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30 Best Masters in Emergency Management Online

online masters in emergency management

When emergencies and disasters befall society, a dedicated force of professionals respond to mitigate the harm and provide care to those affected. No, we’re not talking about superheroes–at least not the kind that wear capes!

Emergency Management professionals are expertly-trained individuals that run to the source of the disaster instead of running the other way. As one of the most popular online degree programs, the Master of Emergency Management is a smart investment. It’s also a fast-growing profession.

These heroes construct emergency plans for when a crisis occurs. And, unfortunately, society faces no shortage of potential life-threatening disasters–from natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires to human-designed violence meant to cause harm and panic.

Pursuing a masters in emergency management online does not detract from the education and hands-on experience that you gain. In fact, you can get a high-quality graduate education while reaping the benefits of remote learning. Read on to discover some of the most respected and accessible emergency management graduate degree programs available!


We used publicly available sources—such as FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute and the schools’ program websites—to research online Master of Emergency Management and similar degree programs. In doing so, we recognized several commonalities in programs that proved to be exceptional. In particular, the 30 programs outlined in this guide came to the forefront of our research.

Using those recognized commonalities, we developed a point system to rank the online emergency management degree programs. Programs that received the same point value were ranked with the lower out-of-state tuition per credit hour as the winning factor. The criteria for the ranking can be found below. Each criterion is equally weighted.

  • Multiple degrees, additional graduate certificate options, and opportunities for specialization
  • Program flexibility and accessibility
  • Faculty experience in the field, student satisfaction, and other uniquely impressive elements
  • Institutes within the school and partnerships with other emergency and disaster management organizations and institutes

The value of creating a methodology like this is twofold. First, you can compare potential programs side-by-side, knowing that they’ve been evaluated by the same set of measures. This allows you to better determine which programs are right for you. And second, this methodology is far more informative than just Googling “masters emergency management” or “emergency management masters online.”

Ranking the Best Emergency Management Master’s Programs

#1. The Pennsylvania State University

Penn State emergency management masters online

A donated 200 acres in Centre County, Pennsylvania, in 1851 would lead to the creation of the school that would become Penn State. The Farmer’s High School of Pennsylvania was established in 1855, and the school’s first president, Evan Pugh, was one of the main advocates for the Morrill Act of 1862 (a federal bill that allowed states to sell federal lands to fund universities). Penn State (officially named “The Pennsylvania State University” in 1953) was able to reap the benefits retroactively. Its main campus is located in University Park, which is also the flagship of the 24 campuses. More than 88,000 students are enrolled in the PSU system. As a participant in the Morrill Act, Penn State is the only land-grant university in Pennsylvania; it is also a space-, sun-, and sea-grant school. This public research university also offers online degree programs through Penn State World Campus. The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools provides regional institutional accreditation.

Program Details

The Penn State World Campus offers an online “intercollege” Master of Professional Studies (iMPS) in Homeland Security degree program with two focus area options specific to emergency management: Public Health Preparedness and Agricultural Biosecurity and Food Defense.

Both iMPS degrees require 33 credit hours and prepare you to safeguard and respond to natural and human-caused disasters. Primary courses for both programs cover topics such as “Violence, Threats, Terror, and Insurgency” and “Homeland Security: Social and Ethical Issues,” but then also offer focus-specific classes such as “Agricultural Biosecurity: Protecting a Key Infrastructure” and “Public Health Evaluation of Disasters and Bioterrorism.”

In addition to this emergency management degree online are multiple twelve-credit graduate certificates covering these focus areas and several other certificates related to homeland security and emergency management. The coursework for this master’s degree is taught by faculty who have, among other achievements, trained governments, responded to major crises, and practiced epidemiology in multiple countries. Student success is evidenced by the experience of iMPS alumni working in emergency management roles worldwide.

Admissions website

#2. Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University  emergency management masters online

Arkansas State University began in 1909 thanks to Act 100 of the 37th Arkansas General Assembly. As the First District Agricultural School, the institution was created to provide instruction in methods of agriculture and textile manufacturing. Located in Jonesboro, Arkansas, the school opened to almost 200 students in 1910 for its inaugural year. The original faculty of eight professors grew as the school transitioned first into a junior college in 1925 and then a full four-year degree-granting college in 1933. Arkansas State University (ASU or “A-State”) became a university in 1967 and is the flagship university campus in the Arkansas State University System. The campus sits on nearly 1,400 acres, and over 14,000 students are currently enrolled in more than 140 academic degree programs housed within its colleges and online campus. This public research university boasts the second-largest enrollment in the state. Regional accreditation comes from the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details

Offered through Arkansas State University’s online campus, this interdisciplinary online Master of Science in Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (MSDPEM) degree program cultivates and prepares “professionals to effectively meet the demands of disaster preparedness, mitigation, planning, response, and recovery.”

Throughout this 36-credit hour masters of emergency management, you take an extensive selection of courses, focusing on relevant and large scale topics like “Crisis Communications,” “Health Care Issues and Policies,” and “Global Perspectives.” You can complete the required credits in as little as 12 months.

You can also customize your learning experience through the required Practicum Experience by taking a Seminar Topics Course or participating in a 60-hour practicum at a site that has received program approval. Furthermore, students must complete the Final Project in which you complete a Research Project or a 240-hour internship for hands-on experience).

All degrees under the umbrella of the Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management Program are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Emergency Management Education (CAEME). Upon graduation, you will have the knowledge and experience to pursue administrative, decision making careers in fields such as:

  • Disaster Recovery Manager
  • Emergency Services Director
  • Hospital Emergency Preparedness Administrator
  • Safety Specialist
  • Emergency Management Program Specialist
Admissions website

#3. Nova Southeastern University

NSU emergency management masters online

In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in the 1960s, local business people and entrepreneurs thought a graduate-level institution emphasizing the social and physical sciences would benefit the area. This school concept would lead to Nova Southeastern University’s creation. In 1964, the Nova University of Advanced Technology was established and initially located in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The campus has since moved to its current location on Forman Field, a former Navy landing field in Davie, Florida, and the school has also added undergraduate programs. In 1994, Nova and the Southeastern University of the Health Sciences merged to become Nova Southeastern University (NSU). A private university with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s highest level of research designation, NSU provides hundreds of academic degree programs to nearly 21,000 students. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges provides NSU with regional accreditation.

Program Details

The NSU MS in Disaster and Emergency Management (DEM) is provided online through the Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine (KPCOM). Eighteen credits of core courses are required, with classes such as “Bioterrorism and All-Hazards Preparedness” and “Disaster Planning and Evaluation.”

Six specialization tracks are offered, some in conjunction with other NSU Colleges and Institutes, in the following areas:

  • Maritime Safety and Security
  • Cyber Security
  • Criminal Justice
  • Public Health
  • Environmental Hazards
  • Fire Administration

If you opt out of a specialization for this master’s degree, you will construct your elective choices from a general selection, which includes classes such as “Psychosocial Dimensions of Disasters” and “Grant-writing for Emergency Preparedness.”

Also offered online through NSU’s KPCOM is a Certificate in Emergency Medicine for professionals currently employed as physician assistants. The MSDEM program and the Certificate were crafted with input from ER department medical directors. Faculty members have experience as “both academics and emergency management professionals” to ensure you get the highest-quality education possible.

Admissions website

#4. University of Maryland, Baltimore County

UMBC  emergency management masters online

In the decades after the end of World War II, the need for expanding higher education in Maryland, as throughout the entire United States, became evident. The Maryland Legislature agreed through the passage of a bill in 1963 to allow the University of Maryland to establish four branch campuses throughout the state. What would become the University of Maryland in Baltimore County received a donation of 425 acres from the Spring Grove State Hospital in Catonsville, Maryland. Classes began in 1966, with 750 students enrolled that first year. The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) now serves nearly 14,000 students in academic degree programs within several colleges and schools. A member of the University System of Maryland, UMBC is designated by the Carnegie Foundation as a top-tier research institution. The school is also a space-grant institution. UMBC is a public research university with regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Program Details

The oldest and the largest program like it in the nation, UMBC’s online MS in Emergency Health Services degree is a 30-credit hour program that takes around one to two years to complete. Alternatively, you can enroll in UMBC’s BS/MS program and complete your undergraduate and graduate degrees in five years.

This program is offered through the Department of Emergency Health Services, which allows you to reap the benefits of faculty and “other world-renown emergency medicine resources” from many Institutes and Centers close to UMBC. Students must choose between two tracks of study and an Education Concentration: Administration, Planning & Policy track or Preventative Medicine & Epidemiology track. A graduate certificate in Emergency Management can be pursued as well.

This program is interdisciplinary; electives can be chosen from within the “departments of Public Policy, Health Science, Preventive Medicine/Epidemiology, Sociology, and Nursing” (some may not be offered online). The Education Concentration is provided jointly with the ISD/Department of Education.

Though most students usually complete the degree in two years, you have up to five years to finish your graduate work if needed. This program can also offer a gateway to a Ph.D. in Public Policy with an EHS concentration in Emergency Management.

Admissions website

#5. Northeastern University

Northeastern State University  emergency management masters online

From humble beginnings as evening classes held in the YMCA to having classification by the Carnegie Foundation as a research university with the highest level of research activity, Northeastern University has grown to cover all four corners of the United States. In 1898, the Evening Institute for Young Men offered an education at a YMCA in Boston, Massachusetts. The popularity caused the Institute to expand first into Northeastern College in 1916 and then Northeastern University (NU) in 1923. Nearly 20,000 students are enrolled in the Boston campus, and NU has branch graduate locations across the nation, in cities like Charlotte, North Carolina, Seattle, Washington, and San Jose, California. There are also campuses in Canada and the United Kingdom. Northeastern also enjoys partnerships with thousands of global organizations and agencies, allowing you to participate in a cooperative education experience. Nine academic schools and colleges comprise Northeastern University. This private research institution is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Program Details

The MA in Homeland Security degree program through Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies “offers a comprehensive program of studies covering core elements of homeland security and emergency management.” The program requires a minimum of 42-credit hours, and you have the choice between three concentrations:

  • Corporate Security Management
  • Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • Strategic Intelligence and Analysis

The Homeland Security and Emergency Management concentration provides relevant coursework, with classes such as “Critical Infrastructure and Protection,” “Continuity of Operations and Planning,” and “Essentials of Emergency Management,” each of which helps you develop and carry out emergency plans to address many different critical situations. All concentration options culminate with a capstone project, which allows you to address a real-world-inspired problem using the knowledge and skills you’ve gained in the master’s degree program.

Additionally, Northeastern offers a Graduate Certificate in Security & Resilience Studies that can be completed online. The twelve-credit hour certificate is offered by the Department of Political Science in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities. Should you choose this path, you will be challenged by the renowned faculty with engaging, topical coursework in large scale fields such as “Cyberconflict,” “Counterterrorism,” and “International Security.”

Admissions website

#6. Georgetown University

Georgetown University  emergency management masters online

The oldest Jesuit Catholic university in the United States, Georgetown University (originally Georgetown College), was founded by John Carroll, who would become the Archbishop of Baltimore. In 1789, Carroll, who was a bishop at that time, purchased 60 acres to become the campus. Classes began in 1792, and by the end of the year, 40 students were enrolled. Now nearly 21,000 students are enrolled in classes at the main campus located in the Washington D.C. area of Georgetown and four additional campuses: Medical Center, Law Center, School of Continuing Studies, and the facilities in Qatar, Italy, and Turkey. Although the school was never intended to be exclusively Catholic, the Jesuit way continues to influence the institution, as evidenced by the “commitment to spiritual inquiry, civic engagement, and religious and cultural pluralism.” The Carnegie Foundation has designated Georgetown with very high research activity. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education provides regional accreditation.

Program Details

Georgetown provides students with one fully online and two hybrid online graduate degree programs in Emergency Management through the School of Continuing Studies. Georgetown’s Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Emergency & Disaster Management is a completely online, 33-credit hour degree program offering a “holistic approach” to emergency response.

Core courses such as “Ethics and Critical Decision Making,” “Project Management and Budgeting for Emergencies and Disasters,” and “Risk Perception Awareness” provide a comprehensive focus on the entire “lifecycle” of a natural disaster or man-made disaster. You can take these courses in the fall, spring, or summer terms, and you can attend full-time or part-time to fit your schedule.

The two hybrid Emergency & Disaster Management programs, the International Executive MPS and the Executive MPS are 30-credit hour programs with online coursework and five required residencies. All three programs share the benefit of a faculty with many years of real-world, cutting-edge experience and decades of collective training and teaching experience.

The success of this program is evidenced by the testimonials of the program’s graduates (most students provide glowing reviews). Prospective students like you have access to these testimonials, webinars, and information sessions to learn more about the program.

Admissions website

#7. American Public University

American Public University emergency management degrees

American Public University (APU) was established in 2002 as part of the American Public University System (APUS). The American Military University (AMU), which was founded in 1991, was the original institution established by a retired marine to address the unique and specific educational needs of military members. AMU exclusively provided distance education and grew to become the APUS with the addition of APU. APU is an online university, but the administrative offices are headquartered in Charles Town, West Virginia. Six academic schools (School of Arts and Humanities, School of Business, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, and the School of Security and Global Studies) provide hundreds of degree programs to a global network of nearly 90,000 students. APU is a private, for-profit institution of higher education. It is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details

APU provides an entirely online dual Master of Arts program that combines two popular degrees: Emergency and Disaster Management and Homeland Security. Of the emergency management degrees online outlined in this guide, this is the only dual-degree program.

