There are many public safety agencies at the federal, state, and local levels that require effective administrators who have earned a master’s in public safety administration degree online. This credential prepares students for a rewarding career in a dynamic, growing industry while also enabling graduates to serve the public good. Graduates of public safety administration programs can pursue careers in occupational health, law enforcement, and environmental protection, or they may find themselves in life-saving positions at emergency management agencies and disaster relief organizations.

Many of those who have considered pursuing an accelerated master of public safety leadership and administration online feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information available. Not all of it is reliable. It can be difficult to pinpoint the schools that offer a quality, affordable education worth the investment. For this reason, it is critical to conduct a great deal of research to find a program that meets your needs and goals while still falling within your budget. However, this process can be time-consuming, which is why we took it upon ourselves to develop this comprehensive list.

Methodology

Time to Completion

  • Less Than 2 Years: 1 point
  • 20 Months or Less: 2 points
  • 18 Months or Less: 3 points
  • 16 Months or Less: 4 points
  • 14 Months or Less: 5 points
  • 12 Months or Less: 6 points

Graduate Tuition

  • Less Than $20,000: 1 point
  • Less Than $15,000: 2 points
  • Less Than $10,000: 3 points
  • Less Than $5,000: 4 points

Accreditation – 1 point per item

Online Student Support Services—1 point

Ranking Low-Cost Accelerated Master’s in Public Safety Administration

To develop this ranking, our editors began with an initial pool of 48 colleges and universities in the United States offering an online master’s in public safety administration degree program. We then applied a tuition filter, eliminating schools with yearly expenses of over $20,000. Next, we applied the rating and ranking methodology above using data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), PayScale, and each school’s official website. In the case of a tie, we ranked the more affordable program higher. 

#40—University of New Haven

West Haven, Connecticut

Online MPA: Public Safety

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 2 Years

Points: 3

The University of New Haven offers a master of public safety leadership and administration program through its Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences. The degree plan features 36 credit hours of fully online coursework, including required classes like:

  • Public Policy Formulation and Implementation
  • Public Finance and Budgeting
  • Personnel Administration and Collective Bargaining in the Public Sector
  • Quantitative Methods in Public Administration

Elective offerings include:

  • Social Dimensions of Disaster
  • Principles of Emergency Management
  • Public Leadership
  • Grant Writing in the Public and Non-Profit Sector

Pre-service students must also complete a focused practicum as a capstone element of the program. The University of New Haven is fully accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education to award the public safety administration degree online. The school is one of the top 60 regional universities in the North, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $16,920

#39—Marist College

Poughkeepsie, New York

Online Master of Public Administration and Law Enforcement

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 2 Years

Points: 3

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Marist College

Offered through its School of Management, Marist College’s safety management degree is an online MPA program designed for law enforcement and emergency service professionals. The program is offered on both a part-time and full-time basis, and full-time students can complete the requirements for the degree within two years of fully online study. The program’s curriculum features core MPA courses such as:

  • Administrative Law
  • Technology Management for Public Managers
  • Organizational Theory and Change
  • Program Planning and Evaluation

Students may also choose from elective options such as:

  • Global Issues in Public Administration
  • Ethical Management of Organizations
  • Negotiations and Conflict Management
  • Organizational Management

Pre-service students are also required to participate in an internship before graduation. Marist College holds its institutional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. It has been recognized as one of the top 15 regional universities in the North by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $15,300

#38—Calumet College of St. Joseph

Whiting, Indiana

Online MS in Public Safety Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 22 Months

Points: 4

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Calumet College of St. Joseph

The accelerated master of public safety leadership and administration option from Calumet College of St. Joseph can be completed in just under two years of study. This Master of Science option blends synchronous and asynchronous content delivery methods and includes course titles such as:

  • Diversity and Social Justice in Public Enforcement Administration
  • Public Safety Laws and Operational Implications
  • Risk Management and Public Safety
  • Ethical and Political Issues in Public Safety

A capstone course or thesis is also required for successful program completion. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Calumet College of St. Joseph to confer the public safety administration degree online. The school has been ranked among the nation’s top regional universities in the Midwest.

Graduate Tuition: $18,400

#37—Marian University

Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

Online MS in Professional Practice in Public Safety

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 21 Months

Points: 4

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Marian University

The flexible public safety administration degree online option is an MS in Professional Practice in Public Safety. Through the school’s MPath program, students can enroll in four-week classes and complete the degree requirements in just 21 months of fully online study. The 31-credit hour curriculum for the program features course titles such as:

  • Public Safety Compensation
  • Applied Public Safety Budgeting
  • Organizational Communication
  • Public Safety Culture

A capstone project is also required for graduation. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Marian University to award this master’s in public safety administration degree. U.S. News & World Report has recognized the school as one of the top regional universities in the Midwest.

