What You Should Know About This Degree
A master’s in homeland security covers topics such as critical infrastructures, information technology, strategic management, and bioterrorism. Although some degree programs are combined with criminal justice or business administration coursework, homeland security education differs because it focuses on national security and mission-critical resource management.
While you’re researching the best homeland security graduate degrees, look for programs accredited by nationally recognized agencies. The HLC and MSCHE are the most common accrediting bodies for top master’s in homeland security programs. Other organizations include the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and American Association of State College and Universities (AASCU).
Graduates who earn a master’s degree in homeland security can take their pick of potential employers. According to DHS, jobs are available to U.S. citizens at the federal, state, and local levels. There are also a significant number of graduates employed in the private sector. DHS oversees the Coast Guard, Secret Service, and various intelligence operations.
There are no certifications or licenses required upon graduation. However, if you plan to join DHS, you’ll be required to undergo a background check and possibly obtain security clearance based on your role. A background or certification in law enforcement, criminal justice, engineering, architecture, or information technology will enhance your chances of consideration for upper-level positions.
As you evaluate master’s in homeland security programs, ask the following questions:
- Am I eligible for this program? Some master’s degree programs require a minimum score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). All programs stipulate you must have already earned a bachelor’s degree with a minimum undergraduate GPA.
- How long does it take to complete this online degree? The majority of master’s in homeland security programs we researched require completion of 30 to 36 credit hours. If you’re attending full-time, you can expect to finish the program in less than two years.
While researching degree programs, note the application requirements and deadlines. Some programs offer year-round enrollment, while others adhere to per-semester deadlines. You might need to provide professional or academic references, official transcripts, your résumé, and an admission essay tailored to the specific degree program. Gather these items well ahead of the submission deadlines.
Keep track of any degree programs that offer school-specific financial aid in scholarships, grants, or graduate assistant programs. If you have a background in law enforcement or the military, you might be eligible for additional tuition assistance as part of your benefits package. Complete the Federal Application for Free Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible to unlock the most financial aid.