Why Pursue a Master’s in Homeland Security? 

Homeland security is one the fastest growing sectors of the American job market–a trend that is mirrored around the world. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), growth in homeland security careers is projected to grow a whopping 31% from 2019 to 2029. 

This growth rate is many times greater than the national average, and distinguishes homeland security as one of the most promising careers available to prospective professionals. With such promising metrics homeland security is also becoming increasingly competitive–that is, while more jobs are becoming available, the best jobs require more advanced education. 

Elevating your Career with a Master’s Degree in Homeland Security

For prospective students, a major component of deciding whether to invest in a master’s degree program is if it is likely to generate a return on the student’s investment. A graduate program represents a tall order in terms of investment–in time, money, and effort. So choosing a healthy job market is crucial for students to maintain confidence that their investment is well-placed.

 Considering the stellar job market mentioned above, earning a Master’s in Homeland Security is an excellent investment. Not only is there explosive growth in this sector of the job market, but many of the best positions require a master’s level education. Many of these top tier positions represent incredibly lucrative opportunities as well–meaning that if you want to build a career in homeland security and you have the available resources to enroll in a graduate program then there are very few–if any–reasons to not pursue a Master’s of Homeland Security.

Ranking Methodology 

In this ranking we have limited our entries to programs that offer fully online Master’s of Homeland Security. With such a promising job market, both first-time students and working professionals are showing an interest in graduate homeland security programs. The flexibility and accessibility of online programs offer the lowest barrier of entry to such individuals who may wish to pursue a degree amidst employment or without having to relocate. 

In short, online degree programs provide the most accessibility to the greatest number of students. Moreover, many of these online programs represent some of the best in the country, and so there is no sacrifice of quality or prestige for this accessibility. See the metrics below for a closer look at how we organized this ranking:

  • Reputation 

The overall clout of an institution and the reputational value conferred to its degree holders. 

  • Number of Specializations

Being able to pursue your desired area of specialization is often as important as anything. 

  • Graduation Rate 

Given the time and investment involved in a Master’s degree, we have weighted programs where students see this investment more regularly come to fruition in graduating from the program. 

Best Masters in Homeland Security

  1. Trident University
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Trident University is a premier institution in providing affordable degree programs to adult learners. Trident’s programs are offered entirely through an online format that commits to providing students a high level of flexibility. Students will be able to create their own coursework schedules around important deadlines, so that they can earn a degree amidst a fulltime job or demanding family life. Trident University has also earned a reputation for offering affordable degree programs, meaning that many of its programs represent some of the most flexible and affordable–and therefore most accessible–programs in the country. 

Among these programs is a fully online Master of Science in Homeland Security (MSHLS). The program is designed to accommodate both civilian and military students, and the curriculum prepares students to tackle terrorist attacks, domestic emergencies, and natural disasters. The curriculum is designed to reflect the real world interests of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Furthermore, students are able to build expertise through pursuing one of the following course concentrations: 

  • Cybersecurity 
  • Emergency and Disaster Management
  • Leadership  
  • Logistics

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  1. Arizona State University
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Few schools demonstrate a more feverous pursuit of innovation than Arizona State University (ASU). Recognized as the most innovative school in the country by US News & World Report, ASU proves its title by consistently delivering on its promise to provide academically rigorous, flexible, and affordable degree programs to whomever seeks professional development. Through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous online degree programs, distance learners can choose what course format best accommodates their needs. 

Among these fully online degree programs is a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Emergency Management and Homeland Security. This program is recognized as one the best Master’s degree programs in Emergency Management and Homeland Security (EMHS) year after year. Students in this program will learn from industry-leading faculty how to manage national security concerns and mitigate natural disasters.

Should students desire to build specialization they can choose from one of the following course concentrations: 

  • Biosecurity and threat management
  • Community resilience
  • Emergency management
  • Homeland security
  • Cybersecurity policy and management

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  1. Towson University
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Towson University of Baltimore, Maryland is the twelfth-largest public university in the country. Originally founded in 1866, Towson now offers over 110 undergraduate and graduate degrees in areas of business, psychology, nursing and more. But most of Towson’s growth can be attributed to its recent expansion into digital learning. Many of Towson’s most prestigious degrees can now be completed online. 

