VCU Bulletins

Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

Special requirements

Students must earn a total of 45 credits in classes at the 300-level and above, including upper-level criminal justice course work. To graduate from the homeland security and emergency preparedness program, students must have a cumulative and major GPA of 2.0. The homeland security and emergency preparedness curriculum includes the core and major elective requirements.

Emergency preparedness has always been a critical aspect of governmental policy at the federal, state and local levels. Response to natural disasters — floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, outbreak of infectious disease — requires predisaster planning, mid-disaster operations and postdisaster reconstruction that can only be carried out successfully through a partnership between all levels of government and between the public sector, private sector and civil society. Since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania the concept of emergency preparedness has been expanded to include the task of homeland security — protecting the U.S. from terrorist-caused disasters. Policy planners and operational responders at all levels of government who had previously focused upon natural disasters now have the added responsibility of preparing for and mitigating the effects of politically inspired terrorist violence.

The program in homeland security and emergency preparedness recognizes this dual nature and is designed to give students both theoretical and practical knowledge that will prepare them for the following: 1) private- or public-sector employment in the expanding area of homeland security as it relates specifically to international and domestic security, as well as emergency preparedness for both security and nonsecurity-related incidents and/or 2) further study in government, international affairs, law enforcement, policy planning or law.

Students will study homeland security and emergency preparedness from a number of perspectives: emergency planning/management principles and practicalities; the nature and effects of natural disasters; the nature of the terrorist threat to the U.S. from both foreign and domestic organizations, including terrorist motives, methods and history; counterterrorism policies ranging from law enforcement to intelligence to the use of military force; vulnerability assessment of public and private infrastructure and institutions; critical infrastructure protection; ethical, constitutional, law enforcement and civil liberties issues related to the prevention of terrorist attacks through surveillance, immigration restrictions and detention; public safety legal questions that arise during governmental responses to natural disaster; intelligence analysis of domestic and international threats; and policy-making topics, such as organizational design and management, interagency processes, and intergovernmental coordination and cooperation within emergency preparedness and counterterrorism institutions at the local, state, federal and international level.

The knowledge and skills acquired through this course of study will enable students to continue their studies at law school or graduate school in a number of areas: business, criminal justice, geography, international affairs, political science, public administration, sociology and urban planning. Students also will be able to pursue employment opportunities in various fields, such as within the government at the local, state and federal level in homeland security and emergency planning/response; law enforcement; intelligence; for-profit and nonprofit research and consultancy; and private sector employment with any business that requires emergency planning expertise to protect critical infrastructure.

Degree requirements for Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

Learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

  • Analytical concepts and skills
    Students will achieve comprehension of the theory and practice of homeland security and emergency preparedness and be able to analyze policy and synthesize information in four key areas: risk and vulnerability analysis, strategic planning dilemmas of disasters and disaster preparedness, institutional coordination and intelligence operations, and legal/constitutional aspects, specifically:
    • Concepts and methodologies for risk and vulnerability assessment of public and private infrastructure and institutions to natural disasters and terrorist attack (HSEP 310)
    • Critical infrastructure protection against natural disasters and terrorist attacks (HSEP 310)
    • Strategic planning within private and public sector organizations within the context of the new homeland security and emergency preparedness agendas (HSEP 311)
    • Government common goods priorities and free rider problems (HSEP 311)
    • Business and government continuity measures (HSEP 311)
    • Intelligence analysis of domestic and international threats (HSEP 320)
    • Policy making topics such as organizational design and management, interagency processes, and intergovernmental coordination and cooperation within counterterrorism and emergency management institutions at the local, state, federal, and international level (HSEP 320)
    • Ethical, constitutional, law enforcement, and civil liberties issues related to prevention of terrorist attacks through surveillance, immigration restrictions, and detention (HSEP 330)
    • Ethical, constitutional, law enforcement, and civil liberties issues related to arrest and prosecution of terrorist suspects (HSEP 330)
    • public safety legal questions that arise during governmental responses to natural disaster (HSEP 330)
  • Homeland security and emergency preparedness
    Students will achieve comprehension of the theoretical and practical principles of emergency preparedness for both natural disasters and terrorist incidents and be able to analyze key topics related to natural disasters, emergency planning, terrorism, and counterterrorism, specifically
    • Emergency planning/management principles and practicalities for an all-hazard approach to emergency preparedness (HSEP 101, 302)
    • The nature and effects of natural disasters — emerging diseases, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, for example (HSEP 101, 302)
    • The nature of the terrorist threat to the United States from both foreign and domestic organizations, including terrorist motives, methods, and history (HSEP 301)
    • Counterterrorism policies ranging from law enforcement to intelligence to the use of military force (HSEP 301)
  • Research and policy analysis
    Students will perform research, policy analysis, and risk assessment using several methodological and theoretical approaches to homeland security and emergency preparedness, specifically:
    • Researching topics in homeland security and emergency preparedness (HSEP 301, 302, 310, 311, 320, 330, 490)
    • Preparing case studies of emergency incidents and governmental responses (HSEP 302, 310, 311, 320)
    • Preparing analyses of legal questions and cases related to homeland security and emergency preparedness (HSEP 330)
  • Knowledge of government
    Students will demonstrate a basic knowledge of the workings of the American government and the international system, specifically:
    • The functions of American national institutions, state, and local institutions (POLI 103)
    • International institutions, the behavior of nations states, international political, social, military, and economic trends (POLI 105)
  • Oral and written presentation
    Students will develop advanced skills in expository writing and oral presentation, specifically:
    • Completion of a large project outlining, evaluating, and illustrating the dilemmas facing emergency management officials in preparation for a to a role playing simulation (HSEP 490)
    • Writing an executive summary (HSEP 490)
    • Presenting an oral briefing (HSEP 301, 490)
  • Role-playing simulation
    Students will participate in a role playing simulation and be able to evaluate policy problems they face and develop policy responses, specifically:
    • Preparation for and participation in a role playing simulation of an emergency situation (HSEP 490)
  • Evaluation
    Students will also be able to evaluate scholarly and practitioner analyses of homeland security and emergency preparedness, specifically:
    • Written and oral evaluation of several books/reports on homeland security and emergency preparedness (HSEP 490)
General Education requirements (32-46 credits) Credits
University Core Education Curriculum (minimum 21 credits)
UNIV 111 Focused Inquiry I 3
UNIV 112 Focused Inquiry II 3
UNIV 200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument 3
Approved humanities/fine arts 3
Approved natural/physical sciences 3-4
Approved quantitative literacy 3-4
Approved social/behavioral sciences 3-4
   
