Pursuing Your Homeland Security Degree Online

Safeguarding the nation as a homeland security professional starts with the right knowledge and training – the kind you’ll gain with a homeland security college degree. This guide answers critical questions about earning a homeland security degree online, including where to find the best programs, which degree options are available, what you’ll learn in your degree program, and more.

Last Updated: 05/11/2022

Today’s Best Online Homeland Security Degrees: 2022 Rankings

The first step in the college degree process is finding the right degree program. A good place to start your search is our list of the best online homeland security degrees. These school rankings were created using several important factors, including proper accreditation and online program availability. Another weighted factor was the school’s affordability, determined by costs and the percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself. Use the search filters below to quickly locate programs that best suit your career goals and personal preferences.

About the ranking

Methodology for the STEPS Best Online Programs in 2022

Generate List of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least one program in subject area offered partially or fully online.

Assign Impact of Data Points

After generating the list of eligible schools, the STEPS data team then assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability. Online program availability and overall affordability received the heaviest weightings.

Online Program Availability

  • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education. When unable to verify this number, a star-based system was used to signify the number of programs relative to peers.

Affordability

  • Cost:
    Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid:
    Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

Support Services

  • Academic Counseling:
    Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Career Placement:
    Existence of this service on campus or online.

About Our Data

All STEPS rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2021

1
Passaic County Community College

Paterson, New Jersey

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 68%
Online Students 1,107
2
SUNY Broome Community College

Binghamton, New York

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 20%
Online Students 1,533
About the ranking

Methodology for the STEPS Best Online Programs in 2022

Generate List of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least one program in subject area offered partially or fully online.

Assign Impact of Data Points

After generating the list of eligible schools, the STEPS data team then assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability. Online program availability and overall affordability received the heaviest weightings.

Online Program Availability

  • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education. When unable to verify this number, a star-based system was used to signify the number of programs relative to peers.

Affordability

  • Cost:
    Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid:
    Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

Support Services

  • Academic Counseling:
    Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Career Placement:
    Existence of this service on campus or online.

About Our Data

All STEPS rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2021

1
Park University

Parkville, Missouri

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 71%
Online Students 1,943
2
Angelo State University

San Angelo, Texas

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 21:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 65%
Online Students 3,833

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 21:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 27%
Online Students 1,733
4
University of Kansas

Lawrence, Kansas

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 68%
Online Students 16,307
5
East Carolina University

Greenville, North Carolina

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 49%
Online Students 15,367

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 78%
Online Students 9,184
7
Eastern Kentucky University

Richmond, Kentucky

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 77%
Online Students 4,199
8
Arkansas Tech University

Russellville, Arkansas

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 75%
Online Students 3,977
9
New England College

Henniker, New Hampshire

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 95%
Online Students 965
10
Auburn University at Montgomery

Montgomery, Alabama

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 90%
Online Students 1,996
11
Elizabeth City State University

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 60%
Online Students 1,246
12

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 60%
Online Students 5,519
13
Mercer University

Macon, Georgia

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 100%
Online Students 1,568
14
Wichita State University

Wichita, Kansas

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 65%
Online Students 4,377
15
New Jersey City University

Jersey City, New Jersey

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 74%
Online Students 3,334

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 86%
Online Students 1,568
17
California University of Pennsylvania

California, Pennsylvania

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 82%
Online Students 1,960

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 67%
Online Students 411
19
Towson University

Towson, Maryland

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 49%
Online Students 1,710
20
Saint Leo University

Saint Leo, Florida

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 100%
Online Students 2,416
21
Long Island University

Brookville, New York

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 10:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 89%
Online Students 1,395
22
Norwich University

Northfield, Vermont

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 100%
Online Students 581
23
Anderson University

Anderson, South Carolina

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 100%
Online Students 1,447
24
University of Massachusetts-Lowell

Lowell, Massachusetts

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 77%
Online Students 2,025
25
Tiffin University

Tiffin, Ohio

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 99%
Online Students 451
26
DeSales University

Center Valley, Pennsylvania

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 12:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 99%
Online Students 1,233
27
Pace University

New York, New York

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 96%
Online Students 6,166
28
Monmouth University

West Long Branch, New Jersey

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 12:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 99%
Online Students 3,126
29
Sam Houston State University

Huntsville, Texas

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 21:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 11%
Online Students 8,242
30
Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 100%
Online Students 2,532
31
Wilmington University

New Castle, Delaware

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 12:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 20%
Online Students 1,774
32
Campbell University

Buies Creek, North Carolina

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 96%
Online Students 349
33
Salve Regina University

Newport, Rhode Island

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 99%
Online Students 1,568
34
Herzing University-Brookfield

Brookfield, Wisconsin

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 12:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 36%
Online Students 167
35
Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 77%
Online Students 329
36
Endicott College

Beverly, Massachusetts

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 95%
Online Students 745

Why Pursue an Online Degree in Homeland Security?

1

Online homeland security degrees can unlock opportunities in a variety of disciplines and professions, from border patrol and immigration agents to police officers and emergency management directors to intelligence analysts and cybersecurity specialists.

2

Homeland security professionals play a crucial role in ensuring that the nation and its citizens are safe and secure against terrorism and other internal and external threats.

3

Online homeland security degrees give students the flexibility to advance their education on their time and from any location, making it a smart choice for parents, working professionals, and others with busy schedules.

Homeland Security Programs Online: 6 Options to Consider

There are six main homeland security postsecondary education options available online: associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, doctoral degrees, and undergraduate and graduate certificates. Each is designed to meet specific education and career goal needs. Learn more about each option below.

ProgramCredit HoursNormal Time to CompleteOnline Availability
Undergraduate Certificate in Homeland Security9-18Full-time: 6 months to 1 year

Part-time: 1 to 2 years
Programs are readily available online and most are offered in a fully-online format.
Associate Degree in Homeland Security60-64Full-time: 2 years

Part-time: 3 years
Most programs are offered 100% online, but some may include courses in a hybrid format.
Bachelor’s Degree in Homeland Security120-124Full-time: 4 years

Part-time: 5 to 6 years
Most programs are offered 100% online, although some include courses in a hybrid format.
Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security 9-18Full-time: 6 months to 1 year

Part-time: 1 to 2 years
Most programs are offered in a fully-online format.
Master’s Degree in Homeland Security30-36Full-time: 2 years

Part-time: 3 to 4 years
Most programs feature fully-online coursework, although some include hybrid-format classes and/or in-person internship or practicum components.
Doctorate Degree in Homeland Security40-60Full-time: 2 to 5 years

Part-Time: Up to 7 or 8 years
Didactic coursework typically offered entirely online. Programs may include in-person components (on-campus residencies, dissertation defense, etc.)

Online Associate Degrees in Homeland Security

An associate degree in homeland security provides students with foundational knowledge about terrorism, emergency management, and manmade and natural disasters, as well as emergency response and risk management skills. This online degree is primarily geared toward students seeking entry-level positions in homeland security, law enforcement, emergency management, and closely-related public service positions, as well as working professionals interested in adding major-specific proficiencies to enhance their job-growth potential. They’re also a popular option for budget-conscious students intending to continue their studies to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Online homeland security associate degrees are offered by two-year community and vocational colleges, and some four-year colleges and universities. Degree titles include:

  • Associate of Arts (AAS) in Homeland Security
  • Associate of Science (AS) in Homeland Security
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Criminal Justice with Homeland Security Specialization
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Emergency Management and Homeland Security
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Homeland Security Management

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Homeland Security

Homeland security bachelor’s degrees offer a comprehensive review of the entire homeland security field for both students first entering the homeland security profession and working professionals seeking to advance their careers. Curriculums include general education coursework along with foundational courses in criminal justice, public safety, and emergency management, and homeland security-specific courses in terrorism, intelligence gathering, border security, and more.

Online bachelor’s degree programs in homeland security are offered by both public and private four-year colleges and universities. Degree titles available include:

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Homeland Security
  • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Homeland Security
  • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Criminal Justice with Concentration in Homeland Security
  • Bachelor of Security Studies (BSS) in Border and Homeland Security
  • Bachelor of Technology (BTech) in Homeland Security

Online Undergraduate Certificates in Homeland Security

Undergraduate certificates in homeland security teach students basic concepts and common issues surrounding major national security threats. These certificate programs are geared primarily for current law enforcement and public service undergraduate students and bachelor’s degree holders interested in adding to their knowledge base to expand their career opportunities.

Online homeland security undergraduate certificate programs are offered by four-year colleges and universities, as well as a small number of two-year community colleges. Some programs require only a high school diploma for admission, while others require a previously-earned bachelor degree or current enrollment in a bachelor’s degree program. Titles for online undergraduate homeland security certificates include:

  • Homeland Security
  • Emergency Management and Homeland Security
  • Security Management and Homeland Security
  • Terrorism and Homeland Security

Online Master’s Degrees in Homeland Security

Master’s degree programs in homeland security feature coursework often focused on specialized areas within the homeland security field. Online programs are geared toward working professionals with several years of experience intent on advancing their careers into leadership positions in homeland security, emergency management, law enforcement, and criminal justice.

Programs may include a capstone project (such as a practicum or internship) requiring in-person participation, often at the student’s current place of employment or a homeland security agency in the student’s local area. Degree titles include:

  • Master of Arts (MA) in Homeland Security
  • Master of Science (MS) in Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • Master of Arts (MA) in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
  • Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Homeland Security
  • Master of Science (MS) in Counter-Terrorism and Homeland Security

Learn more about homeland security master’s degrees and browse the best programs at our online master’s degrees in homeland security webpage.

Doctoral Degrees in Homeland Security Available Online

Online doctoral degrees in homeland security are designed to qualify graduates for mid- and high-level leadership positions with homeland security and other government agencies, as well as nongovernmental organizations, and public and private security firms. They also prepare graduates for advanced research and teaching positions in postsecondary academic settings.

In-person components (on-campus residencies, dissertation defense, participation with a non-profit agency in the student’s local area) may be included. Examples of degree titles include:

  • Doctor of Professional Studies (DPS) in Homeland Security
  • Doctor of Management (DM) in Homeland Security
  • Doctor of Criminal Justice (DCJ) – Homeland Security
  • PhD in Criminal Justice – Homeland Security
  • PhD-BA (Business Administration) with Homeland Security Leadership and Policy Specialization

Online Graduate Certificate Programs in Homeland Security

Graduate-level homeland security certificates provide advanced knowledge on advanced homeland security strategies and issue to current professionals working in law enforcement, as well as non-law enforcement personnel in security-related fields like cybersecurity, defense contracting, emergency management, and engineering. Online homeland security graduate certificates are ideal for working professionals without the time or career need to earn a full master’s degree.

Online homeland security graduate certificate programs are typically offered by colleges and universities, both public and private. Admission requirements vary by program but are in most cases open to applicants with at least a bachelor’s degree. Online graduate certificates can currently be found with titles such as:

  • Homeland Security
  • Homeland Security Management
  • Emergency Management and Homeland Security
  • Terrorism and Homeland Security
  • Advanced Counterterrorism and Homeland Security

Degree Rundown: Online Bachelor’s in Homeland Security

Online bachelor’s in homeland security degree programs are very popular with students and employers alike. A homeland security bachelor’s degree opens the door to quality jobs throughout the homeland security, law enforcement, and public service fields. And the convenience and flexibility of online study allow working professionals to more easily fit a degree program into their busy lives. Below, we take a detailed look at what makes up an online bachelor’s degree in homeland security program.

Topics Covered in a Homeland Security Bachelor’s Program

Homeland security bachelor’s degree programs are designed to cover a broad range of important subjects, including:

  • Fundamentals of homeland security, including information security, industrial security, cybersecurity, and emergency management.
  • Infrastructure security, resilience, and risk analysis.
  • Intelligence and counterintelligence methods.
  • Security planning and decision-making strategies.
  • Design and evaluation of homeland security systems.
  • International and domestic terrorism threats, and other national security issues.
  • Legal and governmental policies applicable to homeland security.

5 Key Skills Learned in Homeland Security Bachelor’s Programs

1

Working knowledge of historical and current homeland security theories, concepts, and issues.

2

Ability to differentiate between the various natural, homemade, and technological threats to homeland security.

