AVAILABLE: ONLINE

The online MA in Homeland Security (MHS) was built to provide students with in-depth knowledge of homeland security strategies and to develop the critical thinking skills required to succeed in a variety of positions. The program prepares students to play an instrumental role in:

  • Preventing crime and disrupting terrorist attacks
  • Protecting against human and natural hazards
  • Developing and managing large-scale public safety plans

Track Options

Students can customize their skillset with a choice between these three tracks:

  • Open

    Study the field of homeland security broadly with an array of electives to choose from.

  • Cyber

    Hone your studies in cybersecurity with coursework in information security and computer forensics.

  • Emergency Management

    Take a deep dive into what it takes to protect critical infrastructure with this specialty option.

The comprehensive curriculum includes essential courses for homeland security professionals including:

  • Strategic Planning and Budgeting
  • Comparative Government for Homeland Security
  • Critical Infrastructure Protection
  • U.S. Constitution and Ethical Issues
  • International Human Rights

Program Structure

The online MHS is a 30-credit program that can be completed on a part-time or full-time basis. Full-time students typically take 9–12 credits per semester, enabling them to complete the degree in two years. After the first course, Introduction to Homeland Security, students can take courses in any order based on availability.

View the Pace Academic Calendar for more information.


Online Learning Environment

This MHS program was designed specifically for the online learning environment, and our faculty members routinely enroll in professional development courses that train them to deliver innovative coursework that engages online students. MA in Homeland Security courses feature a variety of materials to help students enhance their learning including video and audio lectures, and students are encouraged to think critically about homeland security and related issues of the industry and to discuss their positions with their fellow classmates.

All courses are delivered on the Classes learning management system. It serves as a hub for faculty and students and is the portal through which students access all coursework. Courses are entirely asynchronous, meaning students can view lectures and complete related assignments and discussions on their own time.

Students typically devote 10 hours per class per week to coursework. Though the online format provides flexibility, most assignments must be completed on schedule.


Required Core Courses (12 credits)

This online Orientation will enable students entering the graduate MA in Homeland Security to better understand how to navigate an online learning experience and be prepared to take all courses online.
Introduction to Homeland Security is foundational to the remainder of the curriculum in the Master of Arts in Management for Public Safety and Homeland Security Professionals. This course is designed for people who have been identified as current and future leaders in homeland security. The course provides a basic overview of the ideas that can help leaders think and act more strategically. It also introduces many of the subjects that will be covered in other courses in the master’s program. The course provides students with an overview of the purposes of homeland security and how resources can be managed to engage the risks and opportunities of the homeland security field. Successful completion of this course is required for continuation in the master’s program.
This course is designed to acquaint the student with important management concepts that will impact those in public safety and homeland security. Students will be exposed to a wide variety of readings that have been carefully selected in the areas of organizational theory, behavior, and practice. Upon completion of this course students will understand how using routine management strategies can be applied to all hazards, such as terrorist attacks, natural disasters, etc.
This course is designed to provide students with a hands-on chance to grapple with many complicated constitutional and ethical issues that practitioners will encounter in developing strategies to secure the nation in all situations, such as in routine activities for responding to terrorist attacks, natural disasters, etc. The course is structured to give students an opportunity to interact in groups, discuss constitutional case studies, and debate legal/moral/ethical dilemmas that will constantly arise. Special attention will be given to due process concerns.
In order to complete the degree, students can choose an optional thesis that addresses a current issue in homeland security and utilizes research and critical thinking to propose a solution.

Elective Courses (18 Credits – Choose Six Courses)

This course is designed to acquaint the student with important management concepts that will impact those in public safety and homeland security. Students will be exposed to a wide variety of readings that have been carefully selected in the areas of organizational theory, behavior, and practice. Upon completion of this course students will understand how using routine management strategies can be applied to all hazards, such as terrorist attacks, natural disasters, etc.
Homeland Security is in its formative period, still being defined and bound as a domain, a discipline, and an academic field of study. This process of development is accomplished through national dialogue to determine what the issues are, what works, and what does not work. Upon completion of this course, students will understand the interconnectedness off policy analysis and program planning.
In developing strategies to secure this country, it is important our role in a global community and, in this context, to understand the reality of international human rights. First agreed upon by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948, member nations agreed to “strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.” Upon completion of this course, students will understand their commitment to the need for recognition of international human rights.
Critical Infrastructure protection is one of the cornerstones of homeland security. At least nine sectors have been identified as part of CIP: Water, Power & Energy, Information & Telecommunications, Chemical Industry, Transportation, Banking & Finance, Defense Industry, Postal & Shipping, Agriculture & Food, Public Health, and Emergency Services. Additionally, the terrorist attacks in Mumbai revealed how terrorist made effective use of technology to plan and carry out their attacks. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to assess the value of existing and new technologies, of various risk tools, and how to apply those tools to any critical infrastructure within their multi-jurisdictional region, and derive optimal strategies and draft policies to reduce the risk associated with future terrorist attacks and disasters.
If the nation is really engaged in developing strategies to secure the nation, it is necessary to go beyond what the government “can do for you.” Students will focus on what are the differences between homeland security and homeland defense as it applies to the interaction of the various disciplines engaged in the effort, such as law enforcement, the medical community, emergency managers, fire departments and the private sectors. While they are not working against each other in a traditional sense, they must recognize the joint roles they play in contributing to the effort within the rule of law, if the country is to be successful in securing the nation. This course outlines the working relationship the law must have with the various disciplines in the homeland security community and why these relationships are vital to the nation’s strategies to deal with all hazards.
The purpose of this course is to provide participants with insight into the structural, conceptual and intellectual underpinnings, and implications of the emerging discipline of homeland security. Looking at a wide range of topics and problems, the course will seek to stimulate a comprehensive discussion of how homeland security professionals and the general public can leverage strategies and resources to address an all hazards approach. Topics will vary each semester. Two tentative topics are: Religions of the Globe and a Community Response to Pandemics.
One could argue that a “common sense” first appraisal of terrorists is that they are crazy and evil. Why else would people kill innocent people who mean them no harm and even kill themselves in the process? Relying on this common sense, President Bush branded the 9/11 hijackers as evil cowards. Others have argued that those who would commit suicide in their assaults on the free world are not rational and are not deterred by rational concepts. This course examines terrorists to find out who they are and what motivates them. In a related context, the Russian novelist, Fyodor Dostoyevsky said, “While nothing is easier than to denounce an evildoer, nothing is more difficult than to understand him.”
As the United States works to prevent and prepare for terrorist attacks, pandemics and other natural disasters, learning from the approaches of other countries offers insight for strategies that can guide the development of the discipline of homeland security. A comparative assessment of strategies utilized in other countries can serve as a vital tool in effective policymaking and in avoiding the inefficient and often dangerous, process of “reinventing the wheel” with respect to homeland security. The assessment requires an understanding of the framework, approaches restrictions, and powers under which other countries operate, as well as an understanding of the international dimension of an all hazard threats.
The 9/11 terrorist attacks and the ensuing war on terror have focused the nation’s attention on strategies needed to secure this country. This course examines key questions and issues facing the U.S. intelligence community and its role in homeland security and homeland defense. Students will have the opportunity to fully address policy, organizational, and substantive issues regarding homeland intelligence support. Course reference materials will provide an overview of diverse intelligence disciplines and how the intelligence community operates. Course emphasis will be on issues affecting policy, oversight, and intelligence support to homeland defense/security and national decision-making.
The goal of this course is to understand how the country will achieve and sustain risk-based target levels of public health capability to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from major events, and to minimize their impact on lives and property.
Introduction to computer networking. The OSI network reference model. Introduction to TCP/IP. Introduction to the web architecture. Overview of operating system (both Windows and Linux) security, network security, web security, social engineering, and legal and ethical issues.
This course provides a general overview of the theory and application of information warfare and forensic computing. The background information on information warfare highlights the inherent problems in today’s computing environment and indicated the necessity of forensics to complement computer security. The course focuses on information warfare arsenal and tactics, defensive strategies, and causalities; network surveillance tools for information warfare; fundamentals of computer forensics; computer forensics services and technologies; search and seizure; data recovery and identification and digital evidence collection, duplication, and preservation; computer image verification and authentication; reconstruction of past events; legal issues; and advanced topics in forensics.
This course discusses information security from organizational and managerial perspectives. For an organization, information security is a continuous management process. Security technology alone cannot facilitate this process without security professionals being aware of the tradeoffs and various policy issues embedded in this process. This course will provide students with a background in managing information security in organizations. Topics include risk identification and assessment, security policy and planning, personnel and security, privacy, security auditing, and legal issues.

* – Cyber track
** – Emergency Management track

View a program worksheet for the online MA in Homeland Security.


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