Are you ready to find your fit?

If you’ve ever thought about earning an online master’s degree in public safety management and leadership, you may have felt stymied by the plethora of information available on the internet – not all of it reliable! It can be hard to tell what schools offer a quality education that’s also worth the investment and within your price range. The truth is, it’s worthwhile to conduct all the research if it means you can find a program that fits you well.

Of course, chances are you don’t have time to spend endless hours surfing the web. You might already have a full-time job, and/or a family that deserves your attention. Rather than sift through pages and pages of school descriptions, you can cut your search down to a fraction of the time by focusing on this one list.


We have taken the time to compile a selection of the ten least expensive online master’s degrees in public management, leadership, administration, and related fields. To determine the least expensive, we consulted the U.S. Department of Education’s College Navigator database. The schools are presented below in descending order by tuition amount. Most of them offer prices you won’t believe – as low as $7,500 a year! The most expensive school on this list of online master’s in public safety management and leadership degree programs, George Washington University (listed first), is a little pricey for some, but worth mentioning given that traditional programs at the D.C.-based school can run $50,000 or even $60,000 annually.

Take a look around and see what you think. They may be inexpensive, but they’re also worth every penny. These schools offer some surprisingly cutting-edge resources, many of which have earned them accolades from  U.S. News Forbes , College Prowler, and other big names in higher education.

Rank School Location
1 Grand Canyon University Phoenix, AZ
2 Kaplan University Fort Lauderdale, FL
3 Anna Maria College Paxton, MA
4 University of Maryland University College Adelphi, MD
5 Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY
6 Capella University Minneapolis, MN
7 Saint Joseph's University Philadelphia, PA
8 Franklin University Columbus, OH
9 Herzing University Madison, WI
10 George Washington University Washington, DC

Featured Online Programs

Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

  1. Grand Canyon University

    Phoenix, AZ


    $ $ $ $ $

    Grand Canyon University's M.S. in Leadership places a special focus on Disaster Preparedness and Executive Fire Leadership. While a somewhat unusual name for a degree, this GCU program is much like the other schools on this list. It caters toward current industry professionals in law enforcement and cybersecurity, offering advanced training to those who already possess a baseline of knowledge. Courses include "Leadership Styles and Development," "Power, Politics, and Influence," and "Understanding Terrorism's Threat." Despite being so inexpensive, students on College Prowler frequently report that the school offers a highly valuable, meaningful, flexible education. For students earning an online master's degree in public safety management and leadership, this means they can benefit equally from knowledgeable professors and a low-stress course load.

  2. Kaplan University

    Fort Lauderdale, FL


    $ $ $ $ $

    Students who are looking for a cheap online master's degree in public safety management and leadership shouldn't overlook Kaplan University. The school offers an extensive set of programs in criminal justice, which give degree applicants a surprising variety for less than $7,500 a year. In addition to either an M.S. in Criminal Justice or Homeland Security/Emergency Management, students can also select a certificate in Corrections, Private Security, Management and Supervision in Criminal Justice, or Crime Scene Technician. TopTenReviews gives Kaplan a respectable 8.4/10 grade, noting its extensive institution feature and myriad programs as its biggest attractors.

  3. Anna Maria College

    Paxton, MA


    $ $ $ $ $

    Anna Maria College is a small institution offering a select few programs via distance education. Included on this list is the master's degree in public safety management online, which includes a specific emphasis on emergency management. Online learners study disaster preparedness, natural disasters, threats to public safety, severe weather, and a number of other topics that can help them find success in the field. In fact, many AMC graduates go on to work at all levels of government, as well as in medical and surgical hospitals, community housing and relief organizations, and energy distribution corporations. A school slowly gaining more recognition, Anna Maria earned the title of "College of Distinction" in 2014.

  4. University of Maryland University College

    Adelphi, MD


    $ $ $ $ $

    The University of Maryland's University College is a specialized online program dedicated entirely to distance education students. Drawing from the wide-reaching resources of a state institution, UC offers up a platter of interesting degrees, useful resources, and contemporary online systems. Students interested in public safety should consider the M.S. in Criminal Justice Management. While it doesn't have an explicit focus on public safety, it does cover many of the same focus areas as other degrees on this list. Graduates of the program frequently apply for jobs as security managers, police administrators, border patrol supervisors, and law practitioners. The curriculum lays out a specific course schedule, requiring students to take specialized classes in law enforcement management, correctional administration, and security management in sequence. UMUC is already an affordable school, but it kindly offers additional discounts to military members and their spouses, leading to its widespread recognition as a "Military Friendly" institution.

