VCU Bulletins

Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Certificate in (Post-baccalaureate graduate certificate)

Graduate program director
William V. Pelfrey Jr., Ph.D.
Program chair, Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
(804) 828-8467

Additional contact
Richard F. Huff, Ph.D.
Director of graduate studies, Wilder School
(804) 828-6837

Program website:

Refer to the program search function of the online VCU Bulletins for a complete listing of all programs, concentrations and related curricular options.

Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Master of Arts (M.A.)

Apply online at

Admission requirements

Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Certificate in (Post-baccalaureate graduate certificate)

of entry:



Apr 1 (Mar 1 for financial aid)

Oct 1
Special requirements:
Admission applications that do not have a decision will automatically carry over to the next semester for consideration.

Applicants must meet all general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university.  These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

General academic regulations for
all graduate students in all graduate programs at VCU

Program goal

This certificate program complements a student’s other fields of interest in public and government affairs. The curriculum focuses upon international and domestic security and preparedness issues related to terrorist threats, such as the 9/11 attack, and natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina. Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, homeland security and emergency preparedness has become a critical aspect of governmental policy at the federal, state and local levels, as well as within the private sector. The L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs believes that a stable and productive evolution of public and private sector policies in this area can only be achieved if academe recognizes and accepts its role in developing scholars, professional policy analysts and informed governmental decision makers.

Student learning outcomes

Students will achieve comprehension of the theory and practice of homeland security and emergency preparedness and be able to analyze policy and synthesize information.

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, the graduate certificate program requires 15 credit hours, comprising five three-credit-hour graduate courses delivered through a combination of online technology and one on-campus session (three days) as described below. The courses offered in the certificate program are the same as those taken by students in the master’s program. With minimum grades of B and upon acceptance into the master’s program, these courses are fully transferable to the Master of Arts in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness degree program.

Online study

Web-based course delivery in an asynchronous format is designed around each course’s own Blackboard site.

On-campus study

During the final week of the semester, the class will have a three-day in-class session from Thursday to Saturday. It will feature presentations and discussion of student projects and papers, as well as lectures, seminar sessions and exercises. Exceptions will be made for students who are unable to attend these sessions, such as active-duty military personnel or emergency managers involved in ongoing operations.

Curriculum requirements

Courses Credit hours
HSEP 501 Institutional Challenges of Security Preparedness 3
HSEP 502 Survey of Terrorism 3
HSEP 601 Emergency Management: Response Planning and Incident Command 3
HSEP 602 Government, Industry and Community Strategic Planning 3
HSEP 603 Risk Assessment 3
Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 15

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Degree candidacy requirements

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Graduation requirements



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Last update: 12/2/2014

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