Homeland Security program choices

Gain critical skills that can give you a valuable advantage

All these programs are designed to provide graduates with decisive skills and knowledge that will give them a competitive edge in the job market — and ensure they are well-prepared for workplace roles addressing today’s most pressing homeland security, emergency management, and disaster preparedness concerns across a broad spectrum of natural and human-made hazards.

Alexander Siedschlag, professor and chair of homeland security programs said, “With a total of nine Penn State colleges contributing to this program that is more than 700 World Campus students and 1,300 alumni strong, a multidisciplinary approach and all-hazards coverage are not just a goal. They are the everyday reality in our program. Also, in our graduate program, there is no theory-practice gap, as we are a ‘professional studies’ program. That means we teach real-world homeland security and emergency management strategies, frameworks, etc., along with defensible analysis that meets academic standards and mission space needs.”

Siedschlag added, “To me, though, the greatest benefit of our master's degree in homeland security still is the extensive immersive experience and opportunity to learn, think critically, and perform together with peers in challenging real-world scenario assignments to help the homeland security community to become still better. As COVID-19, ongoing border and immigration challenges, and amounting cyber incidents demonstrate, new and additional perspectives — which multidisciplinary homeland security graduate studies can provide — are necessary to overcome silos and the ‘failure of imagination’ so reprimanded by the 9/11 Commission.”

The homeland security faculty and administrators strive to ensure the programs constantly evolve to address current demands.

“Recently, for example, we have developed and launched new online courses on COVID-19 pandemic response, transnational organized crime, sensing and detection in homeland security, mass destruction threats, or all-hazards community preparedness,” said Siedschlag.

Learn in the virtual classroom — and in the field

“A Penn State homeland security education also takes learning outside of the virtual classroom and into the very real world with our credit-earning internship experience,” said Alison Shuler, the homeland security program and internship coordinator. "This also includes non-traditional internships. For example, one of our many military students who is a U.S. Army Captain was able to complete her internship while serving abroad. In her internship project, she used her in-theater experience to make recommendations on the 'U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal’s Role in Homeland Security Operations.'"

A field with exciting opportunities, diverse career paths, and incredible demand

Homeland security is among the fields with the strongest growth in today’s job marketplace, with employers eager to fill positions in a wide range of in-demand roles.

“While many associate a homeland security degree with working for the federal government or intelligence agencies, there is a great deal of growth going on at the state level,” said Andrew Vitek, assistant teaching professor of political science and director of the master’s program counterterrorism option. “Governors’ offices, state agencies, and even state police departments have been working on developing their analytical and intelligence capacities. It’s not just places like the FBI or CIA that are looking for people with these educational backgrounds and skill sets!”

Graduates can also pursue opportunities in many roles across a wide range of industries in the private sector, including supply chain, public health, finance, and technology.

A strong reputation employers respect

Earning your homeland security degree or certificate from Penn State World Campus means you will receive high-quality academic expertise that will make you the kind of qualified candidate employers are eager to hire.

Siedschlag said, “Employers and contacts from federal, state, and local agencies as well as from the private sector tell me all the time, ‘Continue to send us well-equipped and critically thinking job candidates who demonstrate an ability to conduct defensible analysis of the threat environment, vulnerabilities, and alternative courses of action.’” 

Why choose Penn State World Campus for your homeland security program?

Choosing Penn State World Campus means you get the academic excellence of Penn State combined with the flexibility you need. Complete your program online from anywhere, on a schedule that fits your needs. You also get the benefits that go along with being a Penn State student, such as support resources, career services, and access to the largest alumni association in the world.

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December 12, 2023 / 8:00 pm (EST) 9:00 pm (EST)