Homeland Security is such a broad occupational category that there is truly something for everyone. For those who are good with computers and numbers, there’s cybersecurity and civil engineering; for veterans and law enforcement, there is counterterrorism and immigration; for managers and office warriors, there are countless administrative positions. With the growth of the security economy and job market, there is a shortage of qualified, experienced, and well-trained people to take on the many jobs that are needed to keep Americans safe at home and abroad.
Homeland Security bachelor degree programs have become more common as the scope of Homeland Security and national security has grown. And while online Homeland Security programs are popular among working adults looking to advance their careers, traditional, on-campus programs provide a lot of benefits that online programs don’t – mentorship, collaboration, and networking opportunities especially. The best homeland security bachelor degree programs give their graduates an inside track on Homeland Security careers, and that’s one of the biggest benefits of a degree program.
Our Process: Ranking the Best Bachelor’s in Homeland Security Programs
To rank the Top 10 Homeland Security Programs, Criminal Justice Degree Hub editors did a thorough sweep of bachelor’s degree programs with a specific Homeland Security focus (either as a concentration or a major). Only regionally accredited colleges and universities were considered. For ranking purposes, editors scored programs along 3 criteria: Cost, Reputation, and Return on Investment, using data from College Scorecard and IPEDS. With that triangulation, students can be sure their homeland security bachelor degree program will have a positive impact on their life and career.
1. George Mason University
George Mason University’s BS in Criminology, Law & Society – Homeland Security concentration prepares students to understand, and apply, the concepts of justice on everyday life. Courses include how to work with the current law enforcement issues of human trafficking, hate crimes and technology applications in the criminal justice industry. This bachelor’s in Homeland Security degree program requires the completion of 120-credit hours.
George Mason University was established in 1949 as a branch campus of the University of Virginia. The institution of higher learning became an independent school in the early 1970s. The school operates five campuses, four across the state of Virginia and one internationally in South Korea. Their four Virginia-based campuses are considered a part of the greater Washington DC metro area and total nearly 1,150-acres; these suburban campuses are home to more than 35,000 students.
Degree: BS in Criminology, Law, and Society – Homeland Security
2. Tulane University
Tulane University’s BA in Homeland Security Studies program is offered as an on-campus degree where students explore the practical application of homeland security issues that include Counterterrorism, Border Protection, Emergency Management, and Infrastructure Defense. Tulane’s homeland security Bachelor Degree programs require the completion of 120-credit hours to graduate. The bachelor’s in homeland security degree is an interdisciplinary program that includes classes regarding Homeland Security, History of the US/Middle East/North Africa, Politics, plus Tulane’s required core competencies.
Tulane University was established in 1834 and is recognized as Louisiana’s finest institution of higher learning, and its most selective. Tulane University’s School of Law is recognized as the twelfth oldest in the country. The school is home to nearly 14,000 students reaching for their degrees from ten schools. Tulane alumni include 155 Fulbright scholars and 18 Rhodes Scholars.
Degree: BA in Homeland Security Studies
3. Thomas Jefferson University
Thomas Jefferson University’s BS in Leadership in Homeland Security degree comes from the School of Continuing and Professional Studies in an accelerated format. Jefferson’s bachelor’s in Homeland Security degree program prepares degree candidates with the fundamental knowledge in the fields of disaster response, homeland security, disaster recovery, and policy management. Jefferson’s generous transfer credit policy allows up to 72 credits to be transfers. The coursework for this homeland program specifically requires 51-credit hours.
Thomas Jefferson University merged with Philadelphia University in 2017, which created Thomas Jefferson University – an institution of higher learning in Philadelphia. Jefferson’s 100+-acre suburban campus is home to nearly 8,000 undergraduate degree candidates. The two universities combined to create the Thomas Jefferson University both were established in the 1800s.
Degree: BS in Leadership in Homeland Security
4. Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University’s Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security degree program comes from one of the nation’s most respected intelligence and security institutions. Students graduate prepared to protect people, locations and information from outside threats regarding their safety. Classes include Cybersecurity, Security Management, Legal Analysis, Domestic Terrorism, and Leadership and Ethics, among others. EKU’s BS in Homeland Security is available online or as an on-campus course. Students graduate from the bachelor’s in homeland security ready for careers in the US Military, the FBI, Customs & Border Protection, and Law Enforcement agencies at a local, state and federal level.
Eastern Kentucky University was established as Central University in 1874. The General Assembly of the state of Kentucky enacted legislation in 1906, which opened a teacher’s institution of higher learning (a normal school) on the site of the old Central University. EKU is a nationally ranked university and among the top regionals public schools in the southern portion of the United States.
Degree: BS in Homeland Security
5. Clayton State University
Clayton State University’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Homeland Security degree is an interdisciplinary program. Clayton’s Homeland Security Bachelor degree programs allow students to opt from among six concentrations that include Criminal Justice, Organizational Leadership, Emergency Management, Project Supervision, Film Production, and Aviation Administration. Degree graduates are required to complete Clayton’s bachelor’s in homeland security requirements of 120-credit hours, of which 30-credit hours specifically in the concentrations studies.
Clayton State University is a public institution of higher learning that was established in 1969 as a junior college. It is considered a senior member school of the University of Georgia system. The school’s campus is considered a suburb just south of Atlanta. Clayton State University operates from 5 learning environments in the areas of Business, Health, Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences, and Mathematical Sciences.
Degree: BAS in Homeland Security
6. Angelo State University
Angelo State University’s Bachelor of Security Studies in Border & Homeland Security degree program can be completed online or by attending classes on-campus. Angelo State’s Bachelor’s in Homeland Security prepares students in the areas of critical thinking to combat the increasing threats regarding criminal justice, emergency management, and homeland security. Coursework, including Angelo State’s core curriculum, requires the completion of 126 credit hours in the areas of Border Security and Cultural Competence.
Angelo State University was established in 1928 as a public college, which became a university in 1967. The Chronicle of Higher Education recognizes Angelo State University among the top growing institutions of higher education with regard to its master degree-level programs among regional universities. The school offers more than one hundred programs to its student enrollment that exceeds 10,000 students.
Degree: Bachelor of Security Studies – Border and Homeland Security
7. North Carolina Central University
North Carolina Central University’s BS in Criminal Justice in Homeland Security prepares degree graduates are prepared to enter the workforce in the areas of Law Enforcement, Criminal Justice, and Emergency Management. Coursework for the BSCJ Homeland Security program focuses on both the theoretical and practical application regarding Domestic and International terrorism, Public Policy Protections, Infrastructure Protection, among others.
North Carolina Central University is a public institution of higher learning that was established in 1910. NCCU is recognized as an HBCU school and a member school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. The school originally began as a part of the Chautauqua movement. North Carolina Central University’s urban campus in Durham is home to nearly 10,000 students. Central has become known nationwide as one of the best public HBCUs, a critical force in preparing African-American young people for professional careers.
Degree: BSCJ in Homeland Security
8. Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University’s Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice in Homeland Security degree program prepares graduates to respond professionally to natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and cyberterrorism threats. Students graduate prepared for careers as an FBI agent, a CIA Agent, a FEMA agent, a Coast Guard Officer, and a Cybersecurity Analyst, among others. Saint Leo’s Bachelor’s in Homeland Security program requires the completion of 120-credit hours, of which 39-credit hours must be completed in a curriculum set forth by the school’s advisory board.
Saint Leo University is a private institution of higher learning that was founded in 1889. The school is a private Roman Catholic university (the first in the state of Florida) about 30 miles from Tampa, FL. The school’s rural campus is home to more than 13,000 students and noted as one of the five largest Catholic educational institutions in the nation. Saint Leo University is affiliated with the American Council on Education and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.
Degree: BA in Criminal Justice – Homeland Security
9. Austin Peay State University
Austin Peay State University’s BS in Criminal Justice in Homeland Security requires on-campus attendance. Degree graduates in the bachelor’s in homeland security program must complete 120-credit hours. This includes advanced coursework in the areas of Courts & Law, Crime & Deviance, Research Methodology, and Criminal Law. The degree prepares graduates for careers as Mediators, Bailiffs, DEA Agent, ICE Agents, Secret Service Agents, FBI Agent, and US Marshall, among many others.