  5. Eastern Kentucky University

    Richmond, KY


    $ $ $ $ $

    Eastern Kentucky University's accredited online master's degree in public safety leadership has multiple focuses, splitting up class time between safety, security, and emergency management. Not only that, but students now have the option to specialize in either Occupational Safety, Homeland Security, Fire and Emergency Services, School Safety, Emergency Management, or Labor and Employment. Many of these concentrations lead to certificates that students can use to strengthen their competitiveness in the job market. In order to ensure that all their graduates are ideally suited for a career in the industry, EKU requires all students to either complete a final thesis or pass a final comprehensive examination. The university features an extensive "Point of Pride," list, which includes its rankings as a "Best American College," "Best for Vets" school, and "High Community Engagement" university by Forbes, Military Times EDGE Magazine, and the Carnegie Foundation, respectively.

  6. Capella University

    Minneapolis, MN


    $ $ $ $ $

    The School of Public Service Leadership at Capella University houses an emergency management degree with strong roots in public administration. Much like other online master's degrees in public safety management, this program offers training in natural disasters, critical incidents management, risk assessment, and crisis analysis. Capella's unique delivery of online learning allows students to learn through the National Incident Management System and even participate in virtual emergency simulations in "Riverbend City." These are just some of the features that make Capella's department one of the best online master's degrees in public safety leadership. In-house student surveys reveal that more than 90% of graduates are satisfied with their experience at Capella and would recommend the school to a friend.

  7. Saint Joseph's University

    Philadelphia, PA


    $ $ $ $ $

    Saint Joseph University enjoys a rising reputation both in the Northern region and nationally, and recently the school even garnered the 4th spot on U.S. News t of "up and coming" colleges. Multiple publications laud the school's graduate and distance education programs, which of course includes its top online master's degree in public safety management and leadership. The comprehensive curriculum covers everything from environmental protection to occupational safety, and students can take classes in a variety of formats, and even opt for accelerated seminars if they have the time. Prepared to be forward-thinking, charismatic leaders, SJU graduates often find work in risk management, private security, law enforcement, and emergency medicine.

  8. Franklin University

    Columbus, OH


    $ $ $ $ $

    Franklin University's affordable online master's degree in public safety management and leadership offers an incredible quality for the price. Online learners gain skills in all the areas that employers look for in interviews: legal and policy compliance, crisis prevention, emergency response, disaster preparedness, homeland security, and safety planning. With over 100 years of experience in education and 10,000 eager students each year, Franklin enjoys (and deserves) a strong reputation for academic excellence. In addition, G.I. Jobs has awarded the university a "Top Military Friendly College" ranking for several years running.

  9. Herzing University

    Madison, WI


    $ $ $ $ $

    Herzing University offers an MBA in Public Safety Leadership that uniquely prepares students for roles in both public safety and executive management. The curriculum includes 39-credit hours in basic courses like Marketing, Finance, and Strategic Planning, as well as "concentration" classes in Resource Management for Public Safety, Advanced Project Management, and Public Safety Administration. In addition, a Graduate Capstone Project in the final semester pushes students to prove their advanced knowledge. Student survey participants on College Prowler report overwhelmingly that they enjoy meaningful online courses, a low-stress course load, knowledgeable professors, and helpful job assistance services.

  10. George Washington University

    Washington, DC


    $ $ $ $ $

    George Washington University is a prestigious school known for conferring highly sought after degrees at an incredibly high price tag. At just under $26,000 a year, its online master's degree in public safety management and leadership isn't exactly cheap, but some might consider it quite the bargain. Considering many GWU degrees go for $60,000 a year or more, earning an online graduate degree for less than half that is a deal worth considering. Classes are available 100% over the internet, but are also scheduled at the university's satellite campuses in Arlington and Newport News, Virginia. Students gain valuable knowledge in law enforcement, corporate security, and public health preparedness, and can even take military classes. All of GW's public health, management, affairs, and administration master's programs are in U.S. News' 20 ranking of national universities, and it's rated the 54th best university in the country.

See also:

College Navigator
U.S. News Ranking & Reviews
G.I. Jobs
Wikipedia – Saint Joseph’s University
Military Times
Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Colleges of Distinction
College Prowler

About the Author:
Iris Stone began her writing career when she started working as a freelance writer and researcher in 2011. Her freelance business soon took off and she now owns and operates a writing and editing firm that works with clients all across the country. Despite the time it takes to run a business she still does much of the writing herself, and her work has included a variety of content related to education policy, colleges and universities, academic programs, and graduates’ careers. Her interests actually span far beyond writing, and she is currently studying to be a physicist! Check out her  Google+ Profile .

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