For professionals in homeland security who want to further hone and specialize their skills and knowledge or prepare for management positions, a Ph.D. can accomplish these goals. Through intensive study and research, students can become experts in a particular field of interest, such as terrorism, strategy, intelligence, emergency management, or critical infrastructure. They can also develop their leadership skills to effectively manage teams in all areas of homeland security, such as public administration, law enforcement, public safety, and emergency medical care and disaster preparedness agencies. Overall, they will be able to gain a deep understanding of the threats facing the United States.

Why a Ph.D?

The Ph.D. is the penultimate degree — it connotes expertise in the field. Professionals who work in some capacity with homeland security who want to advance the field and contribute original research or policy may be drawn to an online phd in homeland security. This degree might also be a necessary step for certain career opportunities, such as in higher education, that demand training and education beyond a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in homeland security. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that postsecondary teachers commonly have a Ph.D.

Getting Into a Ph.D. Program

Application requirements for online phd programs in homeland security will depend on the schools you apply to. Though in general, these are some of the requirements you can expect to come across:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Official transcripts from all college, university, or post-secondary schools attended
  • Personal statement
  • Minimum GPA
  • GRE Scores
  • Resume
  • Letters of reference
  • Relevant work experience and career objectives
  • Three to five years of professional, managerial, or related experience

Inside a Homeland Security Ph.D. Program

Program length will depend on the number of courses required and the extent of independent work, though may range from three to five years. Commonly, you’ll have homeland security concentrations within Ph.D. programs, such as biodefense, business administration, or management. What that degree is will greatly influence the direction and content of your courses. Some areas that might be covered include contemporary issues in homeland security, policy and governance in trans-organizational collaboration, and strategic thinking.

Ph.D. programs also are heavy in research and writing, and students are usually required to complete a dissertation in an area of their choosing that is of publishable quality. Other programs might require students to engage in projects, such as developing a plan for coordinating networked homeland security organizations or framing policy agendas. The online environment might include live interactive classes, archived class sessions, and student advising. Keep in mind that programs might also require that students attend regular residential symposiums.

What’s Next for Homeland Security Ph.D. Degree Holders?

A Ph.D. in homeland security can help professionals advance in their respective fields, such as law enforcement, government, security, military, and healthcare. That might mean obtaining an upper-level management position, or conducting research in their area of expertise. A doctorate can also open the door to education, as a professor at a college or university.