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University Announces New Doctor of Professional Studies in Homeland Security

St. John's students in the University's new Homeland Security Lab
Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Responding to the growing need for a new generation of leaders in the field of homeland security—and the professionals who will educate them—St. John’s University’s College of Professional Studies has launched a Doctor of Professional Studies in Homeland Security program, to begin in the Fall 2018 semester.

“As a wide array of complex threats to our homeland continues to rise, so too does the need for well-educated leaders with the knowledge, skills, and credentials to address this concern,” said Katia Passerini, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Professional Studies. “The Doctor of Professional Studies (D.P.S.) in Homeland Security was created to prepare individuals for careers in both the private and public sectors of the homeland security enterprise, as well as academics who will teach the next generation of security professionals.”

St. John’s is one of the first nonprofit educational institutions to offer doctoral-level studies specifically in homeland security. Through the 78-credit program, students will gain an in-depth understanding of the expansive range of local, national, international, and structural security issues facing public and private organizations.

“We anticipate that demand will be very high because there is not anything like it out there,” said Keith Cozine, Ph.D., the program’s Founding Director and an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Legal Studies, and Homeland Security. “We have already had a number of inquiries from people in the military, the private sector, and individuals who are currently enrolled in graduate-level homeland security programs.”

According to Antoinette Collarini-Schlossberg, Ph.D., Chair and Associate Professor, Criminal Justice, Legal Studies, and Homeland Security, national interest in a doctoral-level program of this nature has grown exponentially over the course of the past two decades. “From 9/11 on, it has been a developing area in the public and private sector,” she said. “Now, there is an interest in, and a need for, growing the discipline in academia.”

Those thoughts were echoed by Jeh Charles Johnson, J.D., former United States Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, during a recent visit to the University.

“When I was Secretary, I used to preach all the time the need for training, and I am glad to see that is happening here at St. John’s,” Mr. Johnson observed. “We need centers like this that are dedicated to training people—not just in straight law enforcement, but in homeland security and cybersecurity as well.”

The program primarily involves distance learning. Students will complement their online courses by taking three one-week, in-residency programs on campus over the span of three years. The program is being taught by the same faculty that currently teaches existing courses related to homeland security.

“In addition to students from the region, we expect to have interest from people who work for federal agencies in other parts of the world,” said Dr. Collarini-Schlossberg, “since they will be able to do most of their course work online.”

A unique aspect of the program, according to Dr. Cozine, is its dissertation. 

“It will be somewhat different from a Ph.D. dissertation, though just as rigorous,” he explained. “With a Ph.D., a candidate is trying to contribute to the theoretical base of knowledge—something that is just starting to emerge in homeland security, because it is so new.” The program, however, requires an applied dissertation that draws on theoretical knowledge with practical relevance to real-world situations.

While it is anticipated that there will be great interest from individuals seeking a terminal degree in the field, Dr. Cozine stressed that the program’s focus is not just to create academics. “The goal is really to bring a new level of thinking and research into organizations to help them run more efficiently,” he said. “That includes academics, think tanks, NGOs—anywhere you need a research background.”

“In a doctoral program, we like to keep the classes small,” said Dr. Collarini-Schlossberg. The initial cohort will be extremely selective, with only 15 students.

April 15 is the deadline to apply for the Fall 2018 semester.