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Master of Arts in Security Studies: Homeland Defense Concentration

Become a leader on the front lines of national security with UMass Lowell's Master's in Security Studies, Homeland Defense concentration.

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Neil Shortland IIIAssociate Professor
Neil Shortland III, Ph.D.
Alarm Clock Next Start Date: January 16

Online Master's in Security Studies, Homeland Defense Concentration

Gain an informed perspective on global and national affairs while positioning yourself for leadership in the field of national security with UMass Lowell's online Master of Arts in Security Studies: Homeland Defense Concentration. Course work covers issues related to the prevention of terrorist attacks and the defense of the United States, including critical infrastructure protection, regional and national security intelligence, land and maritime border protection and the use of new technologies in homeland security practices.

Drawing on the extensive experience of UMass Lowell's Criminal Justice, Psychology and Legal Studies faculty, this multidisciplinary program will position you for various career paths in local, state and federal government agencies. You will also be well positioned for security jobs with defense contractors, research firms and advanced technology companies.

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No GRE/MAT Required

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Earn Your Master's Degree in as Little as 18 Months

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Earn a Top-Ranked Master's for Under $20k

Career Outlook

957,156
Jobs (2020)
+9.2%
% Change (2020-2021)
$104.2K/yr
Median Earnings
119,153
Annual Openings
Source: Lightcast, 2022
"Employment of information security analysts is projected to grow 32 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations."
— U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2020

Key Takeaways

Deepen your knowledge of a diverse range of topics, including:

  • Homeland security and defense systems utilized in the United States since 9/11
  • Technical aspects of weapons of mass destruction
  • Trends of political violence in countries around the world
  • Strategies to respond to man-made and natural disaster hazards
  • Legitimate and illegitimate Internet commerce
  • Cyber-criminal methodologies
  • Strategies, tactics, and legal and ethical implications of intelligence collection and analysis
  • Cyber security best practices
  • The role of science and technology in homeland and national security

Our faculty is comprised of top academics in the area of security studies, as well as industry experts who hold security clearances with the U.S. military and have worked in law enforcement or for intelligence and justice agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; and the Department of Defense.

Our courses and programs of study enroll students from very diverse educational and professional backgrounds, and our alumni are employed in a wide variety of positions.

Leaders in Terrorism and Security Studies Research

The Center for Terrorism and Security Studies (CTSS) was established in 2013 to bring together faculty from several colleges at UMass Lowell and other institutions and organizations in the Commonwealth. The CTSS collaborates on research projects addressing the evolution, convergence and complexity of domestic and foreign security challenges such as terrorism, cyber security, transnational crime and weapons of mass destruction.

Best Online Master's in Criminal Justice Program in the Nation by U.S. News & World Report
Ranked #2 Best Online Master's in Criminal Justice Programs in the Nation by U.S. News & World Report
National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security Badges
UMass Lowell has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research by the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security

Success Story

"I completed UMass Lowell's BS in Criminal Justice and loved it. I then started an online Master's in Security Studies at an elite school based in D.C. It turned out to be glitchy and inconsistent, so I came back to UMass Lowell — a testament to how well UML delivers an online learning experience. UML was just as challenging, and a better value."

Kerry Farwell, U.S. Department of State Consular Affairs, MS Security Studies, Homeland Security concentration, 2020
Kerry Farwell

Kerry Farwell

One Success Leads to Another

Apply credits from lower credentials to higher ones. Our programs are designed to build upon themselves:

Students who complete all courses in the Graduate Certificate Program in Security Studies with a 3.300 GPA or better will be automatically approved for admission into the Master of Science in Security Studies: Critical Infrastructure Protection Concentration or the Master of Arts in Security Studies (any concentration). All courses taken to complete the graduate certificate will count toward the completion requirements for the master's degree.

Curriculum Outline

- Total Number of Courses: 10 (30 credits)

Course Descriptions

CRIM.5660 Transportation Systems Safety and Security (3cr)

This course will look at safety, security and emergency management with regard to transportation operations; multi-modal transportation security threats, vulnerabilities, risk and strategies to mitigate and incident; and the security of supply chains and critical infrastructure. The course will use case studies to provide the student with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to effectively safeguard the movement of assets within interconnected transportation networks.

Requirements:

CRIM.5740

CRIM.5700 Crisis and Emergency Management (3cr)

This course will provide a broad introduction to the critical challenges of disaster management. The course will address past and present strategies for reducing and responding to hazards posed by both manmade and natural disasters. Emphasis will be placed on what we can learn from the history of disasters, and on how we can apply those lessons to the management of future events.

Requirements:

CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.5710 Domestic Terrorism and Violent Extremism (3cr)

This course examines the evolution and contemporary nature of domestic terrorist threats and violent extremist movements that the U.S. has confronted over the past several decades. Special attention is focused on right-wing militias, religious extremists, racial supremacist/hate groups, and extreme environmental and animal rights groups. Students will also learn about political and socioeconomic factors that enable a terrorist group's ideological resonance, prison radicalization, the role of the Internet in mobilizing individuals toward violent behavior, and the legal and criminal justice dimensions of responses to terrorism.

CRIM.5720 Comparative Terrorism and Counterterrorism (3cr)

This course examines a broad spectrum of terrorist groups and counterterrorism responses in over a dozen countries, including Colombia, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Northern Ireland/UK, Pakistan, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Yemen. This comparative analysis will help students develop and understanding of patterns and trends within political violence (including radicalization, tactics, financing, targeting behavior, malevolent creativity, disengagement and de-radicalization) and the many different policies and strategies adopted by governments in response to terrorist threat.

Requirements:

CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.5740 Overview of Homeland Security (3cr)

The U.S. has embraced the homeland security monolith without a full understanding of what it encompasses. This course provides a comprehensive overview of homeland security and defense as undertaken in the United States since 9/11. The course critically examines the current body of knowledge with a specific focus on understanding security threats, sources, and reasons for these threats. The roles of the key players at the federal, state and local levels, the policies and procedures enacted since 9/11, and the homeland security system in practice are also examined.

Requirements:

CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.5750 Contemporary Security Studies (3cr)

This course examines the complex nature of key domestic and international security threats and responses. Topics include terrorism and insurgency, transnational organized crime, WMD proliferation, cyber-security, intelligence, national and homeland security strategies, critical infrastructure protection, and theories of international security.

CRIM.5780 Intelligence Analysis Policy and Practice (3cr)

Students will examine the tradecraft of intelligence collection and analysis from various perspectives. Topics will include strategies, tactics, legal and ethical implications, sources, means, methods, limitations, covert action, methods of analysis, and case studies of prominent intelligence successes and failures in the last half century.

Requirements:

CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.5900 Descriptive & Inferential Statistics (3cr)

This course is a rigorous introduction to statistical inference: probability theory, confidence intervals, and hypothesis tests. The course also covers regression analysis, which is developed in a non-technical way, with an emphasis on interpretation of regression results, using examples from recent research.

CRIM.5910 Research Design (3cr)

Research design is a graduate-level introduction to methodology as used in criminology/criminal justice. The course surveys the research design enterprise and covers a host of issues on the measurement and collection of data, and other procedures that influence whether a research study will lead the investigator to scientifically rigorous information. This course explains various strategies for devising social science studies, compares the relative benefits of various designs, and identifies the tools necessary to conduct studies that will yield data worthy of analysis and interpretation. This material will be valuable for students who will conduct research and administrators who must evaluate the research of others.

Requirements:

CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.6580 Issues in Computer Crime and Cyber Security (3cr)

This course will examine the history and evolving nature of the relationship between technology, crime, and security, with a particular focus on legitimate and illegitimate Internet commerce, and cyber criminal methodologies and techniques. We will study major issues in cyber security including criminal and state-sponsored hacking; data, intellectual property, and identity theft; financial and personal data security; cyber-terrorism; tools and methods used to exploit computer networks, and strategies to protect against them; and new and emerging technologies. This course will be taught specifically for non-computer science majors, although students with computer science backgrounds are welcome for the experiences that they can bring to the class discussions.

Requirements:

CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.6640 Weapons of Mass Destruction (3cr)

This course explores the threats that weapons of mass destruction (WMD) pose to the U.S. and its interests along with the strategies to meet those threats. The course will examine the technical aspects, history, and contemporary threat of each category of weapon Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear followed by a critical analysis of U.S. and global efforts to limit access to these weapons and prohibit their production, proliferation and use. The course will also review some aspects of WMD attack response, recovery, and mitigation.

CRIM.6660 Terrorism Networks (3cr)

This course will explore the dynamics of terrorist networks and will equip students with an understanding of the drivers of terrorist network formation, development and disintegration. The course will also provide students with knowledge and understanding of how, why and when networks expand, affiliate, and occasionally splinter. And finally, students will be guided through the applicability of network theory and analysis to the design of hypothetical operational responses and contingency planning surrounding the disruption or containment of terrorist networks.

