When emergencies and disaster befall society, a dedicated force of professionals respond to mitigate the harm and provide care to those affected. No, we’re not talking about superheros–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. One of the most popular online degree programs, the Master of Emergency Management is a smart investment. 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 the degree online does not detract from the education and hands-on experience that students gain–read on to discover some of the most respected and accessible emergency management graduate degree programs available.
Methodology: As we utilized 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, we recognized several commonalities in programs that shone through as exceptional. In particular, 50 programs came to the forefront of our research. Using those recognized commonalities, we developed a point system to then rank the 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, and were 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
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 first president of the school, Evan Pugh, was one of the main advocates for the Morrill Act of 1862 (a federal bill that allowed states to sell federal lands in order to fund universities). Penn State (officially named “The Pennsylvania State University” since 1953) was able to reap the benefits retroactively. Main campus is located in University Park, which is also the flagship of the 24 campuses, and almost 50,000 students are enrolled in that campus. 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, and 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 students to safeguard and respond to both natural and human-orchestrated disasters. Core 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.” Also offered online are multiple twelve-credit graduate certificates covering both of these focus areas as well as several other certificates related to homeland security and emergency management. The coursework is taught by faculty who have, among other achievements, trained governments, responded to major crises, and practiced epidemiology in multiple countries, and student success is evidenced by the experience of iMPS alumni.
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 the 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. Becoming a university in 1967, Arkansas State University (ASU or “A-State”) is the flagship university campus in the Arkansas State University System. Campus sits on nearly 1,400 acres, and over 14,000 students are currently enrolled in more than 140 academic degree programs housed within the six colleges and online. This public research university boasts the second largest enrollment in the state, and regional accreditation comes from the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: Offered through Arkansas State University’s Regional Center for Disaster Preparedness Education (which is housed within the College of Nursing & Health Professions), the 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.” A 36-credit hour program, students take an extensive selection of courses, focusing on relevant and wide-ranging topics like “Crisis Communications,” “Health Care Issues and Policies,” and “Global Perspectives.” Students are able to customize their experience, through both the required Practicum Experience (either taking a Seminar Topics Course or participating in a 60-hour practicum at site that has received program approval) and the Final Project (in which students can complete a Research Project, a Master’s Thesis, or a 240-hour internship). Additionally, students pursuing the online Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Emergency Management can apply the credits towards the MSDPEM. All programs within the Regional Center are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Emergency Management Education (CAEME).
In Fort Lauderdale, Florida in the 1960s, local businessmen and entrepreneurs thought a graduate-level institution with an emphasis on the physical and social sciences would benefit the area. This concept for a school would lead to the creation of Nova Southeastern University. In 1964, the Nova University of Advanced Technology was established and initially located in downtown Fort Lauderdale. 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 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s highest level of research designation, NSU provides over 175 academic degree programs to 24,000 currently enrolled students. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges provides NSU with its 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 Maritime Safety and Security, Cyber Security, Criminal Justice, Public Health, Environmental Hazards, or Fire Administration. Students who opt out of a specialization construct their 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, and faculty members have experience as “both academics and emergency management professionals.”
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 University of Maryland in Baltimore County received a donation of 425-acres in Catonsville, Maryland from the Spring Grove State Hospital, and classes began in 1966 with 750 students enrolled that first year. Now, The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) serves over 13,500 students in academic degree programs within three colleges and four schools. A member of the University System of Maryland, UMBC is designated by the Carnegie Foundation as being a top tier research institution, and 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 with both prestige and customization options. Offered through the Department of Emergency Health Services, students reap the benefits of faculty and “other world-renown emergency medicine resources” from many Institutes and Centers close to UMBC. Two tracks of study and an Education Concentration are available (Administration, Planning & Policy track or Preventative Medicine & Epidemiology track), and a graduate certificate in Emergency Management can be pursued. The 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), and the Education Concentration is provided jointly with the ISD/Department of Education. Students usually complete the degree in two years but have up to five years if needed (and it can also offer a gateway to a Ph.D. in Public Policy with a EHS concentration in Emergency Management), and proven student success is evidenced through a list of program alumni careers.
