Graduate Catalog
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Homeland Security Policy Certificate
School of Public and International Affairs 900 N. Glebe Rd
Arlington, VA 22203
Contact this Certificate
Email Contact(s):
Web Resource(s):
Phone Number(s):
Colleen Malley:
Kelly Crist:

Certificate Overview

The graduate certificate in homeland security focuses on U.S. domestic security and emergency management issues. The certificate serves either as a stand-alone credential of advanced educational achievement for non-degree students or as a supplement to a master's or doctoral degree. Four homeland security courses will introduce students to the complexity of the homeland security environment, from analyzing the terrorist threat, to considering questions of hazard mitigation, preparedness, and resilience, to investigating response and recovery strategies.

Taught by a mix of scholars and practitioners, the certificate addresses issues of homeland security strategy, policy design, planning, operations, managing across and among networks, and implementation.

The certificate is composed of four courses (12 hours of graduate coursework). The two core courses focus on 1) actions and conditions before an event (e.g. prevention) (PAPA 6264), and 2) response and recovery after an event (PAPA 5354). The third and fourth courses are selected from specified electives.

The certificate is open to non-degree students as well as degree seeking graduate students across Virginia Tech. MPA, MURP, MPIA and other master's students may use the certificate as their concentration and reflect upon the certificate and homeland security issues in their portfolio, thesis, or internship. Ph.D. students may use the certificate as a foundation for dissertation research in homeland security policy and management. Transfer credits are not permitted.

How to Apply:
Fill out the online application for participation in the certificate program.
Upon processing of the application, you will be contacted
with information about the submission of additional
required materials. Thank you for your interest.

Admission Requirements

Non-degree candidates may apply for admission to the certificate program using the Virginia Tech Graduate School's online application system found at Admissions. Interested students must submit an official copy of their college transcript documenting receipt of a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university with an acceptable grade point average mailed to the Virginia Tech Graduate School as part of the application process. Current graduate students also may pursue the certificate. 

Course Requirements

Students must take four courses (12 hours), including two required classes to receive the certificate.  


  • PAPA 6264 Advanced Topics in Policy Systems Management (Prevention)
    *or when the topic is focused on homeland security. 
  • PAPA 5354 Homeland Security Response and Recovery  

Electives (choose two):

·       PAPA 5254 Homeland Security and the Terrorist Threat

·       SPIA 5124: Decision Making, Reflective Practice, and Engagement in STEM-H Domains

·        UAP 5214: Topics in Natural Resources Hazard Planning 

·       PAPA 5974: Independent Study

·       PAPA 6254: Advanced Topics in Public Policy

·       PAPA 6214: Public Policy Processes and Analytic Approaches (3 credits)

·       PAPA 6254 Advanced Topics in Homeland Security Policy: Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resiliency 

·       GIA 5514/PSCI: Global Security 

·       PAPA 5974 Independent Study

·       PAPA 5904 Project and Report 

·       PAPA/STS 6664 Advanced Topics in Science and Technology: Complexity, Emerging Policy, Doctrine, and Reality