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Department of Justice, Law & Criminology

MS in Terrorism and Homeland Security Policy

M.S. in Terrorism and Homeland Security Policy

Master of Science (MS) in Terrorism and Homeland Security Policy

The MS in Terrorism and Homeland Security Policy is an interdisciplinary program that trains students to understand and explain problems of terrorism and other sub-state threats to U.S. homeland security. Approaching security issues informed by social science with attention to the perspectives of criminology and criminal justice, the program emphasizes development of strategic, policy-based security solutions at the federal, state and local levels of government. The program provides students with grounding in quantitative research methods as well as foundation in fields of criminology, law, and public policy. Students have the flexibility to expand on this foundation with a wide range of security and policy elective courses across the university. Throughout the program, students are exposed to rigorous intellectual challenges and provided the skills and knowledge needed to address current issues facing U.S. law enforcement, intelligence, and homeland security agencies. The degree prepares students for a variety of practitioner, policy and research positions.

Chair's Message

Welcome to the School of Public Affair’s new graduate program, the Master of Science in Terrorism and Homeland Security Policy. Admitting its first students in fall 2014, this interdisciplinary program trains students to tackle the persistent problems of terrorism and sub-state threats that endanger the security of the United States. As the name of the degree suggests, our program encourages students to think beyond tactical approaches to develop strategic, policy-based solutions that federal, state and local governments can use to combat terrorism and other current and future security threats.

The M.S. in Terrorism and Homeland Security Policy is based in the Justice, Law and Criminology Department, which has a long tradition of academic excellence. Students are exposed to rigorous intellectual challenges and provided the skills and knowledge needed to successfully compete for jobs in law enforcement, intelligence and homeland security. Our renowned faculty members are international experts in terrorism and national security research, and they regularly work with policymakers and practitioners to craft solutions to homeland security problems. Situated just steps from U.S. Department of Homeland Security offices, the School of Public Affairs at American University is the ideal location to study homeland security policy.

I hope you enjoy browsing the website and learning more about the degree program. If I or my colleagues can answer any questions, please contact us at spagrad@american.edu. We look forward to including you in our program.

Joe Young
Department Chair
Justice, Law, and Criminology

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Terrorism and Homeland Security Policy (MS)

Offered by the Department of Justice, Law and Criminology, School of Public Affairs, the MS in Terrorism and Homeland Security Policy is an interdisciplinary program that trains students to understand and explain problems of terrorism and other sub-state threats to U.S. homeland security. Approaching security issues informed by social science with attention to the perspectives of criminology and criminal justice, the program emphasizes development of strategic, policy-based security solutions at the federal, state, and local levels of government. The program provides students with grounding in quantitative research methods as well as foundations in the fields of criminology, law, and public policy. Students have the flexibility to expand on this foundation with a wide range of security and policy elective courses across the university. Throughout the program, students are exposed to rigorous intellectual challenges and provided the skills and knowledge needed to address current issues facing U.S. law enforcement, intelligence, and homeland security agencies. The degree prepares students for a range of practitioner, policy, and research positions.

Admission to the Program

 In addition to meeting the minimum university requirements for graduate study, applicants must submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores. Applicants are evaluated on the basis of scholastic achievement in their last 60 credit hours of undergraduate work, test scores and two letters of recommendation.

Degree Requirements

  • 33 credit hours of approved graduate coursework with at least 18 credit hours at the 600-level.
  • One three-hour written comprehensive examination in the area of Terrorism and Homeland Security policy. Students must complete foundational seminars and electives prior to taking the examination.
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00.
  • Research requirement: JLC-680 Introduction to Justice Research I (3) and JLC-681 Introduction to Justice Research II (3) with grades of B or better.

Course Requirements

Foundation (6 credit hours)

Complete 6 credit hours from the following:

Interdisciplinary (6 credit hours)

Complete 6 credit hours from the following:

Research Methods (6 credit hours)

Electives (15 credit hours)

Complete five elective courses from the following, or from other approved courses in the School of Public Affairs:

Faculty in the media

Thomas Zeitzoff, SPA assistant professor, co-wrote an article for the The Washington Post on July 18 about the public's perceptions of a variety of police tactics in relation to different types of protest.

Joseph Young, SPA associate professor, co-wrote an article for The Huffington Post on July 13 which argues why Hillary Clinton should nominate a Republican as her running mate.

Thomas Zeitzoff, assistant professor of justice, law, and criminology, wrote an article for Political Violence @ a Glance on May 26 about the pitfalls of relying solely on specific methods when conducting academic research on political violence.

Lynn Addington, associate professor of justice, law, and criminology, wrote an article for the London School of Economics' U.S. Politics and Policy blog on May 31 about improving civic knowledge and engagement among inner city students.

Tricia Bacon, assistant professor of justice, law, and criminology, spoke to Politico on December 29 about the cyber capabilities of terrorist organizations and the possibility of a cyberattack from a terrorist organization.