Among these online degree programs is a Master of Science in Integrated Homeland Security Management. This program prepares students to take on managerial roles in homeland security operations after graduation. Given the multidisciplinary nature of a managerial role in this sector, students will cover a wide array of coursework and sciences. 

To accomplish this students will choose from one of three specializations: health preparedness, information assurance, and security policy. Once a specialization is chosen, students will then take two courses from the other specialization tracks to ensure multidisciplinary preparation. 

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  1. Sam Houston State University
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Sam Houston State University (SHSU) has carved out a name for meeting the needs of “at-risk” students. Where some universities might see only risk, SHSU has shown its willingness to help students in tough situations build toward successful careers. This is just one angle to SHSU’s commitment to real-world-relevant education programs, which prepare students to excel in their future careers. 

Among these career-focused degree programs is a fully online Master of Science in Homeland Security–though there is an on-campus track as well. Whether on campus online, students will learn to balance the theoretical and factual elements in national security operations. 

By balancing these methods of critical thinking, students will learn how to navigate high stakes situations in order to employ the most effective strategy. Similarly, students will study past events and developments in the world of national security in order to better grasp the direction of the industry and capitalize on impending industry needs. 

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  1. Bellevue University
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As a relatively young university founded in 1966, Bellevue University has demonstrated explosive growth. This growth is all the more impressive by the fact that Bellevue is a non-profit, open-access institution–that to date has built an alumni network of more than 50,000 graduates around the world. This explosive growth is due to Bellevue’s clear commitment to providing an education that propels professional success. 

Bellevue University employs a proprietary learning technology called Real Mastery that guides students toward success. Real Mastery is designed to reinforce learning materials so that students not only retain information but also understand material in the framework of what future employers expect. 

Specifically, this career-focused philosophy manifests in a Master of Science in Security Management. The program’s focus on coursework–which reinforces qualities of leadership and managerial skill–is meant to prepare students to take on management positions related to national security operations. Specifically, students of the program will build skills in the following areas: 

  • Security and law enforcement
  • Crime prevention
  • Threat assessment
  • Public safety
  • Criminal justice

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  1. Northeastern University
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Northeastern University represents one of the few American universities to break into education at the global scale. With research centers located around the world Northeastern has received $182.6 million in external research funding. With a professional network of researchers, faculty, and corporate partners around the world, one could make the argument that Northeastern University is one of the most well-connected institutions of higher education in the world.

Being so well-connected both at home and abroad, Northeastern leverages this network to elevate its Homeland Security program. Specifically, the program is offered as a Master of Arts in Homeland Security, which students can complete entirely online, on-campus, or through a hybrid program format. 

This program is designed with real world considerations in mind, conducive to the interests of the United States National Intelligence Agency and Department of Homeland Security. This is evidenced most clearly in the career trajectory of graduates, many of whom have found employment in the U.S. Secret Service, FBI, and Department of State. 

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  1. Virginia Commonwealth University
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Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) has earned national renown for producing successful professionals across various industries, and is ranked among the top 100 U.S. schools by the National Science Foundation. This reputation is well-earned, specifically by the school’s entrepreneurial alumni and community services outreach professionals. 

Entrepreneurial alumni are among the most successful alumni in the religion, and generate funds to the tune of $2 million in grants, investments, and revenue annually. Similarly, VCU participates in community service on a massive scale, contributing more than 1.3 million hours every year. Academically, VCU is reaching more students than ever by now offering many of its best degree programs in an online format. 

Among these is a Master of Arts in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. Students can complete this program online or on-campus through the The L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs. This school provides a top-tier education in homeland security in fulfilment of its perceived duty to positively influence private and governmental sectors by increasing safety and emergency response capabilities.  

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  1. Northwestern State University of Louisiana
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Northwestern State University of Louisiana (NSULA) has demonstrated its commitment to adult learners and students who wish to pursue a degree amidst demanding work schedules and family lives. NSULA services these kinds of students by providing academic and financial flexibility. 

Specifically, NSULA offers a flat-rate tuition, so that there will not be any surprises concerning tuition payments; and also offers academic flexibility to students through an array of online, on-campus, and hybrid degree programs. Among these online degree offerings is a Master of Arts in Adult Learning and Development with a concentration option in Homeland Security. 

Providing a homeland security education in the context of an adult learning and development degree means that students will cover coursework based on educating, training, and cultivating clients and employees in the industry. Specifically, students in the program will learn to prepare and manage large-scale disaster scenarios and national security drill simulations. 

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  1. Monmouth University
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Monmouth University takes pride in providing a personalized education to students by ensuring they feel cared for and guided throughout their degree program. This fact is mirrored in the University’s commitment to providing both undergraduate and graduate students a plethora of opportunities throughout their enrollment. For instance, Monmouth offers undergraduate students several paths to research opportunities and offers graduate students faculty mentorship programs. 

Monmouth’s degree programs typically offer numerous options for students to tailor programs to meet individual desires and career goals. Monmouth offers a  Master of Arts in Criminal Justice with a track in Homeland Security that is completed in 30 credit hours of coursework–where students complete 15 credit hours in criminal justice and 15 credit hours in homeland security. 

This program is an excellent option for students who want to pursue a degree in homeland security that covers the legal considerations and governmental policy issues typically associated with a criminal justice degree. 

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  1. George Washington University
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George Washington University (GWU) is an internationally recognized name in higher education, a reputation that is well-earned through a rich history of academic excellence that has produced many hugely successful alumni. Being located in the Nation’s capital, GWU provides students with a network of international researchers and professional opportunities. 

GWU has proved its willingness for innovation in recent years, as it led the industry in offering many of its most successful degree programs online. Among these online degree programs is a Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security. Students of the program will learn how to employ innovative problem solving in problems of national security. 

Coursework prepares students to take on roles of excellence and leadership after graduation. Specifically, students will master the following subject areas: 

  • Counter-terrorism
  • Intelligence analysis
  • Emerging security threats
  • Relevant legislation

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  1. Mississippi College
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Founded in 1826, Mississippi College is the oldest institution of higher education in the state. Since its founding Mississippi College has continuously grown and innovated to meet the needs of new generations of students and adapt to the ever changing landscapes of higher education. Throughout all of the growth and evolution the college remained true to its origins and core philosophy–that is, providing academically rigorous degree programs in the context of further the cause of Christ. 

Students can expect degree programs to incorporate christian ideals insofar as they relate to community and professional leadership, and the pursuit of one’s highest potential, particularly in adult and distance learners. One way that Mississippi College accommodates adult learners who wish to actualize their professional potential is by offering fully online degree programs that offer the flexibility needed to earn a degree amidst full-time employment or demanding family responsibilities. 

Among these online program offerings is a Master of Social Science in Homeland Security. Positioning the homeland security degree in a social science program allows course instructors to dive deeply into social dynamics of public administration, and how to work effectively within these dynamics as homeland security professionals. 

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  1. Wilmington University
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WilmU is a private, non-profit, open-access university that provides affordable state tuition to all its students. Among its primary values, WilmU seeks to offer adult learners, busy professionals, and high school graduates equal opportunities for affordable professional development through over 200 degree and certification programs. And within each of these programs, students enjoy small class sizes so that they own an appropriate share of professors’ attention and guidance. 

WilmU offers a fully online Master of Science in Homeland Security through the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. This program provides the flexibility that allows both civilian and military students to complete coursework when and where best fits their schedules. Further complimenting this flexibility, students are able to personalize their degree by choosing from one of the following concentration tracks: 

  • Military Leadership 
  • Safety and Security 

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  1. Angelo State University
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Founded in 1928 Angelo State University has grown to become a nationally recognized institution of academic excellence. Evidencing this is its continuous ranking among Princeton’s “Best Colleges” since 2010. Over 100 majors and concentrations are offered through Angelo States’ six colleges, many of which are designed to accommodate adult learners and distance students. 

The College of Graduate Studies and Research offers a Master of Science in Homeland Security that can be completed entirely online. In the program students will learn the foundational concepts of national security, and how it is enforced both directly in homeland security efforts and indirectly in policy, public administration, and law enforcement. 

Coursework is delivered by faculty who are recognized leaders in the field and who strive to provide students with an education that will help them jumpstart careers after graduation. Students can choose to take electives focused on border security services to further build specialization.  

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  1. Saint Joseph’s University
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Beginning as just an idea as far back as 1741, SJU was not formally founded until 1851 due to the cultural pressures that Jesuit institutions faced during that time. Today, SJU demonstrates the validity of the original idea from over two hundred years ago. SJU is a well-known institution of higher education and has earned numerous accolades and recognition for its various degree programs at the associate, undergraduate, and graduate level. 

