Department of Security Studies

This is an archived copy of the 2016-2017 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit


Jurg Gerber


Through its degree and certificate programs, the Department of Security Studies in the College of Criminal Justice provides students with the theoretical foundations of the nature and origins of threats to our nation and its critical infrastructure as well as the tools to identify and mitigate those threats through risk assessments and emergency management. Consistent with the Homeland Security Enterprise model, the all-hazards approaches emphasized prepare students for work as security analysts and emergency managers in private security and all levels of government, addressing foreign and domestic threats, natural or otherwise.

Contact Information

Doris Pratt
(936) 294-3637


Academically located within the College of Criminal Justice, the Department of Security Studies builds on one of the leading Criminal Justice and Criminology programs in the nation and the decades-long relationships of the College with public safety practitioners in the field. Moreover, the department is geographically situated within Texas, home to:

  • Two of the nation’s top 10 airports,
  • 16 waterports,
  • 29 oil refineries,
  • One of only a dozen Major Medical Centers nationwide, and
  • The longest border with a foreign country of any of the 48 contiguous states

Career Opportunities

The security studies program is designed to prepare students for work as security analysts and emergency managers in private security and all levels of government, addressing foreign and domestic threats, natural or otherwise. 

Student Organizations and Activities

  • Graduate Student Organization
  • Order of the Sword & Shield National Honor Society

The College of Criminal Justice hosts a variety of events for students, including special guest lecturers at Real Talk with CJ, a career fair, an undergraduate conference, and mock courtroom trials.


The Department’s geographic and academic context have given rise to a very robust internship program which provides students with hands-on experience in the field to supplement their classroom experiences.

Graduates of the program have been employed by:

  • The Department of Homeland Security (Border Patrol)
  • The Central Intelligence Agency (Intelligence Analyst)
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation (Intelligence Analyst)
  • Local police departments (Crime Analysts)
  • South Texas Nuclear Power Plant (Plant Security)
  • Photofax (Surveillance Firm)
  • Mustang Engineering (International Oilfield Service Company)
  • G4S Security (Private Security)


Scholarship opportunities, assistantships, and financial assistance are available. Student assistantships and scholarships are awarded on a competitive basis based upon academic performance, GRE scores, letters of recommendation and previous laboratory experience.

Financial awards are available, including out-of-state tuition waivers. University policy requires all students to pay in-state tuition.

Information on specific scholarships available in the College of Criminal Justice are available through Cutty Gilbert ( ) at (936) 294-3755.

Please see the College of Criminal Justice section for information on college and university level scholarships.

SCST 5320. Crisis Management Integration I. 3 Hours.

This course emphasizes efforts established to enhance the nation's capability to prevent, prepare for, respond to, mitigate, and recover from critical domestic incidents. Utilizing the all-hazard approach against natural, human-induced, and technological crises, this course highlights integration processes in command and control, planning, interoperable communications, community preparedness and participation, resource assessment, intelligence and information sharing, mutual aid systems, and interagency coordination in crisis. In this course, post 9/11 era threats and hazards will be analyzed within a framework of resilience building at tribal and local community level.

SCST 5335. Global Perspec in Homeland Sec. 3 Hours.

Course will focus on meeting the changing demands of security in a global environment. Discussion emphasizing the understanding of how to design, implement, and intergrate the security function in an ever-changing world and the impact of major economic, demographic, and technological trends on developing strategies for security innovation and growth.

SCST 5336. Law and Ethics in Homeland Security. 3 Hours.

Focus will be on how the law impacts security in many diverse ways. Discussion will emphasize the concept of criminal intent, early criminal law and the emergence of law enforcement and private security, the difference between public policing and private security, and an overview of legal terms and issues with which the security manager must address.

SCST 5338. Security and Management. 3 Hours.

Focus is on managing the security organization and its human resources; discussion and on results-oriented security management, the basic foundations of security, the importance of technology, and specialized security applications will be addressed.
Prerequisite: Three hours of graduate-level Security Studies.

SCST 5339. Foundations of Homeland Secur.. 3 Hours.

Course will focus on philosophies, tactics, and targets of terrorist groups, discussion of emerging terrorism trends and the roles of the private sector and U.S. Government in responding to and preventing terrorism. Students will also gain insight on how terrorisn influnces U.S. Foreign Policy.

SCST 5344. Unconventional Threats. 3 Hours.

This course examines a variety of unconventional threats to national security including drug cartels, cyber threats, CBRNE weapons, pandemics, human trafficking, natural disasters, failed states, refugee flows, resource depletion, and environmental crises. Special emphasis is placed on international and domestic terrorism.
Prerequisite: SCST 5339.

SCST 5346. Information & Intel Mgmt. 3 Hours.

This course explores interoperability, data fusion, and integrative decision making protocols and systems for Homeland Security information and intelligence sharing in the overarching process of managing the flow of information and intelligence across all levels and sectors of government and the private sector. The content to support the rapid identification of emerging terrorism-related threats and other circumstances requiring intervention by government and private sector authorities.

