The United States Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, is a cabinet department that is entirely responsible for the safety and security of American citizens. After the harrowing events of September 11th, 2001, this department was created. It encompasses 22 different agencies including FEMA, the Office of Intelligence, US Customs and the Coast Guard. Though it was only established 14 years ago, the DHS employs almost 300,000 people across a broad range of careers that work together towards one common goal: Keep our citizens safe.
A degree in homeland security can lead to several careers, like a career in emergency response coordination, law enforcement, or transportation security. Regardless of where you feel your true calling, one thing is for sure: the education you receive to obtain your online degree in homeland security is preparing you for one of the most important jobs you’ll ever do. In the past two years, the most massive mass shootings in American history have taken place, and the most expensive natural disasters in American history have occurred. People who work in different areas of homeland security have played integral roles in analyzing these events, rebuilding what was lost to the best of their ability, and coming towards the common goal to prevent such things in the future and prepare for the ones that we can’t avoid. Homeland security jobs are vital to the country’s ability to survive and thrive, and you’ll want to get the best education you can.
The following ten programs are among the best online homeland security degrees, and you can earn them from the comfort of your own home.
All of the data that was used to select schools and subsequently rank them was acquired from the school’s individual website wherever possible. Additional information was gathered from the National Center for Education Statistics.
In order to be considered to be part of this ranking, all schools that were researched had to meet the following criteria:
- It is an accredited institution of higher education that is based in the United States.
- It is not a for-profit institution.
- There are distance-learning programs provided and;
- There is at least one Homeland Security degree program that can be completed more than 50% online.
After the list of schools that met the above criteria was generated, each program was ranked according to the speed of the program as documented by the school. This speed refers to students enrolled in the traditionally paced program and pursuing a degree at a full-time pace. Some of the degrees may be completed faster if a school allows for transfer credits, or provides the program in an accelerated format. This factor was chosen because those who work in homeland security are driven, and the faster you can learn what you need to in order to enter your new career, the better! In the event that there was a tie (two programs lasted for the same amount of time), the graduation rate of the program was selected as the tie-breaking value. Graduation Rate refers to the amount of students who entered college for the first time and completed their entire academic program within 150% of the published acceptable timeframe. (In example, completing a four-year degree within six years.)
10. Angelo State University
Angelo State University is a public or state university that has its main location in San Angelo, Texas. The university offers programs through which students can earn certificates, undergraduate degrees, and graduate degrees all the way up to the doctoral level. However, 84% of their 9,581 students are in pursuit of an undergraduate degree. ASU, as the school name is often abbreviated, was founded in 1928 as San Angelo College. From there, it expanded quite rapidly to what it is today. It granted its first baccalaureate degrees in 1967, the same year that it gained university status. The first graduate degrees were awarded in 1969, which is when the name changed to its current title. The university is part of the Texas Tech University System, and it is one of the largest in the system.
There are more than 100 different undergraduate degree programs available at ASU, and many of them are offered online. They have three different online options for a homeland security degree. The undergraduate options both require 120 credit-hours, and will take you four years to complete if you do so at a full-time pace. They are the Bachelor of Security Studies in Intelligence, Security Studies, and Analysis and the Bachelor of Security Studies in Border and Homeland Security. The third option they have is the Master of Security Studies, for those who wish to continue their education. All security studies programs feature a flat rate tuition with no added fees.
Angelo State University Website
Speed of Program: 4 years.
Graduation Rate: 37%
9. Lake Superior State University
Lake Superior State University is a relatively small public university in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan. It is the smallest university in Michigan, and it enrolls only 2,249 students. It was founded in 1946 and achieved its accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission in 1968. The university also has specialized programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and is one of only three schools in the country to have accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. in the related programs. Despite being small, the school has a lot of interesting accolades. Another example is that it was the first school to establish a four-year fire science program.
22.7% of the small student body participates in some form of distance learning, and less than 1% of those students are pursuing a degree entirely online. The college says that 173 students earned their bachelors degree online in the 2015-2016 academic year and 44 of them were in homeland security. The Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security takes four years to complete when you participate at a full-time pace. There are two different concentrations that students can select that will change the course load to match the major concentration chosen. Students can focus more on a career in law enforcement, or on emergency response. Because LSSU is so close to Canada, there is a major concentration that focuses on Canadian law enforcement opportunities as well.
Lake Superior State University Website
Speed of Program: 4 years.
Graduation Rate: 40%
8. Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University is a private liberal arts university with a Roman Catholic affiliation. It is headquartered in Saint Leo, Florida. It was founded in 1889, but it underwent several shifts of focus over time, along with a name change to match. It has been a college, a prep school, and a high school over the years since its inception. The university as it exists today was technically established in 1959, which was the last time that Saint Leo became a college before earning its university designation. The first-ever graduating class comprised of just five students, who were awarded Master of Accounts degrees. The institution received its accreditation in 1967 and is still accredited today by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Commission on Colleges. Some programs also are individually accredited.
Saint Leo University was one of the pioneering schools in distance-education programs. Students that were active military personnel learned via correspondence as far back as 1973. Its Center for Online Learning was created in 1998. Today, there are around 60 degree programs available to the 14,649 students at Saint Leo, and all but one of them can be completed entirely online. 46% of all undergraduate students are completing their degree program entirely online. The Bachelor of the Arts in Criminal Justice degree program provides a specialization in homeland security. Courses cover subjects important to your future career, like the Modern Middle East, Counter-Terrorism, and Theories of Criminal Behavior. Students who earn this degree will have the advantage of placement programs with the Secret Service, the DEA, Customs, and a few other organizations.
Saint Leo University Website
Speed of Program: 4 years.
Graduation Rate: 43%
7. Liberty University
Liberty University is located in Lynchburg, Virginia. It is a private research university with a Christian affiliation. At first, it was called Lynchburg Baptist College in 1971 when it opened. Five years later it became Liberty Baptist College, and it operated under that title until gaining university status in 1984. It became Liberty University that same year. The university has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools since 1980. The Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools also accredited the university in 1984 but resigned in 2008. Five of the programs in the legal and medical fields also have further endorsement by the national agencies in the corresponding area. 75,756 are enrolled in one of the 17 colleges that make up Liberty, and they have a choice of more than 500 different degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and certificate levels.
Liberty University Online was officially launched in 2009, but prior to that, distance courses were offered through the university’s External Degree Program. 71% of all undergraduate students are enrolled only in distance education courses, and 95% of all graduate degree-seekers are attending entirely at a distance. Liberty’s online division was one of the fastest growing sectors in the school’s entire history. While the courses all run concurrent with the traditional semesters, courses are offered in 16-week and 8-week formats. They’re all 100% online, and they are self-paced, to fit into your life how you need them to. The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice – Homeland Security program covers topics like Juvenile Justice, Corrections, and Critical Infrastructure Protection. The university also hosts a very generous transfer policy for those with prior education or experience in a relevant field.
Liberty University Website
Speed of Program: 4 years.
Graduation Rate: 46%
6. Campbell University
Campbell University is a private university in Buies Creek, North Carolina. It was founded in early 1887, and it served a variety of functions under a few different names until receiving its university status in 1961. The final name was settled on in 1979. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has accredited the university as a whole since 1941 and a few other agencies provide specialized accreditation in a handful of the programs. Campbell University offers online programs in traditional formats, as well as an 8-week accelerated variety. Of the 6,786 students at Campbell, 4,560 are undergraduates. 13% of the students who are working towards an undergraduate degree or certification are doing so solely through online courses, and 2% of the students on their way to a graduate degree are completely online.
Campbell began offering online options in 1999, and their selection has grown to include one certificate program, 8 Associates programs (one of which is their accelerated Associate of Science in Homeland Security which is not ranked here), and 20 Bachelors programs. The Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security is the only program of its kind in the state. It is an all-encompassing degree program that has courses in vital subjects such as Intelligence, Transportation Security, Counterterror, and Emergency Preparedness and Response. Regardless of which career you plan to pursue with this degree, Campbell University makes sure that you’re ready. There are additional options in homeland security, including the Bachelor of Applied Science, and accelerated program alternatives.
Campbell University Website
Speed of Program: 4 years.
Graduation Rate: 51%
5. Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University is most often referred to as just SNHU, and it has been serving students since 1932; however, it wasn’t eligible to grant degrees until after its charter in 1963. Associates degrees were awarded to students that same year, and Bachelors degrees followed shortly after in 1966. Under the name of New Hampshire College, the school became a non-profit institution in 1969. Through the 70’s, the programmatic offerings and the campuses expanded significantly. Even though graduate degrees became available as early as 1974, the name wasn’t changed to reflect that until 2001 when it was finally rechristened as its current name. Today, the university offers degrees from the certificate to the doctoral levels, and there are a whopping 73,177 students currently enrolled in the 332 different programs.
In 1995, SNHU began offering online courses to students across the country, and in some cases, the world. The university is fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. SNHU stands out among this ranking for its healthy distance-learning community. There are 263 different degrees available entirely online. 82% of undergraduate students and 90% of graduate students take all of their classes on the web. The program we’ve ranked is their Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Homeland Security & Counterterrorism. Students will be able to complete their coursework according to their schedule, but will still have access to dedicated and experienced faculty. Some stand out courses that set SNHU apart include Research Methods for Criminal Justice, Legal Traditions, and Threat Assessment Fundamentals.
Southern New Hampshire University Website
Speed of Program: 4 years.
Graduation Rate: 59%
4. Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia University was established in 1884 in the East Falls area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Thomas Jefferson University is a private university in the Center City area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that was founded in 1825. These two universities merged in the summer of 2017, and in the merge, PhilaU was mostly just absorbed by Thomas Jefferson University, which will remain the name of the institution going forward. Thomas Jefferson University began as a medical school, but it has gone on to encompass a variety of colleges that span a diverse array of fields. Merging with PhilaU will further diversify the offerings and expand on existing programs available in traditional and web-based formats. Thomas Jefferson University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Thomas Jefferson University and its Bachelor of Science in Leadership in Homeland Security degree program are different than any other school and program on this list. This Bachelors degree program is presented only in a hybrid format and is designed to prepare you for a related graduate degree. Thomas Jefferson University does not reportedly admit first-time, first-year students; however, the university is in a highly transitional phase because of the recent merger. This program, in particular, requires students to transfer in already having 30 credit-hours under their belt at minimum, they are allowed to transfer up to 72. Even though this makes the program less accessible in general, there are generous transfer policies as well as unique continuing education opportunities in the field of homeland security that made this school worth ranking. Once students begin this program, it will only take them two more years to complete the remaining 90 (or less) required credits.
Jefferson University Website
Speed of Program: 2 years.
Graduation Rate: 65%
3. National University
National University is a private university with its main offices and campus in La Jolla, California. Since its foundation in 1971, National University has spread out across California and Nevada, and now operates 28 campuses and an active distance-learning program. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the Senior College and University Commission are the agencies responsible for accrediting the school. There are currently a total of 17,192 students attending the university. National University is divided into two colleges and four schools that cater primarily to adult learners. Because of this, the majority of their programs are accelerated in their presentation. Only a quarter of the undergraduate student body is under the age of 25. National University is highly committed to the flexibility of their offerings and encouraging their students to succeed. Because of these ideals, NU allows students to make use of a Portfolio Program to demonstrate their proficiency in a specific course based on prior education, work experience, or independent study. Students that display such competence will receive the credit rather than have to sit through the class.
Through the School of Professional Studies, NU provides students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management online. National University’s online homeland security degree is made up of 180 quarter units that students have to earn. The website says that 25% of those quarter units (45 in total) must be completed in residency. However, all of the programs on their website are documented as having that requirement, but 60% of degree-seeking students at the undergraduate level, and 74% at the graduate level are completing their degrees solely on the web. Academic Advisors will be able to help you to determine whether you can achieve this program entirely online, or in a hybrid manner.
National University Website
Speed of Program: 16 months.
Graduation Rate: 40%
2. Concordia University Portland
The Concordia University System is made up of ten member institutions all over America. The system is operated by the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. This particular member institution is located in Portland, Oregon. It was established in 1905 and became a university in 1995. Concordia is accredited by Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and serves 5,455 students. Those students can pursue certificates, undergraduate degrees, and graduate degrees through any one of the four academic divisions into which the school is organized. These are the College of Education; the School of Management; the College of Health and Human Services and; the College of Theology, Arts, and Sciences. There are 18 different majors and 20 different concentrations in total that are available at Concordia.
The online program in homeland security that they offer culminates in a Bachelors in Homeland Security. The faculty is made up of police and fire commanders, military leaders, and federal agents. You will also be able to select a minor in Cyber Security, Roots of Terrorism, or Risk Analysis and Impacts. Secondary discipline options include those as well as Psychology of Terrorism. 36% of the students working towards an undergraduate degree are doing so at least partially online, and at the graduate levels, 83% of students are participating in distance learning courses or programs. There are many start dates throughout the year. The only two classes that fall under the requirements for this program are Humanities and Religious Studies. If you live within a commutable distance to another university that is a part of the Concordia University System, you will be able to take those courses at that campus without incurring any additional costs.
Concordia University Portland Website
Speed of Program: 16 months.
Graduation Rate: 44%
1. Anderson University
Anderson University is a private university located in Anderson, South Carolina. This is not to be confused with the Anderson, Indiana based university with the same name. Anderson University is a Baptist-affiliated institution that confers degrees at the Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral levels. It was founded in 1911 and received accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1959. Despite the growth that the institution underwent from the mid-1900s onward, it didn’t become Anderson University until 2006. Today, it has programs in over 50 fields. These programs serve 3,432 students through nine different colleges. The colleges that comprise the university are the South Carolina School of the Arts; the Johnny Mann Center for Commercial Music; the College of Arts and Sciences; the College of Education; the School of Public Service and Administration; the College of Health Professions; the College of Business; the School of Interior Design and; the College of Christian Studies.
Anderson University’s School of Public Service and Administration provides students with the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Art in Criminal Justice with concentration in Homeland Security/Emergency Preparedness entirely online. Most of the programs that students can enroll in through AU Online are geared towards adult learners, but this is an exception. First-time first-year students are encouraged to participate in this program. It is presented in an asynchronous format. South Carolina residents do have the option to participate in this program in a hybrid or blended format. 23% of the undergraduate student body take advantage of the hybrid option, and 15% of all undergraduate students are learning completely on the web. A fun fact about Anderson University is that Chick-Fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy and his son Dan both received honorary degrees because of the strong examples they’ve set in business and their faith.
Anderson University Website
Speed of Program: 15 months.
Graduation Rate: 48%