Are you a first responder with a burning desire to protect your country and its people? Maybe you’re a veteran looking for a civilian job. Perhaps you’re already working in law enforcement, but you want more specialized skills to advance your career. If so, earning a homeland security degree online can open the door to work in government intelligence, cybersecurity, emergency management, and more.
Use this guide to explore top-rated schools and get important details on how you can earn a homeland security degree online and on your own schedule. Course customization, double degrees, and multiple financial aid options are just a few reasons why these are some of the best online bachelor’s degree programs available in homeland security.
Program Spotlights: Homeland Security Bachelor’s Degrees Online
When looking for an online homeland security degree, you’ll find that different programs may vary in their individual courses and projected outcomes. This information can usually be found on the school’s website. Some offer a choice of concentration to focus your studies on a particular area, such as cybersecurity, while others spend more time on emergency management.
However, all programs contain core content that meets regional accreditation standards. They are designed to give you a quality foundation of critical thinking, analysis, and communication, whether you want a government intelligence career or a job with the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA).
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona Beach offers a Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security that teaches strategic thinking, environmental security, emergency management, cybersecurity, intelligence, terrorism studies, and asymmetric warfare in an asynchronous format. This program prepares students for work with the government, military, and leadership positions in private companies.
Applicants must submit a high school transcript or GED with a 2.5 GPA and any post-secondary education transcripts with a 2.0 GPA. ACT or SAT scores aren’t required but are encouraged.
Students can also take advantage of Embry-Riddle’s 4+1 program that allows qualifying students in the bachelor’s course to earn a master’s degree with just one additional year of study.
- Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security
- Credits: 123 credits required
- Length: 4 years
- Cost: $485 per credit hour for civilians and $250 per credit hour for active-duty military (for in-state and out-of-state applicants)
- Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Waldorf University offers an online-only Bachelor of Arts in Homeland Security that covers terrorism, infrastructure protection, weapons of mass destruction, and disaster planning and management. Students can customize their degree by choosing from three concentrations: criminal justice, cybersecurity, or emergency management. To help reduce student costs, the university provides all course textbooks for free through the Waldorf Book Grant and Loan-A-Book Program.
For admittance to this homeland security degree online, students must submit an application along with a high school transcript or equivalent with a 2.0 GPA. After receiving a detailed evaluation report on the required courses, they can enroll via the website or by contacting the admissions office.
- Bachelor of Arts in Homeland Security
- Credits: 120 credits, including 36 upper-division credits with a C average and 2.0 cumulative GPA required for graduation
- Length: 4 years
- Cost: $325 per credit hour or $250/credit hour for active-duty members of the military using military financial assistance
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Northeastern State University (NSU) boasts the only homeland security program in the state of Oklahoma. The Bachelor of Science Homeland Security & Emergency Management online degree uses both synchronous and asynchronous learning to teach intelligence analysis, risk assessment, critical thinking, the relation between homeland security and the Constitution, and recent research on major areas of homeland security and emergency management.
NSU offers a significant discount to Oklahoma residents and a wealth of financial aid for students. They hand out the Pell Grant, subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loans, SEOG, OTAG, and Direct Parent Plus Loans. The university also awards its own scholarships to qualifying students in various situations, such as incoming freshmen, transfers, returning students, and international students.
- Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security & Emergency Management
- Credits: 124 credit hours with a C average and 2.5 GPA
- Length: 4 years
- Cost: In-state $250.40 per credit hour/Out-of-state: $554.40 per credit hour
Courses in Your Online Bachelor’s Degree in Homeland Security
When studying for a homeland security degree online, you’ll find individual courses may vary, but the core topics remain the same. They typically include a foundational knowledge of homeland security, terrorism, disaster and emergency management, infrastructure protection, weapons of mass destruction, and related ethical and legal issues.
These courses provide an understanding of the origins and goals of homeland security, terrorism, and how to effectively respond to human-caused and natural disasters. They’ll equip you for positions in federal or state law enforcement, intelligence analysis, emergency management, and cybersecurity. Your online homeland security degree program may culminate with one or two capstone projects, where you apply what you’ve learned by devising a real-life scenario with an accompanying action plan. Electives such as forensics, criminal investigation, and disaster response and recovery allow you to tailor your education to your preferred career path.
Homeland Security Technology
This course focuses on the technology used in homeland security to detect, prevent, protect from, and intervene in terrorist attacks. It explores the possible uses of AI in homeland security and the technological threats the country may face from terrorism.
By the end of the course, students will have a thorough knowledge of the available technology, the ability to assess potential technological threats, and an understanding of the impact of weapons of mass destruction. They also become well-versed in the personal protective equipment (PPE) worn by first responders in emergencies.
In this homeland security degree online course, students primarily focus on proactively detecting and mitigating terrorist attacks. Lessons from 9/11 are examined to improve both preparedness and recovery. Various tactical response options are studied, emphasizing the cooperation between multiple organizations on the state and federal levels as described in the National Incident Management System (NIMS).
Students learn to assess potential threats, develop a response plan, and determine the best way to protect individuals on the scene.
Weapons of Mass Destruction
A course on weapons of mass destruction gives students an overview of biological, nuclear, and chemical weapons. It covers their development and use by terrorists and the country’s potential risks. Students learn about the history of weapons of mass destruction, understand the effects of each type, and study their impact on terrorism and society. Laws made to regulate the production of weapons of mass destruction are also examined and evaluated.
Disaster Planning and Management
This course may include natural disasters but typically focuses on how to prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks. Students study the roles of federal, state, and local agencies in planning and preparedness. They evaluate the effectiveness of homeland security programs in government and non-government agencies and explore the impact of nuclear, biological, chemical, radiological, and explosive agents on response plans. Students also examine the National Response Framework to see how it pertains to terrorism.
Critical Infrastructure Protection
Infrastructure protection takes a comprehensive look at both natural and man-made disasters and how to prepare for and mitigate the resulting damage. Students analyze threats to networks and facilities, examining the impact of various events and attacks. With this information, they develop strategies, training exercises, and evaluations to build a communication network between different areas of infrastructure. Finally, students create ways to respond to the ever-changing nature of the threat environment appropriately.
What Should I Look for in an Online Homeland Security Bachelor’s Degree Program?
Several principal factors should be considered when choosing a homeland security degree online. Cost, accreditation, program quality, and faculty expertise can all affect what your experience will be like, as well as opportunities after graduation. Find out more about each one below.
Your budget will play a significant part in deciding which online homeland security degree to pursue, and some colleges offer scholarships and financial aid that others don’t. More expensive courses may have additional benefits or options that increase their value, such as the 4+1 program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Ultimately, your needs and preferences will dictate what’s most suitable.
When making a large investment, such as a bachelor’s homeland security degree online, it’s only natural to want to make sure you’re paying for a quality education. To do this, you can research the institution’s academic reputation, acceptance and graduation rates, and the average income of graduates. Talking to current and former students can give you an idea of the day-to-day experience.
According to the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, teachers with substantial industry experience typically prove more effective in passing on the necessary academic and soft skills like teamwork and communication. Checking faculty credentials and reviews and talking to their students, can help you determine if they fit your needs.
Accreditation can affect your eligibility for financial aid and scholarships and should be considered when choosing a college. An accredited school meets the consistency and quality standards laid out by the U.S. Department of Education, and a degree from one signals to potential employers that you have a solid education from a reputable college.
Not all online homeland security degree programs are created equal, and they have varying formats, such as synchronous or asynchronous. Students who need more flexibility usually prefer asynchronous learning for the freedom to study at their own pace by watching prerecorded lectures.
How Much Does an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Homeland Security Cost?
Earning a bachelor’s of criminal justice in homeland security online is a considerable investment of both time and money. With tuition rising at a rate of 6.8% per year, even affordable colleges cost a substantial amount. Because of this, it’s wise to plan out how you’re going to pay for your schooling before enrollment.
Fortunately, there are many financial aid options available for varying needs. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for federal financial aid through the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA), student loans, private and school scholarships, employer tuition assistance, fellowships, or work study. The table below shows a sample of tuition costs.
How Much Your Online Bachelors in Homeland Security Could Cost
|School||No. of Credits||Cost per Credit||Total Tuition|
|Eastern Kentucky University||120||$434||$52,080|
|George Washington University||60 (core courses)||$975||$58,500|
|Herzing University – New Orleans||120||$464||$55,680|
|Texas Southern University||121||$237 in-state|
FAQs About Online Bachelor’s Programs in Homeland Security
Read on for the answers to five of the top questions readers have about getting a homeland security degree online.
Are online bachelor’s degree programs in homeland security fully online?
Most online homeland security programs are entirely online. The advantage is that people who may be unable to attend classes on campus, even for a hybrid program, can still complete their education at their convenience. Classes and meetings are all conducted online using Zoom or another software, whether in real-time (synchronous) or prerecorded (asynchronous).
What does the admissions process look like for this degree?
Although individual requirements can vary between schools, the admissions process for a homeland security online degree is typically straightforward. It involves submitting a high school transcript or a GED with a minimum GPA from 2.0 to 2.5. Any post-secondary education transcripts must also be submitted, usually with a 2.0 GPA. Standardized testing scores such as ACT, SAT, or GRE may or may not be required. Even if they’re not required, including them to support your application is still a good idea.
How long does it take to complete a bachelor’s degree in homeland security online?
An online bachelor’s degree in homeland security usually takes full-time students four years to complete. However, some schools offer accelerated programs that only take three years. The courses will take longer to complete for part-time students because they can’t dedicate as much time to studying. Fortunately, online courses (particularly those with an asynchronous format) are designed for that very situation so students can learn at their own pace.
What academic and career support services are available to online students earning their bachelor’s in homeland security?
Most schools take great pains to meet the needs of students earning a homeland security degree online. Both passive and real-time support are available through email, toll-free telephone numbers, text messages, online chats, web conferencing, and forums.
Many colleges are incorporating a 24/7 support system to accommodate extended study hours during nights and weekends. Another benefit of online technology is the ability for students to interact with each other and the teacher, which fosters a sense of community.
Can I work while pursuing an online bachelor’s in homeland security degree?
Online homeland security degrees are designed to accommodate various work schedules and family obligations. You can access courses with asynchronous learning at all hours of the day and night, whether before the kids wake up in the morning or after you get off work in the evening. For working students, weekends become prime study time. This flexibility makes the online format appealing to people who can’t attend traditional college.
Other Bachelor’s Degree Options in Criminal Justice
If you are interested in a master’s degree in education but are unsure what specialization to pursue, check out these other degree pages to learn about your options: