online degree programs.
The university stepped up to serve college courses and degree programs to the military in 1973, in the shadow of the Vietnam conflict, when there were few options—and far less government aid available. In the decades since, Saint Leo University has come to be known as one of America’s largest and most committed providers of higher education to the U.S. military. This institution has partnered with GoArmyEd, the Navy College Program Distance Learning, the Air Force Academic Institution, and the Marine Corps Lifelong Learning Program. Higher education is offered through their extensive online programs and their 17 education centers on military bases in seven states.
As one of the leading military colleges in the United States, Saint Leo University has been educating criminal justice professionals for nearly four decades. In the Catholic spirit, they base the criminal justice model on a steadfast moral consciousness that recognizes the dignity, value, and gifts of all people. The Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with an online Homeland Security Specialization is offered through their School of Education & Social Services. The 120 credit curriculum explores:
- The modern Middle East
- Legal issues in counter-terrorism
- Local responses to terrorism
- Exploitable weaknesses in terrorist organizations
The degree requirements consist of Foundation Courses (12 credits), The Human Adventure (6), The Human Mosaic (3), Science in a Changing World (6), The Creative Life (6), The Reflective and Spiritual Life: Philosophy (3), The Reflective and Spiritual Life: Religion (6), Criminal Justice Core (24), Homeland Security Specialization (18), and Electives (36 credits).
Tuition: $470 per credit hour; $250 Active Military
5. Henley-Putnam University
Established in 2001, Henley-Putnam University is a for-profit American online university focused on security: intelligence management, terrorism & counter-terrorism, and strategic security & protection management. It was named to honor American Revolutionary War Intelligence Officers, Colonel David Henley and General Israel Putnam. The school is devoted exclusively to security, as is evident in the words of the founder, Nirmalya Bhowmick: “The ultimate purpose of our education and training is to enhance the knowledge of prevention and deterrence for professionals whose primary mission is the protection of human life and the freedom we now enjoy. It is continually evident to all that the need for such training is rapidly growing.”
The university is the only accredited Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DETC) university that specializes exclusively in intelligence, counter-terrorism and protection and offers over 100 courses on topics such as covert actions, counter-terrorism and intelligence team management. Their faculty members are leaders within their specialties who have served in senior roles working for intelligence organizations such as the CIA, DIA, FBI, U.S. Secret Service, and Special Forces. Equally important, their faculty members bring, on average, 21 years of practical wisdom and hands-on experience.
H-P University offers an online Bachelor of Science in 3 specialty areas:
Intelligence Management: Students will understand how intelligence manifests across many cultures and industries while integrating concepts of terrorism and proactive protection and deterrence.
Terrorism and Counter-terrorism: This program provides counter terrorism training, as well as training in threat management and counter terrorist techniques, focusing on analytical rigor, contingency planning, and proactive security measures.
Strategic Security and Protection Management: Students learn the concepts of protection management including threat assessment, physical and cyber security and workplace violence.
Henley-Putnam is aligned with various associations, some of which are: Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC), Council of Colleges and Military Educators, and the International Association for Intelligence Education.
Tuition: $168/quarter unit (lower division) or $756/course; $278/quarter unit (upper division) or $1,251/course: Each course is 4.5 quarter units
6. University of Massachusetts-Lowell
The Center for Terrorism and Security Studies (CTSS) was established at the University of Massachusetts Lowell in 2013 to bring together faculty from several colleges throughout UMass Lowell. The purpose was to work on a variety of collaborative research projects addressing the evolution, convergence and complexity of such domestic and foreign security challenges as terrorism, cyber-security, transnational crime, and weapons of mass destruction (among many other topics). Located within their School of Criminology and Justice Studies, the faculty, staff and fellows are internationally recognized experts in their respective fields: psychology, criminology, political science, education, philosophy and computer science.
The Center is a member of the University and Agency Partnership Initiative (UAPI), a program of the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security. Center faculty have also collaborated with the National Center for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) Consortium, and the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, along with many Colleges and Universities both nationally and internationally.
The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology offers a strong concentration in professional courses while simultaneously assuring the student a traditional, well-rounded liberal arts education. To provide education on the many key areas of the criminal justice system, they offer five degree concentrations, one of which is Homeland Security. Students have the option of selecting one concentration during their course of study. Choosing a concentration isn’t mandatory; those students who do not wish to concentrate in a particular subject/field will complete a general concentration.
Tuition: $375 per credit hour
7. Florida Institute of Technology
In 1958, Florida Institute of Technology was founded in Melbourne to educate professionals working on the Space Coast. Today, the regionally accredited university offers degree and certificate programs on campus, at off-site locations and online. Nearly 90% of full-time faculty members hold a doctorate or the highest degree relevant to their field. Many have worked for multinational corporations such as Raytheon Missile Systems, Xerox, Toyota and Northrop Grumman, while others own businesses or or work in law firms. Plus, the school has been ranked a Tier 1 Best National University by U.S. News & World Report. It has been ranked one of America’s “Best Value” universities by Forbes.
The school offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with a Concentration in Homeland Security which combines a broad liberal arts education with career-specific criminal justice and homeland security courses. This program, available 100% online, explores multiple aspects of homeland security, including the detection, investigation, interception and mitigation of threats to our nation’s infrastructure and security. Students will develop foundational knowledge of law enforcement, corrections and criminal justice by analyzing factors such as due process, victimology, prevention and use of force. They will also assess risks and hazards in order to develop effective response plans for natural disasters, terrorist attacks and other public safety threats.
The law enforcement-related courses delve into: Criminal Investigation, The Intelligence Process, Violent Crime, Organized Crimes, Domestic Terrorism, to name a few. In addition there are electives to be chosen from categories of Social Science, Humanities, Life Sciences, and Communications. The degree culminates in 124 credits needed for graduation.
Tuition: $510 per hour
8. American Military University
American Military University (AMU) is a member of the accredited American Public University System. Despite its name, the school has 26% civilian students and 74% Active Duty Military, Guard, Reserve and Veterans. It has been ranked on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. It is accredited by the U.S. Air Force Academy, and boasts of education over 65,000 students. AMU offers 200+ degrees and certificates with 88% of students being working adults.
The Bachelor of Arts degree in Homeland Security offers you a comprehensive education in the basics of terrorism, counterterrorism, hazard management, intelligence, and other components of national security. This online bachelor’s degree is designed to meet the employment needs of enterprises such as the Department of Homeland Security, state and local public safety entities, and large corporations. Students will receive a holistic liberal arts education that covers the range of domestic security efforts, helping to prepare you for advancement or new entry into the homeland security field. This degree program is taught by highly credentialed and experienced instructors, many who hold key positions in government agencies or public safety organizations.
A sampling of objectives of this 121 credit bachelor’s program are:
- Examine the historical and evolving concept of homeland security within the broader political and national security system of the contemporary nation-state
- Differentiate among the various homeland security threats, to include those that are man-made, technological, and natural
- Discuss the strategic, operational, and tactical threats presented by chemical, nuclear, and biological agents, to include agent characteristics and delivery systems
- Explain the key administrative and command and control elements of the evolving homeland security relationships among the intelligence community; Department of Homeland Security; interagency processes and institutions; federal, state, and local intergovernmental relations; and a comprehensive U.S. homeland security strategy
Tuition: $270 per credit hour; To minimize out-of-pocket costs for service members, they offer military-affiliated students a tuition grant that caps undergraduate tuition at $250/credit hour (military TA limit) and graduate tuition at $325/credit hour. This grant is for U.S. active-duty servicemembers, Guard, Reserve, military spouses and dependents, and veterans.
9. Tiffin University
Founded in 1888, and located in Tiffin, Ohio, the university offers professionally-focused academic programs and grants the following degrees: Associate of Arts, Associate of Business Administration, Associate of Criminal Justice, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Criminal Justice, Bachelor of Science, Master of Business Administration, Master of Education, Master of Humanities, and Master of Science. On campus and online courses are offered.
At Tiffin, many of our faculty members are managers, professionals, and consultants from business, law enforcement, and industry. They are very active in their communities and their professions, so they can tell you how the information in the textbook relates on the job. For example, we have faculty who teach homeland security who work in the Los Angeles County and Orange County sheriffs’ departments. Others are former CIA agents, and still others have worked in Air Force Intelligence.
Their online Bachelor of Criminal Justice (BCJ) in Homeland Security & Terrorism major is designed to provide you with the opportunity to understand homeland security issues and challenges in context of the new and evolving contemporary operating environment. While terrorism is certainly a key emphasis, this major also gives you the opportunity to plan for and assess real world situations from a first responder’s viewpoint. Subjects covered in this degree program include terrorism, critical infrastructure protection, emergency management, counterintelligence/counterterrorism, homeland security and the law, and covert action/intelligence.
