Emergency managers save lives by directing personnel and resources after anthropogenic and natural disasters. On this page, you can learn about some of the best online master's in emergency management programs. The following section details the top 20 programs in the U.S. and includes embedded links, contact information, and the latest tuition rates. Read on to learn about typical courses, concentrations, and application requirements in this field, as well as answers to frequently asked questions.

What Are the Best Emergency Management Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top 10:

Rank School Location
1 Georgetown University Washington, DC
2 California State University - Long Beach Long Beach, CA
3 Arizona State University - Skysong Scottsdale, AZ
4 National University La Jolla, CA
5 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL
6 Adelphi University Garden City, NY
7 Arkansas State University Jonesboro, AR
8 Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA
9 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
10 John Jay College of Criminal Justice New York, NY

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), emergency management directors typically need at least a bachelor's degree. However, a master's degree and relevant professional experience can help you advance and excel in the field. Additionally, the BLS projects that the need for emergency management directors will grow by 5% between 2018 and 2028, keeping in pace with the average projected growth for all professions.

How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students. Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read more about our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

2020 Best Accredited Online Master's in Emergency Management Programs

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Georgetown University

Washington, DC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 94%

Although Georgetown's online master's in emergency management program does not offer concentration options, students can customize the degree by selecting four electives. Foundational courses include theory and legal framework, risk perception awareness, and project management. Additionally, the program concludes with a capstone course.

Through the Cawley Career Education Center, degree-seekers can access Handshake job-search software, read industry-specific newsletters, and access resume guides. These and other resources help over 90% of students find a job or enter another graduate program within one year of earning a degree.

Application requirements include undergraduate transcripts, a resume, and two recommendation letters. All students pay the same per-credit tuition rate regardless of residency. Finally, Georgetown proudly participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which provides financial aid to active-duty military personnel and veterans.


Program Overview

Program Name: Masters in Emergency & Disaster Management
School Status: Private
Tuition: $1,441/credit
Credit Requirements: 33 credits
Program Length: 2-5 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (202) 687-7762
Email: js4840@georgetown.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

2

California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 69%

Students enrolled in CSULB's online master's in emergency management program create a custom specialization. Core coursework includes information literacy, emergency management leadership, and strategic planning. Additionally, degree-seekers choose between a capstone project and a master's thesis.

The CSULB Career Development Center provides graduate students with the latest internship opportunities and guides that cover career exploration and interviewing best practices. Other resources include on-campus career workshops and virtual career counseling sessions.

CSULB uses an undergraduate GPA cutoff and accepts up to six transfer credits. Other application materials include three recommendation letters. Finally, the CSULB scholarship website features outside financial aid opportunities for which emergency management degree-seekers may qualify.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Emergency Services Administration
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Custom
Tuition: $499/credit in-state and out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 32 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum; 3.0 prefered

Contact

Phone: (800) 963-2250
Email: Peter.Kreysa@csulb.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

3

Arizona State University - Skysong

Scottsdale, AZ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 48%

ASU's online master's in emergency management program allows full-time students to earn a degree in just 12 months. Core courses include hazards governance, homeland security, and integrated emergency management. Additionally, degree-seekers customize the educational experience by selecting one of five electives.

Nearly 90% of students receive a job offer within three months of earning a degree. ASU achieves this impressive statistic by offering degree-seekers numerous career planning resources, including Handshake software, career interest communities, and the ASU Mentor Network.

Prospective students must possess some emergency management experience and submit two recommendation letters, a personal statement, and undergraduate transcripts. Finally, degree-seekers may qualify for one or more federal financial aid programs.


Program Overview

Program Name: Online Master of Arts in Emergency Management & Homeland Security
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Biosecurity and threat management; community resilience; cybersecurity policy and management; emergency management; homeland security
Tuition: $709/credit in-state and out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 33 credits
Program Length: 1 year

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: Required

Contact

Phone: (855) 278-5080
Email: asuonline@asu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

4

National University

La Jolla, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 36%

NU's online master's in emergency management program boasts an optional accelerated curriculum, meaning that most students can earn a degree in only one year. The program features coursework in infrastructure protection and global lessons in security. Additionally, graduation requirements include a two-part capstone course.

The Career Services Department (CSD) offers students and alumni career assessments, mock interviews, and cover letter templates. Also, the CSD boasts the MentorMe program, wherein alumni work one-on-one with degree-seekers.

NU accepts new learners every month, making the university an excellent choice for prospective students who want to start a program as soon as possible. The university uses a GPA cutoff. Finally, veterans who maintain a minimum 3.5 GPA receive up to $5,000 as part of the Veterans' Victory Scholarship.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management
School Status: Private
Tuition: $442/credit
Credit Requirements: 54 quarter credits
Program Length: 1 year

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (855) 355-6288
Email: advisor@nu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

5

Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 50%

NSU's online master's in emergency management program boasts six concentration options. Core coursework includes bioterrorism and disaster planning. In the final semester, students complete a practicum at a local emergency preparedness facility.

Professionals at NSU Career Development help degree-seekers prepare for life after graduation by offering one-on-one appointments, internship opportunities, and professional development courses. These resources help alumni find a job where, on average, they earn a higher salary than 75% of workers in the same profession.

Admissions requirements include a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA, and NSU prefers applicants who submit standardized test scores. Other application materials include two recommendation letters and a personal statement. Finally, NSU boasts multiple scholarship opportunities exclusive to graduate students.


Program Overview

Program Name: MS in Disaster and Emergency Management
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Maritime safety and security; cybersecurity; criminal justice; public health; fire administration; environmental hazards
Tuition: $594/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous and synchronous mix

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE or MAT preferred

Contact

Phone: (954) 262-1030
Email: jason.cohen@nova.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

6

Adelphi University

Garden City, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 70%

In Adelphi's online master's in emergency management program, students earn both a degree and a graduate certificate. Unique courses include securing the homeland and emergency management law. In the capstone, degree-seekers complete original research and present findings to professors and peers.

Over 90% of Adelphi students who earn a graduate degree find a job or enter another educational program. The university's Center for Career and Professional Development encourages degree-seekers' career success by providing interview preparation guides, a mentoring program, and many other valuable services.

Application materials include a personal statement, one recommendation letter, and a resume. Adelphi uses a GPA cutoff but does not require standardized test scores. Finally, like many schools in this ranking, Adelphi participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Emergency Management
School Status: Private
Tuition: $720/credit
Credit Requirements: 39 credits
Program Length: 2.5 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.7 minimum

Contact

Phone: (888) 252-4110
Email: admissions@adelphi.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

7

Arkansas State University

Jonesboro, AR Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 48%

A-State's online master's in emergency management program features a 60-hour practicum experience that students complete at an emergency preparedness center. Core courses include crisis communications and theory development in disaster preparedness. Additionally, degree-seekers select between a master's thesis and a 240-hour internship.

At Career Services (CS), degree-seekers can search for jobs and review multiple career success guides. CS surveys of recent emergency management graduates reveal that, on average, over two-thirds of alumni either find a full-time job or enter another graduate program within one year of earning a degree.

Prospective degree-seekers submit undergraduate transcripts and interview with departmental faculty. All U.S. residents pay the same per-credit tuition rate. Finally, students who need financial aid should apply for private scholarships and federal programs.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management
School Status: Public
Tuition: $277/credit U.S. resident; $554/credit international
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (870) 680-8286
Email: dpem@astate.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

8

Virginia Commonwealth University

Richmond, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 67%

VCU's online master's in emergency management program features weekly live sessions and a curriculum that emphasizes hands-on learning. Courses include cybersecurity law and policy, emergency management, and terrorism. Additionally, typical full-time students spend 6-8 hours per week on coursework.

Over 80% of graduates find a career in the emergency management field. VCU Career Services promotes students' success by providing them with career development courses, Handshake software, and job shadowing opportunities.

Although VCU requires standardized test scores, the university grants waivers under certain circumstances. Other application materials include three recommendation letters. Finally, incoming learners should make an appointment with the VCU Office of Financial Aid to learn more about the latest institutional scholarships.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
School Status: Public
Tuition: $30,172/total in-state; $58,156/total out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous and synchronous mix

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.7 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE or GMAT

Contact

Phone: (804) 207-4695
Email: onlinewilder@vcu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

9

Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 50%

Students enrolled in Liberty's online master's in emergency management program benefit from eight-week courses and the ability to graduate in fewer than two years. Core courses include public policy analysis, community economic development, and hazard mitigation. In the final semester, students write a master's thesis.

Career Services professionals assist students with resume and professional portfolio development, as well as interview preparation. These and other resources help nearly 75% of Liberty's emergency management students find a position relevant to the degree they earned.

Although Liberty uses an undergraduate GPA cutoff, the university does not require standardized test scores or recommendation letters. Active-duty military personnel receive a generous tuition discount. Other institutional financial aid programs include tuition discounts for first responders and learners who work for a corporate partner.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Public Administration in Disaster Management
School Status: Private
Tuition: $565/credit civilian; $290/credit military
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 18 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (800) 424-9595
Email: luograd@liberty.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

10

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

New York, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 46%

John Jay's accelerated online master's in emergency management program features eight-week courses and a customizable concentration. In class, students analyze emergency management mitigation, project management, and capital and operational budgeting. In the final semester, degree-seekers select between a thesis and a comprehensive examination.

At John Jay's Center for Career and Professional Development, emergency management students can receive a cover letter critique, complete an interest inventory, and view recorded employer information sessions. Most graduates who use these resources go on to a career in the government or nonprofit sector.

Application requirements include a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA, two recommendation letters, and a 500-word personal statement. In-state students save approximately 45% on tuition compared to out-of-state degree-seekers. Finally, incoming learners may qualify for one of over 75 institutional scholarships.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Emergency Management
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Custom
Tuition: $470/credit in-state; $855/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (212) 393-6342
Email: OnlinePrograms@jjay.cuny.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

11

Saint Leo University

Saint Leo, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 51%

Saint Leo's online master's in emergency management program boasts a full-time and accelerated curriculum. Core courses include financial management, hazard mitigation, and management of critical incident operations. Also, students can complete an optional concentration in fire science.

Career Services (CS) provides students with job search software, and CS professionals offer one-on-one advising sessions. Saint Leo's investment in degree-seekers' success after graduation results in an 83% job placement rate.

Prospective students submit undergraduate transcripts and a professional goals statement. A private school, Saint Leo charges the same per-credit tuition rate to all degree-seekers. Finally, as Saint Leo does not award institutional aid to graduate students at this time, incoming learners should research outside scholarship opportunities.


Program Overview

Program Name: Online Master's Degree in Emergency and Disaster Management
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Fire science
Tuition: $610/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 1-2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (877) 622-2009
Email: grad.admissions@saintleo.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

12

Jacksonville State University

Jacksonville, AL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 42%

JSU's online master's in emergency management program features coursework in disaster recovery, hazard mitigation, and disaster response. Students can customize the curriculum by selecting three electives in areas of biosecurity and homeland security. Additionally, degree-seekers complete a capstone project in the final semester.

Career Services at JSU offers TypeFocus career and personality assessments. Other valuable resources include resume assistance and an alumni mentorship program. Also, alumni can research the latest job opportunities by registering with JLink.

JSU does not use a GPA cutoff or require standardized test scores. However, transfer credit must reflect a minimum "C" grade. Finally, all students pay the same per-credit tuition rate, and degree-seekers may qualify for the $1,000 Jensen scholarship.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master's in Emergency Management
School Status: Public
Tuition: $400/credit in-state and out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (256) 782-5925
Email: graduate@jsu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

13

University of Nevada - Las Vegas

Las Vegas, NV Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 43%

UNLV created one of the first online master's in emergency management programs after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The curriculum features coursework in the evolution of terrorism, human considerations, and community preparedness. In the culminating experience, students design and implement an emergency preparedness exercise.

UNLV Career Services (CS) provides students with resume and cover letter guides, mock interviews, and internship coordinators. CS also hosts the Southern Nevada Career Fair, which features over 200 employers in attendance.

Application requirements include a personal statement, three recommendation letters, and undergraduate transcripts. UNLV may ask some prospective students to submit GRE scores. Finally, new degree-seekers can research and apply for scholarship opportunities by signing in to the Grad Rebel Gateway.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science - Emergency and Crisis Management
School Status: Public
Tuition: $3,081/semester in-state; $10,606/semester out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.75 minimum

Contact

Phone: (702) 895-0206
Email: dory.mizrachi@unlv.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

14

Millersville University of Pennsylvania

Millersville, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 60%

Millersville's online master's in emergency management program emphasizes technical and professional writing, emergency mental health, and emergency management planning. All courses have a live meeting session at least once per week. Additionally, graduation requirements include a field experience practicum; some students who work can complete this practicum at a job site.

Approximately 95% of Millersville graduates find a job within one year of earning a degree. At Career Services, students and alumni can review interviewing skills, receive a resume critique, and learn about common employment scams.

Millersville uses rolling admissions, and prospective students who do not meet the GPA cutoff must submit GRE or MAT scores. Out-of-state learners spend approximately 20% more on tuition than in-state degree-seekers. Finally, students can use the Scholarship Universe portal to research institutional financial aid.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Emergency Management
School Status: Public
Tuition: $516/credit in-state; $602/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous and synchronous mix

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.8 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE or MAT for some applicants

Contact

Phone: (717) 871-4723
Email: gradadmissions@millersville.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

15

Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester, NH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 54%

SNHU's online master's in emergency management program features a unique curriculum wherein students focus on management fundamentals and specialize in emergency management. Courses include resource planning, business research, and project management. Additionally, degree-seekers complete a critical issues in management capstone in the final semester.

When preparing for a job hunt, students can receive a resume critique or sign up for a mock interview at SNHU Career Services. Other resources include the Shapiro Library's extensive collection of resume, cover letter, and interview guides.

SNHU accepts applications on a rolling basis and does not require standardized test scores or recommendation letters. Active-duty military personnel enjoy a reduced tuition rate. Finally, Phi Theta Kappa members receive an automatic 10% tuition discount.


Program Overview

Program Name: Online Master of Science in Management
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Emergency management
Tuition: $627/credit civilian; $470/credit military
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 15 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (888) 387-0861
Email: enroll@snhu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

16

Anna Maria College

Paxton, MA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 46%

Anna Maria's online master's in emergency management program boasts a unique mid-career track wherein learners with four or more years of relevant professional experience take fewer courses. In class, students analyze executive leadership, ethical theory, and public policy fundamentals. In the final semester, degree-seekers choose between a capstone and an applied research project.

Both current and prospective students can review multiple public administration career guides on the Anna Maria website. Also, at Career Services, degree seekers can work with an advisor to create a four-year career checklist.

Application requirements include a personal statement, resume, and two recommendation letters. All students pay the same per-credit tuition rate at this Catholic college. Finally, Anna Maria does not award institutional aid to emergency management students at this time.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Public Administration
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Emergency Management
Tuition: $685/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 1-2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.7 minimum

Contact

Phone: (877) 265-3201
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

17

Lasell University

Newton, MA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 61%

Lasell's online master's in emergency management program features three concentration options, and students can take courses in an accelerated format. Core courses include advanced criminological thought and research methods. In the final semester, degree-seekers select between a research project capstone and an internship.

Career Services boasts individualized career coaching, handshake software, and salary negotiation workshops. Other valuable resources include mock interview sessions and professional development opportunities.

Lasell waives its undergraduate GPA cutoff for applicants who possess three or more years of relevant work experience. Application materials include a resume and a one-page personal statement. Finally, incoming degree-seekers who live near the college's Newton, Massachusetts, campus may qualify for a graduate assistantship.


Program Overview

Program Name: MS in Criminal Justice
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Emergency and crisis management, homeland security and global justice, violence prevention and advocacy; custom
Tuition: $600/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 12-24 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (617) 243-2400
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

18

University of Maryland Global Campus

Adelphi, MD Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 15%

UMGC's online master's in emergency management program prepares students for the Certified Emergency Manager Exam. In class, degree-seekers complete coursework in vulnerability assessment, homeland security, and crisis communication. Additionally, the program boasts a Fast-Track option.

CareerQuest software and an internship board represent just two ways that Career Services assists students. These and other resources help over 90% of degree-seekers in the University System of Maryland find a job or enter another graduate program.

UMGC does not require standardized test scores or recommendation letters, and incoming graduate students can take up to six credits before submitting official undergraduate transcripts. Like many institutions in this ranking, UMGC provides active-duty military personnel with an automatic tuition discount. Finally, degree-seekers who maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA can apply for a UMGC Foundational Scholarship.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master's Management Degree
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Emergency management
Tuition: $505/credit in-state; $659/credit out-of-state; $480/credit military
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2-5 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (855) 655-8682
Email: grad.advisor@umuc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

19

Lander University

Greenwood, SC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 43%

Lander's online master's in emergency management program features coursework in response and recovery, business and economic continuity, and continuity of government. Course requirements focus on hands-on learning and research projects. In the capstone, students create a self-assessment that synthesizes new knowledge and skills.

Professionals at Lander Career Services help students search for jobs and internships, as well as offer career and personality assessments. Additionally, degree-seekers can bolster a resume by completing the EYE Program, a unique professional development course that emphasizes service learning.

Application requirements include relevant professional experience, three recommendation letters, and a resume. Out-of-state students pay approximately double the in-state tuition rate. Finally, Lander graduate degree-seekers who need financial aid should apply for federal grant and loan programs.


Program Overview

Program Name: MS, Emergency Management
School Status: Public
Tuition: $4,428/9 credits in-state; $8,442/9 credits out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 31 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.7 minimum
Work Experience: Required

Contact

Phone: (864) 388-8788
Email: lcarson@lander.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

20

Eastern Kentucky University

Richmond, KY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 47%

EKU's online master's in emergency management program emphasizes infrastructure protection, the evolution of U.S. emergency management, and intergovernmental relations in disaster management. Additionally, the program boasts an internship agreement with multiple Kentucky emergency management organizations — a boon for students without relevant experience.

Over 95% of EKU emergency management graduates find employment, and nearly two-thirds of those who work while earning the degree receive a raise after graduating. The university facilitates students' career success by offering Handshake software and valuable interviewing tips.

Prospective students who do not meet EKU's GPA cutoff can still apply as long as they submit GRE scores. EKU does not require an essay or standardized test scores. Finally, all degree-seekers pay the same per-credit tuition rate regardless of residency.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Safety, Security, and Emergency Management
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Emergency management and disaster resilience
Tuition: $611/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE (only applicants who do not meet GPA cutoff)

Contact

Phone: (877) 398-3048
Email: Courtney.Spradling@eku.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Online Master's in Emergency Management Program Overview

An online master's in emergency management program covers many foundational topics, including homeland security, integrated emergency management, and bioterrorism. Many programs also allow learners to choose a concentration or tailor their education by selecting electives.

In addition to imparting content knowledge, many programs provide students with hands-on experience in the form of simulations, practica, and internships. Other goals include preparing students to meet the nation's most pressing emergency management concerns.

Earning an online master's in emergency management can qualify graduates for senior-level positions at local, state, and federal government agencies. Additionally, some professionals go on to earn a doctorate in emergency management so that they can teach at the college level or conduct research that influences how emergency managers operate in the field.

Common Master's in Emergency Management Degree Courses

Applied Research Methods

This foundational course allows students to develop and hone the analytical, research, and writing skills that emergency managers need to succeed on the job. In class, students practice qualitative and quantitative research methods, presentation best practices, and effective communication techniques. Coursework may also involve completing simulations.

Disaster Planning and Evaluation

Another course that relies heavily on performing simulations, disaster planning and evaluation involves creating response strategies to different scenarios like acts of terrorism and natural disasters. The evaluation component involves responding to a professor's feedback and researching the latest developments in the disaster preparedness field. Course requirements include performing research and creating an original disaster preparedness plan.

Practicum

Top online master's in emergency management programs require at least one practicum experience. In a practicum, students work at an emergency management office under an experienced professional's guidance. This course allows degree-seekers to use classroom skills in a work setting and network with emergency managers in the local community.

Emergency Management Law

Emergency management law concerns the rules and regulations emergency managers must follow when responding to a disaster. Typical course topics include individual and corporate rights and how emergency declarations from local, state, and/or federal government agencies can affect responses.

Business Continuity Planning

Disasters make a significant impact on the flow of goods — especially emergency supplies. In this class, learners analyze how past disasters affected economies and emergency response capabilities. Additionally, coursework includes researching how emergency managers can work with local business leaders before an incident to reduce the disruption of goods and services.

