Earn an online master's degree in homeland security and kick your career into high gear. If you're interested in public safety, national security, emergency management, or disaster preparedness, a degree in homeland security is perfect for you. Even if you already have a bachelor's degree - whether in a related field or not - graduate programs are designed to take your knowledge and skills a step further. In addition, homeland security graduate programs that include a focus on leadership give graduates a serious edge when applying for management positions in the field.
Below we have listed the most affordable online degrees in homeland security. We considered online those at accredited institutions. We sourced our tuition information from the U.S. Department of Education's College Navigator database. Although our main focus was to share the 20 least expensive programs, many of these schools also qualify as the best online master's degrees in homeland security in the nation. The most expensive college we included (listed first) is still less than $14,000 a year - far below the cost of education at many other private and public schools. On the other hand, the least expensive school (listed last) caps tuition at less than $6,000 for a full-time course load. You're guaranteed to find an affordable university, but you can also find a quality one, too. Note how many of these schools have received commendation from U.S. News, Forbes, Princeton Review, Kiplinger's Personal Finance, and other major players in higher education.
Ranking the Top Cheap Online Masters' in Homeland Security Degree Programs
20. Northcentral University
Online Master of Business Administration in Homeland Security
Northcentral University differs from some other schools in that it offers an MBA instead of a master's degree in homeland security online. This means that a large chunk of the course focuses on such essential skills as business analysis, organizational leadership, and fiscal management. However, many classes also explore topics in emergency medical care, law enforcement, and matters of public safety. Students must demonstrate research and computer proficiency skills in order to acquire a diploma, as well as pass a rigorous final Capstone Course. Northcentral is ACBSP-accredited and touts 100% approval ratings from alumni on College Prowler for its knowledgeable professors and highly satisfied students.
19. Capella University
Online Master of Science in Homeland Security
Capella University's online master's degree in homeland security, nested within its School of Public Service Leadership, boasts incredibly qualified faculty with professional experience working for the Department of Homeland Security, National Security Agency, and Federal Emergency Management Agency. These professors provide up-to-date, contemporary training on such relevant issues as National Security and Intelligence, the Psychology of Homeland Security, and Public Safety Leadership. Student satisfaction ratings clearly indicate the school's dedicated attention to learners; 91% express "overall satisfaction" with Capella, while 90% would recommend the university to others. The online element of Capella's program offers many more resources than most distance education degrees. Students receive not only quarterly grades, but ongoing feedback that provides visual progress reports about students' competencies and met criteria.
18. Colorado Technical University
Master of Science in Homeland Security Online
Students who want to earn a very specific degree in homeland security can explore the numerous options at Colorado Technical University, which offers additional specializations. In addition to applying to the online master's degree in homeland security, students can also choose to concentrate in Cybersecurity Policy, Emergency Management and Public Health, or a General Track. The core curriculum explores topics such as terrorism, government security, intelligence organizations, and policy challenges. Students can even take an entire class in research methods and critical thinking, and finally apply their knowledge in a Capstone Course. Alumni and employers alike have rave reviews for CTU; nearly 80% of students report satisfaction with their education, while 100% of employers said that CTU grads perform as well or better than other workers.
17. Eastern Kentucky University
Online Homeland Security Degree Program
A regionally accredited online master's degree in homeland security, EKU's prestigious program calls itself a "national leader" in homeland security education. The curriculum goes beyond the basics, encouraging students to delve into the details of border protection, intelligence support, security technology, natural disasters, and counterterrorism strategies. Students who might be interested in multiple subjects could choose a concentration in Emergency Management or earn a certificate in Security Management or Intelligence Studies. Among other distinctions, EKU has earned the title of a "Best for Vets" college and is consistently listed in the top 10% of American colleges in Forbes magazine.
Tuition: $8,190/yr (In-state) $14,040/yr (Out-of-state)
16. Thomas Edison State College
Online Master of Science in Homeland Security
Thomas Edison State College has earned quite the reputation as a top provider of distance education. The New York Times first recognized TESC more than a decade ago as "one of the brighter stars of higher learning," and most recently the National University Technology Network awarded the school a "Distance Education Innovation Award." Ever expanding its program options, TESC now offers an online master's degree in homeland security. The 36-credit program covers terrorism, natural disasters, global intelligence, information security, and pandemics and bioterrorism, just to name a few topics. Although the program typically takes 6, 12-week terms to complete, it is highly flexible and largely contingent on an applicant's past education and work experience.
15. Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Online Master of Science in Homeland Security
Students who attend the Northwestern State University of Louisiana have the unique opportunity to enjoy big-campus resources in an intimate online learning environment. Resources include an online library database, partnerships with several other off-campus institutions, and an updated "Moodle" virtual platform. Students in the affordable online master's degree in homeland security program (just over $5,000 for in-state residents!) enjoy a global approach to issues in homeland security. Classes cover both domestic and international terrorism as well as intelligence analysis, diplomacy, conflict resolution, and even covert operations. Highly regarded as a friend to veterans, NSU has earned accolades from both Military Advanced Education and Victory Media for the outstanding assistance it offers to members of the armed forces.
