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Why This Matters

Our Research

This list covers graduate programs in public safety administration that prepare graduates for leadership roles, such as emergency management director, chief security officer, and law enforcement officer. Degrees offered include Master of Public Safety & Homeland Security Management, Master of Science in Safety, Security & Emergency Management, Master of Criminal Justice, Master of Public Administration in Emergency Management, Master of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and Master of Science in Occupational Safety Management. Students can choose from on-campus, in-person, and hybrid learning formats.

National and regional accreditation is given to public safety administration programs that meet specific academic criteria and adequately prepare students for the global workforce. Accreditation is granted by peer and self-assessment. The schools on this list are accredited by the National Environmental Health, Science and Protection Accreditation Council (EHAC), Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Applied and Natural Science Accreditation Commission of ABET, WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 70 hours to write this article
  • 185 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 228 education programs we compared

The Top 49 Master’s in Public Safety Administration Degree Programs

Best Master's in Public Safety Administration Degree Programs
Intelligent Pick
Central Washington University
Best Business Focus
Oakland University
Best Environmental Focus
University of Findlay
Best Online Program
Southern Illinois University
Best Public University
Eastern Kentucky University
Best Catholic University
Lewis University
Best Christian University
Grand Canyon University
Best Criminal Justic Focus
Bowling Green State University
Best in the West
California State University, San Bernardino
Best in the Southeast
East Carolina University
Best Occupational Safety Focus
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Best Public Research University
Florida International University
Best Mid-Sized University
Florida State University
Best Private University
Franklin University
Best Private Research University
George Washington University
Best in the Non-Continental U.S.
Hawaii Pacific University
Best in the Midwest
Indiana State University
Best State University System
Indiana University Bloomington
Best Large University
Michigan State University
Best Thesis-Optional Program
Murray State University
Best in the Northeast
Pace University
Best Small University
Saint Joseph's University
Best Networking Opportunities
Southeastern Oklahoma State University
Most Customizable
Temple University
Best BS-to-MS Program
The University of Alabama
Student Recommended
University of California, Irvine
Best Faculty
University of Central Florida
Best Optionality
University of Central Missouri
Best On-Campus Program
University of Cincinnati
Best Customizable Program
University of Colorado Colorado Springs - School of Public Affairs
Best Electives
University of Colorado Denver
Best MA-to-PhD Program
University of Florida
Best Return on Investment
University of Houston-Downtown
Best Sociology Focus
The University of Iowa - College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Best Interdisciplinary Program
University of Louisville
Best Management Focus
University of Maryland Global Campus
Fasest Completion Time
University of Massachusetts Lowell
Most Flexible
University of Nebraska Omaha
Best Cohort-Based Program
University of St. Thomas, Minnesota

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What You Should Know About This Degree

When choosing a public safety career, you should also consider pursuing a master’s degree in homeland security or emergency management. Homeland security programs prepare students for future roles in the Department of Homeland Security. Students focus on predicting, analyzing, and preparing for domestic and international threats, including cybersecurity and terrorism. Emergency management programs focus on minimizing risk and implementing policies to protect people and property from disasters. Decide whether you’d like to work for a governmental agency after graduation or if you’re interested in shaping and guiding public safety initiatives across many different industries.

Certifications enable you to showcase your expertise in a particular area to potential employers. There are a limited number of senior-level positions in public safety administration. You should consider obtaining additional certifications to give you a competitive edge. The Certified Homeland Protection Professional (CHPP) and Certified Homeland Protection Associate (CHPA) are given to public safety professionals by the National Domestic Preparedness Coalition (NDPCI). The International Academy of Public Safety (IAPS) also provides valuable credentials in the field of public safety, such as the Credible Law Enforcement Organization (CLO) Certification and the Certified Credible Leader (CCL) Certification.

What’s Next?

Ask yourself these questions when researching graduate programs in public safety administration:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Students must hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a relevant field to pursue a graduate degree in public safety administration. Some programs may require professional work experience and a minimum Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score.
  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? Most master’s programs in public safety administration take two years to complete. The programs on this list require a minimum of 30 credits and a maximum of 52 credits to graduate.

Application deadlines and entry requirements are different for each program. Visit the school’s website or contact the admissions department for detailed information about the program to which you’re applying.

Consider how you will cover the costs of your higher education. Some employers may pay for part or all of your academic-related costs. You may also be eligible for federal student aid, scholarships, and grants. Research funding opportunities and turn in all financial applications on time.

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