Credits and costs
Most Comprehensive Online Homeland Security Degree
The discipline of homeland security follows an all-hazards approach and crosses both the public and the private sector. While the federal government's Department of Homeland Security and federal agencies may be among the largest employers of homeland security professionals, the need for qualified professionals is expanding at state and local levels, as well as internationally. In addition, public-private partnership has made homeland security an important focus for private sector employers in fields such as technology, finance, insurance, public health, and more.
The Penn State World Campus intercollege Master of Professional Studies (iMPS) in Homeland Security, a 33-credit program delivered exclusively online, complements these diverse specialties, with a homeland security education portfolio that can suit the needs of many individuals working in this field and foster national and international careers. The Penn State Harrisburg School of Public Affairs serves as the academic home for the Homeland Security degree.
The online courses are flexible, allowing you to continue working in your current profession. In addition, the class assignments are focused on knowledge and skills that are applicable in the workplace. The curriculum is also appropriate if you want to transfer from a related field into the field of homeland security or one of its specializations.
Why Penn State for Your Homeland Security Education?
Penn State offers a series of homeland security core courses that can provide you with a fundamental understanding of homeland security in a global context, and then you can choose a specialization: the general homeland security base program — which focuses on policy and organization — or options in cyber threat analytics and prevention, counterterrorism, public health preparedness, intelligence and geospatial analysis, information security and forensics, or agricultural biosecurity and food defense.
Who Should Apply?
The iMPS in homeland security degree is open to candidates who hold a bachelor's degree. The degree is ideal for federal, state, and local officials, and individuals in private industry looking for a background in homeland security topics. The program also serves international students interested in education from one of the leaders in homeland security studies in the United States.
One Homeland Security Degree, Multiple Options
This page provides you with information about the base program of the intercollege Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security.
Within this comprehensive program, you may either apply to the base program or to one of several options to customize your degree. Multiple options offer the opportunity for academic specialization within homeland security.
To enhance our offerings, and to provide expertise in various academic areas, we draw on renowned faculty from across Penn State — including the College of Agricultural Sciences, College of the Liberals Arts’ Department of Political Science, Penn State Great Valley, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, and Penn State Hershey College of Medicine — to deliver these options. To learn more about the other options within the homeland security degree program, please visit the following web pages:
- Base program
- Agricultural Biosecurity and Food Defense Option
- Counterterrorism Option
- Cyber Threat Analytics and Prevention Option
- Intelligence and Geospatial Analysis Option
- Information Security and Forensics Option
- Public Health Preparedness Option
The international track of Penn State's online Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security program, offered in partnership with the School of International Affairs, is based on state-of-the-art security research. You can learn to understand differences and commonalities between homeland, national, and international security, as well as the characteristics of homeland security in a global context and an all-hazards threat environment. This track can prepare you for a global career with excellent earning potential.
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.
Online Education at Penn State
Penn State has a history of more than 100 years of distance education and more than a decade of experience in online learning. We create an online learning environment that offers you the same quality education our residential students experience in a face-to-face setting. Learn more about Penn State World Campus.
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.
All students are required to complete the HLS Orientation (noncredit) 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)
Base Program Prescribed Courses (12 credits)
Electives (select 9 credits)
Consult your adviser on the best electives to meet your goals.
Communication Arts and Sciences
Information Sciences and Technology
Master of Business Administration
Students may concentrate their elective studies in courses in the Master of Business Administration. While only 9 credits are required to meet the Homeland Security Base Option elective requirements, students can choose 12 credits from the MBA courses to be eligible to receive a Graduate Certificate in Business Management Foundations through the Penn State Smeal College of Business.
Public Health Preparedness
Security and Risk Analysis
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||$1,017 per credit|
|12 or more||$12,203 per semester|
|How many credits do you plan to take per semester?||Cost|
|11 or fewer||$1,027 per credit|
|12 or more||$12,325 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.
- Summer Deadline: Apply by May 1 to start May 13
- Fall Deadline: Apply by August 1 to start August 26
- Spring Deadline: Apply by December 1, 2024, to start January 13, 2025
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.
- 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 “HOMELAND SECURITY BASE PROGRAM” 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.
Career Opportunities for Graduates
Career Opportunities for Graduates
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 and the specialization you choose.
Earn a Valuable Credential along the Way
Earn a Valuable Credential along the Way
Show mastery of specific subjects before your degree is complete. Thanks to shared courses across programs, students can often earn a certificate along with their degree in less time than if they earned them separately.
To learn more about the intercollege Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security Base Program, offered in partnership with the Penn State Harrisburg School of Public Affairs, please contact:
Homeland Security Degree Base Program, Certificate, and Undergraduate Minor
School of Public Affairs
777 West Harrisburg Pike
160W Olmsted Building
Middletown, PA 17057
Emma Leonard Boyle, Ph.D.
DegreePh.D., Political Science and African Studies, Penn State
DegreeM.A., Political Science, Penn State
DegreeM.Sc., African Studies, Oxford University
DegreeM.A., International Relations, The University of St Andrews
Emma Leonard Boyle is an associate professor of political science and the chair of the homeland security programs. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science and African Studies from Penn State, and her research interests include terrorism, the geography of political violence, and gender-based violence in civil wars. She has previously worked at the Center for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV) at the University of St Andrews and the International Center for the Study of Terrorism (ICST) at Penn State.
DegreeM.S., Strategic Intelligence, National Defense Intelligence College
DegreeB.A., East Asian Studies, George Washington University
Nicholas Eftimiades retired from the U.S. Department of Defense. His 34-year government career includes employment in the CIA as a technical operations officer, a special agent in the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security, and a senior intelligence officer in the Defense Intelligence Agency. He held positions in analysis, human and technical intelligence collection, and management, with numerous overseas assignments.
In addition to standing program faculty, experts from the homeland security mission space are serving as part-time instructors in the program.