Credits and costs
Learn to Safeguard America's Food Supply Chain
There are many different threats to our agriculture and food supply chain that occur naturally or are man-made. Such attacks may cause illnesses or loss of life, generate fear, cause economic loss, and create social instability. The intercollege Master of Professional Studies (iMPS) in Homeland Security - Agricultural Biosecurity and Food Defense option, offered in partnership with Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, can provide students with foundational knowledge about plant, animal, and food security issues; surveillance systems for infectious diseases; diagnostic and sensor technologies; disease-predictive models; protection and mitigation approaches; and microbial forensic capabilities.
Why Penn State for Your Homeland Security Education
Penn State offers a series of homeland security core courses that provide a fundamental understanding of homeland security issues. In addition, a series of optional and elective courses focus on topic areas such as food science and defense, plant protection, and animal security.
Online Graduate Certificates
Penn State offers online graduate certificates in homeland security, including the Agricultural Biosecurity Graduate Certificate. The 12 credits earned in this certificate may be applied toward the Master's in Homeland Security - Agricultural Biosecurity and Food Defense option.
Who Should Apply?
The online iMPS in Homeland Security - Agricultural Biosecurity and Food Defense option is open to candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree. The degree is ideal for public health professionals, food safety analysts, quality control specialists, plant managers, food safety engineers, food defense coordinators, food inspectors, food microbiologists, and individuals working or studying food safety and biosecurity in industry, government, or academia.
Information for Military and Veterans
Are you a member of the military, a veteran, or a military spouse? Please visit our military website for additional information regarding financial aid, transfer credits, or application instructions.
Penn State's 33-credit online Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security - Agricultural Biosecurity and Food Defense option prepares students to understand diverse agricultural and food supply systems, vulnerabilities, public health, and surveillance systems while gaining the skills to protect, detect, mitigate, and treat widespread agricultural infectious disease.
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)
Agricultural Biosecurity and Food Defense Option Prescribed Courses (12 credits)
Electives (select 9 credits)
Capstone Experience (3 credits)
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.
Costs and Financial Aid
Graduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.
|How many credits do you plan to take per semester?||Cost|
|11 or fewer||$1,007 per credit|
|12 or more||$12,082 per semester|
Financial Aid and Military Benefits
Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.
How to Apply
Deadlines and Important Dates
Your degree application, including receipt of all application materials, must be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete.
- Fall Deadline: Apply by July 1 to start August 21
- Spring Deadline: Apply by October 15 to start January 8
- Summer Deadline: Apply by March 1, 2024, to start May 13, 2024
Thank you for your interest in continuing your homeland security education through Penn State World Campus. New and prospective students must submit an application for admission when applying to either the master's or a certificate program, along with a nonrefundable application fee. If you have any questions throughout the admissions process, please contact an admissions counselor.
For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.
What You Need
Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need to upload the following items as part of your application:
Official transcripts from each institution attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Penn State alumni do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State, but must list Penn State as part of your academic history. If you are admitted, you will be asked to send an additional official transcript. You will receive instructions at that time.
GPA and Test Scores — Official Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores are not required.
English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Proficiency section on the Graduate School's "Requirements for Graduate Admission" page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.
References (3) — you will need to initiate the process through the online application by entering names, email addresses, and mailing addresses of three references. Upon submission of your application, an email will be sent to each reference requesting they complete a brief online recommendation regarding your commitment for success in an online program. Please inform all recommenders they must submit the form in order for your application to be complete.
Résumé — Upload your résumé to the online application.
Statement of Purpose — A statement of no more than 500 words explaining to the admissions committee how your professional experience and goals relate to the program to which you are applying. Your statement could include aspects such as the following: Your reasons for pursuing the degree; why you feel you are a good candidate for the program; and any information you would like the admissions committee to know about you personally and/or professionally.
Start Your Application
You can begin your online application at any time. Your progress within the online application system will be saved as you go, allowing you to return at any point as you gather additional information and required materials.
Begin the graduate school application
- Choose Enrollment Type: "Degree Admission"
- Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus
- Choose "HOMELAND SECURITY" as the major
- Choose “MASTER OF PROFESSIONAL STUDIES” as the degree
- Choose “AGRICULTURAL BIOSECURITY AND FOOD DEFENSE OPTION” as the option
Checking Your Status
You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form.
Review the technical requirements for this degree program.
Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.
Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State master's degree?
Start or Advance Your Career
Start or Advance Your Career
You can use the knowledge gained from this program and the support of Penn State career resources to pursue careers in a variety of fields, depending on your goals.
For questions related to the Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security — Agricultural Biosecurity and Food Defense Option, offered in partnership with the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, please contact:
Kim Hall, Graduate Coordinator
College of Agricultural Sciences
Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology
The Pennsylvania State University
210 Buckhout Lab
Email: [email protected]
DegreePh.D., Food Technology; Microbiology, Clemson University
DegreeM.S., Pathobiology; Bacteriology, University of Connecticut
DegreeB.S., Pathobiology, University of Connecticut
Dr. Catherine Cutter's research determines the prevalence of pathogens in foods, develops methods to sample and detect foodborne pathogens, and validates control measures for microbial contaminants in foods. She also researches food safety practices of food handlers and laboratory personnel. Dr. Cutter teaches in food safety–related Extension workshops/short courses for food industry professionals. She is a professor in the Department of Food Science and assistant director of food safety and quality programs, Penn State Extension, in the College of Agricultural Sciences.
DegreePh.D., Epidemiology, University of Prince Edward Island
DegreeDVM, Veterinary Medicine, University of Guelph
Dr. Ernest Hovingh is an associate research professor and Extension veterinarian at Penn State. His primary teaching/extension and discovery interests include population health and preventive medicine, as well as biosecurity and epidemiology. He conducts applied research projects on topics important to cattle health and welfare, as well as pre-harvest food safety, food quality, and anti-microbial resistance.
DegreePh.D., Physiological Chemistry, University of Wisconsin
DegreeM.S., Chemistry, Seoul National University
DegreeB.S., Chemistry, Seoul National University
Dr. Seogchan Kang’s three main goals of research focus on improving biocontrol via enhanced understanding of chemical ecology underpinning plant-microbe and microbe-microbe interactions; advancing understanding of the molecular, cellular, and evolutionary mechanisms underpinning plant-fungal pathogen interactions; and supporting community research, education, and extension on plant diseases by archiving and disseminating phylogenetic and genomic data from major pathogen groups through web-based informatics platforms.
DegreePh.D., Molecular and Physiological Plant Biology, University of California, Berkeley
DegreeB.S., Biology, Wellesley College
Dr. Gretchen Kuldau's work focuses on understanding mycotoxin development in grain and forage crops, with an emphasis on Fusarium toxins. Her approaches include fungal molecular genetics, greenhouse, growth chamber and field studies, use of chromatography for mycotoxin analysis, and general microbiology. She teaches courses in agricultural biosecurity and co-teaches a General Education course on fungi, titled "The Fungal Jungle."