Graduate Tuition: $15,422

#36—Lewis University

Romeoville, Illinois

Online MS in Public Safety Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 2 Years

Points: 4

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Lewis University

The master’s in public safety administration option from Lewis University is offered through the school’s College of Education and Social Sciences and the Department of Justice, Law and Public Safety Studies. The 36-credit hour curriculum for the program is entirely prescribed and features course titles such as:

  • Fiscal Management for Public Safety Administrators
  • Labor Relations in the Public Sector
  • Organizational Behavior in Public Safety Systems
  • Public Safety Training: Management and Development

Before graduation, students must also pass a comprehensive examination. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Lewis University to award safety management degrees. The university has been named one of the top 35 best value schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $14,400

#35—University of Colorado-Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Online MPA

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 2 Years

Points: 4

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online University of Colorado Colorado Springs

The University of Colorado-Colorado Springs offers a master’s in public safety administration online through its nationally recognized School of Public Affairs. The program is multidisciplinary and features several optional graduate certificates related to public safety management, including:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Homeland Security and Emergency Management Leadership
  • National Security Intelligence

The core curriculum for the program requires 18 credit hours of required coursework such as:

  • The Policy Process and Democracy
  • Organizational Management and Behavior
  • Economics and Public Finance
  • Ethics and Leadership

The remaining 12-15 credit hours of required coursework will consist of elective classes or courses aligned with one of the available certificate options.

Students may enroll in the program on a part-time, full-time, or even hybrid basis. The Higher Learning Commission has provided the institutional accreditation necessary for UCCS to confer the public safety management degree online. Its graduate degree program in Homeland Security and Emergency Management has been ranked among the top 15 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $13,912

#34—SUNY- Brockport

Brockport, New York

MPA Online

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 2 Years

Points: 4

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online SUNY Brockport

Offered through the school’s Center for Graduate Studies, the public safety management degree program from SUNY- Brockport is an online MPA option with an emphasis in Public Safety. The 39-credit hour curriculum for the program is comprised of core courses such as:

  • Foundations of Public Administration
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Public Policy
  • Research and Program Evaluation

Students who elect the emphasis in Public Safety will take an additional three classes:

  • Emergency Management
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Cybersecurity for Public Managers

A portfolio or internship is also required for successful program completion. SUNY Brockport is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Its graduate programs in public affairs have been ranked among some of the best in the country.

Graduate Tuition: $11,310

#33—John Jay College of Criminal Justice

New York, New York

Online MS in Emergency Management

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 2 Years

Points: 4

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online John Jay College of Criminal Justice

John Jay College of Criminal Justice offers a two-year public safety administration degree online. This Master of Science in Emergency Management program is comprised of 36 credit hours of coursework, including core courses such as:

  • Introduction to Emergency Management
  • Managing Response to Large-Scale Incidents
  • Analytical Methods in Protection Management
  • Emergency Management: Mitigation and Recovery

Elective offerings are plentiful and include options like:

  • Public Sector Inspection and Oversight
  • Theory and Design of Fire Protection Systems
  • Technology in Emergency Management
  • Theory and Design of Security Systems

A comprehensive examination is also required as a capstone element of the program, and a thesis is optional. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has accredited John Jay College of Criminal Justice to award the public safety administration degree online. The school’s graduate-level public affairs programs have been ranked among the top 60 such offerings in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $11,090

#32—Clemson University

Clemson, South Carolina

Online Master of Transportation Safety and Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 2 Years

Points: 4

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Clemson University

The unique safety management degree from Clemson University is a Master of Transportation Safety and Administration. This interdisciplinary program is comprised of 30 credit hours of coursework and can be completed within two years. Core courses include:

  • Introduction to Road Safety
  • Road Safety Culture
  • Transportation Safety Engineering
  • Road Safety Management

Students enrolled in the program may also choose from an array of thematic courses, including:

  • Strategic Planning and Practice in the Public Sector
  • Fundamentals of Vehicle and Driver Safety
  • Human Factors in Transportation
  • Fundamentals of Transportation Safety Planning

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited Clemson University to offer this public safety administration degree online. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the university among the top 30 public schools nationwide.

Graduate Tuition: $10,600

#31—University of Alaska- Fairbanks

Fairbanks, Alaska

Online Master of Security and Disaster Management

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 2 Years

Points: 4

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online University of Alaska Fairbanks

The fully online masters in public safety administration offering from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks is a Master of Security and Disaster Management that can be completed within two years. The program’s curriculum is versatile and features five separate concentration options:

  • Disaster Management
  • Cybersecurity
  • Business Continuity
  • Arctic Security
  • Strategic Leadership

Regardless of specialization, students enrolled in the program will take certain core courses, including:

  • Disaster Management Policy
  • Security and Disaster Management
  • Legal Aspects of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • Vulnerability and Protection

UAF is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities to confer the public safety administration degree online. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the university among some of the nation’s best public schools.