3

An understanding of constitutional, civil liberty, and ethical issues associated with homeland security and intelligence operations.

4

How to apply research-based assessment practices to data analysis of homeland security systems and situations.

5

Critical thinking, decision-making, communication, leadership, and teamwork skills as they apply to the homeland security profession.

Core Online Curriculum in Homeland Security Bachelor’s Programs

The curriculum of a homeland security bachelor’s degree program is made up of three basic course types: general education courses, core homeland security courses, and major-related electives. Common courses you’ll find in homeland security bachelor’s degree programs include:

Domestic Terrorism

This course provides a comprehensive review of the causes and results of activities of politically-motivated terrorists in the United States. Current extremist groups are identified and their ideologies and tactics examined leading to the development of effective counterterrorism strategies.

Homeland Security Law and Policy

This course provides a basic look at the fundamental legal, political, and ethical considerations taken into account when creating homeland security policies. Specific legal topics covered include national security law (including the Patriot Act) and international agreements, and the constitutional rights of individuals.

Homeland Security Response to Critical Incidents

Through a discussion and analysis of the relevant logistical, political, legal, and funding considerations, students in this course are taught how to best respond to security-critical incidents such as terrorist attacks and active shooter events.

Industrial Security

A review of security and emergency planning in factories, schools, hospitals, airports, and other industrial and aviation settings. Students learn to develop and evaluate security programs for specific industries in order to better identify and correct security gaps.

Intelligence Process

This course examines issues of national defense and homeland security as they relate to the U.S. intelligence community as a whole. A wide range of topics is covered, including the collection and sharing of information and data between international, federal, state, and local intelligence agencies.

Strategic Planning in Homeland Security

An investigation and analysis of strategic planning strategies for public and private domestic security operations. Students learn to evaluate organizational and financial policies, and create planning documents, as well as develop techniques for strategic communications. Included is a review of relevant historical events such as the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis.

Common Admissions Requirements for Homeland Security Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Specific admissions criteria for homeland security bachelor’s degree programs vary from school to school and program to program. However, applicants to most programs should expect to meet the following requirements:

  • Possess a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent.
  • Minimum GPA: Some programs require applicants to meet a stated minimum grade point average for all high school and/or previously-earned college coursework.
  • SAT/ACT scores: Programs may require submission of official test scores for either the SAT or ACT exam. Minimum acceptable scores vary by program.
  • English proficiency: Non-native English speakers may be required to demonstrate English proficiency by submission of a TOEFL or similar test score.

Tuition Costs for Online Bachelor’s Programs in Homeland Security

Paying for any online homeland security degree program is a major undertaking. But the differences in total costs between programs can be surprisingly substantial. The chart below is representative of the varying tuition amounts charged by different schools for their online homeland security bachelor’s degree programs, as of the summer of 2019. It’s important to remember that these figures represent tuition costs only, and total program costs will likely include additional fees.

School NameNo. of CreditsCost/CreditEst. Total Tuition Cost
Anderson University121$450$54,450
Eastern Kentucky University120$409

$250 for active military
$49,080

$30,000 active military
Southern New Hampshire University120$320$38,400
Thomas Edison State University120$399 in-state

$509 out-of-state
$47,880 in-state

$61,080 out-of-state
Tiffin University121$460$55,660

For more tips and advice for paying for your online education, check out our comprehensive financial aid and scholarship guides.

Accreditation for Online Homeland Security Degree Programs

Accreditation is how colleges – and their degree programs – are determined to meet specific minimum standards of academic quality. To earn accreditation, schools must apply to the nongovernmental agencies that administer accreditation and then submit proof of meeting or exceeding the accreditation standards set by those agencies.

There are two basic types of accreditation for postsecondary education: programmatic and institutional. Currently, there are no agencies in the U.S. that specifically accredit homeland security degree programs. There are, however, many agencies that accredit the schools that offer homeland security degrees. Institutional accreditation is administered by several regional agencies, as well as national organizations such as the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).

Prospective students should confirm proper accreditation for any school they are considering, including institutional accreditation by one or more agencies approved by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). Students can easily find if a school holds institutional accreditation by going to the DOE’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.