The establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks has made “homeland security” a common phrase and a flourishing industry in the United States. Service providers and manufacturers have benefited by introducing devices and offerings to protect, detect, and react to natural and man-made disasters.
Colleges and universities have also begun to incorporate homeland security into their curriculum. Campbell University has introduced a four-year undergraduate degree in homeland security. Campbell, a private university in Buies Creek, North Carolina previously offered concentrations related to homeland security, but the new major has attracted seventy-five students who declared homeland security as a major.
The Fayetteville Observer reports that that Professor David Gray, director of Campbell’s homeland security program, believes the number of students who declare homeland security as a major will increase. “It will be 100, easy,” he said. “I think it’s conceivable that we’ll be in the neighborhood of 200 eventually.” Gray cites the growing need across multiple industries for workers with specialized training in security, disaster management, and emergency matters. Public sector jobs in cybersecurity and public health have also influenced the labor market for applicants with specialization in homeland security. “It’s a multidisciplinary field, meaning you need all sorts of people. What we’re doing at this point in time is providing a degree in homeland security that helps students become marketable so they can get jobs,” Gray said. “That’s what we’re after.”
Kiersten Call, a Campbell University senior who changed her major from criminal justice to homeland security after the announcement of the new program, told the Observer that, “This is a really important topic, and it’s really interesting.” Call plans to attend law school after her undergraduate studies, with hopes eventually to work in Washington, D.C. focusing on legal issues within the homeland security sector. Call, who was nine years in September 2011 attacks, recognizes the present effects and implications of terrorism. “I think it’s very possible that it could happen again, and that’s the biggest fear that everybody has,” she said. “And that’s why educating people in it is so essential.”
Fayetteville State University in North Carolina established its Center for Defense and Homeland Security in 2011. The center aims to foster education, research, and the commercialization of scientific technologies used in mitigating and recovering from natural and man-made catastrophes. Center director Curtis Charles said the center currently serves about twenty-four scholars and professors from mathematics, computer science, biology, chemistry, physics, intelligence studies, management information studies, and criminal justice, among others. The center collaborates with government agencies, national research laboratories, the private sector, and other academic institutions to develop strategies, solutions, and specialized workers for cybersecurity, national security, emergency and catastrophe management, and education and outreach on STEM subjects — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The program welcomes students, faculty, active-duty soldiers, and military personnel preparing to enter civilian life.
The Naval Postgraduate School and DHS maintains a list of schools offering degree or certificate programs in homeland security, emergency management, emergency preparedness, terrorism or cybersecurity.