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 was offered 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. Over 25,000 students are currently enrolled in the Boston campus, and NU has branch graduate locations in Charlotte, North Carolina, Seattle, Washington, and San Jose, California. Northeastern also enjoys partnerships with over 3,000 global organizations and agencies, allowing students to participate in a cooperative education experience. Nine academic schools and colleges comprise Northeastern University, and 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 students have their choice between four concentrations: Port Security, Organization and Infrastructure Continuity, Geospatial Services, and Emergency Management. The Emergency Management concentration provides relevant coursework, with classes such as “Emergency Management and Geographic Information Systems” and “Continuity of Operations and Planning,” and all concentration options culminate with either a Topics in Homeland Security Capstone or a Master’s Thesis. Additionally, Northeastern offers an Graduate Certificate in Security & Resilience Studies that can be completed online. The twelve-credit hour certificate is housed within the Department of Political Science in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities. Students are challenged by the renowned faculty with engaging and topical coursework such as “Cyberconflict,” “Counterterrorism,” and “International Security.”
The oldest Jesuit Catholic university in the United States, Georgetown University (originally Georgetown College) was begun by John Carroll, who would go on to 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 more than 18,500 students are enrolled at the main campus located in the Washington D.C. area of Georgetown, and there are four additional campuses: Medical Center, Law Center, School of Continuing Studies, and the School of Foreign Service in Qatar. 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, and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education provides regional accreditation.
Program Details: Through the School of Continuing Studies, Georgetown provides one fully online and two hybrid online graduate degree programs in Emergency Management. Georgetown’s Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Emergency & Disaster Management is a completely online, 33-credit hour degree program offering a “holistic approach” of 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 disaster. 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, and the success of students is evidenced by the testimonials of the programs’ graduates. Prospective students have access to webinars and information sessions to learn more about the program.
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 in order 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. As an online university, 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 over 200 degree programs to a global network of nearly 100,000 students. A private, for-profit institution of higher education, APU 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. The 60-credit hour program can be completed in three years full time, and the expert faculty, many of whom are board-certified emergency managers (CEM) or respected professionals in real-world emergency management and homeland security settings. Accredited by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC), coursework includes “Homeland Security and the Law,” “Domestic Terrorism and Extremist Groups,” and “Economics of Disaster.” A host of online Graduate Certificates in emergency management related fields are available, and many are housed within different departments throughout APU. A handful of possible graduate certificate options include Competitive Intelligence, Emergency Management Executive Leadership, Environmental Hazard Mitigation and Restoration, and Terrorism Studies, just to name a few. Most require eighteen-credit hours, and all are completely online—some can apply towards various master’s programs if students desire to go on for a full degree.
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 26 degree programs and 21 certificate programs solely online. A for-profit institution of higher education, CSU enrolls 30,000 students and employs over 1000 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’s online MS in Emergency Services Management degree program is approved by the Institute for Safety and Health Management (ISHM). 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.” For students who want to work in the emergency management field within a public administration setting, the online MPA in Emergency Services Management degree program through the CSU College of Business is an option. Also requiring 36-credit hours, the MPA 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 other institutions to provide additional support and resources to emergency management students.
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 over 37,000 male and female students call Oklahoma State University (known as Oklahoma State, OSU, or OKState) their school of choice. More than 200 academic degree programs are housed within the ten schools and colleges of this flagship university of the Oklahoma State University System, and 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, which is housed within the College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology (CEAT). The first degree program of its kind, the curriculum of this 30-credit hour degree is provided by a faculty who have years of both real-world and academic experience. Classes include eighteen hours of cores courses such as “Fire and Explosion Hazard Recognition” and “Structural Design for Fire and Life Safety.” The wide selection of elective classes offer choices such as “Critical Infrastructure Vulnerability and Risk,” “Industrial Ventilation and Smoke Control,” and “Ethics for Practicing Engineers,” and students have a choice of a thesis or a non-thesis option. 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.
