Master’s Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When can I submit my application?
You may submit your application at any time. However, in order to be considered for a cohort that begins in the spring (usually April) or summer (usually June), your application must be received by 11:59 pm PST, Dec 1. In order to be considered for a cohort that begins in the fall (usually September) your application must be received by 11:59 pm PST, May 1.

What are the criteria for entrance into the program?
Criteria are based on applicants’ current Homeland Security responsibilities, educational background, and an assessment of the other components of the application.

What are the citizenship requirements?
You must be a United States citizen to enter the program.

How often am I required to be in-residence in either Monterey, CA or the National Capital Region?
All participants will be required to be on-site for the in-residence portion of the program. That means seven two week in-residence periods.

Is the master’s degree accredited and by whom?
The master’s degree is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, (510) 748-9001.

If I don’t gain acceptance, should I submit another application?
Once a completed application has been submitted, we will retain your application materials for three years. You will not need to submit another application if you are not accepted into the program. You will be requested to go to your status page and click Re-Apply for your application to be re-evaluated for subsequent application periods. It is recommended that you submit updates — e.g. promotions, homeland security activities, degrees earned, and/or test scores — during the next application period to strengthen your application. If you intend to reapply to the program after three years from the date of your most recent application, you are asked to complete a new application.

Who should I send my official transcripts and letters of recommendation to?
Email them to or post them to:
Heather Issvoran
Director, Strategic Communications
Contract Support for The Center for Homeland Defense and Security
Naval Postgraduate School
1 University Cir
Bldg 220, Rm. 064
Monterey, CA 93943

What do I do if I have transcripts from colleges outside the U.S.?
If you attended a college or university outside the U.S., you will need an Equivalency Report. Send a sealed, official copy of your foreign transcripts to World Education Services (WES) listed below to obtain an evaluation.

WES must send an official copy of the evaluation report along with the original transcript to CHDS. Please note: the report must include the following information: courses, semester units, grades, subtotals, total semester units, overall grade point average (GPA), and conferment date of the degree (if applicable).

World Education Services Inc.
P.O. Box 5087
Bowling Green Station
New York, NY 10274-5087
Phone: (212) 966-6311
Fax: (212) 739-6120

I don’t have a 3.0 GPA; may I still apply?
You may still apply to the program, but since your academic credentials represent 30 percent of your assessment score, GPA is an essential portion of the application. It is recommended that applicants take a standardized test such as the Miller’s Analogy (MAT), LSAT or GRE (unlike the GRE, the MAT does not include a math component) and include details of relevant work experience and qualifications to complement their academic record.

If I did take the GRE or MAT, how do I send my scores?
There are two options. 1) Have your official score report sent direct to the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) from your account on the ETS/GRE or Pearson/MAT website. NPS’ institution code is 4831. 2) Upload an official score report to the “Other/Optional” section of the application.

What is my financial obligation?
The Department of Homeland Security’s National Preparedness Directorate, FEMA will pay for tuition, fees, classroom materials, per diem for meals and other travel expenses for all eligible state, tribal, local and federal DHS officials who are accepted to the program. Participants are expected to cover any personal expenses they incur.

What are the online requirements?
Participants spend an average of 13-15 hours on their courses each week during the distance learning periods of study – reading assigned materials, participating in online discussions with faculty members and other participants, and preparing papers and projects.

I’m a private sector employee; may I apply?
NPS is unable to accept private sector participants.

I’m set to graduate with a B.S. or B.A. after the application deadline. May I apply without my college transcripts?
Unless you already hold an undergraduate degree, you may not apply without submitting a copy of your completed transcripts.

Can any of my college or training courses count as credit toward your program?
The NPS/CHDS curriculum is self-contained and does not allow for other types of courses to count as credit for the program.

Can my letter of recommendation and agency endorsement letter be combined into one letter?
To receive full consideration and maximum score from the admissions committee, you should submit 3 letters of recommendation from three separate authors.

I’m a part-time state/local employee; am I eligible to be sponsored financially by DHS?
DHS sponsors full-time state, tribal, local, and federal DHS government employees. You must be a government employee to be admitted to the program.

Can I request an extension for submitting my application?

What kind of leave do I need to take from my employment for the in-residence sessions?
Each agency has its own way of handling the time you are at our in-residence session. Please check with your employer for their policy.

I have completed only a portion of my application and cannot make the deadline. Will I have to create a new application profile for subsequent application periods?
No, your online application profile will be maintained by CHDS for subsequent application periods.

What is the difference between NCR and Monterey cohorts?
All Monterey in-residence classes are held at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. The majority of NCR in-residence classes are held at the William F. Bolger Center in Potomac, Maryland with the exception of two in-residence sessions which are held at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. Classes at both locations have the same curriculum and instructors.

Will I have to fill out a new application for the NCR cohort?
Once you have completed an application, you will be considered for all application periods/each site when you re-apply through your internal component and update your official application on our website.

Are the in-residence requirements the same for the NCR cohort?
Yes. All participants will be required to be on-site for the in-residence portion of the program. That means seven two week in-residence periods.

Will I be able to choose the cohort location I want to attend?
No. Applicants will be invited to attend only the cohort they are chosen for.

Where will the National Capital Region cohort be held?
Currently at the William F. Bolger Center in Potomac, Maryland.

Can I send in my application by mail?
We prefer that the application be submitted through our online application process. However, if there are extenuating circumstances that prevent you from submitting an online application, please notify us.

Am I eligible for the MA program if my undergraduate degree is from an institution overseas?
Since degrees outside the U.S. are typically not accredited, applicants are advised to take the Miller’s Analogy or the GRE test in order to demonstrate ability to complete graduate-level coursework.

I am a member of the military and my command will not sponsor my enrollment in the program. May I pay for the program through other means such as grants or tuition assistance?
Under Title 10, US Code, we are not allowed to accept payments from military personnel by way of GI Bill, Tuition Assistance or out-of-pocket.

What is the relationship between the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security and the Homeland Security Academy?
The Homeland Security Academy was established by the DHS Chief Learning Officer to provide graduate education opportunities for U.S. Department of Homeland Security employees. The Homeland Security Academy is the mechanism by which DHS employees apply and participate in the master’s degree program.

INQUIRIES: Heather Hollingsworth Issvoran, Communications and Recruitment |, 831-402-4672 (PST)

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