Master of Science in Homeland Security & Emergency Management (MS HSEM)

Program Description

A Master of Science in Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HSEM) from Concordia integrates security studies with the systematic approach necessary to effectively prevent and deter intentional acts of violence, and build strong capabilities to respond and recover from all hazards that threaten the United States. This multidisciplinary security and emergency management-based graduate program is designed to enhance students’ abilities to assess risk, implement emergency protocols and lead in a complex environment with partners from the whole community and all layers of society. Resiliency requires professionals who recognize the threats, and who can lead private, public and nonprofit organizations to withstand small and large stressors and shocks that could disrupt vital systems. Students will explore topics such as cybersecurity, disaster management, intelligence, counterterrorism, and risk management and critical emerging issues.   

Concordia University’s Homeland Security & Emergency Management Master of Science degree program consists of 30 credits taken in nine courses, including a six-credit research thesis that will contribute to the overall discipline. Participants spend an average of 13-15 hours on their courses each week during the online distance-learning periods of study. Activities include reading assigned materials, participating in online discussions with faculty members and other participants, and preparing papers and projects.

Admission Requirements

MS HSEM Completion Requirements

Concordia Portland’s Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HSEM) Master of Science degree program consists of 30 credits taken in nine courses including a six-credit Thesis. The following courses are required for all candidates earning an MS in Homeland Security & Emergency Management.

Total Credits30

HSEM 501      CRITICAL ISSUES IN HSEM      Credits: 3

This course reintroduces the homeland security professional to the wicked problems and salient issues unique to the homeland security enterprise. Candidates will explore a number of contemporary issues and their near-term and long-term impacts on homeland security policies and practices. Among the issues examined will be collaboration among disciplines and non-traditional organizations, social issues impacting homeland security, disruptive technologies, civil rights and privacy and building trust and influence with decision-makers. This course serves as an introduction to the graduate level study of homeland security via this program.

HSEM 502      EMERGENCY & DISASTER MGMT      Credits: 3

This course explores the evolving threats and drivers propelling the need to continually expand and improve our response capabilities. This course examines the effectiveness of disaster response and the efficacy of how emergencies are managed through an examination of case studies and the application of social science research. This course examines the rising costs of managing disasters, and strategies to improve surge capacity and sustainability in a challenging budget environment. Rather than an introduction to emergency management tools and techniques, a major focus of this course is leveraging innovation and futuristic thinking to employ alternate, community-focused strategies to build resiliency.

HSEM 503      RISK ANLYS & VULNRBLTY MITIGTN      Credits: 3

Protecting our nation’s critical systems and essential functions requires a multilayered security and emergency management approach to protect and enhance our infrastructure systems. This course will explore threats to infrastructure ranging from deferred maintenance of aging assets and the stresses of natural disasters, to acts of sabotage, denial of service, and terrorism. This course focuses on the factors considered in the calculation of threat and vulnerability to evaluated potential consequences of failure. Students will gain tools with which they can make assessments, and craft strategies to lessen the impact of attacks, and reduce consequences of attacks.

HSEM 504      HS LEADERSHIP CHALLENGES      Credits: 3

This course focuses on the challenges facing homeland security leaders in our increasingly complex society. Candidates will engage in a robust analysis of the problems that arise when protecting and securing a free society. This course examines policies and doctrine that formulate the foundation of current homeland security practices. Candidates will study design thinking practices applied towards issue definition and problem solving and taking responsibility to lead and shape future strategies through the development of policies, governance structures and organizational vision.

HSEM 505      STRATEGIC THINKING FOR HS      Credits: 3

The discipline of homeland security presents leaders with a number of unique problems that must be addressed in order to effectively protect the homeland. Consequently, leaders must be able to articulate a cleat strategy to address these issues in order to be effective at responding to scrutiny by media and the public. Candidates in this course will study the current and past strategies used to secure local communities and the nation and explore the future social, economic, and legal challenges to national and global security. As a key assignment, candidates will be required to conduct research that investigates past and current security strategies and ultimately develop a paper that incorporates their original ideas for a successful 21st century security strategy.

HSEM 506      HSEM RESEARCH METHODS      Credits: 3

This course is designed to aid candidates in conducting their thesis research. Candidates will be introduced to the general concepts needed to understand research in the social sciences. They will be introduced to several research methods that may be employed in the development of their thesis, and the ethical issues and processes associated with conducting research involving human subjects. Candidates will conduct a literature review. develop their problem statements and select their research methodology. Candidates will develop and submit their thesis proposal to Concordia’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) and prepare proceed with the proposed project for their thesis course.

HSEM 610      CYBER THREATS AND SECURITY      Credits: 3

Homeland security leaders must be equipped with a basic knowledge of security essentials and system designs necessary for the effective protection of networked critical infrastructure. Criminals, saboteurs and terrorists use the internet to exploit businesses and government and use cyberattacks to defraud the public and fund terrorist activities. This course will explore cyber threats and the tools and techniques used to defend networks and systems against attacks. This course prepares candidates to coordinate the application and improvement of cyber security hardware and network security components for the defense of critical infrastructure from advanced persistent threats.


This course examines emerging terrorist threats to the U.S. and strategies to disrupt terrorist plots. Candidates will explore the life cycle of terrorist organizations and the role of counterintelligence. They will become aware of the collection, analysis and evaluation of intelligence, the management of the intelligence function, as well as the influence of intelligence in shaping operational security decisions. Candidates in this course will develop an understanding of intelligence tradecraft and the analytic and research skills used in intelligence work. Finally, candidates will review a case study of how a terrorist organization has ended, and the issues that impacted its demise to better understand how to counter current and future threats to homeland security.

HSEM 699      HSEM THESIS      Credits: 6

This course is the capstone of the entire HSEM program. Candidates will collaborate with their advisor to identify a research question that will add value to both the University’s body of work on the topic and to the homeland security enterprise. Candidates will conduct a literature review, gather and analyze data, conduct and interpret their research, and summarize their findings. Thesis students are guided through the components of the thesis with their advisor. The course culminates with a defense of the thesis in an open forum.