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Applications are being accepted for Fall Admission!

Online HSEM Masters of Science Program


The ISU Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) Masters degree program is a fully online program designed to provide education ensuring that students receive a comprehensive education preparing them for all types of threats they may encounter in the HSEM field. 


The HSEM Masters is a multidisciplinary program designed to enhance students' ability to:

  • Assess risk
  • Implement emergency protocols
  • Lead in a complex environment

Students will learn through:

  • Core competencies
  • Practical approach
    • Real-world examples
    • Case studies
  • Either practical field experience or a research thesis
  • Access to experienced professionals nationwide

Students explore: 

  • Complex systems and design thinking
  • Cybersecurity
  • Disaster management
  • Intelligence
  • Counterterrorism
  • Risk management
  • Critical emerging issues
  • Professional document creation

The HSEM Masters Degree allows professionals to ensure the resiliency of private, public, and nonprofit organizations against a variety of stressors on vital systems. 

The program consists of:

  • 30 credits
  • 9 online course
  • 6 credit research thesis/capstone project

Participants spend an average of 13-15 hours on their courses weekly. 


Our Program

Application Process

  • Review the MS in Homeland Security and Emergency Management Degree website at https://www.isu.edu/esd/hsem/masters/
  • (Optional) Schedule a meeting with Laurie Holien, HSEM Program Director
  • Gather Application Materials:
    • Transcripts
    • Two letters of recommendation (provide name and contact info. They will be contacted directly for a confidential recommendation request)
    • Self-Reflection Essay
    • Resume or Curricula Vitae (CV)
    • Application Fee - $65
  • Create an Account
  • Apply on the ISU Graduate Programs Website


  • A GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students who do not meet the minimum GPA may be admitted conditionally with performance requirements.
  • Background Check Acknowledgement
  • Prerequisite: Applicants with a BS/BA degree in a field not closely related to Homeland Security or Emergency Management must complete HSEM 3301 Overview to Homeland Security and Emergency Management as a program prerequisite, despite work experience. HSEM 3301 is offered in the Summer semester prior to the MS degree start date.
  • ISU HSEM undergraduate students may apply to enter the MS program during their fourth year and have the option to take two BS courses at the MS level.
  • Admission Interview:  Once your file is complete you may be contacted for an interview with a review committee

International Applicants:

International students must complete the Statement of Financial Guarantee.

Applicants educated in an institution where English is not the language of instruction are required to submit official score results for TOEFL (internet-based test score of 80 or paper-based test score of 550), IELTS (6.5). Please contact the International Program Office for more details.

Exception: International students whose undergraduate education took place in Australia, Canada (English-speaking provinces), United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, or the U.S. are exempt from this requirement. Students born in one of these countries yet educated elsewhere are still required to satisfy the English proficiency requirement.

Self Assessment Essay

The HSEM program self-assessment essay is intended to provide the selection committee information with which to evaluate your critical thinking capabilities and writing proficiency. 

Format: A five-page reflective narrative, double-spaced.

Include some, or all, of the following prompts. As well as any other information you consider relevant.

  • Reflect on personal strengths and weaknesses and their potential impact on your performance in the program
  • Explain the reasons behind your interest in this degree
  • Describe your work experience in relation to HSEM and related fields/missions
  • Outline aspects of the program that greatly interest you
  • Describe any experience with Voluntary Organizations Active during Disasters (VOADs)
  • Describe your academic accomplishments
  • Demonstrate your critical thinking and analysis skills
  • Your approach to complex reports and writing assignments
  • The homeland security-based problems you are compelled to help the country solve
  • Personal research interests
  • The applications of your prior academic experience to the HSEM program
  • Goals for your future if admitted to the program
  • The impact of an HSEM degree on you, your career, your community, and your country
  • How do you challenge yourself to stretch, learn and grow?
  • Describe your communication, persuasion, and project management skills.
  • Illustrate with examples the commitment you have to a career in homeland security and emergency management.

Upload your essay with your program application. 
An optional creative submission is allowed, with no restriction as to the medium. 

Goals and Objectives

  • Candidates will engage in intellectual discourse to grow an understanding of the homeland security enterprise that is responsible to the community and the world at large.
  • Candidates will develop ethical leadership skills providing them with a competitive edge within their field, opening doors into management and executive-level positions.
  • Leaders prepared by this program will have the expertise and practice facility to be active participants in critical reflection and analysis, professional collaboration, effective implementation of policies and procedures, and the development of excellent supportive networking skills.
  • Graduates with this Masters degree will pursue careers that enhance the safety and security of our communities, and safeguard the lives of citizens.
HSEM positions and their outlooks: 

Chief Executives

Job growth 4-6%

Median Pay $184,460

Information Security Analysts

Job growth 31%

Median Pay $99,730

Government Program Managers

Job growth 27%


Krystal Lyman, Program Advisor

Schedule an Appointment


Laurie Holien, HSEM Program Director/Associate Professor

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