Public Safety and Security Doctoral Degrees

Learn about course topics, graduation requirements, online degree options and career opportunities. Also find out what jobs are open to graduates of public safety and security doctoral degree programs. Schools offering Public Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Doctoral Degree Programs Are Available in Public Safety and Security?

Many Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs are available in public safety and security, including those in national safety, public policy, administration and strategic defense. Concentrations exist in public safety leadership, homeland security policy, information technology or emergency management. The variety of public safety and security degree programs allow you to focus on a particular field of interest in preparation for your specific career goal.

The course topics vary among the different fields of study, but many include leadership studies, managerial strategies and methods for handling emergency situations. Some classes include ways to enforce justice ethically, and others train you to evaluate homeland security strategies and analyze them for flaws. You could study computer technology and use cryptography and network security to protect vital information. You might also elect courses and research in the following:

  • Incident response
  • Recovery methods
  • Computer security protocols
  • Intelligence analysis
  • Terrorism research
  • National intelligence protocol developments
  • Modern issues in public safety
  • National emergency planning

Program Options Available in public safety and security, including national safety and public policy; concentrations available in public safety leadership, homeland security policy and emergency management
Common Courses Incident response, recovery methods, computer security protocols
Prerequisites Typically a master's degree, 2-3 years of work experience, background check
Course Components Core courses for two years, exam, directed instruction, dissertation
Online Learning Orientation at outset normal; communication via message boards, email or chat; on-campus attendance may be required for residencies, seminars, and/or defending a dissertation
Employment Options Work for government protection agency or strategic security agency, such as the Secret Service; management-level jobs in security at the county or state level

What Are the Program Requirements?

Admissions requirements for doctoral programs in public safety and security vary, but many require that you have a master's degree from an accredited university. Additionally, you might need 2-3 years of practical work experience. You'll usually have to take some required core courses, though you can supplement your studies with directed instruction and research. You might also need to undergo a background check.

To earn your Ph.D., you must take a series of courses that can be completed in about two years. You'll then need to pass a qualifying exam that assesses your knowledge and your ability to apply skills learned in the classroom. For your dissertation, you'll need to research a topic that includes your area of study and provides progressive methods for system improvements.

Can I Study Online?

You can earn an online doctoral degree in public safety and security at a few colleges. Prior to taking online classes, you might need to participate in an orientation that identifies program expectations and familiarizes you with procedures and expectations to make sure you get the most out of your online learning experience. In an online program, you can participate in classroom discussions via message boards, e-mail or chat. You can use the online library to conduct research for your dissertation and other projects. However, campus visits could be required to complete residencies, participate in seminars, develop a research focus and present your dissertation.

What Career Opportunities Are Available With This Degree?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), if you're a U.S. citizen with a doctoral degree in public safety, you could work for a government protection agency or a strategic security agency, such as the Central Intelligence Agency, the Secret Service or the Federal Bureau of Investigation ( You could also qualify for management-level jobs in security at the county or state levels, such as a police chief or an emergency management specialist.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral

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  • Wayne State University

    Campus Locations:

    • Michigan: Detroit
  • Indiana University

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    • Indiana: Bloomington
  • University of Alabama

    Campus Locations:

    • Alabama: Birmingham
  • Yale University

    Campus Locations:

    • Connecticut: New Haven
  • West Virginia University

    Campus Locations:

    • West Virginia: Morgantown
  • University of the Sciences

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
  • University of Connecticut

    Campus Locations:

    • Connecticut: Storrs
  • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

    Campus Locations:

    • Texas: Dallas