Penn State's 33-credit online Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security degree program shapes leaders capable of preventing and responding to man-made and natural disasters.

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.

Core Curriculum (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
Homeland Security and Defense in Practice HLS 404 This course analyzes, evaluates, and critiques homeland security plans in practice. 3 credits
Multifaceted Approaches to Homeland Security HLS 802 Examination of the roles of the public and private sectors and the military in preparing, mitigating, and responding to disasters. 3 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
Fundamentals of Homeland Security HLS 811 Fundamentals of Homeland Security provides foundational knowledge about homeland security policy, strategy, organization, and legal issues in the U.S. context. 3 credits
Electives (9 credits)
All students are required to take at least one elective that is a 500-level course in addition to the Capstone Experience (HLS 594), to satisfy the degree requirement of 6 credits at the 500 level.
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
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
Comparative Homeland Security and Related Methods HLS 540 The course will address international cooperation in Homeland Security and compare select national approaches as well as 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 Explores 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
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. The course will provide students with the technical understanding of the major classes of WMD (nuclear, chemical and biological weapons) and their effects and it will examine the evolution of international security thinking about their role. 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
Full Range Leadership Development LEAD 555 Development of behavioral skills associated with outstanding leadership of individuals, teams, and organizations through advanced information technology, experimental exercises, and case analysis. 3 credits
Public Organization and Management P ADM 500 Development of basic concepts and issues in public administration; administrative theory and public policy processes. 3 credits
Introduction to Public Policy Analysis P ADM 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 P ADM 557 Study of the impact of a federal system of government on the administration of public functions. National-state-local dimensions. 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 PL SC 418W A survey of traditional and contemporary conceptual frameworks and theoretical approaches for the analysis of international relations. 3 credits
The Politics of Terrorism PL SC 439 Analysis of political terrorism as a violent alternative for peaceful change and traditional warfare in the nuclear age. 3 credits
American Foreign Policy PL SC 442 Principles of American foreign policy; processes of policy formulation; roles of the President, Congress, the State Department and other government agencies. 3 credits
Root Causes of Terrorism PL SC 836 Investigates the role economic, political and social factors play in determining patterns of international and domestic terrorism and terrorist activity. 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
Critical Infrastructure Protection PUBPL 475 This course provides knowledge about protection of critical infrastructure as an aspect of homeland security. 3 credits
Homeland Security Intelligence PUBPL 476 The Homeland Security Intelligence course provides a depth of knowledge of key intelligence issues for homeland security professionals.

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.