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Homeland Security Program Giving Students Skills in Growing Fields

The Van Loan School Homeland Security program is giving Endicott students skills in growing fields.
Important additions to the Homeland Security program are creating more opportunities for Endicott students.

Homeland security is ever-changing, and with it have come important additions to the Van Loan School of Graduate and Professional Studies’ program.

Starting this fall, students enrolled in the M.S. in Homeland Security Studies program now have the option to specialize in either cybersecurity or emergency management, both of which have dominated the news due to the growing number of cybersecurity incidents and natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes.

“Homeland security is constantly evolving, and it is important you stay informed of the changes taking place in this complex field,” Dr. Paul Joyce, director of homeland security studies, said. “The changing dynamics of terrorism, emergency management, and cybersecurity and how they interrelate with one another is critical to understanding the contemporary picture of homeland security.”

Joyce, a former superintendent in the Boston Police Department, cited the Boston Marathon Bombing as a good example. “Clearly, it was a terrorist event, but it also included and in-depth emergency management response geared towards recovery and resiliency. It was critical that the city re-establish its sense of normalcy in the days following the attacks.”

“Our emergency management curriculum focuses on preparedness for both planned and unplanned events,” homeland security assistant director Engrid Backstrom said. “We do this by focusing on the importance of leadership, partner coordination, collaboration, and whole community; all core elements within the National Incident Management System.”

It’s important to note that homeland security goes well beyond the public sector, as there also are Endicott alums working at private companies like National Grid and Carbon Black. And with more than 200,000 cybersecurity and 10,000 Department of Homeland Security job openings, there’s an overwhelming need for qualified professionals in both sectors. 

Even more opportunities will be available this spring for students interested in the cybersecurity specialization, which was designed by FBI agents Justin Sultzbach and Thomas Doyle and MIT Lincoln Labs system administrator Virgil Zaporteza, with the advent of a four-course certificate program.

The cybersecurity certificate and master’s degree options both are geared toward analyst careers, and they prepare and pay for students to take the Cybersecurity Analyst Certification test.  

The courses also are designed to teach students from diverse undergraduate and career backgrounds important skills. There is a misconception that one needs a criminal justice degree to earn a master’s in homeland security, when, in fact, many undergraduate degrees are relevant.

“Our program really emphasizes the importance of writing, oral communication, and interpersonal skills within each course, to help prepare our future homeland security leaders for the field,” Backstrom said. “And to help support these foundational elements, we have excellent faculty, who are homeland security professionals that bring real life experience and knowledge to the classroom to help prepare students to work independently and within a team environment.”

Enrollment in the Homeland Security program is on a rolling basis and programs are available on-site in Beverly or 100 percent online. Learn more about the Master of Science in Homeland Security available at Endicott College.