The 60-credit hour program is accredited by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) and can be completed in three years of full-time studies. The expert faculty includes many board-certified emergency managers (CEM) and respected professionals from a wide range of real-world emergency management and homeland security settings.

Coursework for this master’s program includes “Homeland Security and the Law,” “Domestic Terrorism and Extremist Groups,” and “Economics of Disaster.” You might also study topics like Fire Codes, Loss Prevention, and Intergovernmental Relations. A comprehensive capstone course is required as well. This course helps you synthesize what you’ve learned in the program and use those skills to solve a real-world problem.

A host of online Graduate Certificates in emergency management-related fields are available, too, and many are housed within different departments throughout APU. A handful of possible graduate certificate options include the following:

  • Competitive Intelligence
  • Emergency Management Executive Leadership
  • Environmental Hazard Mitigation and Restoration
  • Terrorism Studies

Most graduate certificate programs require eighteen-credit hours, and all are completely online. Some of these programs can even apply to earning various master’s programs if you desire to pursue a full degree.

Admissions website

#8. Columbia Southern University

Columbia Southern University master of emergency program

Offering a “student-first philosophy,” Columbia Southern University (CSU) caters to working adults and non-traditional-aged students. Specializing in distance learning ever since it was founded in 1993, CSU has administrative offices in Orange Beach, Alabama. Three academic colleges—College of Arts & Sciences, College of Business, and College of Safety & Emergency Services—provide numerous degree and certificate programs solely online. A for-profit institution of higher education, CSU enrolls more than 16,000 students and employs hundreds of faculty members and staff. With a vision “to change and improve lives through higher education by enabling students to maximize their professional and personal potential,” CSU is part of the Columbia Southern Education Group. A military-friendly school, CSU is a member of GoArmyEd® and the Air University Associate to Baccalaureate Cooperative program. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) has continuously granted national accreditation to CSU since 2001.

Program Details

Columbia Southern University has an online MS in Emergency Services Management degree program that’s approved by the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management (IHMM). Offered through the College of Safety and Emergency Services, the 36-credit hour degree program provides a comprehensive curriculum with classes such as “Global Terrorism,” “Advanced Interactions of Hazardous Materials,” and “Legal Aspects of Emergency Services Management.” You will also take courses in “Theory of Crime and Criminology,” “Emergency Management Leadership and Decision Making,” and “Interagency Disaster Management.”

If you want to work in the emergency management field within a public administration setting, the online MPA in Emergency Services Management master’s program through the Columbia Southern University College of Business is an option. Also requiring 36-credit hours, this master of emergency management program “provides students with the skills necessary to respond ethically and effectively to issues that are inherent in public organizations . . . and minimize risk to both emergency responders and to the public.”

CSU has partnered with expert faculty who have experience in real-world emergency management situations. Using their insights and expertise, these faculty members have developed an online master’s degree program that dives deep into the art and science of emergency management. Likewise, the curriculum challenges you to be an effective leader in this field upon graduation.

Admissions website

#9. Oklahoma State University

OSU emergency management masters

Established in 1890 as a land-grant institution under the Morrill Act of 1862, Oklahoma State University was originally an agriculture school known as Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College. Located in Stillwater, Oklahoma, the first classes were held in 1891 at the Stillwater Congregation Church before moving to a campus on 200 acres of donated land out on the prairie. The first student body included eight men, but now, nearly 35,000 students call Oklahoma State University (known as Oklahoma State, OSU, or OKState) their school of choice. Hundreds of academic degree programs are housed within the nine schools and colleges of this flagship university of the Oklahoma State University System. As a public research university, OSU has the classification of a high level of research activity by the Carnegie Foundation. Also a sun-grant designated university, Oklahoma State has regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details

OSU presents an online ABET-accredited Master of Science in Engineering Technology with a specialization in Fire Safety and Explosion Protection (FSEP) through the Division of Engineering Technology. The program is housed within the College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology (CEAT).

This is the first emergency management masters degree program of its kind in the nation. The curriculum of this 30-credit hour degree is provided by faculty with years of real-world and academic experience. Classes include eighteen hours of core courses such as “Fire and Explosion Hazard Recognition” and “Structural Design for Fire and Life Safety.”

The wide selection of elective classes for this online program includes choices such as “Critical Infrastructure Vulnerability and Risk,” “Industrial Ventilation and Smoke Control,” and “Ethics for Practicing Engineers.” You have a choice of a thesis or a non-thesis option (the non-thesis option requires 32 credits to graduate). The program is part of the Department of Fire Protection & Safety, which has a Fire Protection Laboratory offering labs in fire behavior, fire pump, fire alarm, fire suppression, and industrial hygiene.

Admissions website

#10. Jacksonville State University

Jacksonville State University emergency management degree

Jacksonville State University began as the State Normal School at Jacksonville in 1883 in Jacksonville, Alabama. Originally founded to train teachers for the area, three instructors were the entire faculty for the first students enrolled in the junior college. Growing through the years and changing names several times, the school became a full university as Jacksonville State University (JSU) in 1966. A 450-acre campus houses six academic schools: the College of Arts and Humanities, the College of Business and Industry, the College of Education and Professional Studies, the College of Health Professions and Wellness, the College of Science and Mathematics, and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences). Nearly 10,000 students are enrolled in this institution with the “friendliest campus in the South” that “strives to challenge students academically in a responsive environment, meeting students’ educational, career and personal goals.” JSU is a public university and is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Program Details

Located in JSU’s Department of Emergency Management, the online MS in Emergency Management degree is a 30-credit hour program drawing on the expertise of the JSU Center for Disaster and Community Resilience (CDCR). You can complete the program in just one year of full-time studies or two years or more of part-time studies.

Faculty members and others involved in the CDCR have years of collective experience in the field. They provide 21 credits of core classes and a wide selection of electives from which you can choose (you must take nine elective credits to graduate). Some of the elective classes you can take include the following:

  • Disasters and the Media
  • Advanced Radiological Incidents Operations
  • Vulnerability and Capacity-Building
  • Healthcare Leadership for All Hazards Incidents
  • Legal Aspects of Emergency Management

A page of Emergency Management-specific resources provides a plethora of supports and services to help online MS students like you succeed. The program’s professors have deep professional experience in this field, including those who have:

  • Served in the military
  • Active government security clearances
  • Provided training manuals to recognizable national security organizations
  • Actively worked alongside some of the most widespread natural disaster relief non-profits and non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

With faculty experience like this, you can be assured you will gain the skills you need to be successful in this field.