Graduate Tuition: $10,414

#30—Averett University

Danville, Virginia

Online MS in Criminal Justice Administration and Leadership

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 23 Months

Points: 5

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Averett University

Averett University offers a fully online master of public safety leadership and administration program that can be completed in just under two years. The program features an interdisciplinary curriculum comprised of core courses like:

  • Contemporary Criminal Justice Services
  • Administration and Leadership in Criminal Justice
  • Theories of Crime and Criminology
  • Policy Analyses and Evaluation in Criminal Justice

Students enrolled in the program will also choose from elective offerings like:

  • Computer Applications and Criminal Justice Administration
  • Ethics in Criminal Justice
  • Advanced Managerial Economics
  • Contemporary Issues of Human Resource Management

Students can elect to complete a master’s thesis or take a comprehensive examination as a culminating element of the program. Averett University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to offer the public safety administration degree online. U.S. News & World Report has identified the school as one of the 20 best regional colleges in the South.

Graduate Tuition: $11,790

#29—Eastern Kentucky University

Richmond, Kentucky

Online MS in Safety, Security, and Emergency Management

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 2 Years

Points: 5

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University offers a two-year master of public safety leadership and administration program through its College of Justice & Safety. This MS option in Safety, Security, and Emergency Management features a standout concentration in Emergency Management & Disaster Resilience. Core courses required for the degree include:

  • Emergency Preparation and Response
  • Auditing for Safety, Security, and Emergency Management
  • Issues in Security Management
  • Quantitative Analysis in Safety, Security, and Emergency Management

Students enrolled in the Emergency Management & Disaster Resilience concentration will take additional classes like:

  • Managing the Nation’s Disasters
  • Evolution of Emergency Management
  • Natural Hazards and Threats to the Nation

EKU is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to confer the public safety administration degree online. It has been named a top 40 best value school by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $9,900

#28—Utah Valley University

Orem, Utah

Online Master of Public Service

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 2 Years

Points: 5

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Utah Valley University

Utah Valley University’s master of public safety leadership and administration option is an accelerated, part-time program completed in two years of fully online study. Core courses required for the credential include:

  • Public Services Leadership and Ethics
  • Public Services Administration
  • Legal Issues for the Public Services
  • Public Services Policy and Evaluation

Students may also choose from an array of elective classes such as:

  • Emergency Planning and Response
  • Public Services Program Development
  • Information-Based Decision Making
  • Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice

A Public Services project is also required for successful program completion. Utah Valley University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities to award this public safety administration degree online. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the university among the 75 best public schools nationwide.

Graduate Tuition: $9,513

#27—Ohio University

Athens, Ohio

Online MPA: Crisis and Emergency Management

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 2 Years

Points: 5

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Ohio University

Ohio University’s master’s in public safety administration offering is an online MPA with a concentration in Crisis and Emergency Management. The program is offered fully online and can be completed within just two years. Core courses comprising its 36-credit hour curriculum include:

  • Research Methods in Leadership and Public Affairs
  • Strategic Leadership and Public Value
  • Policy Analysis for Public Affairs and Leadership
  • Measuring Outcomes in Public and Non-Profit Organizations

In addition to core MPA coursework, students will also take classes in the Crisis and Emergency Management concentration such as:

  • Crisis Leadership
  • Crisis and Emergency Planning
  • Crisis Collaboration

The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Ohio University to confer this public safety administration degree online. It’s been ranked among the top 100 public schools nationwide by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $9,444

#26—Millersville University of Pennsylvania

Millersville, Pennsylvania

Online MS in Emergency Management

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 2 Years

Points: 5

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Millersville University of Pennsylvania

The flexible online master’s in public safety administration program from the Millersville University of Pennsylvania is offered through the school’s Center for Disaster Research & Education. This MS in Emergency Management program can be pursued on a part-time or full-time basis, and classes are offered year-round. The 30-credit hour curriculum for the program requires core courses such as:

  • Social Dimensions of Disaster
  • Principles & Practices of Emergency Management
  • Emergency Preparedness for Industry
  • Emergency Mental Health and Trauma

In addition to online coursework, the program also requires a field experience practicum. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has fully accredited the Millersville University of Pennsylvania to confer public safety management degrees online. The university has been recognized as one of the 30 top public schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $9,288

#25—California State University-Long Beach

Long Beach, California

Online MS in Emergency Services Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 2 Years

Points: 5

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online California State University Long Beach

Offered through the school’s College of Professional & International Education, the public safety management degree from California State University-Long Beach is a fully online MS in Emergency Services Administration. Required courses for the 32-unit degree plan include:

  • Emergency Management Organizations: Constructs for Influencing Complex Systems
  • Strategic Planning and Integrative Practices in Emergency Services Administration
  • Applied Research Methods and Analytical Techniques for Decision Support and Innovation
  • Emergency Management: Leadership Across the Megacommunity

In addition to core coursework, students enrolled in the program will also choose two elective classes from options like the following:

  • Public Health Issues in Emergency Management
  • Risk, Crisis, and Inter-Agency Communications
  • Disaster Mental Health Issues in Emergency Management
  • Campus and Community Volunteer Emergency Response

A capstone project or thesis is also a required component of the program. Cal State-Long Beach is institutionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission to award this online master of public safety leadership and administration credential. The school’s graduate degree programs in public affairs have been ranked among some of the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $7,176

#24—Texas A&M University- College Station

College Station, Texas

Online Executive Master of Public Service and Administration (EMPSA)

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 2 Years

Points: 5

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Texas A&M University- College Station

The master of public safety leadership and administration program from Texas A&M University-College Station is the only executive offering in our ranking. Offered through the university’s Bush School of Government & Public Service, the online EMPSA is designed for public service professionals with at least five years of experience in the field. Required courses comprising the program’s core curriculum include:

  • Quantitative Methods in Public Management
  • Public Policy Formation
  • Economic Analysis
  • Program Evaluation in Public and Nonprofit Organizations

For public safety administration professionals, tracks in Public Management and Homeland Security are available. Classes associated with these areas of emphasis include:

  • Transnational Security Issues
  • Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
  • Emergency Management and Homeland Security
  • Budgeting in Public Service

Texas A&M University is fully accredited to award the public safety administration degree online. The school’s graduate programs in public affairs are ranked among the top 40 programs of its kind nationwide.

Graduate Tuition: $6,677

#23—American Public University

Charles Town, Virginia

Online MA in Emergency and Disaster Management

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 2 Years

Points: 5

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online American Public University

American Public University offers a convenient online public safety management degree from its School of Security and Global Studies. One of the few Master of Arts programs in our ranking, this MA in Emergency and Disaster Management features monthly start dates and accelerated 8-week courses. Required coursework for the program includes titles like:

  • Interagency Disaster Management
  • Crisis Action Planning
  • Emergency Disaster Theory
  • Emergency and Disaster Planning and Management

As a final program requirement, students may opt to complete a thesis or major research project. APU is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission to award the public safety administration degree online.

Graduate Tuition: $6,615

#22—Missouri State University

Springfield, Missouri

Master of Public Administration Online

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 2 Years

Points: 5

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Missouri State University

The master’s in public safety administration degree program from Missouri State University is an online MPA with an optional Public Safety certificate. The comprehensive 36-credit hour curriculum for the program mandates core courses such as:

  • Management Techniques and Organizational Behavior
  • Quantitative Methods of Political Science and Public Policy
  • Ethics and Leadership in the Public Sector
  • Budgeting and Financial Management for State and Local Government

Students pursuing the graduate certificate in Public Safety will take additional classes like:

  • Multidisciplinary Approaches to Homeland Security
  • Introduction to Public Safety Services
  • Hazard Analysis, Mitigation, and Preparedness

The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Missouri State University to award this online master of public safety leadership and administration. The university has been ranked among some of the leading public schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $5,202

#21—Norwich University

Northfield, Vermont

Online MPA: Criminal Justice and Public Safety

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 6

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Norwich University

The 18-month accelerated master’s in public safety administration program from Norwich University is a Master of Public Administration option with a concentration in Criminal Justice and Public Safety. The core curriculum for the program requires three courses:

  • Public Organization Resources and Processes
  • Public Administration Research & Analysis
  • Foundations of Public Administration & Policy

Students who elect the Criminal Justice & Public Safety concentration will take additional classes such as:

  • Corrections Administration
  • Critical Incident Management for Public Safety
  • Corrections Administration

In addition to online coursework, a single one-week residency is also required. Norwich University is fully accredited to award this public safety administration degree online by the New England Commission of Higher Education. The school has been ranked among the 65 best regional universities in the North by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $17,904

#20—Anna Maria College

Paxton, Massachusetts

Online Master of Public Administration (MPA)

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 20 Months

Points: 6

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Anna Maria College

The versatile master’s in public safety administration program from Anna Maria College is an online MPS option featuring four relevant specializations:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Emergency Management
  • Homeland Security
  • Fire and Emergency Services

Despite their chosen concentration, all students enrolled in the program will take certain required core courses, including:

  • Managerial Statistics for Public Managers
  • Organizational Theories and the Public Sector
  • Management Policies in Government Finance
  • Strategic Management of Human Capital

In addition to content customization, qualified students may also elect a mid-career track which allows experienced professionals to earn their degree in less time. Anna Maria College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education to award the public safety administration degree online. The school has been ranked among some of the best regional universities in the North by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $10,530

