VCU Bulletins

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

William V. Pelfrey Jr., Ph.D.
Program Chair and Associate Professor
(804) 828-8467

Admission requirements summary

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

of entry:



Apr 1* (Mar 1 for financial aid)

Oct 1*


*These deadlines are designed to allow sufficient time for application review and admission processing. Applications may be submitted after the deadline; however, we cannot guarantee sufficient time for processing. Any application submitted too late for current semester processing will be considered for the following semester. Please contact the program chair with specific application questions.

The Master of Arts in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness offered by Virginia Commonwealth University provides for the scholarly and professional needs of several groups who have accepted the challenges of this new environment of homeland security and emergency preparedness: 1) professionals who already work in the public sector at the federal, state and local level in emergency management and security; 2) the public health and private sector workforce that focuses on security and emergency preparedness issues; and 3) students who wish to research these issues in hopes of developing and refining the scholarly study of homeland security and emergency preparedness. The master’s degree is primarily an off-campus, online, distance-learning program. It has both off-campus (online) and on-campus (at VCU) components.

VCU’s program takes a broad interdisciplinary approach to preparedness that will give students the ability to see the larger organizational, social, political, ethical and economic aspects of disaster studies, in addition to the policy-making and implementation aspects. The scholarly study of homeland security and emergency preparedness rests at the intersection of national defense, emergency management, law enforcement and policy management. With expertise in criminal justice, geography, government (local, state, federal and foreign), international affairs, policy planning and public administration, the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at VCU is particularly well-suited for such a program. Its location — in the state capital and situated just 90 minutes from the nation’s capital — also provides easy access to homeland security institutions and practitioners.

The nature of terrorist, natural and technological disaster threats is such that the business community, the public health system, and the scientific community are key components in the theoretical study, policy design, and policy analysis aspects of security and preparedness. The program is designed to approach the study of homeland security and emergency preparedness from multiple perspectives and takes full advantages of the resources in VCU’s schools of Business and Engineering plus the VCU Medical Center.

Student learning outcomes

Curriculum (36 credits)

All courses are required
HSEP 501 Institutional Challenges of Security Preparedness
HSEP 502 Survey of Terrorism
HSEP 601 Emergency Management: Response Planning and Incident Command
PADM 623/GVPA 623/CRJS 623/URSP 623 Research Methods for Government and Public Affairs
HSEP 602 Government, Private Industry and Community Strategic Planning
HSEP 603 Risk Assessment
HSEP 610 Law Enforcement Policy and Judicial Precedent
HSEP 620 Private Sector Issues in Security and Preparedness
ENGR 630 Technology, Security, and Preparedness
INFO 644 Principles of Information System Security
HSEP 650 Public Health System Preparedness
HSEP 690 Capstone Seminar



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Last update: 9/6/2013

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