Online PhD in Homeland Security 2021

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Homeland security professionals assume many roles with one overarching mission: protect the homeland, the nation’s infrastructure, and its citizens. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) employ many highly qualified professionals. Ph.D. in homeland security graduates also find well-paying jobs with state and local governmental agencies and in the private sector.

Homeland security careers offer great earning potential. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that information security analyst bachelor’s degree-holders earn a $99,730 median annual salary.

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Many individuals pursuing this degree already possess work experience. An online Ph.D. in homeland security provides learning flexibility as enrollees enhance their credentials for career advancement. This guide provides in-depth information on the requirements for a homeland security Ph.D., career options, certifications, and scholarship funding.

Ph.D. in Homeland Security Frequently Asked Questions


  • How long is a Ph.D. program?

    Most Ph.D. programs take about 4-7 years to complete. This includes the time allotted for conducting research and writing a dissertation.


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

    Professionals with a Ph.D. in homeland security work in diverse fields, including academia, criminal justice, and disaster preparedness.


  • What do homeland security jobs pay?

    Homeland security offers numerous career possibilities with great pay. October 2020 PayScale data show that information assurance officers earn a $79,460 average salary. March 2021 PayScale data show that intelligence analysts‘ average salaries top $70,970.


  • How do you get into homeland security?

    Internships and other programs at organizations, such as DHS, provide graduate students and working professionals with invaluable hands-on experience.


Why Get a Degree in Homeland Security?

The homeland security field continues evolving to reflect increasingly complex challenges. Professionals with a Ph.D. in homeland security work at the pinnacle of their field within the private and public sectors. A homeland security Ph.D. prepares leaders with highly advanced skills to address manmade, natural, technological, and other threats. Those pursuing teaching positions in academia need a Ph.D. for faculty positions.

Most online homeland security Ph.D. programs require in-person residencies. Some offer limited residency requirements so working professionals can continue their employment while completing the degree. The curriculum structure requires students to complete coursework and high-level research for their dissertation within an established timeframe.

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How Much Does a Homeland Security Degree Cost?



Getting a Ph.D. in homeland security requires a significant financial investment. A homeland security doctorate costs anywhere between $35,000-$101,000 in total tuition. Those pursuing this degree online save on relocation, accomodation, childcare, and transportation costs. They can expect to incur some costs to attend on-campus residencies.

Degree costs vary by program and other factors, such as in-state or out-of-state residency. Some schools charge the same tuition for all online learners regardless of residency. Ph.D. students must also consider their research initiative costs as they prepare a dissertation. Students should explore each college’s financial aid packages to help determine the school’s affordability.

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How Much Do Homeland Security Majors Make?

A homeland security career offers very good employment prospects and pay. Many homeland security majors work for governmental agencies such as DHS and NSA. DHS alone employs about 240,000 staff. February 2021 PayScale data show that DHS employees make an average salary of about $80,000 annually. Individuals who become emergency management directors earn a $74,590 median annual salary, according to the BLS.

The subfield of cybersecurity and information assurance pays among the highest salaries in homeland security. It also offers among the best job growth for all occupations. DHS currently hires for positions in cyber incident response, cyber risk and strategic analysis, and intelligence and investigation.

Many homeland security professionals work in the private sector where they can make significant earnings. Information security analyst bachelor’s degree-holders with five years of experience earn a median annual salary of $99,730. The BLS projects 31% job growth in 2019-2029 for the profession.

Courses in Homeland Security



A homeland security degree at the doctoral level typically requires 60-100 credits. Schools may require degree-seekers to complete the coursework in a cohort. Classes cover highly specialized topics, including homeland security risk management, disaster management, and policy formation and analysis.

All students take a series of courses focused on advanced research methodology in preparation for dissertation research. Learners develop highly advanced analytical and research skills. Some programs empower enrollees with technical competencies in areas such as information assurance or cybersecurity. Below we list three courses representative of a sample curriculum.


  • Homeland Security Administration

    Participants explore U.S. homeland security and the key incidents that spurred policy development. They learn how organizations such as NSA and DHS implement policies and programs. The class covers the role of state and local organizations in administering security initiatives.


  • Homeland Security Strategy

    This course gives a systemic overview of strategic planning in homeland security. Students explore the vulnerabilities to the nation’s infrastructure, communities, and the U.S. border. Learners examine DHS and other governmental organizations’ anti-terrorism methods. Enrollees research ways to address future terrorist incidents and other vulnerabilities.


  • Dissertation Research Methods

    Ph.D. students’ research and dissertations add to the homeland security body of knowledge. Participants build expertise in the use of qualitative research methods and design for the dissertation process. Enrollees learn how to identify a dissertation topic, develop a research proposal, conduct a research project, and present findings.


Certifications and Licensure for Homeland Security



Professional certifications signal that the designee acquired advanced skills to perform established tasks in their profession. The homeland security domain offers several options outlined below.

Certified Homeland Protection Associate — Level I through IV


The Global Society of Homeland Security Professionals offers CHPA certification for students or graduates who complete homeland security coursework from accredited institutions. The requirements for each CHPA level vary, but include CHPA training and an examination.

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Certified Homeland Protection Professional


The National Sheriffs’ Association offers the CHPP designation to certify the holder’s skills and abilities as a homeland security professional. Candidates minimally need an associate degree with coursework in established knowledge areas, and four years of work or volunteer experience in a security field.

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Certified Information Systems Security Professional


(ISC)², an international association for information security leaders, offers this premier cybersecurity certification. CISSP validates the holder’s expertise in the design, implementation, and management of a top-class cybersecurity program. Candidates must register and pass an exam demonstrating technical proficiencies.

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Scholarships for Homeland Security



Students pursuing a homeland security degree receive scholarship funding from organizations focused on promoting careers in the field. Organizations offer tuition funding and other benefits based on scholastic aptitude, financial need, or underrepresented population membership. See below for three scholarships to jumpstart your own search.

  • CIA Graduate Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The CIA offers graduate students needs-based scholarship funding and invaluable internship experience. Full-time graduate students qualify by holding a minimum 3.0 GPA and meeting the minimum requirements to join the CIA.

    Amount: Up to $25,000 per year

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  • Ralph W. Shrader Graduate Diversity Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The AFCEA Educational Foundation awards a scholarship for qualifying women and minority graduate students. Applicants must demonstrate a minimum 3.5 GPA in an eligible major, such as intelligence and homeland security.

    Amount: $3,000

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  • International Association of Emergency Managers Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Doctoral students pursuing a focus area in homeland security, emergency management, or a related field qualify for the IAEM scholarship. Candidates submit an application that includes an outline of their professional aspirations.

    Amount: Varies

    Explore Here

Ph.D. in Homeland Security 2021

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