Admissions website

See also: Best 50 Online Masters Engineering Management

#11. Millersville University

Millersville University emergency management degree

Established in 1855 as the Lancaster County Normal School, Millersville University was the first state normal school (teacher training school) in the state of Pennsylvania. Located in Millersville, Pennsylvania, the school grew and changed names four times, becoming Millersville University in 1983. The campus sits on 250 acres, and nearly 8,000 students are currently enrolled. Part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, Millersville offers dozens of academic degree programs and certificates within seven colleges (College of Science and Technology; College of Education and Human Services; College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; the Lombardo College of Business; College of Graduate Studies and Adult Learning; the University College; and the Honors College). Millersville University has a mission to provide “diverse, dynamic, meaningful experiences to inspire learners to grow both intellectually and personally to enable them to contribute positively to local and global communities.” The school is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Program Details

The interdisciplinary Center for Disaster Research and Education (CDRE) at Millersville University presents an entirely online masters in emergency management (MSEM) degree program.

With just 30 credit hours needed to graduate, this program can be completed in two years. Coursework is relevant and timely, covering topics like “Social Dimensions of Disaster,” “Technical and Professional Writing for Emergency Management,” and “Natural Hazards Primer.”

In addition to core courses, you will choose at least six hours of electives, which gives you the ability to customize your degree. You can choose from courses such as “Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Homeland Security,” “Humanitarian Responses to International Disasters,” andComparative Emergency Management Systems.” A final Field Experience Practicum completes the degree.

Upon graduation, you’re qualified (depending on your previous field experience) to sit for the Certified Emergency Manager/Association of Emergency Managers (CEM/AEM) exam. To prepare you for your post-graduate pursuits, the MSEM instructors offer their experience in the field, from which you will gain both knowledge and skills critical to your success.

Admissions website

#12. Anna Maria College

The Sisters of Saint Anne established Anna Maria College in 1946 to provide educational opportunities to young women who otherwise could not afford a higher education. Originally located in Marlborough, Massachusetts, the Sisters had a standing educational charter (for elementary and secondary schools only) that they had to petition to amend in order to open the college. Due to their success, the four-year institution of higher education was opened. The school moved to its current 190-acre campus location in Paxton, Massachusetts, in 1952. Coeducational since 1973, Anna Maria enrolls more than 1,500 students currently in dozens of academic degree programs. As a Catholic liberal arts college, Anna Maria strives to prepare “students to become individuals who will transform their world as ethical leaders and community-oriented professionals.” Regional accreditation for Anna Maria College comes from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Program Details

Anna Maria Collège emergency management degree

The online MPA degree program at Anna Maria College offers three distinct emergency management-related specializations: Emergency Management, Fire and Emergency Services, and Homeland Security.

You can choose the emergency management masters degree track if you desire to be a “successful crisis administration professional.” The Fire and Emergency Services degree is crafted for professionals who want an “executive role in fire and rescue services.” And for individuals who aspire to “protect and oversee the nation’s people, systems and environment,” the Homeland Security specialization is ideal.

This online masters program requires 36 credit hours, and each specialization provides field-specific concentration coursework in addition to the core MPA classes (such as “Strategic Management of Human Capital,” “Organizational Theories and the Public Sector,” and “Ethics in Public Service”). The renowned faculty brings theirdecades of knowledge and real-world experience” to the virtual classroom, and past students speak highly of their educational experience in the program.

Admissions website

#13. Adelphi University

Adelphi University master of emergency management

Adelphi University began in 1863 as the private preparatory school Adelphi Academy in Brooklyn, New York. The need for an institution of higher education for the area was realized when the head of the Academy petitioned the state for a charter to establish a coeducational college. The charter was granted to Adelphi College in 1896, and the school opened to 57 students and sixteen professors. Adelphi transitioned to a women’s college in 1912 and moved to its current location in Garden City, New York, in 1929. Becoming coeducational again in 1946, the school gained university status in 1963, and a year later, the name became Adelphi University. The university includes eight colleges and schools and offers academic degree programs to approximately 7,500 enrollees. Online programs join the main campus and satellite campuses in Manhattan, Hauppauge Center, and Hudson Valley. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education provides regional accreditation.This interdisciplinary program draws on the resources of the College of Nursing and Public Health, College of Arts and Sciences, and Robert B. Willumstad School of Business. Coursework includes “Emergency Management Law,” “Health Management in Times of Disaster,” and “Leadership & Innovation in Complex Systems.”
A final Emergency Management Capstone Course and Presentation is also required. You will showcase the knowledge you have gained through a hands-on “evidence-based project that identifies a problem, reviews the relevant literature, and details an action plan for addressing the identified problem.”

Program Details

The Adelphi online Master of Science in Emergency Management (MS in EM) degree program offers an up-to-the-minute curriculum completely online. The 33-credit hour program, which can be completed full- or part-time is rooted in the initial coursework that was developed after 9/11. Since it was one of the first such programs in the nation, it was developed under the guidance of a first responder disaster epidemiologist.

This is an interdisciplinary program drawing on the resources of the College of Nursing and Public Health, College of Arts and Sciences, and Robert B. Willumstad School of Business. Coursework for this online masters includes “Emergency Management Law,” “Health Management in Times of Disaster,” and “Leadership & Innovation in Complex Systems.” You will explore many other topics, which might include the following:

  • Project Management
  • Risk Management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Community Solutions to Disasters
  • Hazard Risk

A final Emergency Management Capstone Course and Presentation is also required. You will showcase the knowledge you have gained through a hands-on “evidence-based project that identifies a problem, reviews the relevant literature and details an action plan for addressing the identified problem.”

As you progress through the program, you can additionally earn a Graduate Certificate in Emergency Management. This six-course, 15-credit certificate can be completed in about one year as part of your master’s degree studies. The certificate focuses on topics like disaster response and recovery, business continuity planning, and emergency management law, among other crucial topics for the emergency management sector.

Admissions website

#14. John Jay College of Criminal Justice

John Jay emergency management masters

The shared concern between the New York City Police Department and civic leaders led to the creation of a Police Science Program in 1954. Housed at that time within the Baruch School of Business and Public Administration of City College, the program grew to the point that it was re-established as the independent College of Police Science (COPS) of the City University of New York (CUNY) in 1965. Quickly renamed John Jay College of Criminal Justice in honor of the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court and to reflect a larger selection of academic programs, John Jay is a senior college of CUNY and currently offers nearly 100 academic degree programs to more than 15,000 enrolled students. Mostly known for its programs in criminal justice and forensic psychology and science, John Jay lays the foundation for future student success with a liberal arts curriculum. The school is a regionally accredited institution by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Program Details

The Department of Security, Fire, and Emergency Management (SFEM) at John Jay College is staffed with a faculty replete with decades of experience. Understandably, the online MS in Emergency Management degree program offered through John Jay Online reaps the benefit of providing “emerging technologies, legal and organizational frameworks, and necessary knowledge” to online MS students.

Coursework for the 36-credit hour online masters program includes a core of classes such as “Managing Response to Large-Scale Incidents” and “Organization Theory and Management.” Elective choices for this disaster management degree are broad and topical, with a selection including “Terrorism and Apocalyptic Violence,” “Public Sector Inspection and Oversight,” and “Risk, Threat, and Critical Infrastructure.” You might study the psychological aspects of emergencies, public health preparedness, and building and fire codes, too.

The SFEM department also houses the Christian Regenhard Center for Emergency Response Studies and the Center for Private Security and Safety. The former is an applied research center for emergency response students, and the latter focuses on training private security and safety personnel.

Multiple graduate certificate options are provided online, several of which are focused on emergency planning and preparedness, disaster preparedness, and hazard mitigation, such as the Emergency Management Studies certificate.

Admissions website

#15. University of Nevada, Las Vegas

University of Nevada, Las Vegas emergency management masters

UNLV started in 1951 as a provider of extension courses from the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). Classes were held at a Las Vegas high school. Initially called the Southern Regional Division of the University of Nevada, the school would open for classes on its own campus in Paradise, Nevada (but still as an extension of UNR) in 1957. Finally gaining full independence in 1968, the university officially became the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in 1969. Currently, hundreds of academic degree programs (including majors, minors, and certificates) are provided to just under 30,000 students through its 18 schools, colleges, and departments. With a mission to be “committed to rigorous educational programs and promoting well-being and achievement through education, research, scholarship, and creative activity,” UNLV is a public institution with an intensive research focus (as designated by the Carnegie Foundation). The university has regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Program Details

The 36-credit hour MS in Emergency and Crisis Management degree program at UNLV is offered online through the Graduate College. It is housed within the Department of Criminal Justice in the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs.

Courses such as “Science of Catastrophes,” “Evolution of Terrorism,” and “Exercise Design and Response Plan” are topical and timely and are taught by faculty who have practiced real-world applications in the field as well as having produced cutting-edge research and publications.

As part of this masters in emergency management online, you will complete a final culminating “Research in the Implementation of Concepts in Crisis and Emergency Management” course under the guidance of the faculty. This experience completes the degree by allowing you to demonstrate what you have learned through producing a “functional full-scale exercise formulation and execution and organizational response plan creation.”

An online graduate certificate in Emergency Crisis Management Cybersecurity is also available through an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs and the College of Criminal Justice. This certificate prepares students like you to respond to digital threats. It requires 12 credits to complete, including a summer cohort experience.

Admissions website

#16. University of New Haven

University of New Haven emergency management degree

Established in 1920 as an extension program of Northeastern University, the New Haven YMCA Junior College opened its doors in a shared space with Yale University. A state charter allowed the school to become the independent, degree-granting institution named New Haven College in 1926, and by 1948 the institution received regional accreditation. The school moved to its current location in a former orphanage in West Haven, Connecticut, in 1960 and, in 1970, was officially renamed the University of New Haven. Providing a “multicultural campus community,” the University of New Haven is a private, nonsectarian university with additional satellite locations in Orange, Connecticut and Prato, Italy. The university currently enrolls more than 7,500 students in dozens of academic degree programs within five colleges. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges provides regional accreditation to the University of New Haven.

Program Details

The Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences at the University of New Haven provides an entirely online, interdisciplinary emergency management MS degree program. The 36-credit hour degree is one of the two premier programs in New England, and most students can finish in just two years.

The curriculum of this emergency and crisis management degree is rooted in theory as well as hands-on application, with relevant core class topics like “Catastrophe Readiness and Response” and “Holistic Disaster Recovery: Creating a More Sustainable Future.” Like core courses, electives are in 6-7.5-week terms and offer a wide range of areas in which you can focus your energies. This includes courses like “Food Plain Management,” “Donation Management,” and “Political and Policy Basis of Emergency Management.”

The online MS faculty members have years of both real-world and teaching experience, and students’ testimonials praise not just the coursework but also the care and guidance provided by the professors and staff of the program.

Admissions website

#17. Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU emergency management masters

Virginia Commonwealth University was initially established as the Medical Department of Hampden-Sydney College in 1838. Located in Richmond, Virginia, the school quickly received its own charter to become the independent Medical College of Virginia in 1844. It was 1968 when the school became officially Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) after the Medical College and the Richmond Professional Institute merged. Nearly 28,500 students are currently enrolled in more than 200 academic degree programs offered through the eleven schools and three colleges of this public research institution. Covering nearly 175 acres in the downtown area of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University also has several branch and satellite campus locations. VCU is classified as having the highest level of research activity by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Regional accreditation comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Details

VCU offers an MA in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness degree program through the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs. As a student in this emergency services degree program, you’re provided with a focus on public policy and the “larger organizational, social, political, ethical, and economic aspects of disaster studies.”

The 36-credit hour, interdisciplinary program from Virginia Commonwealth University presents coursework in relevant topics such as “Institutional Challenges of Security Preparedness,” “Law Enforcement Policy and Judicial Precedent,” and “Government, Industry and Community Strategic Planning.” Other courses cover topics in risk assessment, cyber security, and public health, to name a few. You can complete this degree in about 1.5 years if you study full time. Part time students might need 2-3 years to finish the degree requirements.

The faculty has expertise in policy change, publications, and real-world applications. The Wilder School’s Center for Public Policy lends resources to both students and professors, as well as “leadership development and training, economic and policy impact analysis, survey insights and program evaluation to. . . state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and the general public.”

For professionals who don’t want a full MA degree from the Wilder School, VCU offers an online Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness graduate certificate, too.

Admissions website

#18. University of Florida

The University of Florida (UF) has roots in multiple schools. The earliest institution was the East Florida Seminary, established in 1853 in Ocala, Florida. This school was moved to Gainesville, Florida, in 1866 to take over the campus of the former Gainesville Academy. When the Florida Legislature passed the Buckman Act in 1905, the state’s public higher education institutions were consolidated, and the State University System of Florida was formulated. The consolidation led to the creation of the University of the State of Florida, located on a new campus in Gainesville. The first classes welcomed just over 100 students in 1906, and in 1909, the university’s name was shortened to “University of Florida.” UF is a public university with land-, sea-, and space-grant designation. More than 55,000 students are currently enrolled in more than 300 academic degree programs in sixteen schools and colleges. Regional accreditation is provided by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Details

The Master of Science in Fire and Emergency Sciences and Emergency Services/Disaster Management (MSFES/ESDM) degree program at UF is housed in the Rinker School of Construction Management within the College of Design, Construction, & Planning. It is an exclusively online program with 33 credit hours required to earn the MS degree.

This program allows you to construct an individualized coursework plan with advisor guidance. Classes are presented asynchronously for flexibility. The comprehensive curriculum includes topics such as “Hazard Mitigation & Preparedness,” “Impacts of Natural & Man-made Disasters on Buildings,” and “Communications in Emergency Management.” Other topics of study might include public administration, emergency response, and disaster planning.

Graduate Certificate Program in Emergency Services/Disaster Management is also available online and shares some of the same coursework as the MS degree program. The award-winning faculty are both experienced and accessible and share their research experience with the MSFES/ESDM students.

Admissions website

#19. Crown College

Crown College emergency management degree

Begun in 1916 as a bible study group for individuals who wanted to work in the ministry, Crown College is a private, coeducational college affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination—one of only four in the United States. Originally located in St. Paul, Minnesota, the bible study group was so successful that it became the St. Paul Bible Institute. Moving in 1969 to a 173-acre campus near St. Bonifacius, Minnesota, the name was changed to Crown College in 1992. With a mission “to provide a biblically-based education for Christian leadership in the Christian and Missionary Alliance, the Church-at-large, and the world,” Crown College serves nearly 1,500 students through the School of Arts and Sciences or the School of Online Studies & Graduate School. Providing over 40 academic degree programs and a Christ-centered approach, Crown College is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details

Crown College’s School of Online Studies and Graduate School online MA in Organizational Leadership with an emphasis in Disaster and Emergency Management (DEM) program is a unique, faith-based approach to emergency management. Joining several other degree options that offer the DEM emphasis (MA in Global Leadership, MA in Ministry Leadership, MA in Christian Studies, or the Master of Divinity), the 36-credit hour MA in Organizational Leadership degree “incorporates the elements of faith that so often go hand-in-hand with this critically important work, so students are prepared to effectively minister to victims of disasters.”

The asynchronous coursework for this applied emergency management degree can be completed in two years. You can engage in both general Organizational Leadership requirements (“Ethical Leadership” and “Foundations of Organization Theory”) and DEM emphasis requirements (“Disaster Management Leadership and Planning” and “Organizational Communication”). Some of the topics you might study include the following:

  • Hazard Risk
  • Emergency Response and Recovery
  • How to Conduct a Vulnerability Assessment
  • Financial Decision Making
  • Emergency Management Cost Analyses

If you desire the DEM emphasis without a full master’s degree, the Graduate Certificate in Disaster and Emergency Management is an option. This 100-percent online certificate requires you to complete 12 credits. Each course is delivered in an eight-week format, so you can move quickly through the material without sacrificing a good depth of inquiry.

Admissions website

#20. Arizona State University

Arizona State

Established in 1855 as a school to educate teachers for Arizona (still a territory at that time), Arizona State University (ASU) had its beginnings as the Territorial Normal School. In 1856, 33 students were enrolled in the first year of the school located in Tempe, Arizona, and now over 142,000 students are currently enrolled in this comprehensive public metropolitan research university on campus and online. The mission of “advancing research and discovery of public value; and assuming fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities it serves” is maintained in the ideals of Arizona State. The university offers hundreds of academic degree programs within seventeen schools and colleges. Main campus remains in Tempe, but there are four additional campuses and multiple extension centers as well. The school has the highest level of research activity through the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Arizona State is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details

Located in the Watts College of Public Service & Community Solutions’ Center for Emergency Management and Homeland Security (CEMHS) and offered through ASU Online, the Arizona State University online Master of Arts in Emergency Management & Homeland Security (MA in EMHS) degree is a 33-credit hour program that can be completed in just a year. This is a unique feature not found in all masters degree in emergency management programs.

Arizona State offers four optional emergency sciences concentration areas that allow for degree customization. Watts College of Public Service students like you can choose from Emergency Management, Homeland Security, Community Resilience, or Biosecurity and Threat Management. All concentrations share the same eighteen-credit hours of core courses, with classes such as “Hazards Governance,” “Applied Data Analysis in Criminal Justice,” and “Integrated Emergency Management.”

A final culminating experience is also required across concentrations for this emergency preparedness degree program from Arizona State. If you don’t choose to pursue a concentration, you can select from elective classes such as “Interoperability for Emergency Managers,” “Critical Incident Stress Management,” and “Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction.”

Admissions website

See also: 35 Best Online Masters in Mathematics

#21. Clemson University

Clemson University masters in emergency management

When Thomas Green Clemson passed away, he made a provision in his will to found a university for the foothills of South Carolina. The governor signed a bill the following year to allow the school to become Clemson Agricultural College, the precursor to Clemson University. A military school for white males, the institution held the first classes in 1893 with a student enrollment of nearly 450. The mid-20th century saw many changes for the school—coeducational in 1955, desegregation in 1963, and officially renamed Clemson University in 1964. The university is Located in Clemson, South Carolina, and currently enrolls more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students. There are over 200 academic degree programs in ten colleges and the Graduate School at this public research institution of higher education. Clemson is a land- and sea-grant university with the highest level of research activity. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges provides regional accreditation.

Program Details

Offered online through the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences (CBSHS) since 2009, the Clemson MPA degree program provides an Emergency Management specialization that is the only program like it in the state. The curriculum requirements depend on your choice of a final comprehensive exam (39 credit hours) or a capstone research project (42 credit hours).

The Emergency Management specialization requires fifteen credits, with classes such as “Homeland Security and Emergency Management Law” and “Resilience in Disaster Recovery.” With courses entirely online and presented in a synchronous format, you gain the benefit of an interactive learning environment where you engage in discussion with the professor and your classmates in real time.

The faculty have years of public affairs experience, and some have specialty experience in defense and security preparedness. Clemson continuously updates and improves the MPA program, as evidenced by periodic internal assessments and input from graduates. The combination of experienced faculty and consistent program reflection means this program is well-equipped to prepare students like you for hitting the ground running upon graduation.

Admissions website

#22. University of Denver

University of Denver

The University of Denver (DU) embodies a vision of being a “great private university dedicated to the public good,” which aligns with the intent of the school’s founders. In 1864 Colorado, the landscape was very much dominated by a wild west attitude. Denver was newly established as a city and predominately a mining camp, and Colorado had just entered the Union six years earlier. The former Colorado Territory Governor John Evans and members of the Methodist church established the Colorado Seminary as an attempt to tame the city. The school changed its name to the University of Denver in 1880 and moved to an old farm just outside of the downtown area, where the 125-acre campus is still located today. Ten schools and colleges provide over 300 academic degree programs to more than 14,000 currently enrolled students. DU is a private research university with regional accreditation granted by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details

The University of Denver University College provides an online Master of Security Management degree with a concentration in Emergency Planning and Response. The program requires five core courses, four Emergency Planning and Response courses, and the final three courses are chosen by you from a selection of electives.

You can finish the program in as little as eighteen months but have up to five years as needed. The foundational core courses include topics like “Security Concepts Overview” and “Business Function of Security,” as well as a required Capstone (you can choose from a Project or a Seminar). The concentration courses include classes such as “Hazardous and Radiological Material Preparedness” and “Mitigation for Emergency Managers,” and electives can be chosen from across the Security Management program (popular class choices include “Human Factors in Security” and “Risk Management”).

