Commandant (CG-128)
U.S. Coast Guard
2703 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE
Stop 7907
Washington, D.C. 20593-7907

Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) - Master's Program

Please note that CHDS programs are continuing to run uninterrupted during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Traditional in-residence sessions and in-person offerings have been moved to online delivery through innovative and interactive platforms. Based upon current FEMA and Department of Defense guidance, remote online delivery will continue through 2020. We will return to in-person delivery as soon as our sponsors and local authorities allow.

About the Course

The CHDS program focuses on building collaboration among local, tribal, state, and federal leaders who develop strategies, plans, and programs to prepare and respond to national security threats and catastrophic events. The 18-month program requires two weeks of residency per quarter, with the remainder of the work completed online. The program offers two locations for in-residence. The Monterey, CA cohort consists predominantly of local, tribal, and state participants. The National Capital Region cohort takes place in Shepherdstown, WV and predominantly includes representatives of federal agencies.

Training Objectives

CHDS is structured around the key policy and organizational design problems that future Homeland Security leaders are likely to confront, and the analytical skills they will need to meet those challenges. The development of strategies, plans, and programs to prevent, prepare, and respond to national emergencies; and to prevent terrorism are introduced as a foundation to build organizational arrangements that strengthen homeland security, by fostering local, tribal, state, and federal collaboration.


Tuition, fees, and travel are funded through a grant from FEMA. Participants will be required to sign a Continuing Service Agreement if selected to participate in GAP. The service obligation for CHDS is 24 months.


Applicants must have earned at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Consideration is given to those who already have a master’s degree. Any individual who has completed a degree under a Department of Homeland Security graduate academic program within the last three years is not eligible to apply.


Monterey Cohorts: In-residence course sessions are held at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. The majority of the Monterey cohort participants are state and local officials with a mixture of DHS and other federal agency leaders.

National Capital Region Cohorts: In-residence course sessions are held at Customs and Border Patrol, (CBP) Global Borders College in Harper’s Ferry, WV as part of the DHS Homeland Security Academy. The majority of the National Capital Region cohort participants are DHS and other federal agency leaders with a mixture of state and local officials.

All applications completed by the deadline will be considered for cohorts in both locations. You do not need to designate a location or date during the application process.


18-month course with 2 week in residence sessions each quarter.


M.A. Security Studies (Homeland Security and Defense)

Eligibility Requirements

Federal employees who have been with DHS for at least one year are eligible to apply. Employees must have achieved at least a “Meets Expectations” or equivalent on their last review, and must be in good standing. Applicants must be an O3-O6/GS 12-15, a member of the Senior Executive Service or equivalent. Exceptional GS-11s may apply.

An exceptional GS-11 is one who:

  • Has demonstrated the ability to supervise or lead a team (such as assigning and monitoring work; maintaining workflow);
  • Is responsible for strategic and operational planning;
  • Has the ability to prepare reports, correspondence, and other communications materials;
  • Has demonstrated the ability to work effectively under time constraints and in stressful situations; and
  • Has the ability to communicate well, both written and orally

Application Procedures

Individuals are required to complete two applications for this program AT THE SAME TIME. (A DHS-internal nomination application and the CHDS on line application)

A. DHS-internal nomination application.

1) Civilian members must complete the application electronically. Do not copy and paste essays into the application. Spelling and grammar check will not work within the form. Upon completion, applicants shall print and sign the document, and obtain direct supervision signature. Active Duty military members are not required to completed DHS-internal nomination application forms.

2) An unofficial transcript from the institution awarding the highest degree must be included.

3) Save completed application package as PDF file using the following format: LastName_First_CGCHDSMastersProgram.

4) Scan completed PDF package and email the application to: **In the subject line, please include only your name, program name, and due dates of the program you applied for**

B. Access the CHDS on line application. Active Duty military please send email to Include only your name, program name, and dates you applied for.

Selection Process

If this was your first look with CHDS, you will automatically be considered for the Spring 2021 cohort. If you applied previously, and this is your second look (Fall 2019, Spring/Summer 2020) you will need to reapply to be considered for the Spring 2021 cohort.**

All nominations will be prescreened based on the eligibility requirements listed in the criteria and forwarded to DHS for concurrence. Nomination by DHS does not guarantee selection for the program. CHDS will review all applications submitted and will make final selections based upon the school's acceptance criteria into the program.

Program Manager

The Civilian Career Management Team (CCMT), email


Additional Information

Center for Homeland Defense and Security (Masters Degree Program):

DHS Academic Programs (Accessible only through Coast Guard workstations) Fact Sheet: