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Homeland Security workers in the field
Master of Professional Studies in
Homeland Security


The 33-credit Penn State online Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security program covers homeland security issues at different levels of government, as well as in the private sector. The base program focuses on homeland security legislation, policies, strategies, planning, organization and administration, and interactions across the homeland security enterprise.

The courses in the base program can help prepare continuing and emerging homeland security leaders with the knowledge of institutions, policies, strategies, and values required for preparedness, protection, prevention, response, recovery, mitigation, and analysis of catastrophic events in the context of an all-hazards comprehensive approach.

Use the Course List to find course information, including course descriptions and prerequisites.

Course List - Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security Base Program 

All students are required to complete the HLS Orientation (non-credit) as part of the HLS core curriculum before the end of their first semester. This orientation provides an overview of the HLS program and the field of homeland security.

Required Courses (9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Homeland Security Administration: Policies and Programs HLS 801 Foundation for understanding homeland security history, the development of homeland security policies and organizations, and current management approaches. 3 credits
Homeland Security: Social and Ethical Issues HLS 803 This course will examine the social, political, legal, and ethical issues that arise in the context of homeland security. 3 credits
Violence, Threats, Terror, and Insurgency HLS 805 Provides an overview of the domestic and global issues related to homeland security. 3 credits
Prescribed Courses (12 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Fundamentals of Homeland Security and Emergency Management HLS 811 This course focuses on providing a broad overview of homeland security activities as undertaken in the United States since 9/11. 3 credits

Homeland Security and Homeland Defense in Practice

HLS 812 This course analyzes and evaluates current homeland security, homeland defense, and defense support of civil authorities, plans, and programs, as well as the constraints hindering the implementation of federal and state initiatives. 3 credits
Multifaceted Approaches to Homeland Security HLS 813  This course gives an overview of the role of the military in civil society; cooperation among federal, state, and local agencies as well as the private sector in response to a catastrophic event; the importance of planning and exercises to improve the mitigation of such events. 3 credits
Whole-Community Disaster Preparedness HLS 558 This course explores the psychological impact of disasters and terrorist attacks on victims, families, rescuers, and society and methods of reducing negative effects. 3 credits
Electives (choose 9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Agricultural Biosecurity: Protecting a Key Infrastructure AGBIO 520 Course will explore intentional and unintentional threats to the agriculture- food system, history, and current approaches for safeguarding this key infrastructure. 3 credits
Strategic Leading and Identity BA 888 Emphasizes identity issues that are critical to understanding individual and collective processes in organizational life.

3 credits

Disaster Communication CAS 553 This seminar provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the multifaceted nature of disaster communication across phases of a disaster. 3 credits
Project Management for Professionals ENGR 405 Covers the essential concepts and skills needed to make effective contributions on projects, on time and within budget. 3 credits
Engineering Across Cultures and Nations ENGR 802 Explores cultural differences and impact on business practices and team dynamics working on virtual project teams with global partner universities. 3 credits
Exploring Imagery and Elevation Data in GIS Applications GEOG 480 An introductory-level course focusing on the use of remotely sensed imagery and elevation data in GIS applications. 3 credits
Intelligence Analysis, Cultural Geography, and Homeland Security GEOG 571 The application of cultural geography in the intelligence analysis and synthesis process by identifying prominent threats to civil security. 3 credits
Natural Disasters GEOSC 402Y Case studies of the causes and consequences of natural disasters; analysis of disaster impact in different economic, cultural, and social conditions. 3 credits
Critical Infrastructure Protection HLS 475 This course provides knowledge about protection of critical infrastructure as an aspect of homeland security. 3 credits
Homeland Security Intelligence HLS 476 The Homeland Security Intelligence course provides a depth of knowledge of key intelligence issues for homeland security professionals. 3 credits
Seminar in National Security Policy HLS 483 This course will examine the inter-relationship of foreign, military and economic policy. 3 credits
Homeland Security Internship HLS 495 Supervised off-campus, non-group instruction including field experiences, practica, or internships. Written and oral critique of activity required. A specific title may be used in each instance and will be entered on the student's transcript. 3-6 credits
Comparative Homeland Security and Related Methods HLS 540 The course will address international cooperation in homeland security, compare select national approaches, and teach related practical methods of analysis.

Prerequisites: HLS 801, HLS 803, HLS 805, and P ADM 802 (In certain cases, students may be eligible for a prerequisite waiver based on prior academic or professional experience.)

3 credits

Disaster Psychology HLS 558 This course explores the psychological impact of disasters and terrorist attacks on victims, families, rescuers, and society and methods of reducing negative effects.