All Tiffin University students in the online Bachelor of Criminal Justice in Homeland Security & Terrorism program fulfill their academic requirements for graduation by completing courses in the following areas:Knowledge Skills Core (16 hours); General Education Core (33 hours); Criminal Justice Core (21 hours); Homeland Security & Terrorism Major (30 hours); Open Electives or Optional Minor (21 hours). Total credit hours for completion are 121.
Tuition: $440 per credit hour
10. Thomas Edison State University
Chartered in 1972, Thomas Edison State University is one of New Jersey’s eleven senior public institutions of higher learning and one of the oldest schools in the country designed specifically for adults. The University offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs in more than 100 areas of study as well as undergraduate, graduate and professional certificates. It has been identified by The New York Times as “the college that paved the way for flexibility.” Additionally, Thomas Edison State is partnered with the National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC), and Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA).
TESU has a program called Military and Veteran Portal (MVP) designed for active duty military and veterans to learn how to earn college credit for your military training. Active Duty Personnel: Military Tuition Assistance (MTA) is available from all branches to offset tuition costs. Veterans: Post 9/11 GI Bill education benefits cover 100% of in-state tuition and help offset cost of books and fees. To learn more about using Military Tuition Assistance or your GI Bill education benefits, you can contact the school at [email protected]
The Bachelor of Science degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Management was established to provide students with a broad view of homeland security and emergency management issues focusing on policy considerations and aligning with the five National Preparedness System mission areas of prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery. Course work includes, but is not limited to homeland security, emergency management, law enforcement and business continuity issues. The program is intended for students who want to learn the fundamentals of homeland security and emergency management and prepares them for the day-to-day decision-making required in the post-9/11 era.
This 120 credit program is divided into three subject categories: General Education Requirements, Area of Study, and Electives. Some of the General Education courses include: Written Communication, Ethics, Mathematics, and Civic Engagement. Category II, Area of Study deals with topics: Terrorism, Homeland Security, Response and Recovery, White Collar Crime, Gangs, Victimology & Criminal Behavior and more. Category III consists of 27 credits of Electives.
Tuition: $385 per credit (New Jersey residents); $499 (non-residents); $250 Active Duty Military
11. Southern New Hampshire University
The state of New Hampshire in 1963 granted the university its charter, which gave it degree-granting authority. The first associate degrees were awarded that year, and the first bachelor’s degrees were conferred three years later. Today, SNHU is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc., (NEASC) through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE). Also, the school has partnered with Warrior Transition Technology Training (WT3) to help U.S. military service-members gain IT training, work toward certification and build successful careers within the high-growth, high-paying IT field.
SNHU offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Homeland Security & Counterterrorism provides a deep understanding of the threat of terrorism and how best to respond to it. This degree covers a wide array of current, real-world topics. Courses in this online program will take you deep into the realms of psychology, American politics, criminal law and subjects specific to the study of terrorism and counterterrorism. Experienced, knowledgeable faculty will help you chart your course to a professional career in any number of related fields.
There is a General Education Program spread across all four years of study. The program is made up of three interrelated components: Foundation Courses that are primarily skills-based; Exploration Courses that require students to explore courses in fine arts and humanities, social and behavioral sciences, as well as in science, technology, and mathematics; and Integration Courses in which students choose three courses from one theme-based cluster.
Some of the courses more specific to this 120 credit criminal justice degree are: Ethics and the Criminal Justice (CJ) Leader, Research Methods for CJ, International CJ, Legal Traditions, Terrorist Techniques, and Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance.
Tuition: $320 per credit hour; $960 per course; $225 per hour for Active Duty Military and spouses
12. Liberty University
Pioneering distance education since 1985, Liberty University is now the nation’s largest private, nonprofit online university. As part of the world’s largest Christian university, Liberty University Online offers a unique approach to online education. Offering more than 245 distance learning degrees from the certificate to the doctoral level, Liberty Online is training students as Champions for Christ through online education. Their online’s Bachelor’s degree programs can be completed in less time than it would take to complete a traditional degree. The specific time required to complete each degree varies according to the program chosen and credits transferred. Students earning their bachelor degree online may also be able to receive credit for real-world experience and professional training with Prior Learning & Experience.
