This article provides an overview of the masters in counterterrorism degree program, some of the subjects and courses that form part of the degree, why this degree may be a positive career move. It also presents an online masters in counterterrorism program that you may want to consider.
What Is a Masters in Counterterrorism?
The masters in counterterrorism degree is not offered by many schools yet, nor is the homeland security degree. This is because the need for these skills and knowledge are relatively new. The result is that insufficient faculty is available at present. Nevertheless, this is changing. Meanwhile, the schools that do offer these types of degrees, tend to offer a very similar curriculum and program format.
Essentially, students of the masters in counterterrorism degree learn about homeland security and terrorism issues. It is quite common for students to have to complete an internship or other practicum experience as part of the requirements. There is also a strong focus on certain areas, such as law enforcement and criminal justice, and these are where most students focus on for their internships.
The masters in counterterrorism is designed for those who already have an involvement in security and who wish to increase their skills, knowledge and employment opportunities. Students learn how to respond to terrorism attacks, and also how to identify them, and how to prevent them. The focus is on recognizing security threats, such as potential chemical, biological, or other attacks. Often, students are given the opportunity to further specialize in a particular area, such as public health, preparedness or information security.
Generally, the degree will include a core curriculum and a number of elective courses. A graduate thesis is often required. Because it is very much a knowledge-based degree, many schools offer the program online. Some of the core courses often included in the curriculum are:
- Contemporary Issues in Terrorism
- Technology of Law Enforcement
- Protection of Critical Infrastructure
- Disaster Psychology
- Urban Terrorism
- Agricultural Biosecurity
Why Earn a Masters in Counterterrorism?
There are many reasons why obtaining a masters in counterterrorism degree is a good career move. First of all, it is not a terminal degree, which means that those who wish to do so can move on to doctorate studies, thereby potentially addressing the significant shortage of faculty who can teach about counterterrorism.
Meanwhile, the degree is a professional degree as well, which means that those who wish to do so can start working after graduation. They can find employment in just about any organization or sector, ranging from vocational colleges to federal agencies. This is because terrorism can affect anyone.
It is expected that demand for people with a masters in counterterrorism will rise significantly over the next few years. One of the reasons for this is that cyberattacks are rising in frequency, and some of them are linked to terrorism. Hackers attempting to break into government agencies, rigging elections, or other such activities, must be stopped before they create any further problems. Meanwhile, despite the significant threat of cyberterrorism, in particular, the federal government has to increase its reliance on information technology and computerized systems.
Terrorism itself is also still a significant threat, both in terms of international and domestic terrorism. Indeed, every day, it seems that more attacks are being committed in many different places. As a result, there is a strong need for those who have an understanding of the drivers of terrorism, the key indicators that attacks are imminent, the ability to foil attempts as and when possible, and the ability to respond if an attack is attempted and particularly if it is successful.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported that information security analysts had a median salary of $92,600 per year as of May 2016. However, this is at the bachelor’s degree level. Those who have completed a master’s degree can expect to earn in excess of $147,290 per year. The BLS has also reported that there will be an 18% growth in demand for these specialists from 2014 to 2024, which is much faster than the national average. This will equate to around 14,800 new jobs.
Online Option for Masters in Counterterrorism
Southern New Hampshire University
If you are interested in completed a masters in counterterrorism, you may want to consider the MS in Criminal Justice Advanced Counterterrorism program offered by Southern New Hampshire University. This criminal justice degree has been designed to enable graduates to help protect the nation as a whole. It prepares those who are ready to take on exciting careers, where there is a requirement for thorough and fast decision-making, analysis, and action. The decisions they will make have the potential to save lives, after all.
The degree looks not only at terrorism today, but also as to how it has developed over time, and how it has been responded to. The degree focuses on areas, such as counterterrorism techniques, advanced surveillance, threat assessment, and intelligence analysis. Additionally, students learn about valuable skills and strategies for the justice system, pertaining to corrections, policing, and homeland security issues. Graduates are respected for their skills in collecting and analyzing data in relation to threat assessments, their understanding in the organizational, political, and strategic challenges linked to homeland security, and the constitutional and legal implications of homeland security.
Meanwhile, Southern New Hampshire University is a highly-respected college. It is known for its affordability, convenience, efficiency, flexibility, expert instruction, minimal requirements, fantastic networking opportunities, and student support. As such, anyone with a degree from this university finds themselves in high demand in the workplace.
The degree itself has a set core curriculum designed to ensure that all graduates have an in-depth understanding of the tactics in homeland security. Classes are taught by renowned faculty with real-world experience in the field. Core courses of the program include:
- Critical Issues in the Criminal Justice System
- Ethical Leadership in Criminal Justice
- Criminology and Public Policy
- Assessing Organizational Performance
- Courts and Judicial Process
- Data-Driven Decision Making in Criminal Justice
- Introduction to Organizational Conflict Management
- Global Terrorism
- Terrorist Techniques and Counterterrorism
- Threat Assessment
- Intelligence Collection and Analysis
Graduates of the masters in counterterrorism program are known for their advanced understanding of the particular challenges within homeland security and counterterrorism, as well of how to counterattack such threats. Graduates can find employment in corrections, security, law enforcement, and the federal government to name but a few. Here, they take on positions of senior responsibilities, focusing on the safety of the general public. They usually have management or executive leadership positions available to them, including with the Department of Homeland Security itself. Some of the potential roles they can take on include:
- Law enforcement officer
- Disaster recovery officer
- Intelligence operations specialist
- Federal emergency coordinating officer
- Emergency preparedness officer
- Transportation security manager
Clearly, completing a masters in counterterrorism is an excellent way to greatly advance your career. Furtheremore, it gives you the responsibility of keeping the public safe, which is a significant responsibility but one that should also provide you with deserved personal pride.
- Information Security Analysts. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm
- MS in Criminal Justice Advanced Counterterrorism (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.snhu.edu/online-degrees/masters/ms-in-criminal-justice/advanced-counterterrorism-and-homeland-security