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    Naval Post Graduate School

Masters Degree Program

Click HERE to read the complete Fact Sheet on this program!

About the Course/Eligibility

Center for Homeland Defense & Security is structured around the key policy and organizational design problems that future homeland security leaders are likely to confront, and the analytical skills they will need to meet those challenges.  The development of strategies, plans, and programs to prevent, prepare, and respond to national emergencies; and to prevent terrorism are introduced as a foundation to build organizational arrangements that strengthen homeland security, by fostering local, tribal, state, and federal collaboration.

NOTE: Candidates are to apply directly to the college as well. The school will make the final selection.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's National Preparedness Directorate, FEMA and the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) have pioneered graduate education programs for homeland security. Over the last six years, CHDS has built a cadre of graduate education programs and resources used by universities and agencies across the country. The M.A. program is offered at no cost to eligible local, tribal, state, and federal officials. To accommodate participants' time constraints, NPS requires students to be in residence only two weeks every quarter (for a total of twelve weeks for the whole program). Students complete the remainder of their coursework via the web. The degree is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and is awarded by the Naval Postgraduate School. The degree provides leaders with the knowledge and skills to:

The degree program requires 18 months of continuous enrollment and coursework and a thesis. It involves a significant commitment on the part of the participants and the agencies to which they are assigned. The courses are organized in quarters rather than semesters. Each quarter requires only two weeks in residence at the NPS campus, located in Monterey, California or OPM's Eastern Management Development Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. The remainder of the coursework is completed via network-based learning. Participants spend an average of 15 hours per week during the network-based learning periods of study - reading assigned materials, participating in online discussions with faculty and other participants, and preparing papers and projects. Participants and their agency must be cognizant of this commitment and should view it as an investment in enhancing the individualīs and the jurisdictionīs homeland security capabilities.

The internationally respected faculty guide discussions and focus the attention of the participants, establishing the predicate for continued study through network-based learning methodologies for the non-residential period. The thesis is a qualitative or quantitative research project on a topic beneficial to the participantīs sponsoring agency and jurisdiction. It may, for example, have a strategic planning focus, a model-development perspective, or a threat-risk assessment concentration. The thesis project should be of significant benefit to the participantīs jurisdiction.


GS 11-15; SES and exceptional GS-9;  and O2-O6 levels.


NPS requires students to be in residence only two weeks every quarter (for a total of twelve weeks for the whole program). Students complete the remainder of their coursework via the web. September 7, 2011 to March 22, 2013                                                         

Application Procedures:

Program Begins Coast Guard Deadline NPS Deadline Applicants Notified
Fall 2013 Monterey March 1, 2013 [closed] Closed Aug 2013
Spring 2014 Monterey Oct 1, 2013 Closed Feb 2014
Summer 2014 National Capital Region Oct 1, 2013 Closed Feb 2014
Fall 2014 Monterey Feb 1, 2014 May 1 2014 Aug 2014



Members must apply on-line , as well as email all required documents into a pdf file and send as an e-mail attachment to . Include the course title within the subject line of the e-mail.

The on-line package must include the following:

1.     A Self-assessment Essay is a statement specifying: (1) your reasons for seeking graduate education in homeland security; (2) the ways your background and experience flow logically toward such an endeavor; and (3) what you believe will be your future contributions to "homeland security." From this information, combining relevance, motivation, drive, and potential, your "Future Contributions" to the field of homeland security will be assessed.

2.     Four experience essays (3-5 pages each, double-spaced), describing specific experiences or accomplishments that address each of the critical skills listed below. These skills are important determinants of success in graduate education. In the four essays, you should provide the Admissions Committee with a narrative of the accomplishments, activities, and experiences which demonstrate your use of the skills. Preferably, your narratives will be related to Homeland Security but that is not essential. The purpose is to show your competence in each skill domain. It is not necessary to attach additional materials but, if included, they will be considered in addition to the narratives. The four essays will be evaluated on the depth, breadth, and strategic or policy level of your experience, activities, and accomplishments, as well as your organization of materials and communication skills reflected in the narratives

3.     Three letters of recommendation are required from:

A.    An endorsement by your organization (Flag/SES) establishing recognition of the time and energy necessary to complete the program and promising the highest level of support.

B.    A peer who can comment on your dedication, conscientiousness, and communication skills

C.    First line supervisor endorsement addressing communications skills both written and oral, in CG Format  

4.     Transcripts are required:  Please provide copies of transcripts from all the undergraduate and graduate schools you attended, including a copy of the transcript showing that you have received an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university. Your application may include unofficial copies of transcripts with a statement that official copies have been requested. Official copies of transcripts must be received by NPS/CHDS prior to the start of the first quarter of study. Sealed transcripts may be sent to CHDS at:

Center for Homeland Defense and Security
1 University Circle
Bldg. 220, Room 064
Monterey, CA 93943

Selection Procedures

Please note that submitting an application does not indicate acceptance into the program. Each complete application will be reviewed and evaluated using an objective, weighted system assessing the background, credentials, and experiences against the knowledge, skills, and abilities associated with the graduate coursework. Applicants will be notified of their status once the admissions committee makes its recommendation.

Once a member has been selected to go the member will need to forward the acceptance letter to CG-12C. Selectees will be required to sign a Continued Service Agreement (pages 4 & 5).

Additional Information

For further Program information please visit:



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Last Modified 4/7/2014