Online Homeland Security Degrees 2021

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Homeland security professionals protect the country from internal and external threats. They identify and address situations such as domestic terrorism and foreign cyberattacks. Homeland security specialists can work in many fields, such as emergency management, cybersecurity, and aviation security.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), emergency management directors earn a median salary of $76,250 per year. The BLS projects employment for these professionals to increase 4% from 2019-2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Earning a bachelor’s degree in homeland security can lead to opportunities in this complex and challenging field.

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This guide explores courses common to bachelor’s in homeland security programs. The following sections also cover salary potential and professional certification opportunities for graduates.

Top 10 Programs for Homeland Security

Rank School Location
1 Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY
2 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide Daytona Beach, FL
3 Mercer University Macon, GA
4 Angelo State University San Angelo, TX
5 Marian University Fond Du Lac, WI
6 SUNY College of Technology at Canton Canton, NY
7 Campbell University Buies Creek, NC
8 DeSales University Center Valley, PA
9 Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL
10 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL

Frequently Asked Questions About Homeland Security


  • Q. What can you do with a degree in homeland security?

    Individuals with a bachelor’s degree in homeland security often pursue careers in emergency management, national defense, and information security. Many graduates secure positions with the Department of Homeland Security.


  • Q. How long does it take to get a degree in homeland security?

    Degree completion time varies by program. However, full-time students typically earn their bachelor’s degree in about four years. Part-time students may need six years or more.


  • Q. How much does a homeland security agent make?

    According to April 2021 PayScale data, federal special agents employed by the Department of Homeland Security earn an average annual salary of $115,295.


Why Get a Degree in Homeland Security?



Students earning a bachelor’s in homeland security gain broad knowledge in security, threat assessment, risk management, and emergency management. Degree-seekers develop the skills necessary to identify, mitigate, and address terrorist threats and other national security issues.

Graduates can pursue various careers with national defense agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security. A bachelor’s degree often qualifies holders for increased professional responsibility and earning potential.

Learners can pursue a homeland security degree online to save on higher education expenses. Many online degree-seekers also maintain full-time employment, earning an income while completing their studies.

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How Much Does a Homeland Security Degree Cost?

The overall cost of earning a bachelor’s in homeland security degree varies based on factors including type of school, program format, and the student’s enrollment status. Most public schools offer lower tuition rates than private colleges. Additionally, online students may pay lower tuition rates than on-campus learners. Students can also take advantage of accelerated enrollment options to graduate sooner and save money on tuition.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average annual cost of tuition, fees, and housing for undergraduate students during the 2019-2020 academic year was $21,035 at public colleges and $48,965 at private schools. However, online students do not generally pay for room and board, reducing the overall cost of earning a degree. Distance learning may also eliminate transportation and relocation costs.

Additional Online Student Fees for Homeland Security



Online students often pay lower tuition rates, but they may also need to cover additional fees and expenses associated with distance learning. Many schools charge technology fees for online courses, which typically help fund online resources and technical support. Online students may also need to attend on-campus seminars or events, incurring costs associated with travel and lodging.

Online learners must also cover many of the same costs as on-campus students. Distance students need to purchase textbooks and other learning materials for class. However, digital textbooks often cost less than physical textbooks. Online students may also need to pay graduation and administrative fees, even if they never visit campus physically.

How Much Do Homeland Security Majors Make?



Professionals with a bachelor’s in homeland security often pursue careers related to national defense, information security, and emergency management. Salary potential varies based on industry, educational level, and professional experience. Homeland security professionals can often increase their career and salary prospects by earning additional certifications or a graduate degree.

A professional’s industry can significantly impact their salary potential. For example, emergency management directors in the professional, scientific, and technical services industry earn an annual median salary of $106,570, while those who work at colleges and universities earn a median salary of $88,370 per year.

Homeland security graduates can also work as information security analysts, who earn an annual median salary of $103,590. After gaining significant professional experience, security analysts may secure upper-level management positions with higher salaries. For example, computer and information systems managers earn a median salary of $151,150 per year.

Courses in Homeland Security



Students earning a bachelor’s in homeland security gain knowledge in areas including public safety, emergency management, and national defense. Degree-seekers explore strategies for identifying, mitigating, and managing homeland security threats. Although curricula vary by program, courses commonly explore topics including terrorism and information security.

Bachelor’s programs in homeland security often culminate with an action research project, a thesis, or a capstone. While completing their final project, learners explore a contemporary homeland security issue.

While specific course offerings and titles vary by school, the following list highlights three courses common to bachelor’s in homeland security programs.


  • Introduction to Homeland Security

    Most programs in the field include an introductory course, which outlines guiding principles and practices of homeland security. Students examine the roles of various national defense and security agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security. Coursework also explores the intelligence community, regulatory frameworks for security agencies, and crisis preparedness and response strategies.