The school offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice at the Helms School of Government. Students enrolled in the B.S. Criminal Justice program have a choice of five areas of specialization, one of which is Homeland Security. This 120 total hours program provides a solid foundation of the knowledge and skills necessary to serve and protect your community and country. The curriculum focuses areas such as security, transportation disaster response, anti-terrorism, and intelligence. The Helms School experience strives to help students stand out as Christ-centered moral, ethical, and value-driven men and women, while teaching the history, philosophy, and practical issues that impact the U.S. criminal justice system in local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.
The Helms School of Government offers junior and senior criminal justice (CJUS) majors who meet the grade point average (GPA) and completed course load requirements the opportunity to spend a semester as an intern with an approved criminal justice organization. Students have interned at: U.S. Marshalls, FBI, U.S. Secret Service, NCIS, as well as local county (Fairfax) and metropolitan police departments (Alexandria, VA).
Tuition: $455 per hour part-time; $390 full-time
13. Keiser University
Keiser University was founded in 1977 by the Keiser family. Today it has a campus in 18 of Florida’s major and mid-sized metropolitan areas/Florida communities where students are pursuing degrees in over 100 doctoral, specialist, master’s, bachelor’s and associate fields. In 2014, the U.S. News & World Report ranked the school specifically for their service to veterans (13th overall and 1st in Florida for the category of Regional Colleges South). It was also ranked at #40 among colleges within the Southern region of the United States. Plus, Keiser is internationally located beyond America’s borders with regionally accredited off-campus sites in San Marcos, Nicaragua and Shanghai, China, and learning centers in Moldova, Taiwan, and Seoul.
The school’s Fort Lauderdale Online Division (eCampus) offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Homeland Security. The program provides an understanding of essential management skills and addresses unique proficiencies needed to understand Homeland Security at the Local, State, and Federal levels. Topics include cross cultural management, emergency management planning and critical infrastructure protection. The 120 credit hours program consists of 36 hours of Lower Division General Education (GE) Courses, 24 hours of Homeland Security Major Courses, 42 credit hours of Upper Division Homeland Security Courses, and 18 hours of Upper Division General Education Courses.
The Lower Division GE courses are heaviest in Behavioral/Social Science (15 hours), followed in length by 12 hours of Mathematics. The remaining courses are: Communications, Computers, Economics, English, Humanities, and Natural Science.
A partial list of the Upper Division Homeland Security Courses are: Recognition and Investigation of Terrorism, Homeland Security Policy and Law, Critical Infrastructure Protection, and Terrorism.
Tuition: $17,488: 1 academic year (81% of E-Campus students receive federal aid)
14. Grantham University
Established in 1951, Grantham University one of the oldest accredited, private, degree-granting distance education universities in the United States. Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)), which had received formal recognition by the Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency in 1959. After Hurricane Katrina destroyed all but one building on the Grantham campus in Slidell, Louisiana, in August of 2005, Grantham relocated from Slidell to Kansas City, Missouri.
Grantham attests to being one of the best online colleges for military service members because we strive to make your college experience fit your life. This is accomplished by providing reduced military rates, scholarships, convenient weekly enrollment, and self-paced curriculum.
Grantham University’s Criminal Justice degree programs give you the depth of knowledge you need to pursue your career in corrections, law enforcement, investigations and more. Their online bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice (CJ) is designed to accommodate those requiring basic knowledge, as well as individuals seeking a comprehensive understanding of the field. This program gives you a thorough understanding of criminal justice theories, as related to practical experiences. You will learn how to analyze both theories and concepts of crime, and employ your analytical skills to make decisions and solve problems.
The 100% online format has a Homeland Security concentration within the CJ Program. The Homeland Security electives prepare you for work in areas involving the protection of our nation’s borders, and preparation for and recovery from emergencies. Graduates are qualified to work in such areas as border security and intelligence, terrorism prevention and analysis, and emergency and disaster planning. The recommended sequence of courses is as follows:
- CJ450 Understanding Terrorism
- CJ451 Principles of Terrorism
- CJ452 Terrorism and U.S. National Security
- CJ453 Border and Coastal Security
- CJ454 Elements and Issues in Counterterrorism
- CJ455 Emergency Planning
Tuition: $265 per credit hour; $250 Military & Veteran rate
15. [Removed from ranking by request]
Editor’s Note: There are two words that may stand out in their spelling: one is counter-terrorism. The Oxford Concise Dictionary (12th ed.) spells it as one word- no hyphen. The United Nations Editorial Manual Online lists it as hyphenated. The other word is: servicemember which is most often seen as a single word and this concurs with legal dictionaries.