Online Master of Arts in Security Studies: Homeland Defense Concentration

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Available entirely online!

Students pursuing UMass Lowell's Master of Arts Degree in Security Studies: Homeland Defense Concentration will develop competencies and knowledge relating to homeland security strategy and policy development, critical infrastructure protection, regional and national security intelligence, land and maritime border protection, and the use of new technologies in homeland security. Emphasis is placed on integrating a "big picture" policy perspective with an understanding of human behavior, systems, and intelligence analysis.

Program Outline

Total Credits: 10 courses / 30 credits

Required Courses:(6 courses)

  1. CRIM.5740 Overview of Homeland Security - Available Spring 2016!
  2. CRIM.5750 Contemporary Security Studies - Available Spring 2016!
  3. CRIM.6680 Scientific & Technological Dimensions of National Security - Available Spring 2016!
  4. CRIM.5780 Intelligence Analysis - Available Spring 2016!
  5. CRIM.5910 Research Design - Available Spring 2016!
  6. CRIM.6990 Security Studies Capstone Research Paper - Available Spring 2016!

Elective Courses:(choose 4)*

  1. CRIM.5660 Transportation Systems Safety and Security - Available Spring 2016!
  2. CRIM.5700 Crisis and Emergency Management - Available Spring 2016!
  3. CRIM.5710 Domestic Terrorism and Hate Crimes
  4. CRIM.5720 Terrorism/Counter-Terrorism - Available Spring 2016!
  5. CRIM.5900 Descriptive and Inferential Statistics (formerly Quantitative Research) - Available Spring 2016!
  6. CRIM.6580 Issues in Computer Crime and Cyber Security - Available Spring 2016!
  7. CRIM.6640 Weapons of Mass Destruction
  8. MSIT.5450 Designing and Building a Cybersecurity Program

*Note: A larger selection of elective courses is available with courses held on-campus and at corporate locations, for those students who are interested in taking a mix of on-campus and online courses. Call 978-934-4106 or send an email to for the extended list of on-campus courses. Additional electives may be available online at a later date. Check back periodically for program updates.

How to Apply

Applications to the Graduate Program in Security Studies are accepted and processed year-round. Students accepted into the program can begin their courses in the Fall, Spring or Summer terms. To be considered for admission to this program, applicants must have earned an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution of higher education, with a final cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. A wide variety of undergraduate degree programs qualify as an appropriate foundation for this master of arts degree, particularly those in the behavioral and social sciences such as political science, sociology, criminal justice, psychology, history, international relations, and many others.

All applicants must submit the following:

  • A completed application - Apply Online or use the paper application form (pdf) plus the $50 application fee.
  • Official transcripts
  • A statement of purpose
  • Letters of recommendation (3)
  • Official test scores for either the GRE or MAT. Have your official test scores sent to UMass Lowell's Office of Graduate Admissions at the address below. UMass Lowell's school code is 3911.
  • International students: Submit your official test results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam. See Graduate Admissions International Graduate Application Requirements page for additional details.

Please refer to the Office of Graduate Admissions website for detailed information about each of these requirements.

Submit all required items to:
University of Massachusetts Lowell
Office of Graduate Admissions
1 University Ave Cumnock Hall Suite 110
Lowell, MA 01854

Course Descriptions

CRIM.5660 Transportation Systems Safety and Security

This course will look at safety, security and emergency management with regard to transportation operations; multi-modal transportation security threats, vulnerabilities, risk and strategies to mitigate and incident; and the security of supply chains and critical infrastructure. The course will use case studies to provide the student with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to effectively safeguard the movement of assets within interconnected transportation networks. 3 credits.

CRIM.5700 Crisis and Emergency Management

This course will provide a broad introduction to the critical challenges of disaster management. The course will address past and present strategies for reducing and responding to hazards posed by both manmade and natural disasters. Emphasis will be placed on what we can learn from the history of disasters, and on how we can apply those lessons to the management of future events. 3 credits.

CRIM.5710 Domestic Terrorism and Hate Crimes

This course examines bigotry and hate and how they are manifested in criminal behavior. Various groups who have been labeled as supporting or engaging in domestic terrorism are studied. Focus is placed on federal and state statutory laws and the dynamics of police, court, and corrections based responses to hate crimes and domestic terrorism. 3 credits.

CRIM.5720 Terrorism/Counter-Terrorism

In order to combat terrorism one must be aware of what it is and is not and this course will explore terrorism in its totality as it occurred in the past, is occurring in the present, and how it might occur in the future. Various dominant International Terrorist groups are examined relative to their ideology, organizational behavior, and method(s) of operation. There is a heavy emphasis on the impact terrorism has and will have on the criminal justice system relative to investigation. 3 credits.

CRIM.5740 Overview of Homeland Security

The U.S. has embraced the homeland security monolith without a full understanding of what it encompasses. This course provides a comprehensive overview of homeland security and defense as undertaken in the United States since 9/11. The course critically examines the current body of knowledge with a specific focus on understanding security threats, sources, and reasons for these threats. The roles of the key players at the federal, state and local levels, the policies and procedures enacted since 9/11, and the homeland security system in practice are also examined. 3 credits.

CRIM.5750 Contemporary Security Studies

This course examines the complex nature of key domestic and international security threats and responses. Topics include terrorism and insurgency, transnational organized crime, WMD proliferation, cyber-security, intelligence, national and homeland security strategies, critical infrastructure protection, and theories of international security. 3 credits.

CRIM.5780 Intelligence Analysis

Students will examine the tradecraft of intelligence collection and analysis from various perspectives. Topics will include strategies, tactics, legal and ethical implications, sources, means, methods, limitations, covert action, methods of analysis, and case studies of prominent intelligence successes and failures in the last half century. 3 credits.

CRIM.5900 Descriptive and Inferential Statistics (formerly Quantitative Research)

This course is a rigorous introduction to statistical inference: probability theory, confidence intervals, and hypothesis tests. The course also covers regression analysis, which is developed in a non-technical way, with an emphasis on interpretation of regression results, using examples from recent research. 3 credits.

CRIM.5910 Research Design

Research design is a graduate-level introduction to methodology as used in criminology/criminal justice. The course surveys the research design enterprise and covers a host of issues on the measurement and collection of data, and other procedures that influence whether a research study will lead the investigator to scientifically rigorous information. This course explains various strategies for devising social science studies, compares the relative benefits of various designs, and identifies the tools necessary to conduct studies that will yield data worthy of analysis and interpretation. This material will be valuable for students who will conduct research and administrators who must evaluate the research of others. 3 credits.

CRIM.6580 Issues in Computer Crime and Cyber Security

This course will examine the history and evolving nature of the relationship between technology, crime, and security, with a particular focus on legitimate and illegitimate Internet commerce, and cyber criminal methodologies and techniques. We will study major issues in cyber security including criminal and state-sponsored hacking; data, intellectual property, and identity theft; financial and personal data security; cyber-terrorism; tools and methods used to exploit computer networks, and strategies to protect against them; and new and emerging technologies. 3 credits.

CRIM.6640 Weapons of Mass Destruction

This course explores the threats that weapons of mass destruction (WMD) pose to the U.S. and its interests along with the strategies to meet those threats. The course will examine the technical aspects, history, and contemporary threat of each category of weapon Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear followed by a critical analysis of U.S. and global efforts to limit access to these weapons and prohibit their production, proliferation and use. The course will also review some aspects of WMD attack response, recovery, and mitigation. 3 credits.

CRIM.6680 Scientific & Technological Dimensions of National Security

In this required course for the Master's Degree in Security Studies, students will learn all about the efforts in the public and private sector to design new sensors, scanners, and the general role of science and technology in homeland and national security. 3 credits.

CRIM.6990 Security Studies Capstone Research Paper

This course represents the culminating capstone experience for students in the MA in Security Studies program at UMass Lowell. Incorporating the tools learned in CRIM.5900, Research Design and Methods, students are required to design a research question, gather and analyze information, and write a Masters level research paper of at least 50 pages on a topic of their choosing related to security studies. Students will provide drafts of their paper to their faculty supervisor periodically during the semester, and the final version will be submitted for grading on the basis of quality research and writing. 3 credits.

MSIT.5450 Designing and Building a Cybersecurity Program

This course focuses on best practices for designing and building a comprehensive Cybersecurity Program based on the NIST Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity ("The Framework"). The Framework was issued on February 12, 2014, as directed by President Obama in Executive Order 13636. This framework provides guidance for reducing cybersecurity risk for organizations, and this course will examine its basic tenets of: "Cybersecurity Fundamentals", techniques applied to "Building a Controls Factory", "Cybersecurity Programs" "Establishing Cybersecurity Centers of Expertise" and "The Cybersecurity Program Implementation Roadmap". 3 credits.

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