SCST 5348. Critical Infrastructure Protection. 3 Hours.

This course provides an overview of the policy, strategy, and practical application of critical infrastructure security and resilience from the All-Hazards perspective. Students explore challenges and opportunities associated with: infrastructure-related public-private partnerships, information sharing, risk analysis and prioritization, risk mitigation, performance metrics, program management, incident management, and investing for the future.

SCST 5396. Research Methods - Homeland Security Studies. 3 Hours.

This course builds student competencies in key research philosophies, principles, and techniques which will enable successful design and implementation of research relevant to the field. Students will be exposed to various ways of managing, analyzing, and displaying data. The course will prepare students to establish an applied research portfolio and to compose and submit an applied research project to a journal or conference in Homeland Security.

SCST 6093. Independent Studies in Criminal Justice. 1-3 Hours.

This course is designed to give students flexibility to pursue study of a topic under the supervision of a faculty member where the topic will be studied more deeply than in a traditional course or where there are no available courses on the topic. Credit 1-3.
Prerequisite: Approval of the Department Chair and the instructor directing the readings.

SCST 6099. Thesis. 3 Hours.

This course encompasses completion and defense of the Thesis. (Student must be registered in SCST 6099 for the semester in which they receive the MS in Homeland Security degree.)
Prerequisite: SCST 6398.

SCST 6320. Crisis Management Integration II. 3 Hours.

This course highlights the coordination and support of federal, territorial, state, regional, tribal and local efforts and resources used for complex incidents such as terrorist attacks, major disasters, or other high security and high consequence events. Specifically, federal coordinating structures, federal resource requests and deployment strategies, and regulations pertaining to federal assistance will be discussed. The role, function, and activation of federal operation centers, state level emergency operation centers, county emergency operation centers, as well as Multiagency Assistance Compacts (MACs) in support of tribal and local emergency response efforts will be analyzed.
Prerequisite: SCST 5320.

SCST 6362. Critical Infrastructure Risk Management. 3 Hours.

This course addresses the complexities of critical infrastructure security and resilience from a "system-of-systems" perspective. Students explore the notion of a system and how it applies to explicate how our critical infrastructures function and how they can fail or perform less than optimally under stress. The learner is provided with tools to uncover and manage risks affecting systems.
Prerequisite: SCST 5348.

SCST 6364. Cybersecurity. 3 Hours.

This course focuses on policy, strategy, and the operational environment of cyberspace in the context of critical infrastructure security and resilience. Topics include: challenges presented by the 21st century risk environment, cyber-risk analysis and prioritization, government-private cybersecurity partnerships, and future cyber risks.
Prerequisite: SCST 5348.

SCST 6365. Doct/Praxis in Homeland Sec. 3 Hours.

This is a capstone experience research project containing a portfolio of reflexive elements on Homeland Security Doctrine, as well as an applied research product exploring contemporary topics in Homeland Security Studies of relevance to students? professional practice. The research product will reflect scholarship standards making it suitable for future presentation at a professional Homeland Security conference, symposium, or workshop. Credit 3
Prerequisite: SCST 5396.

SCST 6370. Internship in Security Studies. 3 Hours.

This course is designed to provide students with an opportunity to synthesize theory and practice. It requires a placement of a minimum of three months at 40 hours per week in an approved criminal justice, critical infrastructure, or private security setting.
Prerequisite: Consent of the Department Chair or Internship Director.

SCST 6394. Special Topics in Sec Stud. 3 Hours.

This course offers students the opportunities for structured coursework on emergent issues or other topics for which courses do not exist in the course catalog.

SCST 6398. Thesis Practicum. 3 Hours.

This course encompasses an overview of research strategies; principles of research writing; and procedures for initiating, executing and completing a thesis. The course culminates in the preparation and approval of a prospectus.
Prerequisite: 12 semester credit hours of graduate work.

Magdalena A. Denham, Ed.D., Assistant Professor of Security Studies, Department of Security Studies, Ed.D., Sam Houston State University; M.A., San Diego State University; B.A., University of San Diego

Nathan P. Jones, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Security Studies, Department of Security Studies, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine; M.A., University of California, Irvine; B.A., University of California, Berkeley

Russell P. Lundberg, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Security Studies, Department of Security Studies, Ph.D., Pardee Rand Graduate School; M.Phil., Pardee Rand Graduate School; M.P.P., University of Maryland; B.A., Hope College

Phillip Lyons, Ph.D., Professor of Security Studies and Dean, College of Criminal Justice, Department of Security Studies, Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln; M.A., University of Nebraska-Lincoln; J.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln; B.S., University of Houston-Clear Lake

Interim Faculty

D.C. Jim Dozier, Ph.D., Clinical Professor of Security Studies, Department of Security Studies, Ph.D., The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston; J.D., South Texas College of Law; M.Ed., University of Houston; B.S., Sam Houston State University