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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Terrorism and Counterterrorism

Majors Overview March 9, 2015

Get information about different bachelor’s degree programs in terrorism and counterterrorism and their coursework, career choices, wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Programs in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness

Students enrolled in Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree programs in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness gain an in-depth education related to terrorist attacks, immigration issues, and the causes and effects of natural disasters.

Students learn about ways of preparing and reviewing previous plans for various kinds of national emergencies in the public and private domains, in addition to handling on-going disasters and enforcing the proper protocol and procedure related to recovery from a disaster. The program is also devised to impart a fundamental grasp of criminal justice.


Coursework in the homeland security degree program covers core classes focused on terrorist attacks and natural disasters. Students can choose electives focusing on public service, criminal justice, political issues and policies, and fire emergencies and responses. Core courses may include topic areas such as:

•International government relations
•Fire risk and investigation
•Counter-terrorism tactics and psychology
•Criminal investigation procedures and protocols
•Investigation and analysis of emergencies
•U.S. government and issues

Career Choices

These professionals have a broad range of career options in the homeland security department, including IT expert and physical security personnel, among others (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The department works 24/7 aiming to prevent future attacks by reacting to current issues, enforcing immigration policies, and overseeing the Coast Guard. Due to the continual need for both contractual and full-time workers in the united effort of ensuring safety within the borders of the United States, workers can expect relatively stable employment.

Wage Outlook

In May 2012, emergency management directors brought home an average annual wage of $59,770. During the same period, police supervisors and information security analysts earned respective average annual wages of $82,060 and $86,170 (BLS). The homeland security department employs many active military personnel; pay can vary by the length of service and rank.

Continuing Education Choices

Those who complete a bachelor’s degree program may opt for continuing education by earning a Master of Science (M.S.) in Homeland Security. Coursework covers more in-depth education in the topic areas included in the bachelor’s degree program, in addition to training students for jobs in executive-level positions.

Few schools, if any, offer the program, and consequently, admission is competitive. Some schools also offer a minor in homeland security and preparedness; this would be beneficial to students interested in focusing on a different aspect of the degree field while retaining the background necessary to pursue a homeland security career.

Bachelor’s Programs in Criminal Justice: Homeland Security and Terrorism

Students enrolled in the homeland security and terrorism major are taught about combating the current techniques, ideologies, and concepts of terrorism at the international, national, and local level. Students enrolled in this degree program can expect to be imparted a solid foundation in criminal justice with core coursework aimed at teaching students about ways of analyzing and reacting to intel received and executing counterterrorism operations.


Students enrolled in the program gain a basic understanding of terrorism and criminal justice. Coursework includes general education and elective courses, homeland security courses, and criminal justice courses. Students gain basic knowledge about the legal system that is necessary to perform anti-terrorist work. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Terrorism weapons
•Introduction to terrorism
•Terrorism and counterterrorism techniques and technologies
•National security history
•Terrorism history

Career Choices

Those who complete the program can seek employment with the Department of Homeland Security in various positions, such as:

•Federal air marshal
•U.S. border patrol agent
•Immigration inspector

Alternatively, they could seek jobs with the U.S. Secret Service.

Continuing Education Choices

Executive level occupation in the field of homeland security is available to individuals that hold master’s degrees in criminal justice. A specialization in homeland security is available through this degree program that involves deeper examination of the technologies, techniques, and strategies employed in the prevention of and reaction to various emergencies, such as border patrol issues, terrorist threats, and natural disasters.

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