#19—Saint Leo University

St. Leo, Florida

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice: Critical Incident Management

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: Less Than 2 Years

Points: 6

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Saint Leo University

The affordable safety management degree from Saint Leo University is a Master’s in Criminal Justice program emphasizing Critical Incident Management. The program’s 36-credit hour curriculum is offered entirely online or via a blended learning format and can be completed in less than two years of accelerated study. Core program requirements include:

  • Public Policy Making in Criminal Justice
  • Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice Administration
  • Leadership Applications in Criminal Justice

Students who elect the Critical Incident Management track will take additional specialization classes like:

  • Risk Identification and Assessment
  • Psychological Aspects of Critical Incidents
  • Management of Critical Incident Operations

As a culminating element of the program, students will also complete an applied criminal justice administration project. Saint Leo University is accredited to award the public safety administration degree online by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. It’s been ranked among the top 5 best value schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $7,296

#18—Arizona State University

Tempe, Arizona

Online Master of Public Safety Leadership and Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 21 Months

Points: 6

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Arizona State University

One of the more affordable public safety administration degree online programs in our ranking, the Master of Public Safety Leadership and Administration option from Arizona State University, can be completed in just 21 months of fully online study. The 33-credit hour curriculum for the program is comprised of mandatory core courses such as:

  • Public Human Resource Management
  • Program Evaluation for Emergency Management and Homeland Security
  • Public Budgeting and Finance
  • Organization Behavior

Elective classes are also available and include:

  • Emergency Services Operations Analysis and Planning
  • Foundations of Emergency Medical Services
  • Leadership for Innovation in Public Fire Services
  • Seminar on Race/Ethnicity, Crime, and Justice

Students will also complete an applied project as a culminating element of the program. Arizona State University is institutionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to confer master of public safety leadership and administration credentials.

Graduate Tuition: $6,384

#17—University of West Georgia

Carrollton, Georgia

Online MPA in Disaster/Emergency Management

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 2 Years

Points: 6

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online University of West Georgia

The University of West Georgia offers one of the cheapest masters in public safety administration programs in our ranking. This fully online MPA features a Disaster/Emergency Management specialization and can be completed within a two-year timeframe. Core courses required for the degree include:

  • Administrative Law and Procedures
  • Research Methods for Public Administration
  • Theory of Public Administration and Ethics
  • Public Budgeting and Financial Management

Toward the culmination of the program, students are also required to complete a comprehensive research project. UWG is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to confer this public safety administration degree online. The school’s graduate offerings in public affairs have been ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $4,338

#16—University of North Carolina-Pembroke

Pembroke, North Carolina

Online Master of Public Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 2 Years

Points: 6

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online University of North Carolina- Pembroke

One of the most economical public safety management degrees in our ranking, the online MPA from the University of North Carolina-Pembroke, features concentrations in Emergency Management and Criminal Justice. Core courses required for the degree include:

  • Human Resource Administration
  • Leadership and Administration in Public Affairs
  • Principles of Budgeting and Finance
  • Policy Studies

Depending on their chosen specialization, students may also take additional elective classes like:

  • Social Equity in Emergency Management
  • Disaster Recovery and Sustainability
  • Decision Making for Leaders
  • Economic Analysis for Public Managers

Students may choose to pursue this degree on a fully online or hybrid basis. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited UNC-Pembroke to confer the public safety administration degree online. The school’s graduate public affairs program has been ranked among some of the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $4,280

#15—Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester, New Hampshire

Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice: Public Safety Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 15 Months

Points: 7

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Southern New Hampshire University

The master’s in public safety administration degree online from Southern New Hampshire University is a 15-month MS in Criminal Justice with a specialization in Public Safety Administration. The 36-credit hour curriculum for the program features major course titles such as:

  • Ethical Leadership in Criminal Justice
  • Assessing Organizational Performance
  • Criminology and Public Policy
  • Introduction to Organizational Conflict Management

Students who elect the Public Safety Administration concentration will take additional classes like:

  • Strategic Management in Public Service
  • Data-Driven Decision Making in Criminal Justice
  • Public Safety Administration

The New England Commission on Higher Education has accredited SNHU to award the master’s in public safety administration credential. It has been ranked among the top 75 best value schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $18,810

#14—Mercer University

Macon, Georgia

Online MS in Criminal Justice and Public Safety Leadership

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 16 Months

Points: 7

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Mercer University

Offered through the school’s College of Professional Advancement and the Department of Leadership Studies, the accelerated master of public safety leadership and administration program from Mercer University can be completed in as few as 16 months. Offered fully online and designed with the needs of working professionals in mind, the program features core courses such as:

  • Comparative Studies in Public Safety
  • Organizational Communication, Conflict Resolution, and Negotiations
  • Special Topics in Public Safety Leadership
  • Nature of Crime and Justice in the 21st Century

In addition to online coursework, students enrolled in the program are expected to complete a master’s research report. Mercer University is accredited to award this master’s in public safety administration by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. U.S. News & World Report has listed the university among the top 35 best value schools in the country.