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 (School of Arts and Humanities, School of Business and Industry, School of Education, School of Nursing and Health Professions, School of Human Services and Social Sciences, and School of Science), and more than 8,500 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.” A public university, JSU 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). Faculty members and others involved in the CDCR have years of collective experience in the field, and provide 21-credits of core classes and a wide selection of electives from which students can choose (some offered classes include “Disasters and the Media,” “Advanced Radiological Incidents Operations,” “Vulnerability and Capacity-Building,” and “Healthcare Leadership for All-Hazards Incidents”). A page of Emergency Management-specific resources provides a plethora of supports and services to help online MS students succeed, and with professors who have served in the military, have active government security clearances, provided training manuals to recognizable nation security organizations and have actively worked alongside some of the most widespread disaster relief non-profits and non-governmental organizations (NGO), students can be assured they will gain the skills they need.
#11. New England College
New England College (NEC) was established in Henniker, New Hampshire in 1946. An influx of students produced by the G.I. Bill after World War II was instrumental in the development of the institution, and the 225-acre campus is spread throughout the town. A liberal arts school that strives to provide a “creative and supportive learning community that challenges individuals to transform themselves and their world,” NEC currently enrolls nearly 3,000 coeducational students in 50 academic degree programs housed within one of four school divisions: the School of Arts & Sciences, the School of Education, the School of Management, and the School of Natural & Social Sciences. Diversity and inclusion have been fostered throughout the school, and NEC was recognized by Time magazine as one of 25 colleges in the United States with the greatest level of diversity expansion since 1990. A private, not-for-profit institution of higher education, NEC is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Program Details: The only program like it in the United States, New England College’s MS in Higher Education Administration degree with a Concentration in Campus Public Security (CPSA) was created to address the “increased threat of international and domestic terrorism, regulatory compliance requirements, and important concerns such as substance abuse and sexual/relationship violence demands.” As the college environment mirrors the turmoil that the rest of the world experiences, the 40-credit hour program was constructed in collaboration with “industry leader in the field of Campus Public Safety,” D. Stafford & Associates. The curriculum is headed up by faculty who are professionals in the field, with classes such as “Multiculturalism,” “Ethics and Leadership,” “Campus Public Safety Considerations,” and “Emergency Management.” Offered through the School of Graduate and Professional Studies, the MS in Higher Education Administration in CPSA can be completed in just one year on a full-time basis.
#12. Saint Leo University
St. Leo’s College was the original name of Saint Leo University, and since it was founded in 1889, it is the oldest Roman Catholic institution of higher education in Florida. The first class of students included just seven individuals, but that number grew to 32 by the end of that first year. Now more than 16,000 students are enrolled at this private, coeducational liberal arts university, making it one of the five largest Catholic institutions of higher education in the nation. The main campus in St. Leo, Florida is joined by multiple education centers (nearly 50), and Saint Leo was also one of the first universities in the United States to offer distance education in the 1970s. Offering over 50 academic degree programs on-campus and online through the College of Arts & Sciences, College of Business, and College of Education & Social Services, Saint Leo is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Program Details: Saint Leo’s Department of Public Safety Administration provides two completely online emergency management degree programs. The MS in Emergency and Disaster Management degree requires 36-credit hours, and students generally complete the degree in two years (students can receive special permission to accelerate the program). Core and emergency and disaster management required coursework includes topics like “Leadership Applications in Criminal Justice,” “Impact of Terrorism on Homeland Security,” and “Psychological Aspects of Critical Incidents,” and a wide range of elective topics allow students to customize their degree. The MS in Emergency and Disaster Management with a Fire Science Administration specialization also requires 36-credit hours and is constructed for those who are currently employed in the emergency management field. Classes cover relevant issues such as “Fire Service Organizational Dynamics,” “Hazard Mitigation,” and “Fire-Related Human Behavior.” Both programs focus on hands-on experience, and the faculty have the years of real-world expertise to impart the knowledge and skills necessary.
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. Campus sits on 250 acres, and more than 8,500 students are currently enrolled. Part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, Millersville offers nearly 90 academic degree programs and 40 certificates within five academic colleges (College of Science and Technology, College of Education and Human Services, College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, College of Graduate Studies and Adult Learning, 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” and 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 Master of Science in Emergency Management (MSEM) degree program. A 30-credit hour program that can be completed in two years, coursework is relevant and timely, covering topics like “Social Dimensions of Disaster,” “Technical & Professional Writing for Emergency Management,” and “Natural Hazards Primer.” Choosing at least six hours of electives, students have the ability to customized their degree with choices such as “Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction & Homeland Security,” “Humanitarian Responses to International Disasters,” and “Comparative Emergency Management Systems.” A final Field Experience Practicum completes the degree, and students and graduates are qualified (dependent upon their previous experience in the field) to sit for the Certified Emergency Manager/Association of Emergency Managers (CEM/AEM) exam. The MSEM instructors have experience in the field, and students gain both knowledge and skills from their expertise.
