How Long Does it Take to get a Homeland Security Degree?

Another question gets answered on Criminal Justice Online: how long does it take to get a Homeland Security degree? Well, that all depends on which degree level you are asking about. Is it an Associates, a Bachelors, a Masters, or a PhD? Are you taking this degree at a traditional campus or is the Homeland Security degree from an online institution?

Here’s the answer based on an average of the expected completion time:

Associates Degree in Homeland Security

  • Traditional
    • 1 and 1/2 years with a maxed-out class load – super-full-time: at or above 16 credits
    • 2 years is the norm – usually full time: 12 credits or more
    • 2 and 1/2 years, or more – usually part time: below 12 credits
  • Online
    • 1 to 2 years depending on the school – usually one cannot manipulate the program to go faster or slower – but, there are exceptions to this general rule

Bachelors Degree in Homeland Security

  • Traditional
    • 3 to 3 and 1/2 years with a maxed-out class load – super-full-time: at or above 16 credits
    • 4 years is the norm – usually full time: 12 credits or more
    • 4 and 1/2 to 5 and 1/2 years, or more – usually part time: below 12 credits
  • Online
    • 2 and 1/2 to 4 years depending on the school – usually one cannot manipulate the program to go faster or slower – but, there are exceptions to this general rule

Masters Degree in Homeland Security

  • Traditional
    • 1 and 1/2 to 2 years with a maxed-out class load – super-full-time: may depend on the school, prior permission may be required
    • 2 to 3 years is the norm – usually full time: may depend on the school
    • 3 and 1/2 to 5 years , or more – usually part time: may depend on the school, prior permission may be required
  • Online
    • 1 to 2 and 1/2 years depending on the school – usually one cannot manipulate the program to go faster or slower – but, there are exceptions to this general rule

PhD / Doctorate Degree in Homeland Security

  • Traditional
    • 2 and 1/2 to 3 and 1/2 – with a Masters degree in Homeland Security, Criminal Justice, or similar field, or prior permission to take on higher class load, usually the former expedites the doctorate.
    • 4 to 5 years is the norm – usually full time: the length of the degree may depend on the school
    • 5 to 6 years, or more – usually part time or a class a time: colleges and universities often cap their PhD program at 5 years, prior permission may be required
  • Online
    • 2 and 1/2 to 4 years depending on the school – usually one cannot manipulate the program to go faster or slower -but, there are exceptions to this general rule

The Doctoral / PhD Homeland Security programs are starting to emerge, but are often being supplemented by Criminal Justice, Criminology, and Public Administration degree programs. Don’t get too disappointed if you don’t see your favorite school offering a PhD in Homeland Security, yet.

I hope this helps you. Just remember that you can, if you would like to, shorten or lengthen the journey to your degree. Usually it takes a little initiative, but it pays dividends down the road. Good luck!

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Article written by Radek Gadek

Radek holds a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University. He is currently doing consulting work and runs this blog to provide relevant information on criminal justice degrees, colleges and related careers.

2 comments… add one
  • clausel bonne anee

    do we have to be an american citizen to get to homeland security school if no what do we need

    • Radek M. Gadek

      As far as I know, you need legal status in the US (student visa, green card, or citizenship are most common). Getting a job is a different story. Most Homeland Security grads will aspire to work in the public sector (local, regional, state or federal government) where a US Citizenship is required, there are some employers that allow for permanent residents (green card holders) to work in certain aspects of homeland security, but that’s rare.

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