8 Most Affordable Online Doctoral Degrees in Homeland Security

Learn to protect your country with the 8 Most Affordable Online Doctoral Degrees in Homeland Security. Do you have a desire to protect and serve your country? Homeland security threats continue to challenge security professionals, and advancing technology means the field of homeland security must continuously evolve.

A Doctorate Degree in Homeland Security provides you the specialized education necessary to hold positions to help protect others. The 9 Most Affordable Online Doctoral Degrees in Homeland Security can prepare you for positions in government, law enforcement, public and private security industries, non-government organizations, and even in academia. These programs give you the flexibility you need to continue working while pursuing your education and opening up additional career opportunities.


A Doctorate in Homeland Security is necessary for many mid- and upper-level homeland security positions, such as those in federal law enforcement agencies, within the intelligence community, at the Department of Defense, and the US Department of Homeland Security. While a doctoral degree can help you to qualify for more and better-paying careers, choosing a more affordable degree can also help you to save money. The programs in this ranking are designed to be affordable and accessible for working professionals. Many of these programs allow you to transfer credits from other institutions, reducing the coursework you’ll need to finish. Some of these schools offer grants and scholarships, and many offer military discounts, including capped or reduced tuition rates.

You can expect to spend at least three years fulfilling any of these programs, though the exact amount of time will depend on the program, the required credits, and whether you pursue your education full-time or part-time. Some programs offer a variety of concentrations, including Corrections, Project Management, and more, so it’s important to find a program that aligns with your career path. All of these programs allow you to complete at least most of your coursework online. Some do require brief on-campus residencies, but the programs are designed to accommodate the flexible scheduling needs of working professionals. If the program you’re interested in does require residencies, then be sure to include travel expenses in your education budget.


While you’re on your way to earning your Ph.D. or Doctorate within your field, the editors at Online PhD Programs are already practicing doctors of their craft: ranking the best online Ph.D. programs. To be featured on our annual rankings online doctorates must satisfy four coinciding requirements: accreditation, research and scholarship doctorate certification, NSF recognition, and institutional association with peer-reviewed academia.

Each degree is then ranked using information provided – primarily – through the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. The data collected is scored through a series of weighted categories to represent seven crucial aspects of what makes an online doctorate valuable to future students. Online program quality and presence are joined by industry salaries, student reviews, degree exclusivity, costs, and completion rates to determine the best online doctorates available. For a comprehensive breakdown of how we categorize and source data, please visit ourmethodology page.


American Public University’s Doctor of Global Security degree is a 58-credit-hour program, plus a dissertation. Students attend the program on a full-time basis, and while most of the work is delivered online, students need to be able to attend required annual residencies. Students can expect to spend at least 15 to 20 hours per week on their studies. The program features three start dates every year, and students enter in cohorts of up to 30. Program applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA.

American Public University is located in Charleston, West Virginia, and offers more than 200 undergraduate and graduate programs and certificates. Eighty-seven percent of the university’s students are working adults, and American Public University offers asynchronous online learning options that provide flexible scheduling options for adult learners. Most programs are available with 8- and 16-week courses and monthly class start-times allow students to begin their education promptly. American Public University has more than 400 veterans on staff and offers a number of benefits for military-affiliated students, including a tuition grant that caps tuition rates.

Format: Online


The Doctor of Science in Emergency Management is a 60-credit degree with an administrative focus on policy, practice, and research methods with statistics. Program electives include Risk Communication, Crisis Leadership and Management, and Voluntary and Nonprofit Disaster Management. Courses are delivered online, though students are expected to an annual, weeklong seminar on-campus. To achieve JSU’s terminal distinction, students must pass three qualifying exams with their applied research dissertation within 10 years.

Located in Jacksonville, Alabama, Jacksonville State University has earned a reputation as being the “friendliest campus in the south.” Today, JSU consists of six different schools and is home to more than 100 clubs and organizations. Over 80 percent of JSU students receive financial aid, and as of Fall 2018, international students representing 50 countries attended the university. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has recognized JSU as a top producer of Fulbright Scholars.
Format: Online


The Doctor of Science in Civil Security Leadership, Management & Policy offered by New Jersey City University is one of the first Doctoral degrees in Security Studies to be offered in the United States. The program launched in 2012 and focuses on national security, corporate security, and information assurance/cyber security. Students enter this program in Learning Communities of 15 to 20 each July. Most of the coursework is delivered online, though students attend a two-week summer residency, and four on-campus weekends throughout the year. This degree has a strong research and analysis focus, and it culminates in a dissertation. Program graduates are prepared to hold executive, major security positions in government, business, or education.

Located in Jersey City, NJ, the University was chartered in 1927. It was the only teacher-training college with a three-year degree in the country, and its campus consisted of a single building. The first class consisted of 330 women and one man. From there, NJCU has grown in many ways. It now consists of four schools and colleges, and its campus includes many buildings such as the Forrest A. Irwin Library, the Student Union Building, and the Athletic and Fitness Center. NJCU is dedicated to providing a diverse group of learners with a quality education, and the university offers degrees in a wide range of areas including accounting, biology, criminal justice, economics, fire science, nursing, and special education.

