Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management Online

Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Offered By: Colangelo College of Business

Take on Crisis Situations With Confidence

A Bachelor of Science (BS) in Homeland Security and Emergency Management from Grand Canyon University can prepare you with the leadership skills needed to work in crisis situations. This field focuses on efforts to reduce terrorist attacks and to coordinate responses that minimizes damages, should an attack occur. Emergency management encompasses preparedness, response and recovery during and after crises.

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Benefits of a BS in Homeland Security and Emergency Management from GCU

The BS in Emergency Services and Homeland Security degree program at GCU is housed within the Colangelo College of Business. This offers you the opportunity to gain both an understanding of disaster preparedness, as well as the business and leadership skills needed to perform practices related to emergency planning.

The Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management is offered online, making it a good option for working professionals looking to switch careers or potentially elevate themselves in their current positions. This bachelor's program is also taught through the Christian worldview, highlighting the servant leadership aspect of public safety careers. 

Total Credits: 120
Online: 8 weeks
[More Info]
Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
Online: $485 per credit
[Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid]

Cost of Attendance

Key Skills and Knowledge for Effective Homeland Security and Emergency Management

This program focuses on four domains to ensure you have both the theoretical and practical knowledge to keep communities prepared and safe. These domains are:

Focused on FEMA’s National Preparedness Goal, this domain teaches students protection, prevention, mitigation, response and recovery techniques and skills.

You will be taught to manage budgets and resources related to crisis management.

Skills learned in this domain can help you analyze and evaluate evidence to create strategies and plans for dealing with disasters and mitigating risks during potential crisis situations.

You will develop options for managing communications during emergency situations and evaluate how preparing the community ahead of time can reduce the impact of disasters.

HSEM Coursework and Topics

As a student in this program, you will focus on the moral and ethical obligations of public service. The program also highlights the importance of equitable distribution of resources and access to community programs.

The topics studied in this degree program also include:

  • Designing emergency action plans
  • Studying local, state and federal emergency preparedness guidelines
  • Managing budgets and resources
  • Performing hazard analysis
  • Communication in high-risk contexts
  • Creating community response plans
  • Analyzing mass care operations
  • Training community members
GCU Police Officer Smiles Next to GCU Police Car

Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree From an Accredited University

At GCU, you can pursue your disaster preparedness degree from an institutionally accredited university. Our continuous accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission since 1968 demonstrates our commitment to providing students with a quality, well-rounded education. The Colangelo College of Business reflects the university’s mission of offering quality programs designed to prepare students for their intended career paths. 

Career Paths for Undergraduate HSEM Degree Graduates


Median annual wage for emergency management directors as of May 20231

Graduates of GCU’s bachelor’s in homeland security and emergency management will have been taught to assess, combat and provide relief from any number of potential threats. Some career options that graduates may choose to explore include:

  • Emergency management directors
  • First-line supervisor of police and detectives

Homeland Security and Emergency Management Degree FAQs

Read through our frequently asked questions and learn more about this career path. Start planning your career in homeland security today.

There are various factors that may impact your time to complete your bachelor’s degree. GCU is a transfer-friendly university, and previously completed credits may positively impact time to graduation. To learn more about how long it may take you to complete your degree, fill out the form on this page to speak with a university counselor.

In most cases, a minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required to work in homeland security, with some allowing applicants with an associate degree.2 A bachelor’s program can instill you with in-depth knowledge regarding relevant topics with the goal of preparing you to become qualified for positions in this field.

This type of specialized bachelor’s degree is set up to help prepare you for this career path. In this program, you’ll have the opportunity to learn critical information regarding important aspects of public safety, such as creating and implementing emergency action plans, high-risk context communication and training measures. Along with these concepts, you will also be taught valuable business and management principles characteristic of a degree in the Colangelo College of Business.

It is no question that this field is an important one — threats are unfortunately a constant in today’s world. If you seek to protect others, are always looking to improve security measures and thrive under pressure, then this career choice may be a good fit for you.

Additionally, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, emergency management directors have a median annual wage of $83,960 as of May 2023, making this career path a financially stable choice as well.

Follow Your Path in Public Service

Is serving your community your calling? This HSEM degree path may be right for you.