  • Combating Terrorism

    Homeland security professionals work to identify, prevent, and respond to terrorist activity in the United States and abroad. This course highlights the history, ideologies, and goals of terrorism, along with contemporory strategies to prevent terrorist acts. Students may also examine various types of terrorism, including domestic, transnational, and state-supported terrorism.


  • Fundamentals of Emergency Management

    The emergency management field focuses on methods and protocols for addressing disasters such as terrorist attacks. This course highlights the historical background of emergency management and covers relevant laws and policies. Students explore the major stages of the emergency management cycle, including preparation, mitigation, response, and recovery.


How To Become an Information Security Analyst

After earning a homeland security degree online, many graduates pursue careers as information security analysts. These professionals devise and implement security measures for computer systems at important organizations, such as government agencies. Information security positions typically require at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information assurance. Many bachelor’s in homeland security programs offer concentration options in cybersecurity.

Generally, information security analyst positions also require professional experience in information security or a closely related field. Homeland security students often gain experience through an internship. Candidates for some roles may need professional certifications, such as the certified information systems security professional credential.

Certifications and Licensure for Homeland Security



Homeland security specialists can demonstrate advanced skills and experience by obtaining professional certifications in their field. These certifications may qualify holders for advanced roles with more responsibilities and higher salaries. The following list highlights three popular homeland security and emergency management certifications.

Certified Homeland Security Protection Associate


The Global Center for Public Safety offers four levels of professional certification, based on the candidate’s level of experience and education. Applicants for the highest certification level need at least four years of industry experience and either an associate or a bachelor’s degree.

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Associate Emergency Manager


The International Association of Emergency Managers offers this entry-level certification for candidates who have completed at least 100 hours of emergency management training in the past 10 years. Applicants must submit an essay and three references, and they take a 100-question certification exam.

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Certified Emergency Manager


This advanced certification from the International Association of Emergency Managers requires at least three years of professional emergency management experience. Candidates must have participated in at least two functional exercises or actual emergency situations. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in emergency management need less professional experience.

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Online Bachelor’s in Homeland Security 2021



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  1. Eastern Kentucky University
    Location

    Richmond, KY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The School of Safety, Security, and Emergency Management at EKU's College of Justice and Safety offers an online bachelor's in homeland security that students can complete entirely online. The program accepts up to 90 transfer credits from accredited institutions and offers six start dates throughout the year.

    Courses follow eight-week delivery schedules with six-week summer sessions. Online enrollees must meet the same course requirements as on-campus learners. Classes run asynchronously, allowing enrollees to complete coursework around their schedules.

    Applicants must possess one of the following criteria: a cumulative 2.5 high school GPA; a composite score of 20 on the ACT or at least 950 combined verbal/critical reading score on the SAT; or 24 transferable credits from an accredited institution.

    Active-duty service members pay reduced tuition. Online enrollees pay in-state tuition regardless of residency. Curriculum includes coursework in critical infrastructure protection, homeland security technology, and risk analysis.

  2. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide
    Location

    Daytona Beach, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    ERAU's online bachelor's in homeland security comprises 123 credits and maintains a generous transfer credit policy for applicants with prior education, military training, or professional experience. Students can customize their degree by taking two minors or enrolling in a 15-credit related block of study and taking one minor. Homeland security majors can choose from 30 minors, including military science, logistics management, and international relations.

    The core curriculum for the homeland security bachelor's degree includes courses in intelligence collection and analysis; fundamentals of emergency management; and critical infrastructure security, resilience, and risk analysis. Learners must complete a six-credit capstone course prior to graduation.

    The bachelor's in homeland security qualifies for the university's 4+1 program. Undergraduate students can earn graduate credits while still pursuing their bachelor's, allowing them to complete the two degrees in just five years rather than the six years (or more) it would usually take to complete each degree separately.

  3. Mercer University
    Location

    Macon, GA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Mercer's College of Professional Advancement offers a bachelor's in homeland security and emergency management as a degree-completion program. Learners can complete the program entirely online. Courses follow eight-week delivery formats with five start dates throughout the year.

    Applicants need a minimum high school 2.25 GPA and at least nine undergraduate credits. Prospective students who do not meet the GPA or undergraduate credit requirements can contact the school for more program options. Mercer accepts up to 64 community college credits for transfer. In lieu of traditional need- or merit-based scholarships, the university offers reduced tuition rates for working students.

    The curriculum includes courses in forensic behavior, intelligence gathering and dissemination, and ethics and public safety. Enrollees must complete a fieldwork experience prior to graduation.

  4. Angelo State University
    Location

    San Angelo, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    ASU's Department of Security Studies and Criminal Justice serves as the academic arm of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Security Studies. The department offers a bachelor of security studies (BSS) in border and homeland security. Students can complete the program on campus or online. The 120-credit BSS program includes coursework in critical communications infrastructure, federal immigration law, and maritime security.

