Master of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Step up to a career upholding the freedoms and security we hold dear

What happens after a natural disaster or catastrophic event, such as an earthquake or a mass shooting? How do you implement the search and rescue? How do you facilitate the recovery? How do you communicate updates to the media and the public? How do you build a recovery plan? National University’s Master of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management (MSHSEM) program gives you the training to answer these questions.

The terrorist events of 9/11 highlighted the national and international need for individuals with expertise in homeland security, and naturally occurring events such as Hurricane Katrina, the Southern California wildfires, Joplin tornados, and Japanese tsunami are further evidence of the ongoing requirement for specialized knowledge in emergency management. NU’s Master’s in Homeland Security represents an interdisciplinary area of research and application that brings together the fields of homeland security, terrorism, and emergency management as they relate to man-made and natural disasters.

Professionals with the right leadership skills and training are needed in all corners of the nation and all over the globe to protect against terrorism and threats coming from both domestic and international sources. Our online homeland security degree is designed to prepare you for leadership roles protecting against threats facing our country and around the globe.


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Learn how NU’s Master’s in Homeland Security takes an ‘”all-hazards approach” regarding natural and man-made emergencies to help keep our communities and country safe.

Program Learning Outcomes

As a graduate of National University’s Master of Homeland Security program, you’ll develop the following skills:

  • Integrate tools, resources, and organizational systems for the successful implementation of homeland security and emergency management issues
  • Formulate global mindset to terrorism, homeland security, and emergency management issues
  • Assess the impact of security issues for the operation of the public and private sectors with respect to manmade and natural disasters
  • Integrate resources, organizational systems, and decision-making processes for the successful implementation of homeland security and emergency management plans
  • Assess the impact of communications and the media on terrorism, homeland security and emergency management messaging
  • Critique legal and ethical issues in homeland security and emergency management

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The world has changed since 9/11, when our greatest national threat became terrorism, cyberterrorism, breaching of networks, and all things that are relatable to homeland security. In fact, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is divided into 16 different sectors, each of which depends on the advanced, industry-current knowledge and skills of its workers to protect the vital interests and infrastructures of our country:

  • Chemical Sector
  • Commercial Facilities Sector
  • Communications Sector
  • Critical Manufacturing Sector
  • Dams Sector
  • Defense Industrial Base Sector
  • Emergency Services Sector
  • Energy Sector
  • Financial Services Sector
  • Food and Agriculture Sector
  • Government Facilities Sector
  • Healthcare and Public Health Sector
  • Information Technology Sector
  • Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste Sector
  • Water and Wastewater Systems Sector

By earning your Master’s in Homeland Security at National University, you’ll examine how to protect infrastructures — such as bridges, water sources, and other lifelines of a city or town — that could be in jeopardy from an attack or natural disaster.

Whether you want to target a future in homeland security or emergency management, NU’s unique curriculum allows you to pursue an interdisciplinary degree grounded in both and designed to prepare you for important positions in the public sector at city, state or federal levels, as well as jobs in private industry and nonprofit organizations.

You’ll learn from faculty members with practical experience in the field, and you’ll receive dedicated support and support when it comes to networking opportunities outside of the classroom setting.

National University’s MS in Homeland Security and Emergency Management (MSHSEM) program is structured to prepare you for leadership positions in public administration, healthcare and social service industries, and private service organizations focused on preparing/planning for and responding to emergencies, incidents, crises in the community or at the organization. Positions* like these include:

  • Emergency Management Specialists
  • Emergency Managers
  • Industry Principals
  • Public Health Specialists
  • Disaster Recovery Specialists
  • Emergency Preparedness Managers

In 2022, most jobs for Emergency Management Directors in the USA are found in local government, followed by federal government, then state government. Top employers of professionals in this field include a mix of private consulting firms, healthcare, as well as governmental agencies at the Federal level:

  • Devereux
  • ICF International
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • Parkland Health
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Logistics Management Institute
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs
  • and many others

Regarding compensation, The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the median annual wage for emergency management directors was $76,730 in May 2021, and that the highest 10 percent earned more than $133,580.**

* SOURCE: Emsi Labor Analyst- Report. Emsi research company homepage at (Report viewed: April 24, 2022. DISCLAIMER: The data provided is for Informational purposes only. Emsi data and analysis utilizes government sources to provide insights on industries, demographics, employers, in-demand skills, and more to align academic programs with labor market opportunities. Cited projections may not reflect local or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth. Current and prospective students should use this data with other available economic data to inform their educational decisions.