Graduate Tuition: $15,422

#13—University of Maryland

College Park, Maryland

Online Master of Professional Studies in Public Safety Leadership and Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 7

University of Maryland Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online

The University of Maryland’s online master of public safety leadership and administration program+ is an 18-month Master of Professional Studies that can be pursued completely online. The 30-credit hour curriculum for the program is mostly prescribed and features standout course titles like:

  • Constitutional Law and Public Safety
  • Leadership in Diverse Organizations
  • Ethics in Criminal Justice
  • Power and Status in Organizations

The University of Maryland holds the necessary institutional accreditation to award the public safety administration degree online from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The school’s graduate programs in public affairs have been highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $13,158

#12—Virginia Commonwealth University

Richmond, Virginia

Online MA in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 7

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University offers a standout master’s in public safety administration option through its L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs. The unique Master of Arts in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness combines multidisciplinary and experiential learning components and can be completed in just 18 months of fully online study. Courses required for the degree include:

  • Institutional Challenges of Security Preparedness
  • Law Enforcement Policy and Judicial Precedent
  • Cyber Security Law and Policy
  • Private Sector Preparedness

Students enrolled in the program are also required to complete a research project prior to graduation. VCU holds institutional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to confer this public safety administration degree online. The school’s graduate degree program in public management and leadership has been ranked among the top 40 such programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $12,701

#11—Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, Arizona

Online MS in Leadership: Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 7

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University’s online master’s in public safety administration program is offered through its distinguished Colangelo College of Business. This MS option in Leadership with a specialization in Homeland Security and Emergency Management is offered entirely online and can be completed in just 18 months of accelerated study. The 34-credit hour curriculum for the program is prescribed and includes core courses such as:

  • Emergency Planning and Management
  • Organizational Development and Change
  • Law and Legal Issues
  • Economics and Human Issues

A capstone course in Leadership in Emergency Management is also required at the culmination of the program. GCU is fully accredited to confer the public safety administration degree online. The school has been ranked among some of the country’s leading national universities by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $10,175

#10—Drury University

Springfield, Missouri

Online Master in Public Service and Safety Leadership

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 20 Months

Points: 7

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Drury University

The online master’s in public safety administration program from Drury University is both affordable and accelerated, making it one of the most attractive options in our ranking for busy and working professionals. The curriculum is designed by industry experts and includes fully online courses such as:

  • Emerging Issues in Public Safety and Administration
  • Integrated Approaches to Public Safety
  • Effective Project Management
  • Community Engagement, Partnerships, and Program Promotion

Students enrolled in the program are also required to complete an applied capstone project. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Drury University to confer the public safety administration degree online. U.S. News & World Report has named it one of the top 10 best value schools in the nation.

Graduate Tuition: $8,460

#9—Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

Carbondale, Illinois

Online Master of Public Safety & Homeland Security Management

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 16 Months

Points: 8

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Southern Illinois University- Carbondale

The 16-month online master’s in public safety administration program from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale features both in-service and pre-service tracks. This Master of Public Safety & Homeland Security Management follows a prescribed curriculum and features standout course titles like:

  • Legal Administrative Law for Fire, Homeland Security, and Emergency Management
  • Disaster Preparedness and Crisis Management
  • Public Management of the Fire Service
  • Critical Issues in Homeland Security Management

A practicum exercise is also required as a capstone element of the program. Southern Illinois University- Carbondale is institutionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. The school’s graduate programs in public affairs have been ranked among the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $11,268

#8—Liberty University

Lynchburg, Virginia

Online Master of Public Administration (MPA): Fire Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 8

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Liberty University

Liberty University’s online safety management degree is an MPA program with a specialization in Fire Administration. Offered through the university’s Helms School of Government, the program requires just 18 months of study and features core courses such as:

  • Foundations of Public Administration
  • Management of Public Sector Organizations
  • Applied Public Policy Research Methods
  • Politics & Policy of Public Sector Budgeting

Students who elect the Fire Administration cognate will take additional classes like:

  • Community Risk Mitigation for the Executive Fire Officer
  • Leadership for the Executive Fire Officer
  • Legal Considerations in Fire & Emergency Services
  • R. & Budget Management for the Executive Fire Officer

Students are also required to prepare and defend a thesis prior to graduation. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited Liberty University to confer this public safety administration degree online. The school has been ranked among some of the top national universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $7,980

#7—Charleston Southern University

Charleston, South Carolina

Online MS in Public Safety Management

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 8

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Liberty University

Offered through the school’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the accelerated online masters in public safety administration from Charleston Southern University can be pursued fully online or via a hybrid learning format. This MS in Public Safety Management requires a minimum of 33 credit hours of coursework, including classes like:

  • Research Methods in Criminal Justice and Public Safety
  • Emergency Management
  • Human Resource Management for the 21st Century
  • Criminal Justice and Public Safety Administration

A public safety capstone is also required before graduation. Charleston Southern University is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to confer this public safety administration degree online. U.S. News & World Report has recognized the school as one of the 65 best regional universities in the South.

