Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

Gene Hall

Number of Pages



In 1994 there were only four formal "Emergency Management/Security" college degree programs being offered in academic America, of which only one was offered at the baccalaureate level, the others being certificate programs (Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2007). This study focused on the following research questions. (1) Is there a current need for a doctoral program in security studies? (2) If so, how should such a program be structured academically? (3) If so, should such a program be offered as a PhD, EdD or an Executive Doctoral degree program?;A review of the literature indicated that a gap exists between current programs offered at the doctoral level and the emerging needs of professionals in the field of security administration. The literature review also indicated that there is a rapid movement among colleges and universities to fill the emerging needs of educating security managers, especially at the masters degree level. Most of these offerings are attached to already established degree programs at the undergraduate or masters level in emergency medical services (EMS), political science or urban affairs. Currently, at the doctoral level, little has been done to address the advanced needs of those individuals at the upper executive levels tasked with the nation's, as well as individual states' leadership related to homeland security and crisis management; The Delphi method of investigation was used in this study. A Delphi study is a qualitative methodology that consists of a systematic collection of opinions from a panel of experts in the area under investigation. A consensus is developed through a series of questionnaires that are presented to the panel members. Their responses are analyzed for patterns and themes, and the group's opinions derived from the first and second phases are provided as "feedback" in the following round/phase of the Delphi study process. In this particular case there were four phases or rounds of questionnaires, including the initial pilot study phase, and the final consensus was sent to all panel members at the conclusion of the study. A panel of experts (stakeholders) in both the fields of security and post-secondary education was utilized to provide a wide scope of expertise for the development of the need for this program and its application in the area of security studies at the doctoral level; The expert panel for this study was composed of individuals from the United States Departments of Homeland Security and Defense, post-secondary education institutions and security agencies within state and local governments. Policy makers from federal, state, and local governments were also included in the panel. The focus of this diversified panel of experts was to develop consensus opinions on the potential need and the requirements for a doctoral program in security studies that would serve those in executive leadership and decision making positions. The panel was asked to consider five areas of concentration: (a) program content, (b) qualifications of the individual candidates applying for program admission, (c) instructional modalities, (d) required competencies, and (e) potential dissertation topics; The results of this study indicated that there was a need for a doctoral program in security studies and that such a program should be structured as a PhD degree program. It was also indicated that persons selected for admission to doctoral programs in security studies should have at least three to five years experience in emergency management, homeland security, or other security operations, and they should have had supervisory or other leadership level experience while in those positions. It was also found that graduates of such a program were potentially employable by the various security agencies found at all levels of government, by organizations that are seen as potential terrorist targets (e.g., the mega-resorts such as those found in Las Vegas, Nevada), and by higher education institutions working to develop educational programs in security studies; Critical program content areas were found to be a focus on crisis management planning, communication and coordination between various local, state, and federal agencies and the leadership processes that provide the direction for the management of crises during a terrorist incident or a natural disaster. The results also indicated that, to be effective, these doctoral programs need to be constructed as flexible, modular programs which incorporate both resident and distance learning; Finally, the results of this study were used to develop a suggested plan for a doctoral program in security studies. (Abstract shortened by UMI.).


Conceptualization; Crisis Management; Delphi; Delphi Study; Development; Doctoral; Doctoral Program; Emergency Management; Homeland Security; Program; Security; Security Studies; Specifications; Terrorism

Controlled Subject

Education, Higher; Curriculum planning; Public administration

File Format


File Size

2969.6 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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