Additional College of Humanities and Sciences requirements (11-23 credits)  
HUMS 202 Choices in a Consumer Society 1
Approved H&S diverse and global communities 3
Approved H&S general education electives 6-8
Approved H&S human, social and political behavior (fulfills University Core social/behavioral sciences)  
Approved H&S literature and civilization (fulfills University Core humanities/fine arts)  
Approved H&S science and technology (fulfills University Core natural/physical sciences)  
Experiential fine arts (course offered by the School of the Arts) 1-3
Foreign language through the 102 level (by course or placement) 0-8
   
Collateral requirements (3-9 credits)  
STAT 210 Basic Practice of Statistics 3
Foreign language through the 202 level (by course or placement) 0-6
   
Major requirements (36 credits)  
POLI 103 U.S. Government (fulfills University Core social/behavioral sciences) 3
POLI 105 International Relations (fulfills approved diverse and global communities) 3
HSEP 101 Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness 3
HSEP 310 Risk and Vulnerability Assessment 3
HSEP 311 Strategic Planning for Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness 3
HSEP 490 Senior Seminar 3
HSEP 301/CRJS 367/POLI 367 Terrorism 3
HSEP 302/CRJS 368 Emergency Planning and Incident Management 3
HSEP 320/CRJS 375 The Intelligence Community and the Intelligence Process 3
HSEP 330/CRJS 330 Legal and Constitutional Issues in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness 3
Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness electives 6
   
Open electives 39-58
   
Total minimum requirement 120

Approved homeland security and emergency preparedness electives

CRJS 300 Forensic Criminology
CRJS 320 Principles of Criminal Investigation
CRJS 370 Criminalistics and Crime Analysis
CRJS 373 Crime Scene Evidence: Law and Trial Procedure
CRJS 463 Comparative Criminal Justice Systems
CRJS 475 Criminal Procedure
FIRE 306 Regulatory Aspects of Safety and Risk Control
FIRE 307 System Safety
FIRE 308 Incident Investigation and Analysis
FIRE 309 Risk and Insurance
FIRE 359 Issues in Risk Management and Insurance
GVPA 493 Government and Public Affairs Internship
HSEP 391 Topics in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
HSEP 491 Advanced Topics in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
HSEP 492 Independent Study
POLI 310 Public Policy
POLI 322 State and Local Government and Politics
POLI 329 Intergovernmental Relations
POLI/INTL 351 Governments and Politics of the Middle East
POLI/INTL 353 Latin American Governments and Politics
POLI/INTL 362 International Organizations and Institutions
POLI/INTL 363 U.S. Foreign Policy
URSP 310 Introduction to Urban and Regional Planning
URSP/ENVS/GEOG 332 Environmental Management
URSP 413 Policy Implementation
URSP/ENVS/GEOG 521 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
URSP 552 Urban Transportation Systems

Click here to download a sample outline. [PDF]

Collateral requirements

In addition to the homeland security and emergency preparedness courses required for the Bachelor of Arts degree, students must complete the study of a foreign language through the intermediate level (202 or 205) through courses or placement. As a prerequisite for HSEP 310 Risk and Vulnerability Assessment, STAT 210 should be used to fulfill general education requirements for statistics.

Honors in homeland security and emergency preparedness

Homeland security and emergency preparedness majors can earn honors within the program by completing HSEP 490 Senior Seminar with an “A” grade and graduating with an overall 3.0 GPA and a 3.3 GPA in courses credited toward the 36 credits of the homeland security and emergency preparedness major.

 

 

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Last update: 6/4/2014

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