Graduate Tuition: $7,500

#6—Sam Houston State University

Huntsville, Texas

Online Master of Public Administration: Disaster and Emergency Management

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 8

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Sam Houston State University

The accelerated online public safety management degree from Sam Houston State University is offered through the school’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Department of Political Science. This MPA option features a concentration in Disaster and Emergency Management and includes specialty courses such as:

  • Disaster Resilience
  • Global Disaster Politics
  • Emergency Management
  • Decision Making in Public Administration

In addition, students enrolled in the program will fulfill major course requirements like:

  • Ethics in Government
  • Dynamics of Public Administration
  • Organizational Theory and Behavior
  • Public Budgeting and Finance

A total of 36 credit hours of online coursework is required. Sam Houston State is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to confer this public safety administration degree online. The school’s graduate public affairs programs have been ranked among some of the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $5,765

#5—Southwestern College

Wichita, Kansas

Online Master of Security Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 14 Months

Points: 9

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Southwestern College

The master’s in public safety administration option from Southwestern College is a 14-month online Master of Science in Security Administration. The 36-credit hour degree plan features core courses such as:

  • Physical Security Planning and Vulnerability Assessment
  • Contemporary Security Administration
  • Best Practices and Special Issues in Homeland Security
  • Emergency, Disaster, and Contingency Management

A graduate project is also required as a culminating element of the program. The Higher Learning Commission has fully accredited Southwestern College to award this online public safety management degree. The school has been recognized as one of the top regional universities in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $11,340

#4—New England College

Henniker, New Hampshire

Online Master of Science in Higher Education Administration: Public Safety Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 1 Year

Points: 10

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online New England College

New England College offers a truly unique public safety administration degree online. This MS in Higher Education Administration with a concentration in Campus Public Safety is the only such program available in the United States and is offered completely online. Moreover, the program follows an accelerated one-year degree plan and features a fully prescribed curriculum. Course titles required for the degree include:

  • Campus Public Safety Considerations
  • Law in Higher Education
  • College Students in the U.S.
  • Emergency Management

A capstone course is also required for successful program completion. New England College is institutionally accredited to award this safety management degree. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the leading regional universities in the North.

Graduate Tuition: $14,088

#3—Corban University

Salem, Oregon

Online Master of Public Safety Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 1 Year

Points: 11

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Corban University

The master of public safety leadership and administration program from Corban University is a highly accelerated offering that can be completed in as few as 12 months. Course titles comprising the curriculum for the program include:

  • Strategic Planning and Policy Development
  • Operational Management of Public Safety Systems
  • Ethics, Legitimacy & Social Responsibility
  • Public Safety Relations & Partnerships

Interested students may take advantage of start dates every eight weeks. Corban University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities to confer the public safety administration degree online. U.S News & World Report has ranked the school among the top 15 regional colleges in the West.

Graduate Tuition: $9,730

#2—Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville

Edwardsville, Illinois

Online Master of Public Administration: Safety and Security

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 1 Year

Points: 11

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville

The highly accelerated safety management degree from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville can be completed in just one year of fully online or hybrid study. Offered through the school’s Department of Public Administration and Policy Analysis, this online MPA with an emphasis in Safety and Security. Coursework associated with the core curriculum for this program may include:

  • Values & the Practice of Public Administration
  • Public Budgeting
  • Fundamentals of Public and Nonprofit Administration
  • Public Law

A comprehensive exit exam is also required for graduation. SIU- Edwardsville is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission to award this master of public safety leadership and administration credential. The school’s graduate public affairs program has been ranked among some of the best nationwide by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $7,034

#1—Columbia Southern University

Orange Beach, Alabama

Online MPA: Emergency Management

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 1 Year

Points: 12

Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online Columbia Southern University

Columbia Southern University is home to the most affordable safety management degree program in our ranking. This MPA with a concentration in Emergency Management is also highly accelerated, enabling students to earn their credentials in as few as 12 months. Major courses comprising the curriculum for the program include:

  • Public Finance and Budgeting
  • Administration of Public Institutions
  • Organizational Theory
  • Public Administration Ethics

Students enrolled in the Emergency Services Management concentration will take additional classes like:

  • Interagency Disaster Management
  • Legal Aspects of Emergency Services Management
  • Risk Management
  • Emergency Management Leadership and Decision Making

Columbia Southern University has been institutionally accredited to award this public safety administration degree online by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.

