Homeland security remains a relatively new field, giving students the opportunity enter a growing profession. Homeland security programs prepare students for a variety of occupations designed to address threats against the U.S. Graduates from Ph.D. in homeland security online programs can enter careers in the military, the Department of Homeland Security, academia, private security, and information security.
This degree prepares students for some of the fastest-growing professions in the country. For example: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that jobs in information security will grow 28% by 2026. Government statisticians expect other fields popular among those with a doctorate in security, like teaching at the college level, to grow by 15%.
The Best Online Doctorate in Homeland Security Programs
Online Doctorate in Homeland Security Ranking Guidelines:
The only schools offering this degree are for-profit online colleges. If you have any questions about for-profit colleges, here's our guide for understanding for-profit colleges and universities.
1. Northcentral University
Northcentral University, an online, for-profit university established in 1996, offers an online Ph.D. in business administration with a homeland security leadership and policy specialization. The program develops a solid foundation in business administration principles, merged with advanced knowledge and skills in homeland security.
The online Ph.D. program requires 60 credit hours for completion, spread across 20 courses; it can be completed in 45 months of study. Students engage with key concepts such as emergency management and infrastructure issues, understanding and implementing policy and strategy, terrorism, and contemporary issues in the field. Students prepare for positions in academia, law enforcement, public safety, and emergency management.
Northcentral University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
2. Walden University
Walden University, an online for-profit university established in 1970, offers numerous online degree programs, including an online Ph.D. in criminal justice with a homeland security policy and coordination specialization. With two track options, the program serves the needs of those already holding a master’s degree in the field (Track I), or those who are coming from the outside (Track II).
Track I of the online Ph.D. program requires 83 quarter-credits for completion, while Track II requires 98. Both programs require a total of 16 days of campus residency and a dissertation project. Also, both programs develop advanced knowledge and skills in key areas of homeland security, including policy analysis, systematic approaches to terrorism, crisis planning and leadership, and program evaluation. Students may complete the program at an accelerated pace through Walden’s “fast track” option.
Walden University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
3. Colorado Technical University
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Technical University, a for-profit university established in 1965, offers an onlinedoctor of management in homeland security for students seeking to advance to upper-level positions in the field. The program develops expertise in homeland security and policy leadership, developing the skills and knowledge necessary to organize and manage homeland security agencies.
The online doctorate program requires 100 credits for completion, including coursework in key areas such as leadership theory, ethical decision making, strategic thinking, homeland security strategies, emergency planning, and security policy. Students engage in advanced research through a dissertation project, and must complete a residential doctoral symposium.
The program may be completed in three years of study, and offers multiple start dates per year for plenty of scheduling flexibility.
Colorado Technical University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Choosing an Online Doctorate in Homeland Security Program
Homeland security Ph.D. programs often take an interdisciplinary approach given that national defense requires expertise in multiple areas. These subjects include cybersecurity, emergency management, defense preparedness, intelligence, port and transportation security, and policy. As a candidate for a doctorate in security, you could find yourself studying subjects like management techniques, community relations, terrorism, and transportation infrastructure.
The options available in a Ph.D. in homeland security allow you to customize your degree. Make sure to research schools, keeping in mind that programs tend to focus on different areas. Some include concentrations, and others feature a more prescribed plan of study. Make sure that you understand as much as possible about programs to which you apply: Many require dissertations or thesis projects, while others call for internships and practicums.
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Doctorate in Homeland Security Program?
Each school offers its own take on homeland security programs. Some, for example, concentrate more on national security, while others focus on emergency management. Still others prepare graduates for work in law enforcement or for work in policy and community outreach. Because of the terminal nature of the degree, most will feature administrative coursework.
Concentrations Offered for an Online Doctoral Degree in Homeland Security
Homeland Security Policy:
Homeland security continues to evolve, and the growing demand offers opportunities to specialists who understand the policy implications of national defense. This concentration studies the history of national security policy with an eye toward emerging trends that might shape future legal decisions.
- Careers this concentration prepares for: Policy maker, security agency executive, Department of Homeland Security legal liaison.
Emergency management and homeland security overlap in many places, and this concentration prepares you for work in disaster preparedness and emergency response. Students prepare for and respond to both natural and manmade threats; they also take classes in administration and community relations.
- Careers this concentration prepares for: Emergency management director, Department of Homeland Security emergency response specialist.
The nation's ports remain a high-level security concern due to the amount of cargo that passes through them. This concentration explores all facets of port security, including threats to waterfront areas, the best practices in transportation safety, and how to react in a crisis.
- Careers this concentration prepares for: Port security specialist, transportation executive, government agent.
Curriculum for an Online Doctoral Degree in Homeland Security
Doctoral programs in homeland security prepare students for leadership positions in the field, and this course explores what constitutes good management. Students learn about administrative techniques and the theory behind them.
Terrorism and Emergency Preparedness:
This course explores the emergency management implications of a terrorist attack. Students consider various terrorist threats and the appropriate responses needed by homeland security agencies.
Homeland Security Policy:
What legal issues affect the ability to keep the nation safe? What laws govern the profession and do they work? These kinds of questions provide the basis for this course, which gives homeland security administrators a solid background in issues of law.
Professional Development in Homeland Security:
Students in this course learn about strategies to continue their education after completing the doctorate, an especially important aspect of a career that requires employees to stay current with changes in digital practices and terrorist strategies.
Dissertation Research Process:
Many Ph.D. programs require a dissertation, and this class helps learners understand how to research and write. Students study the elements of a dissertation and how to gather intelligence.
Careers with a Doctorate in Homeland Security
Those with a doctorate in security may enter many professions. They might teach courses in computer networking or work in a situation room at a government agency. Other options include working with the Coast Guard, keeping the nation's ports safe, or working as an emergency management director.
Information Security Analyst:
Data serves as an essential part of the nation's infrastructure, and security analysts help keep it safe from threats. They design and maintain secure networks, analyze suspicious activity, monitor for breaches, and respond to attacks for both government agencies and private companies. A doctorate prepares graduates for a leadership role in the field, including running a national security facility.
- Median Annual Salary: $95,510
- Projected Growth Rate: 28%
Teachers at the postsecondary level lead college classes. They design curriculum, offer lecturers and one-on-one instruction, advise students, and participate in faculty events. Because of the relative newness of homeland security, programs nationwide continue to seek out individuals with advanced degrees to help pass on knowledge to eager students.
- Median Annual Salary: $76,000
- Projected Growth Rate: 15%
Many who earn doctorates in homeland security take high-level positions in national security or the military. They might work as intelligence analysts, combating terrorist threats, or they might perform research for the Department of Defense. Some also work in administrative positions at the Department of Homeland Security.
- Median Annual Salary: $51,552
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics