This study analyzed the policies of colleges in the U.S. as they relate to homeland security curricula. The curricula were developed in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and other manmade and natural disasters. Homeland security was ill-defined and there was little consensus about what homeland security actually was. It was difficult to determine how colleges should prepare students for the field. The study surveyed college faculty to determine how colleges developed, categorized, and ensured that their homeland security curricula remained current as homeland security needs changed.

College homeland security curricula were housed in various academic departments, were taught by faculty from various academic disciplines, and bore various academic labels. The vast majority of the curricula were housed, taught, and bore programs names that resembled criminal justice, emergency management, and homeland security per se. The curricula were mostly multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary and contained multiple and varied topics that emphasized terrorism, critical thinking, collaboration, intelligence, strategy, all-hazards, critical infrastructure, emergency management, preparedness, risk management, cyber security, and law. Colleges and academics are beginning to identify themselves, their academic departments, and related homeland security curricula as homeland security. They are beginning to recognize homeland security as an academic discipline. Much more, however, must be done if homeland security is to establish itself as a lasting discipline. Academics must come to a consensus about what homeland security is and the discipline must be seen as a profession.


John Comiskey

Dr. John G. Comiskey is an Assistant Professor of Homeland Security at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in homeland security, intelligence, terrorism, and criminal justice. Dr. Comiskey is the Graduate Program Director for the University’s Homeland Security and Criminal Justice masters programs. Dr. Comiskey is a retired New York City Police Lieutenant and a retired U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Senior Chief Petty Officer. His professional experiences include law enforcement, intelligence, counterterrorism, and event management. Dr. Comiskey holds a Bachelor of Science in History  from Queens College (CUNY), a Master of Arts in Secondary Education, Social Studies from Queens College (CUNY); a Master of Science in Homeland Security from the Naval Post Graduate School, and a Doctor of Education from St. John Fisher College. Dr. Comiskey’s research interests include hometown-homeland security, homeland security intelligence, defining homeland security, developing homeland security curricula, and the nexus of crime and terrorism.

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How Do College Homeland Security Curricula Prepare Students for the Field?

Suggested Citation

Comiskey, J. (2015). How do college homeland security curricula prepare students for the field? Journal of Homeland Security Education, 4, 20-40, https://jsire.org/how-do-college-homeland-security-curricula-prepare-students-for-the-field