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

Contact Information
(936) 294-1646; Vivian Carlson



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.

Student Organizations and Activities

  • 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.

Academic Programs

The Department of Security Studies currently offers only an undergraduate minor. The Department also offers graduate degree and certificate programs. See the current graduate catalog for more details.

The Department of Security Studies currently offers courses during the academic year. For example, SCST 4377 is often offered. Please consult the current schedule of classes. Additionally, please consult the current graduate catalog for graduate course offerings.

SCST 2363. Intro to Homeland Security. 3 Hours.

This introductory course is designed to familiarize students with the field of security studies. Topics include Surveys, threats, and challenges from terrorist attacks, to pandemics to climate change.

SCST 3394. Global Terrorism & Homeland Security. 3 Hours.

This course provides an overview of the threat of terrorism as it relates to U.S. homeland security. Using a multi-dimensional approach that draws from international relations, law, and police strategies, the course emphasizes research and analysis. Students also examine international strategies aimed at reducing terrorist incidents.
Prerequisite: SCST 2363 recommended.

SCST 4076. Independent Studies in Security Studies. 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 studies more deeply than in a traditional course or where there are no available courses on the topic. Variable Credit (1-3).
Prerequisite: Approval of the Department Chair and the instructor directing the readings.

SCST 4362. U.S. Security Post 9/11. 3 Hours.

This course provides an overview of the evolution of issues, processes, and policies related to U.S. security and safety that evolved after the cold war era. Specifically, the course will address the spectrum of security threats and safety hazards that have emerged post 9/11 and that continue to emerge, such as Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE), pandemic, environmental, and cybersecurity as well as the policies and processes instituted to address them. Credit 3.

SCST 4363. Homeland Sec Intelligence. 3 Hours.

This course examines the development of U.S. intelligence studies and explores the role of intelligence in supporting the formulation of homeland security policies. It positions intelligence within specific homeland security missions of Protect, Respond, and Recover, and among actors who support the Homeland Security Enterprise (HSE) under those missions. It exposes learners to complex government-private sector policies, plans, partnerships, processes, procedures, systems, and technologies for intelligence gathering as well as information sharing.
Prerequisite: Junior Standing.

SCST 4364. Homeland Sec & Emergency Mgmt. 3 Hours.

This course familiarizes students with processes, agencies, and individuals involved in the national preparedness and response to high consequence events. Students examine homeland security strategies, emergency and disaster management principles, and human, physical, and operational resilience concepts. Students are exposed to approaches to collaboration, communication, and coordination when planning for, mitigating against, responding to, and recovering from the complex safety and security problems of the twenty-first century (e.g., extreme weather, environmental incidents, health pandemics, terrorism).
Prerequisite: Junior Standing.

SCST 4365. Border Security. 3 Hours.

This course covers security issues related to U.S. air, land, subterranean, and maritime borders. The course covers an interdisciplinary range of topics including immigration, drug trafficking, contraband smuggling (tariff evasion), potential for terror plots involving the border, the political realities of border fence construction, state surveillance in the border region, concepts of borderlands, civil liberties, and issues related to the border. The course introduces students to the various agencies that cooperate to provide border security and to the foreign relations issues that arise around nation-state borders.
Prerequisite: Junior Standing.

SCST 4366. Drug Policy and Security. 3 Hours.

This course examines the problem of illegal drugs from a security perspective. Because drug profits have been identified as a major funding source of violent criminal actors and terrorist networks, students in this course explore the vertical integration of the drug trade and examine its relationship to homeland security.
Prerequisite: Junior Standing.

SCST 4367. Critical Infrastructure Security. 3 Hours.

Globalization has made society increasingly reliant on technology for every facet of human endeavors. As a result of the reliance on interdependent technology society has become more vulnerable to major disruptions. This course familiarizes students with the concept of Critical Infrastructure (CI), the risks it faces, and how to protect against them. Students explore 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.
Prerequisite: Junior Standing.

SCST 4377. 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.

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

John D. Payne, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Security Studies, Department of Security Studies, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology; M.A., Brigham Young University; B.A., Brigham Young University

Interim Faculty

Laurie L. Christensen, M.S., Lecturer of Security Studies, Department of Security Studies, M.S., Sam Houston State University; B.S., University of Houston

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

Robert M. Pullin, Ph.D., Lecturer of Security Studies, Department of Security Studies, Ph.D., Sam Houston State University; M.S., Sam Houston State University; B.S., University of Houston, Victoria