National University students who completed a transition program as part of their undergraduate degree and who satisfy MSHSEM transition program requirements described in the catalog must complete a minimum of 45 quarter units for their MSHSEM degree.

Up to nine quarter units may be earned in a transition program. The number of units required for the MSHSEM program is dependent on the coursework completed in the Bachelor’s transition program and the grades earned.

To be awarded a Master of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management, students must complete at
least 54 quarter units of graduate work. A total of 13.5 quarter units of graduate credit may be granted
for equivalent graduate work completed at another institution, as it applies to this degree and provided
the units were not used in earning another advanced degree. Students should refer to the section on
graduate admission requirements for specific information regarding application and evaluation.

For students in the BS in Homeland Security and Emergency Management/MS in Homeland Security and Emergency
Management program, the University will waive up to two homeland security and emergency management courses
taken as part of the bachelor’s degree (see the BS in Homeland Security and Emergency Management/BS in
Criminal Justice Administration/Bachelor of Public Administration transition program), but these students
must still meet the residency requirements for the MS in Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The
number of courses waived is dependent on the courses taken and grades earned in the transition program.

Degree Requirements

  • (12 courses; 54 quarter units)

Students must complete all courses

Course Description Quarter Units
HSE 613 Policies of Homeland Security 4.50
HSE 614 Infrastructure Protection 4.50
HSE 640 Leading Complex Environments 4.50
HSE 625 Domestic Terrorism 4.50
HSE 611 Emergency/Disaster Response 4.50
HSE 615 Fundamentals of Recovery 4.50
HSE 606 Managing Information Security 4.50
HSE 635 Communication and Security 4.50
HSE 620 Global Lessons in Security 4.50
HSE 630 Immigration Issues in Security 4.50
HSE 690A Capstone Course
Prerequisite: Completion of at
least six core courses of the program.

HSE 690B Capstone Course
Prerequisite: HSE 690A with a
minimum grade of S. Students need
to complete HSE690A before HSE690B.
Completion of at least six core courses
of the program.


Introducing the Opportunity Scholarship

In honor of our students, and in celebration of our 50th anniversary, National University is investing $30 million in new student scholarships. To learn more about the Opportunity Scholarship, how you can apply, and how much you can save, inquire today.

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Why Choose National University?

We’re a veteran-founded, San Diego-based nonprofit. Since 1971, our mission has been to provide accessible, achievable higher education to adult learners. Today, we educate students from across the U.S. and around the globe, with over 185,000 alumni worldwide.


Today, the Department of Homeland Security is the third largest agency in the federal government. That alone should mean a steady and ongoing need for management professionals with industry-current knowledge and skills in areas like emergency management, criminal justice, and counterterrorism. The expertise you’ll gain in NU’s Master’s in Homeland Security can prepare you for a leadership role, no matter where your career takes you.

Program length for a master’s degree in Homeland Security varies from school to school and from student to student. National University’s MS in Homeland Security has 12 required courses, meaning you can complete your studies in as few as 12 months. Plus, you can choose to earn your degree on-site or online.

One unique advantage NU has over other curriculums is that we offer 4-week courses, and our admissions team reviews applications year-round. This innovative course design lets you start sooner, finish faster, and have the flexibility to juggle your work and family commitments along with your studies.

Criminal justice degrees tend to focus on knowledge in the areas of law enforcement, criminology, investigation, and community relations. Homeland security degrees include the basics of criminal justice but are more likely to include coursework in areas like terrorism, counterterrorism, hazard management, intelligence, and other components of national security.

The Department of Homeland Security is a law enforcement agency that performs critical functions to protect the country from threats and hazards. In fact, it’s the largest federal law enforcement force in the country, but the roles and responsibilities for homeland security professionals and criminal justice professionals are quite different.

Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements in a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

*Positions may require additional experience, training, and other factors beyond successfully completing this degree program. Depending on where you reside, many positions may also require state licensure, and it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all licensure requirements are met. We encourage you to also review program-specific requirements. Any data provided on this page is for informational purposes only and does not guarantee that completion of any degree program will achieve the underlying occupation or commensurate salary.

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