Tuition: $5,388/yr (In-state) $15,508/yr (Out-of-state)
14. East Carolina University
Online Master of Science in Security Studies
The East Carolina University program's novelty works to its advantage, featuring modern online learning tools, contemporary curriculum, and an interdisciplinary format. Technically the degree is actually in "security studies," and core courses focus on the foundations of national security policy. However, students who choose an emphasis in Homeland Security Policy will get all the training they need for a successful degree in the field, and may also be able to explore some elective classes in science and technology, environmental and occupational health, and international security. A majority of survey respondents on College Prowler report that the professors are knowledgeable, students are highly satisfied, and the coursework is manageable.
Tuition: $4,223/yr (In-state) $16,540/yr (Out-of-state)
13. National University
Online Master of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management
National University's online master's degree in homeland security, which also includes education in emergency management, uses real-world experiences to help prepare students for their careers. Classes address some of the most relevant events in the United States' recent history, including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and the wildfires in Southern California. A truly interdisciplinary program, this graduate degree covers subjects related to engineering, management, and environmental science, as well as national security. NU is particularly attractive to minority students, as the school as recently earned several accolades for its impressive support of Hispanics, African Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans.
12. Excelsior College
Criminal Justice - Online Master's Degree with a Concentration in Homeland Security and Emergency Management
The Public Service department at Excelsior College is small but powerful. Offering just a single master's degree in criminal justice, program faculty focus all their energy on students studying law enforcement and justice studies. The program functions essentially as a master's degree in homeland security online, as the only available concentration is in Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Excelsior's greatest advantages include a generous transfer policy, extreme affordability, and convenient flexibility in class schedules. In 2008, U.S. News & World Report ranked Excelsior 1st in the nation for transfer students, thanks to the school's willingness to accept not just courses from regionally accredited institutions, but any previous work that Excelsior faculty deem applicable to the degree in question.
11. University of Maryland University College
Online Master of Science in Management: Homeland Security Management
The University of Maryland University College is a well-known, respected online college with an extensive selection of degrees available. Its affiliation with the University of Maryland, the distinguished state college of Maryland, ensures that its academic programs are both reputable and reliable. In addition, its steep discounts for members of the armed forces have earned the school a "Military and Veteran Friendly School" label. The accredited online master's degree in homeland security features classes in Critical Infrastructures, Biosecurity and Bioterrorism, Energy Infrastructure Security, Resilience Planning and Preparedness, and the Ethics of Information Assurance. The ultimate class is a seminar in homeland security, a discussion-based course that allows students to evaluate contemporary issues in the field.
Tuition: $8,244/yr (In-state) $11,862/yr (Out-of-state)
10. Towson University
Online Integrated Homeland Security Management (M.S.)
Towson University, another Maryland institution with a strong reputation for academic excellence, offers a top online master's degree in homeland security management. Towson "Points of Pride" include numerous rankings on U.S. News & World Report lists, a place on Kiplinger's Personal Finance ranking of "best value colleges," a Princeton Review top rating for its sustainability practices, plus accolades for its friendliness to both military members and the LGBT community. Students in the homeland security program can further specialize in Information Assurance, Security Policy, or Health Preparedness, and even have the option to earn a certificate in Security Assessment and Management. Towson students also have the unique option to join the Order of the Sword & Shield National Honor Society, which specifically caters to aspiring professionals in emergency management, intelligence, and protective security.
Tuition: $6,570/yr (In-state) $13,518/yr (Out-of-state)
9. Anna Maria College
Online Master of Public Administration Degree with a Homeland Security Specialization
Anna Maria College, a small, Massachusetts-based school with a tight focus on distance education, offers a select few majors at the graduate level. One of these is the master of public administration, which includes an emphasis option in homeland security. The curriculum covers public policy analysis, domestic threat detection, risk analysis, interagency coordination, and more. The cross-disciplinary nature of the affordable online master's degree in homeland security also allows students to explore topics in ethics, communication, and psychology. The Chronicle of Higher Education named AMC the 16th fastest growing college in America, and the website "Colleges of Distinction" included the school on its list of top universities.
8. Kaplan University
Online Master of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management
Kaplan University is a recognized leader in online education, offering an impressive selection of distance programs at every level of study. The online master's degree in homeland security and emergency management prepares students to accept leadership roles in federal government agencies, local organizations, nonprofits, and private sector companies. Potential classes include Comparative Criminal Justice Systems, Planning and Operations in Crisis and Emergency Management, Academic and Professional Communications in Public Safety, and an Applied Research Project Capstone. Kaplan's many benefits include scholarships, tuition discounts for military students, and distinguished faculty. In fact, College Prowler survey recipients emphasize the school's knowledgeable professors, valuable education, and useful financial aid process.