Requirements:

CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.6680 Scientific & Technological Dimensions of National Security (3cr)

In this required course for the MS in Security Studies program, students will take this course to learn all about the efforts in the public and private sector to design new sensors, scanner, and the general role of science and technology in homeland and national security.

Requirements:

CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.6990 Security Studies Capstone Research Paper (3cr)

This course represents the culminating capstone experience for students in the MA in Security Studies program at UMass Lowell. Incorporating the tools learned in CRIM.5900, Research Design and Methods, students are required to design a research question, gather and analyze information, and write a Masters level research paper of at least 50 pages on a topic of their choosing related to security studies. Students will provide drafts of their paper to their faculty supervisor periodically during the semester, and the final version will be submitted for grading on the basis of quality research and writing.

Requirements:

CSCE Graduate Restrictions

MSIT.5450 Designing and Building a Cybersecurity Program (3cr)

This course focuses on best practices for designing and building a comprehensive Cybersecurity Program based on the NIST Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity ("The Framework"). The Framework was issued on February 12, 2014, as directed by President Obama in Executive Order 13636. This framework provides guidance for reducing cybersecurity risk for organizations, and this course will examine its basic tenets of: "Cybersecurity Fundamentals", techniques applied to "Building a Controls Factory", "Cybersecurity Programs" "Establishing Cybersecurity Centers of Expertise" and "The Cybersecurity Program Implementation Roadmap".


Program Requirements

To be recommended for a University of Massachusetts Lowell master's degree, candidates must satisfy all of the general requirements below, plus any additional requirements that may be required by the department through which the program is offered. Any additional requirements for this program are either listed below or may be found in the University's Graduate Program Catalog.

General Requirements:

  • Students must complete the program of study designed by the Department in which they are enrolled and approved by the University.
  • Satisfactory grades in all subjects offered for the degree must be earned. See Academic Standing.
  • All financial obligations, including tuition, fees and expenses, must be satisfied as evidenced by completion.
  • Upon completion of all their courses, graduate degree candidates must submit a signed Declaration of Intent to Graduate (DIG) form to their coordinator. The coordinator will apply them in SIS, Graduation Tracking.

Graduate Program Policies

In applying for a degree program or registering for courses, each student assumes full responsibility for knowledge of and compliance with the definitions, regulations and procedures of UMass Lowell as set forth on our website. For additional information, please refer to the Graduate Program Policies found within the UMass Lowell Graduate Catalog.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition at UMass Lowell is typically half the cost of private colleges, and our online tuition is among the lowest in the nation. Tuition for online programs offered through the Division of Graduate, Online & Professional Studies is the same whether you live in-state, out-of-state or outside of the U.S.

Spring 2024 Tuition

Cost Per Credit Cost Per 3-Credit Course*

Graduate

Online $585 $1,755
Online Business** $655 $1,965
Online IT and Engineering*** $600 $1,800
Online Education $470 $1,410
Online Education for Ed.D. and Ph.D. $500 $1,500
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*If the number of contact hours exceeds the number of credits, tuition is calculated by multiplying by the total number of contact hours.

Additional Costs

Term Registration Fee $30
Late Fee $50
Graduate Degree and Certificate Application $50

Please note: Tuition and fees are subject to change.

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Applying into the Security Studies: Homeland Defense Concentration Program

Applications to the Graduate Program in Security Studies are accepted and processed year-round. Students accepted into the program can begin their courses in the Fall, Spring or Summer terms. To be considered for admission to this program, applicants must have earned an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution of higher education, with a final cumulative GPA of at least 3.000. A wide variety of undergraduate degree programs qualify as an appropriate foundation for this master's degree, particularly those in the behavioral and social sciences such as political science, sociology, criminal justice, psychology, history, international relations, and many others.

All applicants must submit the following:

Graduate Program Admissions Requirements

Admission to all graduate programs at UMass Lowell is contingent upon successful completion of a bachelor's degree. In many cases, applicants may register for a course before formally applying to the program; however, students requiring financial aid may want to wait until they have been formally accepted into the program to ensure that their course(s) will be covered. Contact UMass Lowell's Office of Graduate Admissions if you have questions about the application process.

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Questions Regarding Your Graduate Application?

Email Graduate_Admissions@uml.edu or call 800-656-4723 (for U.S. students) or 978-934-2390 (for international students).

For General Assistance:

For general questions about registering for courses or to find out who the advisor is for your graduate program, call 800-480-3190. Our admissions and advising teams are here to help!

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