Homeland security is a relatively new field and educational path — the Department of Homeland Security was created in the aftermath of terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
Ensuring the safety and security of the U.S. from terrorist attacks and natural/man-made disasters is not new, however. Border patrol agents, immigration and customs officials, emergency management specialists, intelligence analysts, TSA screeners, Coast Guard personnel, Secret Service Special Agents and many others have long performed duties directly related to homeland security.
Students who wish to work in these careers can use the list on this page to gain insight into the 10 best colleges for homeland security degrees. Programs range from certificates in homeland security to master's degrees in homeland security with a concentration on cyber attacks and defense. Students who complete homeland security degrees should have the education foundation needed to pursue a wide range of careers that help protect American soil and its citizens.
Keep reading to learn more about our 10 top schools for homeland security degrees, as well as financial aid and scholarship information for homeland security majors, career outlooks and some of the most common career paths for program graduates.
Best Colleges for Homeland Security Degree Programs
We created a unique methodology and used data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics to produce the list of the 10 top colleges for homeland security degree programs. Students can use this list to gain insight into the requirements for each college's programs, as well as for pertinent information such as tuition costs, admissions and graduation rates. Read on to learn more about our best colleges for homeland security degrees, or click on the button below for more information about how we used the NCES data to create this list.
This private for-profit online university with a focus on providing education to the nation's military communities lands in the top spot in our list of best online colleges for homeland security degree programs based on its low cost of tuition — $6,880, best in our top 10. It also has an open admissions policy and the largest number of students enrolled in distance education programs of any college in our rankings.
APUS offers an online Bachelor of Arts degree in homeland security, and a Master of Arts in homeland security with a cyber concentration. The university also has a certificate program in the foundations of homeland security. The B.A. degree requires 121 credits to complete, and students can transfer up to 91 credits. The M.A. degree requires 36 credits, with a 15-credit transfer cap. The certificate program requires 18 credits and is designed for current TSA employees.
Located in Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, LSSU offers an associate degree in criminal justice with an emphasis in homeland security. The degree is for students interested in careers in Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs, Department of Homeland Security and similar agencies.
Students can take either a general degree path, or a certification path that culminates with admissions into the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards. Students interested in the MCOLES path must be at least 21 years of age and meet other admissions criteria. LSSU advises students who complete the associate degree program in homeland security to continue their education to the baccalaureate level to be more competitive in today's job market.
LSSU lands in the No.2 spot in our rankings based on its strong 92 percent admissions rate and overall number of homeland security degree awarded to students.
This public university in San Angelo in West Texas offers several homeland security degree programs that emphasize border security - an issue of major concern in a state that shares 1,254 miles of common border with four Mexican states.
Students can pursue the following degree programs:
- Bachelor of Security Studies in border and homeland security
- Bachelor of Border Security
- Master of Science in homeland security
ASU also offers an undergraduate certificate program in border security, and graduate certificate in homeland security. All curriculum includes study in terrorism and anti-terrorism, federal immigration laws, drug and human trafficking and similar areas of study.
At $6,892, Angelo State University has the second-lowest cost of in-state tuition among our 10 featured institutions. The university also has a favorable 77 percent admissions rate.
SUNY Canton is a public residential institution located in the town of Canton in northern New York. The college offers an online Bachelor of Technology degree in homeland security, as well as on-campus associate, bachelor's and certificate programs in homeland security.
Program subject matter grounds students in the U.S. justice system, primarily in immigration law and civil liberties, and includes a strong emphasis on how technology impacts homeland security strategies in the public and private sectors. Admission into the bachelor's program is highly competitive, though SUNY Canton has an overall 84 percent admissions rate.
The college has the third-lowest costs of in-state tuition of any institution in these rankings at $7,855. More than half of all students at SUNY Canton are enrolled in distance education programs, the second-highest number in our top 10.
This institution located in Jersey City was founded in 1927 as a teacher's college. It offers a broad range of undergraduate degree programs, including a Bachelor's of Science degree in National Security Studies.
The program provides students with an educational foundation in best practices for corporate, national and cyber security. The program requires 120 credits to complete, including 12 elective credits in national security coursework. The degree path is offered at NJCU's main campus, as well as campus locations at Wall and Edison.
New Jersey City University lands in the middle of our rankings based on its high 87 percent admissions rate — third best among featured institutions — and its favorable 13:1 student to faculty ratio. Students at NJCU also enjoy flexibility of night and evening classes, and career placement services for graduates.
Located in the city of Richmond, EKU's college of justice offers several on-campus and online degree homeland security degree pathways for students interested in careers in homeland security.
On-campus options include a B.S. degree in homeland security, a M.S. in safety, security and emergency management with a concentration in homeland security, and a certificate in intelligence studies. Distance learners can pursue associate degrees with concentrations in homeland security or security management, a B.S. in homeland security, the M.S. pathway, and four different certificate options.
Students seeking bachelor's degrees must enroll in a pre-homeland security program where they earn a minimum of 45 credits at EKU before being admitted to a homeland security major. EKU had the fourth-highest graduation rate among the colleges in our top 10, and students also can take advantage of the university's alternative tuition payment plans.
Union is a national non-profit university headquartered at Cincinnati, with additional campus locations at Hollywood, Fla., Los Angeles and Sacramento, Calif., and Brattleboro, Vt.
The university offers a bachelor's degree in emergency services management that dovetails nicely with many potential jobs in homeland security. Coursework helps develop a deep understanding of disaster and emergency management, critical incident management and homeland security. Students can transfer in up to 90 semester hours in transfer credits in the degree path, which requires a total of 120 credit hours for graduation.
Union also offers a certificate program in homeland security for working professionals with careers in public safety, emergency management, security and other related fields. The online program requires 12 credits to complete.
The university has an open admissions policy and low 10:1 student to faculty ratio, best among all colleges in these rankings. It also has the highest number of distance learners at 87 percent.
Herzing University has 10 campus locations in seven states, including its flagship campus at Winter Park, a suburban city near metro Orlando. Herzing University also has an extensive online college to serve distance learners throughout the country.
The university offers two degree programs in homeland security:
- Bachelor of Science in criminal justice with a concentration in homeland security
- Bachelor of Science in homeland security and public safety
Both programs are offered fully online and at the university's Kenosha, Wisc. campus. Each degree path requires students to complete 122 credits to satisfy degree requirements.
Herzing University makes our top 10 with the second-highest graduation rate, and students can expect a high level of interaction with their instructors due to a favorable 11:1 student to faculty ratio.
Utica College, a 128-acre campus located in a residential area in west Utica, was founded in 1946 by Syracuse University. The college offers several degree programs that could potentially lead to careers with a homeland security agency.
In addition to on-campus bachelor's degrees in criminal justice and cybersecurity, Utica College Online offers B.S. degrees in criminal intelligence analysis, cybersecurity and economic crime investigation. The online and on-campus criminal justice degree paths include specialization in homeland security. Coursework includes study in risk assessment, emergency management, disaster recovery and security administration. Bachelor degree programs require 120 credits to complete.
Utica College had the third-highest graduation rate of any institution in these rankings, and a favorable 83 percent admissions rate. The college does have the highest cost of in-state tuition among our featured institutions, however.
Rounding out our top 10 is this public research university located at Fargo. Total enrollment in fall of 2017 was just over 14,350 students. NDSU had the highest rate of graduation among our featured universities, favorable cost for in-state tuition compared to the other institutions, and the best admissions rate of any featured college without an open admissions policy.
Students interested in homeland security careers can get a solid educational foundation through NDSU's emergency management bachelor's degree program. Students must complete 122 credits to satisfy degree requirements, and they can follow pre-planned curriculum suggested by the university or design their own degree path with approval from an academic advisor. The program also requires an internship that's completed in the student's junior or senior year of study.
Homeland Security Degree Programs and Common Career Paths
There are a wide variety of jobs in homeland security that require varying levels of education, from Transportation Security Administration screeners at airports to FBI agents. Homeland security jobs can be found in every state with local, state and federal governments.
Students who earn bachelor's degrees in homeland security are well positioned for employment as border patrol agents, immigration officers and enforcement agents, security specialists, and many more fields. Here's a look at some of the many skills learned and common career paths for students who complete homeland security degree programs.
Career Outlook for Homeland Security Majors
Job opportunities in homeland security exist across numerous disciplines, which creates possibilities for trained specialists both on the frontlines of the field (customs and border patrol) as well as in the background (cyber security). Jobs exist on land, at sea and in the air. Job opportunities exists across many career paths. Chemists, for example, can work in homeland security. So can doctors, nurses, IT professionals and law enforcement officials. Like many professions, job opportunities are best for candidates with higher levels of educational obtainment. The continued threat of terrorism on U.S. soil and abroad, drug smuggling and illegal entry into the country will lead to the creation and sustained employment of students who pursue homeland security degrees.
Financial Aid and Scholarships in Homeland Security
Students enrolled in full- or part-time homeland security degree programs may receive federal aid or assistance, or they can pursue scholarships created for homeland security majors. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security offers a number of scholarships and fellowships for college students pursuing degrees in health and science, intelligence and analysis and law enforcement. The FBI has a memorial college fund for children of slain agents, and some colleges on this list, such as Eastern Kentucky University, have several scholarships available for homeland security majors.
- Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
- Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2016-17, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
- Homeland Security, Bachelor of Arts, American Public University System, http://www.amu.apus.edu/academic/schools/security-and-global-studies/bachelors/homeland-security.html
- Criminal Justice-Homeland Security, Lake Superior State University, http://webteam.lssu.edu/catalog/cmscatalog1718/Criminal-Justice-Homeland-Security.php
- Texas-Mexico Border Crossings, Texas Department of Transportation, http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/projects/studies/statewide/border-crossing.html
- Border and Homeland Security Programs, Angelo State University, http://www.angelo.edu/dept/security_studies_criminal_justice/border_security_intro.php
- Homeland Security, SUNY Canton, http://www.canton.edu/sci_health/home/description.html
- Bachelor of Science in National Security Studies, New Jersey City University, http://www.njcu.edu/sites/default/files/nss_4.14web2_bs.pdf
- Degree options, Homeland Security, Eastern Kentucky University, http://programs.eku.edu/academics/homeland-security
- Master of Science: Safety, Security and Emergency Management, Eastern Kentucky University, http://programs.eku.edu/academics/graduate/master-science-safety-security-and-emergency-management
- Online B.S. in Criminal Justice Specializations, Utica College, https://programs.online.utica.edu/programs/bachelor-science-criminal-justice/specializations#homeland?cmgfrm=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.utica.edu%2Facademics%2Fprograms%2Fhttp://www.utica.edu/academics/programs/
- Herzing University Undergraduate Program Offerings By Campus, http://catalog.herzing.edu/mime/media/21/414/January2018_Undergraduate_Program+Offerings.pdf
- Homeland Security, Herzing University, https://www.herzing.edu/public-safety/homeland-security-program
- Emergency Management, North Dakota State University, https://www.ndsu.edu/fileadmin/academic/PDF_Files/PDF_files_2017/Emergency_Management.pdf
- Emergency Services Management, Union Institute and University, https://myunion.edu/academics/bachelors/emergency-services-management/
- Homeland security undergraduate program, National Institute and University, https://myunion.edu/academics/professional-studies/certificate-in-homeland-security/
- Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-18 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.