An online graduate certificate in Emergency Planning and Response is also available with either a four-course or six-course option available. The same active faculty members present the coursework for the certificate program as the master’s degree.

Admissions website

#23. Boston University

Boston University emergency management online masters

A rich history of multiple higher education institutions led to the creation of Boston University. In 1839, Boston United Methodist Church delegates founded the university’s first manifestation, the Newbury Bible Institute. Although located in Newbury, Vermont, it would receive a new charter to become the Boston Theological Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1867. Merging with a new Boston University in 1871, by the end of the century, all the various locations of the school were consolidated on a fifteen-acre campus on the Charles River. Boston University (BU) is now a private and coeducational institution comprised of 22 schools, colleges, and divisions offering academic programs to more than 36,000 enrolled students. BU is a very high doctoral research activity school (as determined by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education). It is a nonsectarian higher education institution and regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Program Details

The Division of Graduate Medical Sciences (GMS) at Boston University School of Medicine offers an MS in Health Care Emergency Management degree program that can be completed online through the BU virtual classroom. The 36-credit hour program can be completed full-time in a year or two years on a part-time basis.

Relevant coursework includes classes like “Biology, Chemistry & Physics of Natural and Man-made Hazards,” “Methods and Practices of Incident Command,” and “Principles, Methods, and Practices of Modeling and Simulation.” You will also participate in a two-part Research Practicum and Thesis course and a Directed Studies internship opportunity.

Faculty members of GMS have years of experience, and both faculty and students showcase their success through presentations and publications. As a GMS master’s degree student, you are provided with mentorship, advising, and other support services and professional development resources to help you succeed academically and be “prepared for successful careers . . . after BU.”

Admissions website

#24. National University

National University emergency management masters

Catering to members of the military as well as other working adults, National University was established by retired Navy lieutenant commander David Chigos in California in 1971. Noting the unique needs of military service men and women returning to education following their service, Chigos began offering night and weekend classes to 27 students in 1972. These classes focused on relevant, career-focused topics and were so successfully received that National began adding more campuses across the state and in Nevada. Now with 28 campus locations and administrative headquarters in La Jolla, California, National is comprised of six schools and colleges and offers over 130 academic degree programs to 25,000 currently enrolled students. One of the largest private universities in the state of California, National is “dedicated to making lifelong learning opportunities accessible, challenging, and relevant to a diverse student population.” The Western Association of Schools and Colleges has provided regional accreditation since 1977.

Program Details

The School of Professional Studies at National University offers an online, interdisciplinary MS in Homeland Security and Emergency Management (MSHSEM). The program is housed within the Department of Professional Studies. It brings “together the fields of homeland security, terrorism, and emergency management as they relate to man-made and natural disasters.”

The twelve-course, 54-quarter unit program offers a relevant and varied curriculum. Classes include a focus on topics such as “Domestic Terrorism,” “Immigration Issues in Security,” and “Leading Complex Environments.” The program provides the full support offered by NU to all online students and desires “to create a strong community within the online classroom.”

Other topics of study might include the following:

  • Homeland Security
  • Project Management
  • Public Health
  • Natural Disasters
  • Risk Management

NU also offers a transition program for undergraduate HSEM students. This program allows you to move into the master’s program from your undergraduate program if admission requirements are met. In either case, you will be taught by faculty with years of experience in the field.

Admissions website

#25. Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University emergency management masters

Grand Canyon University (GCU or Grand Canyon) started as Grand Canyon College in 1949. Begun as a not-for-profit institution located in a former armory in Prescott, Arizona, the school relocated to a campus in Phoenix in 1951. Founded by the Southern Baptist Convention of Arizona specifically to provide a faith-based college for the state, Grand Canyon is now well-known for being both a Christian university and having a solid range of online programs. GCU became a for-profit school in 2004 when purchased by Significant Education, LLC, but in 2018, the university began transitioning back to not-for-profit status. This coeducational research university has nine colleges and offers over 200 academic degree programs to approximately 25,000 residential students and more than 78,000 additional online students. Preparing “learners to become global citizens, critical thinkers, effective communicators, and responsible leaders” is the school’s mission. Regional accreditation comes from the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details

The GCU Master’s in Emergency Management and Homeland Security is provided online through the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)-accredited Colangelo College of Business. The 38-credit hour program is mainly geared towards leadership, particularly the development of practical and ethical leadership skills.

This degree provides you with a focus on gaining the qualities necessary to be a successful leader—such as emerging leadership theories and application strategies. The degree requires core coursework in classes like “Power, Politics and Influence,” “Emergency Planning and Management,” and “Understanding Terrorism’s Threat.” You can transfer up to twelve credits into the program.

You might have the opportunity to explore other topics in detail in this online program, including the following:

  • Man Made Disasters
  • Loss Prevention
  • Disaster Planning
  • Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • Disaster Response and Recovery

Classes are presented in eight-week terms, and you can work at your own pace. Resources and services begin when a prospective student contacts admission representatives and continues through the program to ensure success in this master’s degree program.

Admissions website

#26. Bellevue University

Bellevue University emergency management masters online

By advocating that the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area needed an institution of higher education, the Chamber of Commerce of Bellevue helped establish Bellevue University in 1965 (Bellevue College until it gained university status in 1994). The following year the school opened in Bellevue, Nebraska, stating that the working adults and non-traditional aged students to which it catered would grow to “thrive in a connected, competitive world.” The University offers accelerated programs to nearly 9,000 currently enrolled students, utilizing both on-campus and online learning approaches. An alumni network of over 50,000 graduates has made its way through academic programs offered through Bellevue’s four colleges: College of Arts & Sciences, College of Business, College of Science and Technology, and College of Engineering, Technology, and Management. Bellevue is one of the largest private universities in Nebraska, with several centers around the state. The University has regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission. 

Program Details

Bellevue University’s Master of Science in Security Management (MSSM) is offered online in an accelerated cohort format. The 36-credit hour program provides coursework you progress through together in sequence. Classes include “Critical Infrastructure: Analysis and Strategies,” “Terrorism and Homeland Defense Fundamentals,” and “Emergency Preparedness and Management.” Other topics might include working with nonprofit organizations, public health, and crisis management.

As an NSA and Department of Homeland Security National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity-designated university, Bellevue houses a Center for Cybersecurity Education (CCE) that informs and provides interdisciplinary resources to the MSSM program. This gives students like you access to cutting-edge research and experiences in the real world.

In addition to coursework taught by “faculty with industry experience,” you participate in an applied project mimicking a real crisis situation to gain the “skills and knowledge necessary to address emerging threats, terrorism, homeland defense, information security, and infrastructure protection.”