7. Mississippi College
Online Homeland Security Master's Degree
As a Christian university, Mississippi College offers ethical degree programs rooted in both moral and spiritual teachings. Because of its religious affiliation, MC is also uniquely sensitive to the needs of working professionals and parents, offering special resources to help students juggle multiple responsibilities and remain grounded in the process. Therefore, it's one of the best online master's degrees in homeland security for both Christian learners and busy adults. The curriculum covers legal issues, grant writing, contemporary topics in the field, and more. In the past, graduates have found work at FEMA, Citizenship and Immigration Services, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Office of the Inspector General. For the past few years, MC has consistently earned honors from U.S. News and Forbes for its great value and prominence in the region.
6. Wilmington University
Online Homeland Security Master of Science
The College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Wilmington University offers myriad degrees related to public service at an affordable price. The cheap online master's degree in homeland security is available for less than $8,000 a year (assuming full-time study). However, students might complete the degree sooner if they have a large quantity of transfer credits, or could attend part time and earn their diploma over as many as five years. Online learners start by exploring a number of foundational topics, such as Risk Assessment and Management, Crisis Leadership, and the Sociology of Terrorism. Students then branch off into the concentration of their choice - Information Assurance, Military Leadership, Safety and Security, or Organizational Leadership - and complete five or six additional courses. The "Best of" section of College Prowler distinguishes Wilmington for its knowledgeable professors, low-stress courses, and accepting community.
5. Angelo State University
Online Master of Science (M.S.) in Homeland Security
Angelo State University is a mid-sized southern school that offers a number of programs entirely online. Recently rated one of the "Best 378 Colleges" by Princeton Review, the school's many reputable degrees include a top online master's degree in homeland security. ASU's other national distinctions include placement on U.S. News' list of "Up and Coming" universities as well as a "best online graduate programs" ranking from the Graduate Programs Online website. M.S. students in the homeland security program learn about criminal justice agencies, ethics, national security policy, geographic information systems, border security, and research methods.
Tuition: $3,612/yr (In-state) $9,984/yr (Out-of-state)
4. Arkansas Tech University
Online Master of Science in Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Students interested in a graduate program with a strong emphasis on the foundations of emergency management should consider the online master's degree in homeland security at Arkansas Tech. Applicants who meet the minimum GPA requirements for the program and submitted a completed application enjoy unconditional admission to the online program, alleviating much of the stress that comes with grad school applications. This M.S. degree covers topics in emergency preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. The department organizes classes into four components: Professional, Methods, Applied Research, and Interdisciplinary. This structure allows students to gain knowledge in theory and concepts but also practice research, take experiential classes, and tailor the degree to their interests. U.S. News added ATU to its lists of "Top Regional Universities (South)" and "Top Public Schools."
3. Aspen University
Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice - Terrorism and Homeland Security
Aspen University deserves recognition for offering one of the most affordable online master's degrees in homeland security in the nation. Structured as an M.S. in Criminal Justice with a concentration in terrorism/homeland security, students get to explore law, terrorism, security, criminology, public safety, technology, and patrol procedures. Many students choose Aspen if they are interested in working as border patrol officers, private detectives, police officers, corrections officers, or transportation security agents. College Prowler notes the university's affordability and small student-to-faculty ratio as its biggest selling points.
2. American Public University/American Military University
Online Master of Arts in Homeland Security
American Public University, which also encompasses American Military University, offers an incredibly cheap online master's degree in homeland security in the country. Although classes only cost about $325 a credit, APU certainly doesn't skimp on quality. The homeland security program stands apart with its high degree of flexibility - students take all classes online at a pace that suits them. In addition, online learners can choose from one of eight different concentrations: Transportation Security, Cybersecurity, Criminal Justice, Business Administration, Intelligence Studies, Counterterrorism, Emergency Management and Public Health, or a General option. Students also benefit from stellar career planning help and a final capstone requirement that prepares them for demanding careers. APU boasts a long list of recognitions, and even received an Online Learning Consortium "Effective Practice Award."
1. Trident University International
Online Master of Science in Emergency & Disaster Management: Concentration in Homeland Security
Trident University International's regionally accredited programs are affordable, flexible, and convenient. Classes start eight different times a year, allowing students to jump right into sessions whenever they are available. Within the College of Health Sciences, the Emergency and Disaster Management program offers concentrations in both Logistics and Homeland Security. Those who complete just four additional courses can also earn a certificate in Emergency and Disaster Management, Emergency and Disaster Management - Logistics, or Homeland Security. TUI demonstrates its commitment to online education by working to improve graduation and retention rates every year. The school has an above average (70%) retention rate for its graduate students, which includes members of the online master's degree in homeland security program.
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The New York Times
National University Technology Network
Diverse Issues in Higher Education
Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Princeton Review - Green Guide
Colleges of Distinction
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Forbes Top College Rankings
Online Learning Consortium
About the Author:
Iris Stone began her writing career when she started working as a freelance writer and researcher in 2011. Her freelance business soon took off and she now owns and operates a writing and editing firm that works with clients all across the country. Despite the time it takes to run a business she still does much of the writing herself, and her work has included a variety of content related to education policy, colleges and universities, academic programs, and graduates' careers. Her interests actually span far beyond writing, and she is currently studying to be a physicist. Check out her Google+ Profile.
This concludes our ranking of the top cheap online master's in homeland security degree programs.