Department of Security Studies

Chair: Nadav Morag, Ph.D.

Website: Department of Security Studies

Contact Information:
Vivian Carlson
(936) 294-1646


The Master of Science in Homeland Security Studies is designed to help students meet the needs of the homeland security enterprise at all levels of government as well as the private sector. It provides a comprehensive understanding of the homeland security enterprise to students desiring to advance their knowledge, skills, and qualifications within this field.

The broad educational objective is to develop thinkers, analysts, and leaders who possess expertise in both the conceptual and practical dimensions of homeland security policy and strategy. Graduates will gain knowledge of the field as well as develop their analytical, strategic, communication, and policy-framing skills.

All courses will be offered online and face-to-face courses will be offered if classes meet the minimum enrollment numbers


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,
  • Two of the top 5 largest metropolitan areas in the nation,
  • 16 seaports,
  • 29 oil refineries,
  • The largest medical center in the world (in Houston), 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 leadership positions within the homeland security enterprise, including areas such as: law enforcement, emergency services, emergency management, public health, security (border, maritime, transportation), critical infrastructure protection (water sector, power sector, etc.), and other fields at the federal, state, and local levels of government as well as the private sector.

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. Emergency 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 are analyzed within a framework of resilience building at tribal and local community level.

SCST 5335. Global Perspectives in Homeland Security. 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. Course Equivalents: CRIJ 5335 .

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. Course Equivalents: CRIJ 5336 .

SCST 5338. Security and Management. 3 Hours.

Students focus 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 are addressed. Course Equivalents: CRIJ 5388
Prerequisite: Three hours of graduate-level Security Studies.

SCST 5339. Foundations of Homeland Security. 3 Hours.

Students 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 also gain insight on how terrorism influences U.S. Foreign Policy. Course Equivalents: CRIJ 5339 .

SCST 5340. Intelligence and Counterintelligence in National Security. 3 Hours.

Students focus on the roles of various national intelligence collection platforms and intelligence analysis, how national policy makers utilize intelligence, and Congress' oversight role. Counterintelligence is introduced as an example of an external threat to homeland security. Course Equivalents: CRIJ 5340 .

SCST 5341. Principles of Intelligence Analysis. 3 Hours.

Students focus on new and alternative methods for conducting intelligence analysis as well as examine how analysis contributes to the overall understanding of intelligence and formulation of US national security policy. Analytic modeling techniques and the psychology of analysis in terms of analytic biases are covered. Credt 3. Course Equivalents: CRIJ 5341 .

SCST 5342. Law Enforcement Intelligence and Crime Analysis. 3 Hours.

This course foundation is the diversity of mission and roles of crime analysts at the local, state and federal levels. Traditional crime analysis functions are reviewed, including temporal and spatial plots. linking modus operandi, and crime distribution forecasting. Additionally, the dynamics of both terrorist and criminal intelligence functions are emphasized, including database linkages, role of Federal Data Fusion Centers, the National Information Sharing infrastructure, and the elements of systematic threat assessment. Course Equivalents: CRIJ 5342 .

SCST 5344. Unconventional Threats. 3 Hours.

This course will focus on a range of threats (some of which exist and some of which are emerging) that impact, or are likely to impact, homeland security in significant ways. These threats will be addressed within the framework of three categories of threats based, respectively, on direct human action, technology, and the environment. Topics to be addressed will include: 1) terrorism, destabilizing crime, mass global migration (human-based threats); 2. cyber threats, engineered biological threats, nuclear warfare, and global supply chain vulnerabilities (technology-based threats); 3: limitations on access to natural resources, climate change, novel diseases, and food security (environmental-based threats).
Prerequisite: SCST 5339.

SCST 5346. Information and Intelligence Management. 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. 1-3 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.) Variable Credit (1-3).
Prerequisite: SCST 6398.

SCST 6320. Emergency 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 6360. Leadership in Homeland Security and Emergency Management. 3 Hours.

Students examine the complexity of leadership in crises. They discern between decision-making models in naturalistic settings and evaluate cases and scenarios that highlight characteristics of successful leaders in events with high consequence outcomes. Students analyze organizational, political, and socio-cultural interdependencies that influence leadership in Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) settings and acquire stategies on how to reduce security risks through adoption of various decision support systems.
Prerequisite: SCST 5344.

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. Doctrine and Praxis in Homeland Security. 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 Security Studies. 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.

Director/Chair: Nadav Morag

Jeremiah Ogonda Asaka, PHD, Assistant Professor of Security Studies, Department of Security Studies, PHD, Univ of Massachusetts-Boston; MA, Univ of Massachusetts-Boston; MS, Ohio University; BSC, Maseno University

Magdalena A Denham, EDD, Professor of Practice of Security Studies, Department of Security Studies, EDD, Sam Houston State University; MA, San Diego St Univ; BA, Univ of San Diego

Nathan P Jones, PHD, Associate Professor of Security Studies, Department of Security Studies, PHD, Univ of Calif-Irvine; MA, Univ of Calif-Irvine; BA, Univ of Calif-Berkeley

Russell P Lundberg, PHD, Associate Professor of Security Studies, Department of Security Studies, PHD, Pardee Rand Graduate School; MPHIL, Pardee Rand Graduate School; MPP, Univ of Maryland-College Park; BA, Hope College

Nadav Morag, PHD, Professor and Chair of Security Studies, Department of Security Studies, PHD, Tel Aviv University; MA, Univ of Calif-Los Angeles; BA, Univ of Calif-Los Angeles