Austin Peay State University is a public university that was established in 1927 and has been recognized as being one of the fastest growing institutions of higher learning in the state of Tennessee. The school’s 150+-acre urban campus is home to nearly 10,000 students studying for degrees offered by eight schools and colleges that are organized by Austin Peay State University. It is named in honor of a past Tennessee governor.
Degree: BSCJ in Homeland Security
10. Campbell University
Campbell University’s Homeland Security bachelor degree programs include either a Bachelor of Science degree or a Bachelor of Applied Science degree. Campbell’s homeland security undergraduate degree options are the only available degree programs of their kind in North Carolina. Degree candidates can opt for internship opportunities and graduate ready for a career as an Air Marshall, a Policy Analyst, a Transportation Security Screener, or an Emergency Management Director. Coursework explores current issues that include Emergency Preparedness, Border Security, and Intelligence Work.
The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina established Campbell University in 1887. This private school is home to a student enrollment that exceeds 7,000 – who attend classes on Campbell University’s 15,00-acre rural campus. The school enrolls more North Carolina students compared with any other private institution of higher learning in the state of North Carolina. The College of Arts & Sciences is the oldest school at Campbell University.
Degree: BS or BAS in Homeland Security
What Can You Do With a Homeland Security Degree?
Some people interested in a criminal justice degree of some kind may ask is a homeland security degree worth it. A homeland security degree gives applicants the ability to become national security professionals within the larger security personnel market.
The Department of Homeland Security itself does a lot of hiring but a homeland security job description isn’t limited to just the DHS and its related departments. With a homeland security degree, job seekers can enter any of a number of fields.
Applicants should always keep in mind that a homeland security job description can encompass virtually anything that has to do with local, statewide, and national security. That includes every aspect of public safety, disaster relief, emergency response, and aspects of criminal justice.
A homeland security bachelor’s degree means an applicant has learned to lead, manage, understand technology, and knows how to communicate. The degree also teaches applicants how to properly research, navigate finances, and deal with resources. All of these skills have applications in just about any industry.
A homeland security degree can lead to a career in law enforcement just as easily as it can lead to a career in information technology. The homeland security job description types listed by the DHS itself vary across several disciplines. For example, these listings include:
- Law enforcement
- Immigration and travel security
- Mission support
- Prevention and response
These are all broad categories that also include several subcategories of career paths as well. The DHS hires tens of hundreds of people every year and currently employs over 200,000. Even better, applicants can get started with a career in homeland security with an undergraduate degree.
Some of the most sought-after employment opportunities are obtainable as entry-level positions. Applicants will find many jobs looking for national security professionals with an undergraduate degree. Some of those jobs include:
- Border patrol agents
- IRS investigative agents
- Immigration services officers and assistants
- Postal inspectors
- Program analyst
- Telecommunications specialists
Many other agencies hire graduates with a homeland security degree. Some of those agencies include:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Central Intelligence Agency
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Federal Emergency Management Agency
- National Security Agency
- Transportation Security Administration
- US Coast Guard
- US Customs Services
Is a homeland security degree worth it? Both the public and private sectors think so. Whether an applicant has an interest in criminal justice or an interest in the many segments that make up national security, this is a good degree to open many doors for them.
What Will I Learn in a Bachelor’s in Homeland Security Program?
Homeland security schools prepare students for many of the issues and solutions concerning national security. Since national security encompasses several disciplines, a homeland security course description typically reads like many other criminal justice degree programs. Students will take course centered around:
- Criminal justice
- Emergency response
- Information technology
- Public safety
Some common courses will include homeland security basics, emergency management, environmental security, and other similar courses. Homeland security schools will allow for concentrations, so a student can have a degree focused on a particular aspect of homeland security.
For example, an applicant can enter a homeland security degree program with a focus on cybersecurity or anti-terrorism. In addition, a homeland security degree can easily branch into other forms of related continuing education.
Homeland security degree requirements will depend on the program or school the applicant chooses. Typically, an applicant will need around 120 credits from an accredited program. About a third of those credits will come from electives.
Some homeland security schools will allow transfer credits or take experience in the field or from military service into consideration. Homeland security degree requirements have a certain level of flexibility. An applicant can create a course plan that focuses on a specific niche or industry within the public safety field.
Applicants looking to enter a particular branch of homeland security operations should take a close look at the homeland security course description. They will want to make sure it fits in with their goals.