The Eastern Kentucky State Normal School was established in 1906 when the Kentucky General Assembly passed a bill to found a teacher training school. The campus of the former Central University (which merged with Centre College in 1901), located in Richmond, Kentucky, was chosen as the site of the new school. This normal school would go through several changes in name and academic scope, becoming Eastern Kentucky University (Eastern) in 1966. A coeducational, public university, Eastern is comprised of six academic colleges and has additional campus locations in Corbin, Hazard, Lancaster, and Manchester. A focus on three “functions”—high-quality instruction, scholarship, and service—steer the vision of the school, and nearly 17,000 students are currently enrolled (and have over 230 student organizations from which to choose). Regional accreditation has been granted by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools continuously since 1928.
Program Details: The College of Justice and Safety at EKU provides an online MS in Safety, Security & Emergency Management with a concentration in Emergency Management & Disaster Resilience. Through the Department of Safety, Security & Emergency Management, the 36-credit hour program provides concentration courses in topics like “Evolution of Emergency Management,” “Intergovernmental Relations in Disaster Management,” and “Achieving Long-Term Disaster Resilience.” The connections (and knowledge) that the faculty members share with MS students is an invaluable asset, and beyond the expertise shared by faculty, students can gain real-world experience and earn credits towards their degree by participating in an internship through EKU’s training-for-credit program. A News & Resources page also offers additional opportunities, and for professionals who do not need a full master’s degree, an online Graduate Certificate in Emergency Management is available. Additionally, EKU Online offers students professional experience with several key industry affiliations and an Institute for Safety and Health Management.
#15. Anna Maria College
The Sisters of Saint Anne established Anna Maria College in 1946 in order to provide educational opportunities to young women who otherwise could not afford a higher education. Originally located in Marlborough, Massachusetts, the Sisters had an standing educational charter (for elementary and secondary schools only) that they had to petition to amend in order to open the college, and 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 over 50 academic degree programs. 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: 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. Students can choose the Emergency Management track if they desire to be “successful crisis administration professionals,” 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. The MPA 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 & the Public Sector,” and “Ethical Theory”). The renowned faculty brings their “decades of knowledge and real-world experience” to the virtual classroom, and past students speak highly of their educational experience in the program.
#16. Adelphi University
Adelphi University began 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. Eight colleges and schools comprise the university and offer academic degree programs to nearly 8,000 currently enrolled students. Online programs join the main campus, as well as satellite campuses in Manhattan, Suffolk County, and Hudson Valley. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education provides regional accreditation.
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 39-credit hour program is rooted in the initial coursework that was developed after 9/11 (one of the first in the nation) under the guidance of a first responder disaster epidemiologist. 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 includes “Emergency Management Law,” “Health Management in Times of Disaster,” and “Leadership & Innovation in Complex Systems.” A final Emergency Management Capstone Project and Presentation is also required, and students showcase the knowledge they 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 students progress through the program they can additionally earn a Graduate Certificate in Emergency Management.