Format: Online


Colorado Technical University offers a Doctor of Management in Homeland Security degree to help professionals prepare for roles protecting the country. The program emphasizes research and writing, leadership and change manage, and the specific concentration discipline for comprehensive education. The development of a dissertation is integrated into the program’s structure, so students receive support and guidance throughout the process. Because the online coursework has a flexible schedule, students can work full-time while completing this degree. Grants and scholarships are available to qualifying students. With multiple start dates throughout the year, students can begin their degree promptly.

Established in 1965, CTU has provided quality and innovative educational options for over 50 years. CTU first introduced its online education options in 1995, and today the online school is used from military personnel stationed on overseas bases to students in China. In 2013, CTU’s online MBA program was ranked as one of the top 10 online MBA programs available, and in 2019, the U.S. News & World Report included CTU’s online degrees in its Best Online Bachelor’s Programs ranking for the fifth year running. The U.S. News & World Report also awarded CTU’s online bachelor’s programs the Best for Veterans for the fifth year in a row.
Format: Online


Saint Leo University offers a Doctor of Criminal Justice degree with a specialization in Homeland Security. This program provides students with the skills they will need to become leaders in criminal justice organizations and private sector firms. Most of the coursework can be completed online, and students attend three on-campus residencies on long weekends. This design offers students the flexibility they need to pursue an education while also working full-time. Students can complete this 60-credit degree in three and a half years by taking courses in the spring, summer, and fall terms. Program graduates receive the same degrees that on-campus students receive, with no indication that the degree was completed online.

Founded in 1889, SLU is the oldest Catholic institutions of higher education in Florida and is one of the 10 largest Catholic universities in the nation. This liberal arts university features a campus 30 miles north of Tampa, as well as 35 regional locations and online course offerings. SLU offers more than 50 undergraduate degrees, plus master’s and doctoral programs to over 15,000 students each year. The U.S. News & World Report included SLU in its 2019 rankings of the Best Regional and Best Value Universities in the South. Victory Media also named SLU within the Top 10 Gold-level Military Friendly Schools for 2018.

Format: Online


The Doctor of Professional Studies in Homeland Security is a 78-credit program prepares students for mid- to high-level executive positions within law enforcement, academia, government, and public or private security firms. St. John’s University offers this versatile degree in both a traditional classroom delivery and as an online and limited residency format. The online and limited residency format is ideal for working professionals who wish to pursue their degree on a part-time basis. Students who opt for this format only need to spend one week in residency during each academic year. Program applicants who work in criminal justice, homeland security, or related agencies may apply for a scholarship to reduce tuition by 33 percent.

SJU is a Catholic university with locations in Queens, Staten Island, Rome, Manhattan, Paris, Hauppauge, and Limerick, NY. Founded in 1870, St. John’s University was recognized as a top school in the Military Advanced Education & Transition’s 2018 Guide to Colleges & Universities. Students enrolled in the DPS in Homeland Security program can take advantage of St. John’s new Homeland Security/Emergency Management Simulation Lab and Cyber Security Lab. Additionally, students will enjoy access to the university’s extensive library collection via the library’s website.

Format: Online


The Doctor of Philosophy in Information Assurance offered by Nova Southeastern University is a research-intensive 64-credit-hour program. Nova’s Ph.D. prepares students for careers in academia, in business and industry, and state and local government agencies. The program is offered as a combination of tradition and online instruction that offers the flexibility students need to continue working their current jobs. While most of the coursework can be completed online, students attend on-campus sessions quarterly over extended weekends. Students receive quality instruction from faculty who all have Ph.D. degrees and who are experts in their field. This program is recognized by the U.S. National Security Agency and by the Department of Homeland Security.

Located in Fort Lauderdale, FL, NSU provides a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs. The U.S. News & World Report included NSU in the top 20 colleges of its 2019 Best Colleges ranking. NSU is also among the top five colleges in the U.S. to have the largest number of minority graduate degree recipients. The university is home to 1,000 student veterans, and holds the distinction of being a “Military Friendly Institution.” NSU matches every dollar of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Yellow Ribbon G.I. Bill Education Enhancement Program, and since 2009, NSU has contributed almost a million dollars to the program.

Format: Online


Liberty University’s Ph.D. in Criminal Justice in Homeland Security program is a 60-credit program that takes about three years to complete. During the program, students will learn about topics including cybersecurity, and counterterrorism and counterintelligence strategies. Students will also learn about international crime rings and terrorism to protect and defend the country. This program is offered entirely online, giving working professionals the flexibility they need to both attend school and meet their professional obligations. Students can transfer up to 15 credits from a previous institution toward their degree, and the program’s eight-week course design allows students to progress through the program material quickly.
Liberty is a nonprofit university known for the quality, affordability, and accessibility of its online programs. Liberty University consists of 16 different colleges and schools. Liberty is home to over 100,000 students and offers more than 550 different programs of study. More than 250 of those programs are available online, making a Liberty education accessible to students no matter where they live. In 2018, Niche.com ranked Liberty as the Best Online College in America, while BestColleges ranked Liberty among the top three best online colleges in Virginia in 2018.

Format: Online