1 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”), Emergency Management Directors as of May 2023, retrieved May 9, 2024. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 to 2023 may be atypical compared to prior years. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers nationwide with varying levels of education and experience. It does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as emergency management directors, nor does it reflect earnings of workers in one city or region of the country or a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. Grand Canyon University can make no guarantees on individual graduates’ salaries. Your employability will be determined by numerous factors over which GCU has no control, such as the employer the graduate chooses to apply to, the graduate’s experience level, individual characteristics, skills, etc., against a pool of candidates.

2 All Criminal Justice Schools. (n.d.). How to start a career in homeland security. Retrieved May 9, 2024. 

Course List

General Education Requirements:
34-40 credits
36 credits
Open Elective Credits:
44-50 credits
Degree Requirements:
120 credits

General Education Requirements

General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University's General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.


Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.

Course Options

  • UNV-103, University Success: 4
  • UNV-303, University Success: 4
  • UNV-108, University Success in the College of Education: 4


Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.

Course Options

  • UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
  • ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
  • ENG-106, English Composition II: 4


Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.

Course Options

  • CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
  • CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4


Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments (mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, physical geography, ecology, economics, theology, logic, philosophy, technology, statistics, accounting, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of intermediate algebra or higher.

Course Options

  • MAT-154, Applications of College Algebra: 4
  • MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4
  • PHI-105, 21st Century Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: 4
  • BIO-220, Environmental Science: 4


Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, cross-cultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.

Course Options

  • HIS-144, U.S. History Themes: 4
  • PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
  • SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4

Core Courses

Course Description

This course provides an overview of the Department of Homeland Security and the national preparedness goal, including its mission areas and core capabilities. Students learn the key principles, participants, functions, structures, and challenges within the discipline with a focus on a systematic, community-based, all-hazard approach to emergency management. This course also includes concepts related to accreditation of emergency management programs and professional associations, credentials, and certifications.

Course Description

Drawing upon real-world management situations, this course is a study of individual and group behavior in organizations through detailed coverage of the functions of management, individual differences/diversity, leadership, motivation, decision making, organizational design, and organizational change and development. Emphasis is placed on how an understanding of organizational behavior leads to effective management practice.

Course Description

This writing-intensive course focuses on the mission area of protection, with an emphasis on the capabilities necessary to protect the country from acts of terrorism and manmade and natural disasters. Students integrate knowledge of risk and vulnerability assessment and operational structures, resources, and processes to develop comprehensive measures to secure the nation and its interests against varied threats. Prerequisite: EMM-301.

Course Description

This course examines the processes and principles of mitigation planning for emergency management. Students examine the benefits of mitigation and the development and implementation of appropriate mitigation measures to reduce the impact of disasters on people and the environment. Prerequisite: EMM-301.

Course Description

This course explores the dimensions of domestic and international terrorism and focuses on the core capabilities necessary for preventing terrorist acts. Students examine the role of intelligence and information sharing, security measures, and methods of disruption used for impeding and/or responding terrorism. Prerequisite: EMM-301.

Course Description

The knowledge and practice gained in this course provide the emergency manager with management and supervision skills and techniques critical to success in the emergency services environment. Focus is on practices necessary for saving lives, protecting the built and natural environment, and providing for the populace following a disaster. Prerequisite: EMM-301.

Course Description

This course addresses disaster recovery and the core capabilities required to promote comprehensive recovery within communities impacted by disaster. Students examine issues related to restoring infrastructure, businesses and the economy, and human and environmental health. Prerequisite: EMM-301.

Course Description

This course is a study of the challenges associated with managing projects within the context of the overarching management framework of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. Emphasis is placed on balancing competing priorities related to human resources, time constraints, and physical resources/materials, as well as managing and controlling project scope.

Course Description

In this writing-intensive course, students demonstrate competence in emergency management through the development of an individual project. Students select an aspect of emergency management and complete a continuity of operations plan (COOP) using critical thinking to demonstrate knowledge of core capabilities and account for the complexities of dealing with emergencies and disasters. Prerequisites: EMM-306, EMM-311, EMM-400, EMM-412, EMM-450, and MGT-440.


GCU Online Student

Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.