Prerequisite: permission of the program
3 credits
Internship Experience in Homeland Security Enterprise HLS 595A Provides real-world experience in the homeland security enterprise. Supervision/support is provided by site personnel and Penn State graduate faculty.

Prerequisites: HLS 801, HLS 803 and HLS 805
3-6 credits
Strategic Planning and Organizational Imperatives in Homeland Defense and Security HLS 804 The homeland security framework depends on strategic planning and organization. This course examines the key issues associated with these. 3 credits
Emerging Threats to Homeland Security HLS 820 This course provides new insights of the emerging threats, disruptive technologies, and techniques for analyzing them to plan for the future of Homeland Security.  3 credits
Transnational Criminal Organizations and HLS HLS 821 This course will provide an overview of transnational crime and its effects on homeland security. 3 credits

U.S. Military’s Domestic Imperative: Homeland Defense and Defense Support of Civil Authorities

HLS 832

Provides an overview of the homeland defense mission and defense support of civil authorities during disasters, and the distinctions between the two.

Prerequisites: HLS 801

3 credits
U.S. Homeland Security Law HLS 875 This course assesses the controlling authorities that pertain to homeland security, from the U.S. Constitution to major federal statutes, court decisions, and executive directives.  3 credits
The Role of Intelligence in International Relations INTAF 812 This course examines how governments gather intelligence, how it is analyzed, and what impact it has on policy makers. 3 credits
Weapons of Mass Destruction and International Security INTAF 817 This course will explore how nuclear weapons revolutionized thinking about war and peace among major powers and how they can become a primary focus of international diplomacy.  3 credits
Colloquium on Current Policy Challenges INTAF 890 This course surveys some major transnational social problems confronting the world, suggested by the Copenhagen Consensus, such as climate changecommunicable diseases, conflict and arms proliferation, access to education, financial instability, governance and corruption, malnutrition and hunger, migration, sanitation and access to clean water, and subsidies and trade barriers.  3 credits
Crisis, Disaster, and Risk Management IST 564 This course examines the fundamental elements of crisis, disaster, risk, and emergency management. 3 credits
Foundations of Information Security and Assurance IST 815 This course provides theoretical and applied foundations of information security and assurance. 3 credits
Global Strategic Management MBADM 571 Integrating multiple functional business areas to resolve global business problems and improve organizational performance. 3 credits
Financial Accounting MBADM 811 Accounting rules, practices, and applications that characterize the accounting presentations that for-profit organizations provide to the public. 3 credits
Managing and Leading People in Organizations  MBADM 816 Overview of human behavior in organizations, and implications for managing and leading individuals, teams, and organizations. 3 credits
Financial Management MBADM 820 Application of techniques available to aid managers in sound financial decision-making. 3 credits
Marketing in a Global Environment MBADM 821 Examining strategic issues in global marketing, including opportunity analysis, planning, and implementation. 3 credits

Data Analysis for Policy and Administration

PADM 504

Conduct independent research in policy analysis, program evaluation, and public management. Students will not only learn statistical methods, but how to use them to evaluate public problems and suggest solutions. 3 credits
Introduction to Public Policy Analysis PADM 507 Introduction to the analysis of public policy within its organizational and political contexts, including an emphasis on an economic perspective.

Prerequisite: 3 credits of American government and 3 credits of basic economics
3 credits
Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations PADM 557 Study of the impact of a federal system of government on the administration of public functions. National-state-local dimensions. 3 credits
Public Organization and Management PADM 800 Development of basic concepts and issues in public administration; administrative theory and public policy processes. 3 credits
Public Health Evaluation of Disasters and Bioterrorism PHP 527 Introduces students to the design of exposure assessment and health effect studies applicable to disasters and terrorism. 3 credits
International Relations Theory PLSC 418W A survey of traditional and contemporary conceptual frameworks and theoretical approaches for the analysis of international relations. 3 credits
The Politics of Terrorism PLSC 439 Analysis of political terrorism as a violent alternative for peaceful change and traditional warfare in the nuclear age. 3 credits
American Foreign Policy PLSC 442 Principles of American foreign policy; processes of policy formulation; roles of the President, Congress, the State Department, and other government agencies. 3 credits
Psychological Foundations of Leadership PSY 532 Students will examine the social and psychological processes underlying leadership in organizations. 3 credits
Foundations of Behavior, Motivation, and Attitudes at Work PSY 539 Students will examine the psychological and social processes underlying behavior, motivation, and attitudes in work settings. 3 credits

The Intelligence Environment

SRA 421 The course examines the users and processes of Intelligence Community, participants of Competitive Intelligence, and comparative intelligence communities. 3 credits
Capstone Experience (3 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Research Project  HLS 594 Supervised student activities on research projects identified on an individual or small-group basis. 3 credits

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.

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