Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security Policy

Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security Policy 2016-12-08T06:21:33+00:00

CPAP offers a graduate certificate in homeland security policy focusing on domestic security and emergency management issues. The certificate serves either as a stand-alone credential of advanced educational achievement for non-degree students or as a supplement to a masters or doctoral degree. Taking four homeland security courses will introduce students to the complexity of the homeland security environment, from analyzing the terrorist threat, to considering questions of hazard mitigation, preparedness, and resilience, to investigating response and recovery strategies.

Taught by a mix of scholars and practitioners, the certificate addresses issues of homeland security strategy, policy design, planning, operations, managing across and among networks, and implementation.

The certificate is comprised of four courses (12 hours of graduate coursework). The core courses focus on 1) the threat (PAPA 5254), 2) prevention (PAPA 6264), and 3) response and recovery (PAPA 5354). A fourth course is selected from specified electives.

The certificate is open to non-degree students as well as degree seeking graduate students across Virginia Tech. MPA students may use the certificate as their concentration and reflect upon the certificate and homeland security issues in their portfolio or internship. Ph.D. students may use the certificate as a foundation for dissertation research in homeland security policy and management.

More on the Grad School page

To obtain certificate, send this form to Myriam Lechuga at


The certificate is designed for professionals in both the public and private sectors.

  • U.S. Government Employees: This program helps fulfill federal government requirements for advanced education in homeland security policy for mid-career and senior level employees.
  • State and Local Officials: This program meets the high demand among state and local officials for education that de-mystifies the federal government’s homeland security policies and programs and offers insight into homeland security planning and execution at the state and local levels.
  • Private Sector: Contractors and consultants who provide support for federal, state and local homeland security and emergency response programs can further their professional development and competitive advantage. Business executives who seek creative ways to improve both business efficiency and security without adding significant costs to their businesses will also benefit from the program.
  • Advanced Degree Students: Students enrolled in master and doctoral programs acquire the skill sets needed to develop homeland security as an academic discipline and to make valuable contributions to the theory and practice of homeland security as a critical component of public administration and policy.
Students have participated in the following activities in their homeland security courses:

  • Briefed a former chief of staff of the Department of Homeland Security
  • Engaged guest speakers including the state coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the emergency manager of Arlington County, VA
  • Visited the Virginia Emergency Operations Center in Richmond, VA
  • Worked in groups to use structured decision-making techniques to develop a proposal for post-Sandy recovery and mitigation projects in New York City
Non-degree candidates may apply for admission to the certificate program using the Virginia Tech Graduate School’s online application system found under “Admissions” at

To obtain the certificate, fill out this form for the VT graduate school:

Interested students must submit an official copy of their college transcript or diploma documenting receipt of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university with an acceptable grade point average mailed to the Virginia Tech Graduate School as part of the application process.

Application deadlines for domestic students are as follows:

Fall: April 1st
Spring: November 1st

Students who complete the graduate certificate are encouraged to continue their studies on their own in a master’s program at Virginia Tech. The credits earned as part of this certificate may be applied to the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree upon admission to the degree. CPAP offers the MPA Program in Blacksburg, Alexandria, and Richmond, Virginia.

The Bursar’s Office maintains complete information about Virginia Tech tuition and fees for in-state and out-of-state residents.

For More Information, Please Contact:

Patrick S. Roberts
Associate Professor, Center for Public Administration and Policy
School of Public and International Affairs
Virginia Tech
1021 Prince Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

Required (must take all three)

Consideration of the critical integration of national security and homeland security policies and operational activities at the federal, state, and local levels to create management systems that function effectively in complex environments. This course examines the relationship between national security policies that manifest themselves in the international arena and homeland security policies that focus on U.S. domestic issues. Includes advanced study of information sharing, critical infrastructure, law enforcement, transportation systems, borders, and response and recovery operations. Also investigates the possibilities and limits for prevention and mitigation activities at all levels of government.
A multidisciplinary introduction to the theory, strategy, decision-making, and doctrine of Homeland Security as practiced in the U.S. Describes the threat, nature of current global conflicts in which the U.S. is engaged, America’s foreign and domestic policy responses to 9/11, and strategic and operational homeland security functions. Designed to promote subject matter understanding, simplification of issues, and consensus decision-making.
Multi-disciplinary policy course focused on emergency response and recovery following catastrophic manmade and natural disasters in the U.S. Emphasis on strategic and operational decision making; response models and strategies; the preparation, response and recovery roles and responsibilities of federal, state, and local jurisdictions; and federal policy alternatives to address the complex resource challenges of multi-jurisdictional response planning and operations execution.

Designed to promote subject matter understanding, simplification of issues, and consensus decision-making.

