Penn State offers new online master's degree in homeland security

February 22, 2010

Five specializations within the degree will enable professionals working in government, military and civilian sectors to tailor the program to their career goals

University Park, Pa. -- The Christmas Day attempt to blow up a commercial airplane over Detroit with an “underwear bomb” punctuated the importance of homeland security. As the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies look to hire workers for occupations in security and protection, medicine, public health and information technology, they also face the challenge of an aging workforce. About one-third of federal career employees and more than 60 percent of government career executives will be eligible to retire between now and 2012, according to a Government Accountability Office report. To help prepare workers to fill existing and new jobs in homeland security, Penn State is launching an online Intercollege Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security program this fall. For application information, visit online.

“The discipline of homeland security has become a consortium of many different specialties,” said Robert A. Cherry, program chair for the master’s degree program and trauma surgeon and associate chief quality officer at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. “Penn State’s program was created to complement these diverse specialties with a homeland security education portfolio that will suit the needs of many individuals working in this field.”

The new master’s degree will incorporate Penn State’s current online master of homeland security in public health preparedness and add four other specializations.

“This Penn State online degree program draws on the research and scholarship of multiple academic colleges to meet a growing workforce education need,” said Wayne D. Smutz, executive director of Penn State World Campus and associate vice president for Academic Outreach. “Faculty from five colleges and several other University units are collaborating to prepare adult learners to become leaders in government, military and civilian organizations involved in homeland security-related work.”

The colleges of liberal arts, medicine, earth and mineral sciences, information sciences and technology and agricultural sciences, the Graduate School, as well as Penn State Harrisburg’s School of Public Affairs and the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, are partnering on the 33-credit program, which is delivered entirely online through World Campus. The program is designed for emergency management officials, public health personnel, hospital staff (administrators, physicians, nurses, lab technicians), food safety scientists and employees, law enforcement, military service members, policy analysts and information technology professionals, among others.

All students will participate in a series of core courses from which they will then choose one of five specializations: either a base program in homeland security or options in public health preparedness, geospatial intelligence, information security and forensics, and agricultural biosecurity, each with a capstone experience.

Jennifer Osetek of Fredericksburg, Va., appreciated the ability to combine her background in neuroscience with homeland security issues in Penn State’s master of homeland security in public health preparedness.

“The homeland security field is rapidly developing, and this program fills a very unique need,” Osetek said. In addition, “having the ability to pursue this degree online was incredibly beneficial to me as a military wife,” she said. Osetek moved with her husband to Connecticut and also received her commission in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve before completing the program in 2008. She is now a lieutenant junior grade in the Coast Guard.

Penn State’s new master’s degree offers students like Osetek even more options to tailor the program to their homeland security career interests.

Penn State is now accepting applications for the online intercollege master of professional studies in homeland security program. For more information, visit the Web address above or call 800-252-3592.

Penn State World Campus specializes in adult online education, delivering more than 60 of Penn State’s most highly regarded graduate, undergraduate and professional education programs through convenient online formats. Founded in 1998, Penn State World Campus is the University’s 25th campus serving more than 9,600 students in all 50 states and 62 countries. For more information, visit online. Penn State World Campus is part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education. Penn State Outreach serves more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 114 countries worldwide.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 02, 2010