Graduate Tuition: $3,780

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Career Options for an Online Master’s in Public Safety Administration Degree?

Students who graduate with an online graduate degree in public safety administration have the knowledge and skills they need to pursue a number of different career paths. Graduates with this degree often seek positions in emergency response, public service, and law enforcement, including administrative work for fire or police departments. Professionals in this line of work must have strong leadership and interpersonal skills and be compassionate problem-solvers. They must also continually improve their effectiveness in the field and work well under stress.

  • Environmental health and safety manager
  • General and operations manager
  • Public safety officer
  • Emergency management specialist
  • Occupation health and safety specialist

Environmental health and safety managers, scientists, and specialists use their knowledge and experience in the natural sciences to manage environmental protection agencies. In this role, professionals may reduce human impact on the environment, help advise policymakers, or supervise the cleaning and reclamation of polluted areas.

General and operations managers work in both the private and public sectors to plan the use of materials and human resources, formulate policies, and manage daily operations. They may also supervise office upkeep, external communications, recordkeeping, or maintaining facilities.

Public safety officers, including police officers and detectives, must meet certain physical and personal standards and demonstrate strong leadership skills. These professionals typically work in potentially dangerous environments that require specialized training, and a master’s degree in this field prepares students for leadership roles with federal, state, and local law enforcement.

Emergency management directors put in place procedures and plans to mitigate natural disasters and other types of emergencies. Many professionals take on leadership positions after and during emergencies to coordinate nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and public safety officials.

Occupation health and safety specialists work in various settings, including mines, factories, and offices. They analyze the workplace for environmental hazards that could be harmful to employee performance, safety, or health.

How Much Can You Earn in This Field?

No matter the path an individual chooses after he or she graduates with an online master’s degree in public safety administration, there is room for high earning potential and growth. Of the careers listed above, environmental safety and health managers report the highest earning potential throughout their careers. Although public safety officers earn considerably less if they are not in a supervisory position, each of the above professions shows consistent salary increases over time. Most employees have also reported high levels of job and career satisfaction.

What Can You Expect From an Online Master’s in Public Safety Administration Program?

The curriculum of online graduate degrees in public safety administration varies depending on the specializations and strengths of each program as well as the school itself. The resources, faculty, and curriculum at each institution can be critical factors when searching for a particular program that best meets your needs.

Although schools will offer different courses based on their own programs, the following are some of the most common classes you can expect to encounter in a graduate public safety administration degree:

  • Public Safety Law and Civil Liability: This course teaches students about the relationship between public safety efforts and the law. Administrators, as leadership professionals, must understand the liabilities and responsibilities of public safety personnel. The course uses historically significant precedents, cases, and lawsuits to demonstrate critical legal principles.
  • Public Safety and Incident Response: Public safety administrators are responsible for responding to a number of situations such as natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and public health emergencies. These professionals must be comfortable leading disaster relief efforts and first responders. In this course, students learn how to work under the pressure of emergency situations and how to implement leadership strategies.
  • Human Resource Management: This course focuses on the study of personnel systems in public sector organizations along with workplace collaboration, business ethics, and conflict management. Students also learn how companies utilize their HR programs and delve into various management responsibilities such as employee performance, benefits, compensation, and relations.

How Long Does it Take to Earn a Master’s in Public Safety Administration Online?

The average online public safety administration degree requires 36 credit hours of coursework and can be completed within 24 months. Students who enroll part-time will require additional time to complete the program. Depending on a student’s time-management skills, the flexibility of his or her schedule, and the program’s curriculum, he or she may need longer than two years to earn the degree.

Some Master’s in Public Safety Administration programs are individually paced, while others offer cohort learning. Cohort learning ensures that all students in a particular course function on the same timeline of deadlines and assignments, thus encouraging increased collaboration between instructors and students. On the other hand, an individually paced program allows students to complete coursework independently, work at their own speed, and meet deadlines in different ways based on their hectic schedules.

Are Online Master’s Degrees in Public Safety Administration Accredited?

For students pursuing online degrees, including those in the field of public safety administration, it is important to attend a school that has earned national or regional accreditation. The latter is typically given to schools that offer a wider selection of academic degrees and programs and is, therefore, considered a more prestigious designation. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the U.S. Department of Education oversee six regional accrediting agencies in the U.S. national accreditation is generally given to schools that prepare students for specific careers or trades.

Master’s degrees in public safety administration may earn special accreditation from third-party agencies like the Center for Public Safety Excellence. These designations can help prospective students identify high-quality programs worth the investment in a Master’s in Public Safety Administration program.

FOM Staff
September 2021

This concludes our ranking of the Top 40 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Public Safety Administration Online for 2021.

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