Meanwhile, Marian University offers its own B.S. in homeland security, Virginia Commonwealth University has created a B.A. in homeland security and emergency preparedness, and Tulane University offers a B.A. in homeland security studies.
[Learn more about a career as an emergency management specialist.]
6. Information assurance/cyber security: Job demand has grown "tenfold over the last 10 years" for cyber security or information assurance, says Dickie George, former information assurance technical director for the U.S. National Security Agency.
The NSA, with the Department of Homeland Security, sponsors the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance, which designates schools that meet established standards in teaching students to spot and fix vulnerabilities in the nation's information infrastructure. Mississippi State University, the University of Tulsa, Dartmouth College, and Carnegie Mellon University are among the 166 institutions with undergrad programs designated centers of excellence.
Information assurance students learn about the technical aspects of protecting computer systems, networks, and individual computers from viruses, worms, hackers, terrorist threats, and corporate espionage. Students may also take computer crime and forensics classes, as well as E-commerce courses to learn about different business models and privacy and security protocols. They also study how to plan, analyze, design, and implement modern information systems.
7. Nanotechnology: In this young science, unusual physical, chemical, and biological properties show up when materials are in the microscopic realm that starts at one billionth of a meter. Nanomaterials already help make golf clubs, skis, car parts, and dental implants stronger, and are expected to make tomorrow's buildings and bridges lighter and more durable.
Nanotechnology-based medicines promise to send toxic drugs straight to tumors, and the technology could be the key to more energy-efficient fuel cells, solar panels, and batteries, and to environmental cleanup.
The industry is poised to grow to $2.4 trillion worldwide by 2015 and employ 2 million people in the country by 2020. The University at Albany—SUNY started the nation's first nanotechnology graduate program in 2004, and in 2010 rolled out two undergraduate degrees.
The degrees prep students for grad school, for careers in nano-related industries or basic research, or for jobs in the physical sciences, materials science, physics, biophysics, chemistry, or biochemistry. Other schools that have introduced similar majors include Drexel University, Louisiana Tech University, and University of Central Florida.
[See why specialized majors offer both risks and rewards.]