Online PhD in National Safety and Security: Program Information

Oct 20, 2021

Essential Information

Several Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree programs with concentrations in homeland security are available through online study. In these programs, students can access many courses and course materials online as their schedules permit. However, some programs may have a blended format, including brief residency requirements. A master's degree in homeland security is a prerequisite for these programs, but some may allow graduates with only a bachelor's degree to enroll.

The goal of these programs is to enable graduates to integrate research with real world security knowledge. The degrees may be in subjects such as public administration, business administration, or engineering, with a focus on homeland security. The length of time it takes to complete the programs varies, depending on if the student has a master's degree and if full- or part-time study is pursued.

Students and their advisors generally devise a study plan to meet the student's career goals. Most programs include core courses in leadership, planning, and budgeting. Students take courses suited to their areas of specialization, such as crisis management and public security policy. Several courses in research methodology are usually required, and students must write a dissertation.

Ph.D. in Homeland Security Overview

Students looking for an online doctorate in national safety and security may consider enrolling in a Ph.D. program with a concentration in homeland security. These degree programs are intended for graduates of a master's degree in homeland security, though some schools have options that allow for graduates with only a bachelor's degree to enroll. Students are prepared for executive leadership positions in areas related to homeland security by studying the policies, agencies and computer technology essential to the field.

Program Information and Requirements

A Ph.D. in Homeland Security requires 54-78 credit hours for completion. There is an hourly range because certain schools have different requirements for people entering the Ph.D. program with a master's degree as opposed to a bachelor's degree. Most of the coursework can be completed online, though some schools require students to complete an on-campus or other place of academic interest residency. Online materials are presented asynchronously allowing students to work on them at any time as long as certain deadlines are met.

Common Homeland Security Courses

The curriculum of a Ph.D. in Homeland Security consists of core courses in public policy and administration, business administration, or engineering combined with specialization courses in homeland security. Additional credits come from doctoral dissertation research.


This course examines terrorism in the modern world and summarizes the major historical events leading up to current terrorist situations. Emphasis is placed on the different techniques and strategies for developing emergency preparedness systems. Major terroristic laws and policies, such as the U.S.A. Patriot Act, are studied in depth.

Emergency and Critical Incident Management

Students analyze various emergency planning and management systems at the local and national levels. The Incident Command System is highlighted as a way to organize the utilization of different emergency response organizations. Different communities are used as case studies, and the strengths and weaknesses of their emergency response agencies are discussed.

Research Methods, Theories and Designs

Different types of research, such as quantitative, qualitative and mixed-methods, are identified and studied for applicational purposes. The formal research process is thoroughly analyzed as well as moral considerations involved with conducting research. Students are expected to create a basic research plan that consolidates all their skills and knowledge.

Career Information

Earning a Ph.D. in Homeland Security prepares the graduate to work at the highest level of a variety of homeland security related careers. The overall degree under which the homeland security concentration falls largely determines the career path of the graduate.

Many seek jobs with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which employed 240,000 people as of August 2015, according to their official website (

Jobs also exist through the Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Department of Labor, and other government agencies at the national, state and local levels, private businesses, and non-profit organizations. A Ph.D. provides more advancement opportunities in college teaching and research.

Ph.D. programs in homeland security are available in fully online or blended formats and highlight coursework in leadership, terrorism and research methodologies. In addition to required courses, students must also complete an original dissertation. Graduates can pursue careers with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or other government branches and agencies.

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