Admissions website

#27. California State University, Long Beach

California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) began as the Los Angeles-Orange County State College in 1949. Thirteen faculty members and 169 students enrolled that first fall semester of the senior college in Long Beach, California, but by the end of the spring semester, enrollment had increased to over 600 and the name of the school was changed to Long Beach State College (LBSC). Several more name changes occurred before the school became CSULB in 1972 and joined the California State University System in 1968 (and currently is the third largest campus in terms of enrollment within the 23-school system). Over 38,000 students are currently enrolled in CSULB, which makes it one of the largest institutions of higher education in the state. The school is a public space-grant university sitting on a 323-acre campus. Regional accreditation for CSULB comes from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Program Details

Offered entirely online, the Master of Science in Emergency Services Administration (EMER) degree program at CSULB is collaboratively provided by both the Department of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Emergency Management and the College of Health and Human Services.

The interdisciplinary program requires 32-credit hours. You will focus on the administrative side of disaster management in order to gain the “leadership and critical thinking skills needed to build stronger organizations and disaster-resilient communities.” Classes include “Information Literacy and Practical Writing Applications for Emergency Management,” “Continuity of Operations, Recovery, and Emergency Management,” and “Technology, Cybersecurity, and Inter-Agency Communications.”

Monthly Information Sessions are provided for prospective students to learn more about the program, how to apply, and what is required. Once admitted, you will gain the benefits of learning from faculty who are professionals in the emergency management field, including in the areas of local government, federal government, and public safety. Other areas of expertise include 

Admissions website

#28. University of South Florida

University of Southern Florida

The University of South Florida (USF) has distinction as the first independent state university to be wholly devised and constructed in the 20th century. A vote by the Florida House of Representatives in 1955 determined it would be created for Hillsborough County. Located on an airfield no longer being used just outside of Tampa, the main campus now encompasses almost 2,000 acres. Two additional campus locations form the USF System: USF Tampa, USF St. Petersburg, and USF Sarasota-Manatee. Student enrollment reaches over 50,000 across the USF System, making it one of Florida’s five largest universities. Nearly 200 academic degree programs are provided through the fourteen colleges. In addition to being a member of the USF System, USF Tampa is also part of the State University System of Florida. USF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Details

The USF College of Public Health presents an online Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program with a concentration in Disaster Management, Humanitarian Relief & Homeland Security. This degree is ideal for you if you want to gain a public health perspective and understand the disaster lifecycle. In particular, this program’s academic focus is on the recovery process.

The 42-credit hour program is entirely online, with MPH courses covering topics like “History and Systems of Public Health” and “Population Assessment.” The concentration core and emphasis electives include classes such as “Foundations of Humanitarian Assistance,” “Public Health Emergencies in Large Populations,” and “From Emergency to Development and Prevention.”

Classes are taught by esteemed faculty with a wide range of experience, such as working internationally with disaster relief organizations, serving the United States military, authoring publications and books, and speaking and training on many levels. The faculty also have experience working with nonprofit organizations, responding to man made disasters, and crisis management, to name a few.

Three fully-online graduate certificates are also available: Disaster Management, Humanitarian Assistance, or Homeland Security.

Admissions website

#29. Arkansas Tech University

ATU emergency management masters

Established in 1909 by the Arkansas General Assembly, Arkansas Tech University started as the Second District Agricultural School. The school opened in 1910 in Russellville, Arkansas, to offer high school-level education, but would grow to incorporate junior college offerings. This expansion led to the school’s name becoming Arkansas Polytechnic College in 1925. Six years later, the high school component was eliminated. The name Arkansas Tech came in 1976. The school kept the campus in Russellville and added a satellite campus in Ozark, Arkansas, in 2004. Six colleges (College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, College of Arts and Humanities, College of Business, College of Natural and Health Sciences, College of Education, and College of eTech) provide academic programs to nearly 10,000 students on the main campus alone. Arkansas Tech has a vision to be a place “where students succeed, innovation thrives, and communities flourish.” The Higher Learning Commission grants regional accreditation.

Program Details

With its online MS in Emergency Management and Homeland Security (EMHS), Arkansas Tech gives you the “opportunity to study the emerging technology as well as the social, political, legal, and economic aspects of EMHS from the perspective of a practitioner as well as a scholar.”

You are guided through advisement by the Program Director, who helps you navigate the 36-credit hour program. You can choose between a Practicum Research option or a Thesis Research option.

Housed in the Department of Emergency Management, the program’s curriculum provides an exploration of relevant topics such as “Emerging Technology in EMHS,” “Ethical, Legal, and Political Considerations in Emergency Management and Homeland Security,” and “Foundations of Leadership.” You can choose from a wide variety of electives such as “Community Management of Hazardous Materials,” “Introduction to Terrorism,” and “Information Security for Public Managers.”

You can transfer in up to nine credit hours of previous coursework to give you more flexibility.

Admissions website

#30. Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University

In 1932, a married couple founded a business school that would grow to become a university. Entrepreneur Harry A.B. Shapiro and Gertrude Crockett Shapiro established the New Hampshire School of Accounting and Secretarial Science as a for-profit school in Manchester, New Hampshire. Important changes soon occurred: in 1963 the school received a degree-granting charter and transitioned into a non-profit institution in 1968. The school moved in 1970 to 300 acres near the Merrimack River, close to both Manchester and Hooksett, New Hampshire, which is where the campus remains today. Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) became the current name in 2001 after going through multiple changes. Currently over 170,000 students are enrolled, just 3,000 of which study on-campus. There are are seven academic colleges which provide the degree programs. A private, nonsectarian, coeducational university, Southern New Hampshire University is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Program Details

Southern New Hampshire University offers an entirely online Master of Science in Management (MSM) degree program with a concentration in Emergency Management. In addition to providing a solid basis in crisis and disaster management theory and application principles, the 36-credit hour program focuses on “the FEMA tenets of planning, preparedness, response, and recovery.”

The curriculum for this Southern New Hampshire University program starts with management topics such as “Human Behavior in Organizations” and “Resource Planning and Decision Making.” The twelve-hour Emergency Management concentration follows with courses developed “in relation to the guidelines of the Department of Homeland Security to include the Federal Incident Management System (FIMS),” such as:

  • Emergency Planning and Preparedness
  • Applied Emergency Management
  • Disaster Response and Recovery

This Southern New Hampshire University master’s degree is ideal for you if you desire to be an emergency manager who is ready “to face today’s extreme business challenges” by leading “crisis response in a variety of settings, from public agencies to private firms, on a local or global scale.” Upon graduation, you might qualify for jobs in the Department of Homeland Security, public administration, or local government.

Admissions website

See also: Best Online Master’s in Organizational Leadership

Michael Templeton
Managing Editor

Kacey Reynolds Schedler
Contributing Editor