Related Master's in Emergency Management Degree Concentrations

Biosecurity and Threat Management

A concentration in biosecurity and threat management prepares students to apply public policy best practices when a biological disaster strikes. Coursework includes bioterrorism and health intelligence, communicable disease control, and geographic information systems for hazards analysis. As in most concentrations, graduation requirements include a final project or capstone experience.

Community Resilience

Learners who concentrate in community resilience learn how nonprofits, government agencies, and local businesses can prepare for and recover from a disaster. Specialized courses in the concentration cover topics like community conflict resolution, which trains learners on how to promote cooperation after an incident. Additionally, community resilience emphasizes risk reduction and identifying community vulnerabilities.

Homeland Security

Many top online master's in emergency management programs created a homeland security concentration after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Students learn about the Department of Homeland Security and changes to local and state emergency management agencies. Courses include the nature of crime and weapons of mass destruction.

Fire Science

As the threat of wildfires in the U.S. continues to increase due to climate change, emergency managers must know how to respond to these deadly and destructive events. Typical coursework includes fire service organizational dynamics, fire-related human behavior, and the political context of fire and emergency services administration.

Custom

Even if an online master's in emergency management program does not offer traditional concentrations, it may still allow students to create a custom concentration by selecting electives. In these programs, students work closely with an academic advisor to choose courses that align with their professional interests and career goals.

Online Master's in Emergency Management Admission Requirements

  • Recommendation Letters

    Most top online master's in emergency management programs require 1-3 recommendation letters. These letters should come from college professors — preferably ones who taught an emergency management-related course — or current work supervisors.

  • GPA Cutoff

    Many programs use an undergraduate GPA cutoff to attract only academically qualified applicants. However, even if your GPA falls below the cutoff, a school may still accept your application if you submit additional materials, such as standardized test scores. Schools also use a GPA cutoff for transfer credit.

  • Standardized Test Scores

    Standardized test scores, such as the GRE, GMAT, and MAT, give admissions offices a different way to judge your academic potential.

  • Personal Statement

    A personal statement allows you to express your passion for the emergency management field. When writing a statement, keep within the school's word limit and address any required questions or prompts.

  • Professional Experience

    Most online master's in emergency management programs do not require that applicants have professional experience. However, some top programs prefer candidates with experience. If you lack experience, consider volunteering with an emergency management agency before applying to graduate school. Volunteering can also help you obtain a persuasive recommendation letter.


Online Master's in Emergency Management Career Paths

Online master's in emergency management graduates have many job options from which to choose, including budget analyst, management analyst, and emergency management director. Although many employers only require that applicants hold a bachelor's degree, a master's can help you stand out — even if you have little to no professional experience. Also, once you attain a job, an advanced degree may qualify you for advancement.

Popular careers for emergency managers do not require state-issued licenses. However, you may want to earn the certified emergency manager credential. This certification can make you a more attractive job applicant and may result in a higher starting salary.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with a master's in emergency management?

Earning an online master's in emergency management can prepare you for several different careers, including those covered in the previous section. Additionally, once you gain experience, you may decide to return to school and earn a doctorate in emergency management, preparing for a role as a lecturer or professor.

How much do emergency managers make?

According to the BLS, emergency management directors earn a median salary of $74,420 per year, with earners in the 90th percentile taking home more than $140,000 a year. Professionals can earn a higher or lower salary based on their job responsibilities, geographical location, and experience.

What kind of degree do you need to work for FEMA?

Top careers at FEMA, such as emergency management specialist, often require a doctorate in emergency management or a related field. However, FEMA considers applicants with a master's degree if they possess significant professional experience. Also, many employees start a career with the agency as FEMA reservists — experts who provide aid and expertise on short notice.

How long does it take to get an emergency management degree?

A student's graduation timeline primarily depends on whether they study on a full-time or part-time basis. Many schools give part-time students up to five years to earn a degree, while most full-time students graduate in two years. Also, some programs offer an accelerated track that allows participants to earn a degree in 15-18 months.

What do emergency management specialists do?

Emergency management specialists apply analytical, interpersonal, and persuasion skills to oversee their employer's emergency management preparedness. Other typical job duties include completing professional development courses that impart the latest research and management best practices. These professionals can work for private organizations and government agencies.

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