New Homeland Security Studies Program Debuts

Officer stands watch over city buildings.

By Trey Cawley

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the new field of Homeland Security, which now includes the public and private sectors and addresses all threats against the United States, emerged and began to interact with criminal justice.

In response to the growing needs of organizations and companies in the field, the College of Criminal Justice will launch a retooled Master’s degree and certificate programs this fall. As a program within the Department of Security Studies, the new Master of Science in Homeland Security Studies examines all facets of the discipline, including such areas as emergency management, national security, and cybersecurity as well as ethical and legal issues for the public and private sectors.

People in protective suits.“This new ‘all-hazards’ approach we are taking with our programs will help students prepare to deal with any type of threat that they may encounter,” said Dr. Phillip Lyons, Interim Dean of the College of Criminal Justice.

This approach has been taking shape throughout the Homeland Security field and is evidenced by the inclusion of government agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a traditionally natural disaster oriented response organization, into the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Security officer watches over plant operations.By attending to the needs of both the public and private sector, the new degree seeks to graduate better informed practitioners who, among other activities, will help protect critical infrastructure that is essential to everyday lives.

“Protecting critical infrastructure such as transportation and the phone companies is difficult because most of it is not owned by the government, but rather it is owned by various private enterprises,” Dr. Lyons explained. “The restructuring of our degree will help better prepare students to manage various events including terrorist attacks, natural disasters and pandemics.”

Undercover officer watches crowd of thousands.In addition to the Master’s degree, the program also will offer two certificates for professionals in the field – Emergency Management and Critical Infrastructure Protection. These two certificate programs will result in quick starts for professionals and, hopefully, early successes in the field.

“These additions were developed to appeal to practitioners as well as traditional Master’s students,” Dr. Lyons said. “We are hopeful that many of these certificate students will choose to go on to pursue the Master’s in Homeland Security Studies.”

Hurricane hits homes at the beach.Among some of the classes that will be offered in the new program are:

  • Foundations of Homeland Security
  • Unconventional Threats
  • Critical Infrastructure Protection
  • Cybersecurity
  • Crisis Management Integration I & II

“The events of 9/11 forced criminal justice practitioners to rethink their work,” said Dr. Jurg Gerber, Acting Chair of the Department of Security Studies. “While street crime and white collar crime had always been important, 9/11 emphasized the need to include homeland security.”

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