Texas A&M University has launched a special online homeland security program. 

The program, called the Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security and administered by the Office of Extended Education, involves students conducting their formal studies online. Rather than having traditional face-to-face conversations, classmates converse in cyberspace.

Requirements for being accepted into -- and staying in -- the master's degree-level program are stringent, notes Dr. Danny Davis, who directs the curriculum. He says applicants must have an undergraduate degree. Once enrolled in the program, they must maintain a 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 system.

"Successful graduates of the 15 semester-credit-hour graduate-level program receive formal homeland security certification and -- more importantly -- the 'know-how' that could make a big difference when and if terrorists should attempt to strike," Davis explains.

 Davis has to his credit a 20-year active-duty Army career that included a variety of command and staff positions in Airborne, Ranger and Special Forces units. He also holds undergraduate history and doctoral education degrees from Texas A&M and a master's from Troy State University in international relations. He is the author of a recently published book on domestic terrorism, The Phinehas Priesthood, Violent Vanguard of the Christian Identity Movement.

The classes offered in the program include "Terrorism in Today's World," "Weapons of Mass Destruction," "Protection of the Nation's Critical Infrastructure" and "Cyber Security for Managers," among others. All students must take the basic "Fundamentals of Homeland Security" course and then choose four others from the 12 offerings. Students have the option of selecting four that combine for specialized emphases: Homeland Security Policy and Management, National Security Policy, Emergency and Crisis Preparedness and Management and Critical Infrastructure Protection.