SJU offers a Master of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Homeland Security. Students of the program will complete 30 credit hours of coursework in concepts and theories designed to prepare students for positions in the Department of Homeland Security. Specifically, the program prepares students to take on employment in any of the following areas: 

  • Mission support
  • Law enforcement
  • Immigration and travel security
  • Prevention and response
  • Border Security 
  • Transnational crime

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  1. University of Massachusetts Lowell, UMass Online
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While many universities only recently began to offer online degree programs in response to market acceptance, the University of Massachusetts spearheaded the development of its online education programs nearly 20 years ago in UMass Online. Today, UMass Online offers over 180 of its degrees and certification programs that can be completed by students anytime and anywhere. 

Among these online degree programs is the Master of Arts in Security Studies: Homeland Defense Concentration. Students of the program will learn how to strike the balance between top-down considerations of policy and administration with bottom-up processes of human behavior, technology systems and intelligence analysis.

A unique offering of this program is that students will be able to cultivate professional interests and build toward expertise by conducting research in areas of opportunity offered by the UMass Center for Terrorism and Security Studies.

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  1. American Public University
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American Public University was founded on the idea that education programs should excel at helping adult learners achieve professional advancement. In fulfillment of this ideal, APU offers a host of online degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. Classes start monthly and run of cycles of 8 to 16 weeks, so that working students can plan around professional and family responsibilities. 

APU offers some of the most affordable tuitions around, starting at just $285 per credit hour, so that students can enroll in programs and build towards professional advancement without breaking the bank. Among these is the fully online Master of Arts in Homeland Security taught by faculty who bring real-world experience to the table from employment in the U.S. Military, Department of Defense, and other governmental agencies. 

Students will tailor coursework to match professional interests and aspirations. Specifically, students will choose one of the following concentrations: 

  • Business Administration (12 semester hours)
  • Counter-Terrorism Studies (12 semester hours)
  • Criminal Justice (12 semester hours)
  • Cyber (12 semester hours)
  • Emergency Management and Public Health (12 semester hours)
  • General (12 semester hours)
  • Intelligence Studies (12 semester hours)
  • Transportation Security (12 semester hours)

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  1. Pace University
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For many students the value of an education is in its ability to create upward economic mobility, or in other words the ability to create financial and professional success. Few institutions have demonstrated more success in this area than Pace University which ranked 1st in the nation for creating financial success in its graduates according to Harvard University’s Opportunity Insights. Pace’s motto is “Opportunitas,” and with the advent of online education Pace is able to offer more opportunities to students than ever before. 

Pace University’s Dyson College of Arts and Sciences offers a Master of Arts in Homeland Security that is completed entirely online. The program offers a curriculum designed to accommodate the real-world demands of the national security industry, and as such is partnered in the Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) University Agency and Partnership Initiative (UAPI).

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  1. University of Maryland Global Campus
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The University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) is driven by a core focus on delivering options for education and professional development to adult learners. UMGC is an open-access, military friendly institution with a rich history in servicing veterans and active-duty personnel. In 1949 UMGC was the first of its kind to send education professionals overseas to help educate active duty soldiers in Europe. 

In order to continue with this tradition, UMGC developed its online education resources in recent years to offer many of its best programs to distance students. Among these is a Master of Science in Management with a specialization in homeland security management. This program is uniquely suited to prepare students to take on positions of management in the homeland security industry after graduation. 

By narrowing the focuses of the curriculum, students will be able to dive deeply into elements of the industry that are more peripheral in other programs. The quality of this strategy is verified by the program’s various accolades including its designation as a ‘National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense Education’ by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security.

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  1. Tulane University
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Tulane University’s School of Professional Advancement (SoPA) is designed to help working students reach their goals. SoPA is composed of internationally recognized faculty who bring career-relevant experiences to each degree program. The SoPA’s focus on helping students achieve successful careers is continued even after graduation, as Tulane’s alumni network is one of the most active of its kind, and works to provide opportunities to recent graduates. 

The SopA offers a fully online Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Homeland Security Studies. This program covers coursework that represents a comprehensive exploration of industry practices, administrational structures, and governmental policy in the context of securing and maintaining the safety of American citizens. Students can choose to explore more specialized coursework by choosing one of the following concentrations: 

  • Cybersecurity 
  • Intelligence 

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  1. Drexel University
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Drexel University is a regionally accredited institution that has received national recognition for its interdisciplinary design of career-focused degree programs. Drexel University’s core mission is to provide “practical education for professional success.” An interesting feature of Drexel is its Digital Dragon program, which is a cohesive strategy for uniting alumni into a network of professionals who pursue mutual success. 

