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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

Joe Young, assistant professor of justice, law and criminology, spoke with the Washington Post’s Express on February 10 about graduate programs focused on homeland security.

Jon Gould, professor of justice, law, and criminology, spoke with South Dakota Public Broadcasting's Cassie Bartlett on April 4 about his research on wrongful convictions. He presented his findings, as well, for students at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.

Jessica Waters, assistant dean of the School of Public Affairs, appeared on Hearst TV and WUSA9 on June 30 to discuss the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision expected today. Hearst owns more than 20 affiliates around the country.

Andrew Borene, professorial lecturer of justice, law, criminology, spoke with The Hill on January 4 about the effect that the Sony hacking scandal will have on cybersecurity law in 2015.

Joe Young, assistant professor of justice, law, and criminology, was quoted in an NBC News online article on June 9 regarding the upcoming Blackwater trial that dates back to a 2007 firefight in Baghdad.