Electives (choose one)

Variable topics in science and technology policy. Includes advanced study of science, technology, and economy; science, technology, and power; strategies for research and development policy, public and private sector; transfer of technology; technological forecasting; government regulation and responses; science policy assumptions and challenges, specialist knowledge and expertise; state and academic knowledge production; issues of race, class, gender, and national identity in policy work.
An introduction to the policy, strategy and practical application of critical infrastructure protection and resiliency from an all-hazards perspective. Describes the strategic context presented by the 21st century risk environment, as well as the challenges and opportunities associated with infrastructure -related public-private partnerships, information-sharing, risk analysis and prioritization, risk mitigation, performance metrics, and incident management. Students will be exposed to complex intergovernmental and public-private sector policymaking, operational planning and crisis management. Designed to promote subject matter understanding, critical analysis of issues and insight into senior leader decision making. Includes a practical examination of stakeholder interaction and key subject matter areas through an interactive tabletop exercise and research paper assignment.
This course examines the changing nature of global security. It offers an introduction to the meaning of global security at a time of rapid change in international affairs. It examines the traditional sources of insecurity in the international system, the rising concerns and threats to global security from ethnic conflicts and failing states, and the emerging new security agenda arising from challenges to global stability including threats arising from poverty, discrimination, environmental degradation and the lack of human rights. This course seeks to understand the root causes of insecurity and the various challenges to international stability in the contemporary international system. Discussions include the policy implications of these security challenges, the mechanisms developed by the international community, and the response of states and other actors in the international system to meet these challenges today.
A course of independent study in a suitable area of homeland security theory, policy, or operational focus.

To obtain the certificate, fill out the form for the VT graduate school here.

Benefit from the collective expertise of a dynamic and experienced faculty. Students will interact with scholarly professionals practiced in the craft of developing and analyzing homeland security policy for a variety of government, academic, and nonprofit organizations.

Dr. Glick works in the Office of Emergency Communications, Cybersecurity and Communications, DHS, directing communication technology experts located across the nation developing and strengthening communications at the federal, state, local, tribal and territorial governmental levels, and with non-governmental organizations and the private sector. These teams also foster intergovernmental partnerships and collaboration concerning emergency communications resiliency, preparedness, response and recovery. Prior to working for Cybersecurity and Communications, Dr. Glick worked at FEMA for 20 years in plans and operations, and directly responded to disasters, technological and terrorism events.
Associate Director, Research Program Development, National Capital Region and Adjunct Professor, School for Public and International Affairs. Ph.D. Plant Pathology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Dr. Murch had a distinguished career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a Special
Agent, forensic biologist, director of the Advanced Systems and Concepts Office, and creator of the FBI’s WMD forensic investigative program and Hazardous Materials Response Unit. Prior to coming to Virginia Tech, Dr. Murch was the Senior Principal Counselor for Science and Technology with the Department of Homeland Security. He specializes in security in complex systems; integrative security through science, technology, policy and operations; biosecurity.

Associate Professor in the Center for Public Administration and Policy in the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech.

Roberts is an associate professor in the Center for Public Administration and Policy in the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech in Alexandria, Virginia. He is the Associate Chair and Program Director for CPAP, Northern Virginia. He holds a Ph.D. in Government from the University of Virginia, and he spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow, one at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University and another at the Program on Constitutional Government at Harvard University. He spent 2010-11 as the Ghaemian Scholar-in-Residence at the University of Heidelberg Center for American Studies in Germany. He has also been a reporter for the Associated Press. Patrick has published in a variety of scholarly and popular journals, and his research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United States Naval Laboratories, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Social Science Research Council. He is the author of Disasters and the American State: How Politicians, Bureaucrats, and the Public Prepare for the Unexpected (Cambridge, 2013).

Susan Sterett is a Professor in the Center for Public Administration and Policy. She joined the faculty in 2014. She works in sociolegal studies, or what people do with law. She has worked on social welfare and accessing assistance after disaster. Her current projects concern alternative frames for authority and knowledge in decisionmaking, including with regard to local governments and climate change adaptation. She is also working on a project on knowledge claims and big data ethics. She has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the International Institute for the Sociology of Law, Fulbright, and the American Council of Learned Societies. She is currently working on a book on assistance after disaster, under contract with University of Pennsylvania Press. She is also currently co-editor of Law and Society Review.
Research Professor, Center for Technology Security and Policy, and Visiting Professor, Center for Public Administration and Policy. Ph.D., Management Science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Jack Harrald served as director of The George Washington University Institute of Crisis, Disaster and Risk Management (ICDRM), an interdisciplinary institute engaged in research, education, and professional development. Harrald is executive editor, The Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (JHSEM) and associate editor, The International Journal of Emergency Management (IJEM). He is a member of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Board of Scientific Counselors; the Disaster Roundtable Steering Committee, National Research Council; and the National Research Council Computer Science and Telecommunications Board. Dr. Harrald specializes in crisis, disaster, risk management, and emergency response.

Associate Professor in Government and International Affairs at the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech. D. Phil. International Relations, St. Anthonys College, Oxford.

Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Joel Peters worked at Ben Gurion University of the Negev. Peters was the founding Director of the Centre for the Study of European Politics and Society (CSEPS) and was a senior lecturer in the Department of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University, Israel. From 1990-96 he was a research fellow in the Middle East Program at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, (Chatham House) London. Peters’ research interests and publications cover the Arab- Israeli peace process, regional cooperation (with particular reference to the Middle East and the Mediterranean) and post conflict peacebuilding. He is the author of 3 books, and over 30 articles, chapters in books and working papers.

Sonja Schmid is an associate professor in the Department of Science and Technology in Society (in Northern Virginia <>since July 2011). She teaches courses in social studies of technology, science and technology policy, qualitative studies of risk, energy policy, and nuclear nonproliferation. Fluent in Russian, she investigates the history and organization of nuclear industries in the Former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and studies how national energy policies, technological choices, and nonproliferation concerns shape each other.