Western Connecticut State University announced that it will offer the only graduate program in homeland security through a Connecticut state university in the CT State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) system beginning in fall 2022.
The new Master of Science in Homeland Security degree is unique to the area, and will be offered as an online program consisting of 36 credit hours and a capstone project, taking most successful candidates about two years to complete.
According to Dr. Hasan Arslan, associate professor of Justice and Law Administration in the university’s Ancell School of Business, the program is designed with total interactive capabilities for instructors and their students. “This includes instructional lecture videos, discussion boards, theory-based and data-driven research papers, scenario-based assignments and completion of independent study programs offered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS),” he added.
“The DHS deals with emerging threats from terrorism, cybersecurity, immigration and natural disasters. All of these threats require critical thinking and problem-solving skills, so through a data-driven instructional approach the WCSU program aims to teach graduate students to develop solutions by analyzing primary and secondary datasets while also improving their knowledge of geographical information systems,” Arslan said. He believes future homeland security professionals will be trained more in data analysis and crime mapping, which this program will focus on.
The goal of the WCSU program is to prepare graduates for state and federal job markets while also establishing relations with local homeland security and emergency management offices. The DHS is the third-largest cabinet level agency in employment, and dozens of other federal agencies employ workers with master’s degrees in homeland security. Western Connecticut State University also has a homeland security track option for undergraduates, including a B.B.A. in Cybersecurity and various degrees in its Justice and Law Administration program.
Arslan expects to enroll between 15-25 students in the graduate homeland security program each year and will accept 15 candidates in its first year. The program will develop professionals with leadership adherence to ethical decision-making processes to implement homeland security strategies and emergency management plans. Graduates will be able to identify and assess potential terror, accident and disaster threats to the American homeland using a data-driven and evidence-based approach while judging constitutional issues and legal challenges that will emerge from implementing federal and state laws and presidential executive orders. Students will learn how to design, administer and evaluate homeland security-related strategies, policies and plans, and how to implement geographical information systems to analyze critical infrastructure and Key Resources Protection plans for effective emergency management.
“By the time they graduate, students are expected to develop expertise in counterterrorism, immigration policies and cybersecurity while understanding leadership’s significance in emergency management and response,” said Arslan.