    The department also offers a bachelor of border security (BBS) for students with an associate degree from the Community College of the Air Force or for active-duty service members. BSS and BBS students can customize their program by completing a minor in one of several fields, such as cybersecurity, world cultures, or border security. Both programs require enrollees to complete an internship experience prior to graduation. Online students can complete this requirement locally with departmental approval.

  5. Marian University
    Location

    Fond Du Lac, WI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Marian's bachelor of science in homeland security follows a curriculum based on the principles established by the Department of Homeland Security and Defense Education Consortium Association. Students can choose from six start dates throughout the year and complete the program entirely online. Courses follow accelerated seven-week delivery schedules. Learners enroll in only one class each seven-week term.

    The curriculum includes classes in crisis communication, transnational threats, and emergency planning. The program follows an applied learning approach that allows students to immediately impact the field. Candidates must complete a fieldwork experience and a capstone project to earn the bachelor's in homeland security. Degree-seeking law enforcement professionals receive a 10% tuition rebate.

  6. SUNY College of Technology at Canton
    Location

    Canton, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    SUNY Canton offers a bachelor of technology in homeland security through the School of Science, Health & Criminal Justice. Applicants need at least a 2.5 GPA and must demonstrate an academic readiness to take college algebra courses. Transfer students must show completion of prerequisite courses in correctional philosophy, criminal law and procedures, and law enforcement communications. SUNY Canton criminal justice students receive admission priority.

    The curriculum includes coursework in civil liberties and homeland security, public safety incident response, immigration law and border control, and law enforcement intelligence systems.

    Learners can customize their final semester by completing an internship in an approved criminal justice or homeland security agency or enrolling in upper-level criminal justice electives. Enrollees need at least a 2.0 GPA in all major coursework to earn the degree.

  7. Campbell University
    Location

    Buies Creek, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Campbell offers North Carolina's only four-year bachelor's in homeland security. Enrollees must complete 31 of the program's 124 credits at Campbell to meet the school's residency requirement. Students can transfer up to 64 credits from an accredited institution or program and complete the degree entirely online.

    The curriculum includes classes in national and international security, critical infrastructure protection, and cybersecurity. The program includes an internship component. Enrollees must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA to earn the degree.

    Homeland security majors can apply for the Alpha Sigma Lambda scholarship, which specifically seeks to support nontraditional learners.

  8. DeSales University
    Location

    Center Valley, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    DeSales offers a bachelor's in homeland security that students can pursue completely online or during evenings on campus. An ACCESS program, the bachelor of arts in homeland security specifically targets nontraditional learners returning to school after a prolonged absence. Learners with varying backgrounds may apply. Examples include veterans and active-duty service members, high school diploma-holders who graduated at least five years prior to applying, and bachelor's degree-holders seeking a second degree or certificate.

    The homeland security curriculum includes coursework in intelligence and security, cybercrime and cyberterrorism, digital forensics, and critical infrastructure protection. Students gain access to the on-campus Homeland Security Center, which provides networking, collaboration, mentoring, training, and professional development opportunities.

    DeSales accepts up to 75 credits from other accredited institutions. Transfer courses must correspond to classes offered at DeSales. Students must complete at least 45 credits (15, three-credit courses) at DeSales to earn a degree.

  9. Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale
    Location

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Keiser focuses on serving the educational requirements of nontraditional learners. The university offers a bachelor's in homeland security that students can pursue online or at one of Keiser's Florida campuses.

    The 120-credit bachelor of arts program focuses on developing essential management skills and addresses specific proficiencies required at the local, state, and federal levels. Learners must complete 66 credits of lower- and upper-division major coursework, with the remaining credits made up of general education requirements. The curriculum includes courses in homeland security policy and law, tactical communications, and catastrophic event response planning.

    Enrollees must complete a capstone project that focuses on a current or emerging topic in public safety.

  10. Saint Leo University
    Location

    Saint Leo, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Saint Leo offers a bachelor of arts in criminal justice with a specialization in homeland security. The FBI National Academy Associates acknowledges the university as an approved educational partner, which helps keep courses relevant and practice-oriented.

    Saint Leo follows a rolling admissions policy for its online programs and maintains six start dates throughout the year. First-year applicants must submit their high school or GED diploma and the results of any standardized testing or training program for possible academic credit. The university considers applicants with at least 19 college credits (with a GPA of 2.0 or higher) to be transfer students and may require them to submit additional documentation.

    The curriculum includes courses in international and domestic terrorism; law enforcement ethics; legal issues in counterterrorism; and Middle Eastern political, economic, and religious aspects. Degree-seekers must complete an internship prior to graduation.

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