For students who wish to take a different approach to homeland security, Drexel offers a Law degree in Cyber Law and Data Security in the context of national security. In this program, students will learn how national and international policy informs the legal landscape of national security. 

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  1. Colorado Technical University
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Founded in 1965, Colorado Technical University (CTU) has built a respected reputation in providing students with degrees in business and high-tech industries. CTU was also among the first in the nation to spearhead online learning technology, and today offers a robust online learning department with faculty who specialize in distance learning programs. 

CTU offers a fully online Master of Science in Criminal Justice with a Homeland Security concentration. Students of the program will explore the foundational concepts relating to the challenges faced by criminal justice practitioners who work to enforce national security. As part of this process, students will become experts of the national and international policies that reside at the center of these issues. 

CTU’s online Master of Science in Criminal Justice is consistently recognized year after year as one of the best of its kind. 

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  1. Nova Southeastern University
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The Nova Southeastern University College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences looks to create a new generation of thinkers who are prepared to tackle the real world problems ahead. Specifically, the Department of History and Political Science looks to enhance the learning experience of students by creating internship opportunities both at-home and abroad, facilitating mentorships, and by providing culturally diverse perspectives. 

The Department offers a M.S. in National Security Affairs and International Relations that looks to provide an advanced education in homeland security in the context of international policy and concerns. While many programs will focus mostly on national security as defined by the US Department of Homeland Security, this program employs a unique focus in exploring various approaches, dynamics, and theories of national security that play out around the world. 

Students can pursue coursework in a desired area through choosing from the program’s wide array of diverse electives. If students wish to pursue professional specialization there is a Cybersecurity degree concentration option as well. 

  • Cybersecurity 

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  1. Penn State World Campus
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Penn State is one of those universities that confers great value to the degrees of its alumni. With a storied reputation of academic excellence stretching back as far as 1855, Penn State’s name is known all around the world–which does matter when you want your future employer to be impressed by your education. Penn State also boasts the largest alumni network in the nation, which represents a tremendous professional resource for students. 

Penn State World Campus offers a fully online Master of Professional Studies in

Homeland Security – Counterterrorism. The program takes a unique approach to the subject of homeland security, and focuses coursework on the history and evolution of counterterrorism tactics both at-home and abroad. If students wish to take a more general approach to advancing their studies in homeland security there is a general studies track option as well. 

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  1. Tiffin University
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Founded in 1812 Tiffin University is an independent nonprofit institution based out of north central Ohio. Tiffin distinguishes itself by committing to creating accessibility for its students–both academically and financially. Amidst notably affordable tuition rates more than 80% of students receive financial aid. And further increasing the accessibility of its programs, no GRE scores are required for admission eligibility into any of Tiffin’s 40 online and on-campus degree programs. 

Tiffin University offers a MS in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Homeland Security. Students of the program will learn to master the critical thinking and high-stakes judgments involved in responding to national emergencies, natural disasters, or terrorism events. The criminal justice background lends itself to a focus on relevant dynamics of legalities and public administration.

Students can build toward specialization by pursuing a degree specialization in any of the following areas: 

  • Crime Analysis
  • Criminal Behavior
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Homeland Security
  • Homeland Security Administration
  • Justice Administration

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  1. Walden University
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Walden University is an internationally recognized name in online education, mostly known for its flexible online degree programs, affordable tuition, and career-focused curriculum. Walden is an institution that played a large part in driving the recent explosion of online education by being one of the first universities to go all-digital. Walden leverages this expertise in digital education by providing an online learning support team that helps students navigate distance learning technology, so that technical problems don’t interfere with education. 

Walden offers a Master of Science in Criminal Justice with Homeland Security Policy and Coordination specialization. Students of the program will learn how to navigate the various problems and considerations that homeland security professionals encounter everyday. Specifically, coursework covers the following major areas: 

  • Foundations of Graduate Study
  • The Nature of Crime and Criminology
  • Controversies in Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Justice Research
  • Special Populations

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Related Resources:

Top 10 Graduate Degree Programs in Criminal Justice