Program goal

This certificate program complements a student’s other fields of interest in public and government affairs. The curriculum focuses upon international and domestic security and preparedness issues related to terrorist threats, such as the 9/11 attack, and natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina. Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, homeland security and emergency preparedness has become a critical aspect of governmental policy at the federal, state and local levels, as well as within the private sector. The L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs believes that a stable and productive evolution of public and private sector policies in this area can only be achieved if academe recognizes and accepts its role in developing scholars, professional policy analysts and informed governmental decision makers.

Student learning outcomes

Students will achieve comprehension of the theory and practice of homeland security and emergency preparedness and be able to analyze policy and synthesize information.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Apply online today.

Admission requirements

Admission requirements
Degree:Semester(s) of entry:Deadline dates:Test requirements:
CertificateFallApr 1 (Mar 1 for financial aid)
SpringOct 1

Special requirements

  • Admission applications that do not have a decision will automatically carry over to the next semester for consideration.

Applicants must meet all general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School.

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, the graduate certificate program requires 15 credit hours, comprising five three-credit-hour graduate courses delivered through a combination of online technology and one on-campus session (three days) as described below. The courses offered in the certificate program are the same as those taken by students in the master’s program. With minimum grades of B and upon acceptance into the master’s program, these courses are fully transferable to the Master of Arts in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness degree program.

Online study

Web-based course delivery in an asynchronous format is designed around each course’s own Blackboard site.

Curriculum requirements

HSEP 501Introduction to Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness3
HSEP 502Survey of Terrorism3
HSEP 601Emergency Management: Response Planning and Incident Command3
HSEP 602Government, Industry and Community Strategic Planning3
HSEP 603Risk Assessment3
Total Hours15

The minimum total of graduate credit hours required for this certificate is 15.

William V. Pelfrey Jr., Ph.D.
Professor, program chair and graduate program director
(804) 828-8467

Additional contacts
Maureen Moslow-Benway, Ph.D.
Assistant professor and assistant chair
(804) 475-6496

Graduate Student Services and Advising
(804) 828-6837

Program website: