WSU and Nichols College partner on Counterterrorism Masters

New Joint Program with Nichols College Leads to Counterterrorism Master’s

August 15, 2018
By: Nancy Sheehan

Nichols College President Susan West Engelkemeyer, Ph.D., and Worcester State University President Barry M. Maloney recently entered an agreement that will reduce the cost of earning a Nichols master’s degree in counterterrorism, a subject area that has become increasingly important in today’s world. President Engelkemeyer traveled to Worcester State for a ceremonial agreement signing on August 14.

The new “4+1” agreement establishes a framework that provides full-time undergraduate students pursuing a degree in criminal justice at Worcester State with an expedited pathway for completing undergraduate and master’s degree coursework in five rather than six years. The new option can save students time and money.

“Worcester State University is committed to providing access to high-quality educational opportunities,” said President Maloney. “The 4+1 program offers an accelerated way for students to train for fulfilling careers in an area that is of great importance to us all. This agreement is one of several creative partnerships Worcester State University has established to help reduce the cost of higher education, so more students can afford to pursue their dreams.”

“Nichols College is pleased to partner with Worcester State to offer students affordable, cost-saving access to our Master of Science in Counterterrorism, which is the first graduate program in the United States whose focus is exclusively on violent extremism,” said President Engelkemeyer. “Worcester State students will find at Nichols that they receive high-level instruction from accomplished experts in the fields of criminal justice, homeland security, and the military.”

The program also includes the opportunity for students to study abroad for six weeks at the internationally recognized Maastricht School of Management in Maastricht, the Netherlands. While there, students can take courses, taught in English, and make connections with important international counterterrorism agencies such as Interpol and Europol. Students also can visit the European Union headquarters in nearby Brussels, Belgium.

The European aspect includes continued studies with Maastricht faculty via Skype upon students’ return to the United States, enabling them to simultaneously achieve their Master of counterterrorism degree from Nichols and a Master of Management degree from Maastricht at no additional cost.

“For the same bundle of money you get the opportunity to go for six weeks to take courses, travel, go to the EU, go to Brussels and go to the counterterrorism units there, so students come back with an ability to articulate what they can do beyond what they could ever do out of Dudley or Worcester,” said Stephen Morreale, Ph.D., chair of the criminal justice program at Worcester State who also teaches in the Nichols counterterrorism program.

Nichols faculty saw a need to create the counterterrorism program once the U.S. Department of Homeland Security stressed the importance of countering violent extremism as a top priority for the nation. The agency employs more than 240,000 people in jobs ranging from aviation and border security to emergency response, and from cybersecurity analyst to chemical facility inspector.

Nichols Graduate & Professional Studies Executive Director Kerry Calnan noted that Worcester State students will learn from Nichols faculty methods to combat worldwide threats and trends of terrorism.

“Nichols is excited to partner with Worcester State University to create this opportunity for students,” she said. “Everything we do at Nichols is fueled by innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit, from the technology that powers our flexible learning options to a unique emphasis on leadership and communication not normally found in master’s degree programs. And, given that protecting the safety and security of our country has become more challenging than ever, the Nichols Master of Science in Counterterrorism will thoroughly prepare Worcester State students for a dynamic, rewarding career in the field of homeland security.”

“This partnership with Nichols College opens career pathways for students at the local, federal, and international levels,” said Russ Pottle, Worcester State University’s dean of humanities and social sciences. “Students interested in making our communities and our world safer can find a compelling educational opportunity in this innovative program offered by Worcester State University and Nichols College.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the program is open to qualified Worcester State University undergraduates pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree who attain a 3.0 GPA in the undergraduate major and a 3.0 GPA cumulatively overall by the end of their junior year.

Upon successful completion of a bachelor’s degree from WSU, including six semester hours of coursework at Nichols, students will be encouraged to apply to the counterterrorism master’s degree program at Nichols.

Offered through Nichols College Graduate & Professional Studies, the Master of Science in Counterterrorism program gives students a deep understanding of the psychological, social, political, economic, and religious factors that contribute to radicalization and the skills to quickly and efficiently assess and address risk.

“Nichols College is extremely honored to enter into this partnership with Worcester State University. This partnership would not have been possible without the facilitation of Worcester State Criminal Justice Program Chair Dr. Stephen Morreale,” said Professor Allison McDowell-Smith, Ph.D., director of the Nichols College Master of Science in Counterterrorism program. “Both institutions have been able to foster a collaborative relationship that is dedicated to offering our students an additional pathway to their future careers.

Accepted 4+1 students have the option to attend an international residency program at Maastricht School of Management (MSM) in The Netherlands for a five- or six-week period. If a student chooses this option, WSU – NC students will be afforded the same financial and academic arrangement as current Nichols students. The discounted MSM residency fee will include primary transportation, lodging, tuition at MSM, MSM arranged site visits, and some meals while studying abroad.

Other Worcester State accelerated and partnership programs include:

  • 3+1 RN to BS Nursing program with Quinsigamond Community College (QCC).
  • Fast Track Bachelor’s to Master’s degree programs are offered in Biotechnology and Chemistry (toward a Pharmacy Degree, jointly with the MCPHS), as well as Communication (toward an MS in Professional Communication at Clark University).
  • 3+3 WSU to UMass Law School.
  • 4+1 programs at WSU in Biotechnology, Business Administration, Sociology/Nonprofit Management, Urban Studies/Nonprofit Management.

Learn about the following Nichols College programs:

To watch a short news coverage clip of the signing ceremony, access this Worcester News Tonight video. The story begins at 11:40 on the counter.

PHOTO: Students are, from left, Kristen Huston and Katie Polselli, both rising seniors, and Camden Dacey, ’18, all of whom will be enrolling in the program. Camden will be heading to Maastricht this fall.

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