Homeland Security

Homeland Security Online Graduate Certificate

About Homeland Security

Expand your resume with an online professional certificate.

Gain in-depth knowledge about areas critical to protecting the nation: border security, security policies, emergency management and infrastructure protection. The online graduate certificate program at PennWest California offers quality learning in the specialized area of homeland security.  

The graduate certificate in homeland security aims to enhance career skillsets for law enforcement, public safety, cyber security and emergency management personnel. You can earn the certificate as a standalone credential or as part of the master's degree program in legal studies.   

Examine the range of threats to our homeland.

  • Choose our fully online graduate certificate program for access to recognized faculty experts in Pennsylvania and across the country who have had excellent experience in the field.
  • Earn your graduate certificate in just 12 months to strengthen your current position or prepare for advancement.


Core topics:

Courses in the homeland security graduate certificate focus on such issues as domestic extremism in the United States; biological, chemical, nuclear and WMD threats in homeland security; intelligence practice in homeland security; and terrorism, threat and vulnerability analysis and protection.

Multifaceted focus:
The Homeland Security course examines the range of potential threats to the U.S. homeland; explores strategies and the means for addressing these threats, including both military and non-military options; analyzes organizational issues and impediments to effective policy coordination; and addresses the implications of homeland security challenges and policies for constitutional rights, legal protections and civil liberties. 

Learn more about applying

As a fully online program, PennWest California's graduate certificate in homeland security is flexible and accessible.
Committed to meeting today's career and professional needs, PennWest California Global Online offers more than 75 degree and non-degree programs.
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Certificate Benefits

The graduate certificate in homeland security prepares civil servants and other professionals to be on the front lines of defense to protect our nation.

  • Study the strategies, plans and programs to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States and reduce its vulnerability to terrorism.
  • Learn about organizational arrangements needed to strengthen homeland security, including local/state/federal, civil-military and interagency cooperation.
  • Understand how government leaders make immediate and long-term improvements in homeland security preparedness.
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Graduate Outcomes

Earning a graduate certificate in homeland security is a cost-efficient way for professionals in law enforcement, security or emergency management to enhance their resumes and broaden career opportunities.


Curriculum, Admission Requirements and Related Programs

This specialized certificate program ensures thorough study of the strategic, political, legal and organizational challenges associated with defense of the U.S. homeland.



Course Credits
AST 700  U.S. Homeland Security 3
AST 720  Domestic Extremism in the United States 3
AST 740  Terrorism, Threat and Vulnerability Analysis and Protection 3
AST 760  Biological, Chemical, Nuclear and WMD Threats in Homeland Security 3
AST 780  Intelligence Practice in Homeland Security 3
Total 15
Admission Requirements

Regular Admission Requirements

  • Regionally Accredited Bachelor's degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Official transcripts from a regionally accredited undergraduate institution

Conditional Admission Requirements

  • Conditional Admission may be granted with the following modifications of the Regular Admissions Requirements:
    • Regionally accredited bachelor's degree with a GPA of 2.9 and below will be reviewed for a decision once the following documentation has been received:
      • Resume with contact information for three professional references with an overview of professional work experience
      • 500-word essay supporting the application
        • If admitted, students will be required to earn a 3.0 in their first term to remain in the program

Provisional Admission:
Applicants who have provided unofficial documentation of test scores, prerequisite courses, transcripts or lack of letter(s) of recommendation may be admitted provisionally.

This policy also applies to undergraduate students who apply for graduate admission pending bachelor degree completion. Upon receipt of all official documents, a student will be changed from Provisional Admission to either Regular Admission or Conditional Admission. Provisional Admission students may take classes for one term but will not be eligible for Federal Financial Aid.

How to Apply:

  • Complete the Graduate School Application
  • Submit the nonrefundable $35 Application Fee
  • Submit required documentation by mail or email:
    • Mail:

School of Graduate Studies and Research
PennWest California
Box 91
250 University Ave. 
California, PA 15419

For additional information:
Email: calugo@pennwest.edu
Phone: 1.866.595.6348

Related Programs
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Career network

PennWest California students study with many types of professionals who enroll for quality learning at PennWest California. Graduate certificate students are from law enforcement, the police, the military, private sector security, government agencies and more. You'll develop valuable career contacts and colleagues.   

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Professional resource

The Institute for Law and Public Policy at PennWest California provides continuing education for a wide range of professionals in southwestern Pennsylvania through degree and certificate programs, and professional development and training opportunities.

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Degree option

PennWest California's online master's degree in legal studies with a concentration in homeland security prepares students for in-demand careers. This graduate degree program blends courses from the fields of humanities, business and political science with the legal and policy issues related to homeland security.  PennWest California graduates are ready to work for employers ranging from the Department of Homeland Security, Secret Service, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and local and state law enforcement.

Homeland Security Graduate Certificate Program Faculty

Larry Bassi


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Jeffrey Davidson


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Kevin Govern, J.D., LL.M.


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David Heller
Adjunct Professor


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Brian Kohlhepp, M.A.
Assistant Professor


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William Morgan, J.D.
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David Smith, M.S., M.A., J.D.


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Dr. Christina A. Toras, J.D., M.A.
Professor, Legal Studies Program Coordinator, Director of the Institute for Law and Public Policy


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Michael Vennum, J.D.


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Dr. Karl Williams, M.D., M.P.H.


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