Designed to fit your schedule

Earn your degree in one year from a top 25 university

No GRE required

Designed to fit your schedule

Earn your degree in as little as one year from a top 25 university

No GRE required

Master of Science in Emergency Management

Master of Science in Emergency Management

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The Master of Science in Emergency Management program prepares professionals to take emergency management leadership roles in organizations within the private and public sectors. Through courses in critical infrastructure, disaster planning, and operational coordination, students will develop strategic, tactical, and decision-making skills that address all phases of emergencies at the local, state, and federal levels.

Students will learn to navigate and collaborate across complex and interdependent governmental, non-profit, and business organizations and systems that are crucial to protecting communities from natural and human-made hazards and emergencies. Current topics such as climate change, public health emergencies, and complex cross-border disasters will be examined.

Throughout the program, students will have the opportunity to develop strategies that help communities build resilience and mitigate the disproportionate effects of disasters on socially and economically diverse populations.

Learning Outcomes

Integrate emergency management principles, regulations, and research into managing disasters throughout all phases of the emergency life cycle.

Create plans for emergency preparedness that reflect effective risk assessment strategies and consider socio-cultural, economic, and political contexts.

Design communication strategies to meet the needs of stakeholders throughout a variety of emergency management phases.

Recommend decisions and risk management techniques grounded in critical thinking, ethics, and data analysis.

Demonstrate effective leadership and management skills in the public and private sectors of emergency management.

Assess opportunities to support equity and resilience in communities that have been impacted by emergencies.


A Master of Science degree in Emergency Management requires 24 units of coursework offered in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. The program may be completed on a 1- or 2-year track. Students attending the program on the 1-year track can earn the degree within 12 months and those on the 2-year track can complete the program in less than two years.

Our curriculum was designed by acknowledged experts who are at the forefront of the future direction of the field. Our engaging faculty will prepare you to be leaders of the profession and will give you increased confidence in your skills and knowledge that will serve you throughout the rest of your career.

Principles of Emergency Management (2 units)

Explores the historical development of emergency management as a distinct discipline in the U.S. and abroad, including theories, terminology, and international coordination.

  • Assess historically relevant developments of emergency management in institutions and practice.
  • Draw comparisons between disaster response domestically and internationally.
  • Deconstruct emergency management theories and perspectives across the disaster phases.
  • Evaluate the necessity of multi-organizational coordination during disasters.

Emergency Management Policies and Regulations (2 units)

Examines policies, regulations, politics, and budgets that impact emergency management domestically and internationally in the government, non-profit, and private sectors.

  • Appraise the requirements and ramifications of the cornerstone regulations and frameworks that govern all of emergency management.
  • Evaluate how the public sector, nonprofit sector, and stakeholders coordinate in both domestic and international emergency management.
  • Correlate the federal budgeting process with the role it plays in developing and maintaining an emergency management program.
  • Interpret policy documents and mechanisms from various levels of government agencies.
  • Determine an effective policy implementation strategy within an inherently political environment.

Social and Cultural Competency in Emergency Management (2 units)

Explores how emergency management practices and community interactions can help address social, economic, and cultural inequities while building increased resilience.

  • Describe the historical nature of sociocultural and economic inequities and how those inequities apply in emergencies and disasters today.
  • Apply emergency management doctrine to prevent deepening inequities via planning, communications, and operations.
  • Articulate the impacts of emergency management theory-based decision-making and risk management on diverse communities.
  • Develop adaptive policy and operational strategies with respect to frontline communities with the aim of building resilience, while addressing inequities throughout the disaster cycle.
  • Recognize how factors of social vulnerability impact community resilience-building.

Emergency Management Administration (2 units)

Examines the administrative functions of an emergency manager, including project management, policy implementation, acquisition of funding, and managing diverse teams.

  • Analyze legal and administrative requirements of emergency management organizations.
  • Illustrate how project management skills guide compliance processes with federal, state, and local laws and policies.
  • Assess financial management and cost accounting required for complying with federal grant acceptance agreements.
  • Compare communication techniques required to leverage the emergency management workforce and various stakeholders and to manage diverse teams.
  • Analyze the critical administrative issues caused by more frequent disasters and future threats.

Critical Decision-Making in Emergency Management (2 units)

Explores how to manage and assess information to limit risk and make ethical, critical decisions under both steady-state and crisis situations.

  • Apply the principles of identifying and analyzing risk to determine the appropriate risk management strategies.
  • Utilize risk, hazard, and vulnerability assessment frameworks to formulate emergency management processes and procedures.
  • Make decisions based on analysis of information and intelligence, and the application of the principles of uncertainty.
  • Develop strategies to deliberate and execute crisis decisions in the absence of reliable intelligence and information.
  • Apply ethical decision-making practices to steady-state and crisis situations.

Emergency Management and Disaster Planning (2 units)

Examines the necessary components of deliberate and crisis action plans that are used to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.

  • Examine disaster operational environments through conceptual planning methodologies.
  • Prepare deliberate and crisis action plans that align with the Federal Emergency Management Agency National Preparedness System process.
  • Recommend an operational plan that addresses risk, based on qualitative and quantitative data.
  • Prepare assessments that measure the effectiveness of a crisis action plan.
  • Apply emergency management leadership strategies toward team-building and stakeholder engagement that address disaster risk.

Operational Coordination in Emergency Management (2 units)

Focuses on the complexity of post-disaster immediate and long-term response and recovery challenges in local, state, federal, and international jurisdictions.

  • Assess the complexity of post-disaster emergency operations.
  • Execute immediate emergency response functions.
  • Facilitate intermediate and long-term recovery functions.
  • Evaluate the approaches to post-disaster operations.
  • Propose solutions for anticipated post-disaster operational challenges.

Critical Infrastructure in Emergency Management (2 units)

Examines the wide spectrum of security threats to critical infrastructure and how to strengthen infrastructure protection and resilience through collaborative partnerships across sectors.

  • Evaluate emergency management and critical infrastructure security and resilience in the 21st-century risk environment.
  • Analyze critical infrastructure security and resilience partnership frameworks, information-sharing processes and systems, and the coordination/collaboration challenges of dependencies and interdependencies between sectors.
  • Critique different strategic approaches to critical infrastructure risk assessment and management and community resilience.
  • Apply the principles of critical infrastructure protection and resilience in preventing, mitigating, and responding to the spectrum of man-made and natural disasters.
  • Explain critical infrastructure and resilience and their role in emergency management.

Emergency Management Communication (2 units)

Creating inclusive and credible messages of risk across the disaster life cycle through a variety of methods.

  • Assess how risk perception impacts development of risk communication.
  • Evaluate risk communication principles, theories, and models within the context of emergency management throughout the disaster life cycle.
  • Create effective risk communication messages.
  • Evaluate the complexity of media and technology in risk communication.
  • Develop an inclusive risk communication plan.

Driving Successful Outcomes in Emergency Management (2 units)

Explores how effective emergency management leaders develop trust, avoid ethical pitfalls, strengthen partnerships, and integrate equity throughout the disaster life cycle.

  • Apply current leadership theories and principles in a variety of crisis settings.
  • Develop awareness of the ethical landscape, pitfalls, and best practices in crisis and noncrisis settings.
  • Create leadership and communication plans that develop mutual trust with all stakeholder communities before, during, and after an emergency.
  • Prepare for a leadership role in emergency and nonemergency situations under diverse conditions such as stress, time compression, and incomplete information.

Equity and Resilience in Emergency Management (2 units)

Examines equity and resilience in emergency management as they pertain to areas such as planning, mitigation, disaster logistics, and supply chains.

  • Evaluate the applicability of resilience in the context of the ability of an individual, household, community, or ecosystem to anticipate, cope with, respond to, and recover from external shocks.
  • Assess how proposed emergency management actions impact various neighborhoods and community groups.
  • Examine the inequities associated with climate change and environmental impact on communities.
  • Analyze how disaster logistics impact disadvantaged communities.
  • Propose protective actions that can be used to increase equity in disadvantaged communities.

Emergency Management Capstone (2 units)

Demonstrate knowledge and skills developed throughout the emergency management program in an integrated way.

  • Incorporate emergency management principles and regulations into practices related to all phases of the emergency life cycle.
  • Evaluate emergency management plans for effective risk assessment and risk management strategies; inclusion of sociocultural, economic, and political contexts; and support for continuity of operations.
  • Demonstrate effective leadership skills by designing effective communication strategies for emergency management stakeholders in the public and private sectors.
  • Assess opportunities to support equity and resilience in emergency plans and policies.
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