The University of Central Florida (UCF) was established in 1963 as a response to the visionary speech delivered by President John F. Kennedy’s man on the moon speech in 1962. Originally the Florida Technological University, the institution’s campus—covering more than 1,400 acres—was located in Orlando, Florida, and classes began for nearly 2,000 students the first year. Intentionally designed to be a coeducational and non-segregated school offering education in technology and space-related subjects, the name was changed to The University of Central Florida in 1978 to reflect an expansion of academic programs. A space-grant public university, UCF is the largest in terms of enrollment in Florida and the second largest in the United States with over 66,000 students. Over 200 academic degree programs are offered through the thirteen colleges, and several regional campuses and online programs are also available. Regional accreditation for UCF comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Program Details: The UCF School of Public Administration offers a Master of Emergency and Crisis Management (MECM) entirely online. Housed in the College of Community Innovation and Education (formerly part of the College of Health and Public Affairs), the 36-credit hour program provides a cohort format for students to progress through the curriculum together, engaging in coursework such as “Cross-Sectoral Governance,” “Hazard Analysis and Disaster Planning,” and “Leadership in Public Service.” A final Capstone (“Advanced Concepts and Applications in Emergency Crisis Management”) is required to complete the program, which incorporates “FEMA’s Professional Development Series.” The faculty have conducted extensive research and produced many publications for the emergency management sector. An interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Emergency Management and Homeland Security is also available entirely online, and the same emergency management master’s degree faculty provide the coursework in this eighteen-credit hour certificate.
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 15,000 enrolled students. Mostly known for its programs in criminal justice and forensic psychology and science, John Jay lays the foundation with a liberal arts curriculum and is regionally accredited 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 program includes a core of classes such as “Managing Response to Large-Scale Incidents” and “Organization Theory and Management,” and elective choices are broad and topical, with a selection including “Terrorism and Apocalyptic Violence,” “Public Sector Inspection and Oversight,” and “Risk, Threat, and Critical Infrastructure.” The SFEM department also houses the Christian Regenhard Center for Emergency Response Studies, and the Center for Private Security and Safety. Multiple graduate certificate options are provided online, several of which are focused on emergency preparedness, security and disaster response, such as the Emergency Management Studies certificate.
UNLV started in 1951 as extension courses of the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), and classes were held in 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, nearly 150 academic degree programs (and over 300 majors, minors, and certificates) are provided to the just under 30,000 students through the 22 schools, colleges, and divisions. 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) and 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 and 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. A final culminating “Research in the Implementation of Concepts in Crisis and Emergency Management” course completes the degree by allowing students to demonstrate what they have learned through producing a “functional full-scale exercise formulation and execution and organizational response plan creation.” An online graduate certificate in Emergency Management Cybersecurity is also available through an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs, the William S. Boyd School of Law, and the Lee Business School.
The school that would become George Washington University was established as Columbian College in the District of Columbia in 1821. The State of the Union address given by George in 1790 inspired the idea of founding an institution of higher education in the Capital. A group of Baptist ministers took the idea and petitioned Congress in 1819, and their success (as well as their financial support) allowed the school to open in 1822. Only three students were initially enrolled, but now over 25,000 students are enrolled. Becoming George Washington University (GW) in 1904, the institution is a private research university with fourteen schools and colleges. Valuing a student-centric approach, GW builds a community of cultural diversity and intellect “upon a foundation of integrity, creativity, and openness to the exploration of new ideas,” in order to stimulate the dynamic environment on-campus and online, and regional accreditation comes from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
Program Details: The Institute for Crisis, Disaster, and Risk Management (ICDRM) at GW is housed within the School of Engineering & Applied Science and provides several academic opportunities online for graduate students interested in the field of emergency management. The degree option is an MS in Engineering Management program with a concentration in Crisis, Emergency and Risk Management. The 36-credit hour program is generally completed in three years, and students participate in a relevant and research-intensive curriculum. The engineering management coursework provides a basis that the specialization coursework builds upon, with classes such as “Homeland Security: The National Challenge,” “Medical and Public Health Emergency Management,” and “Disaster Recovery and Organizational Continuity.” Two Graduate Certificates are offered as well: the Homeland Security Emergency Preparedness and Response (HS EPR) through the Department of Engineering Management & Systems Engineering and the Emergency Management and Public Health from the School of Public Health & Health Services.
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 reanmed New Haven College in 1926, and by 1948 the institution received regional accreditation. The school moved to its current location on a former orphanage in West Haven, Connecticut in 1960 and in 1970 officially was 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 New London, Waterbury, Shelton, and Newington, Connecticut, and also in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Prato, Italy. Currently enrolling nearly 6,500 students in 150 academic degree programs within six colleges, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges provides the regional accreditation to 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 MS in Emergency Management 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 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.” Electives offer a wide range of areas in which students can focus their energies, such as “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.
In 2017, two schools with strong and unique histories united to form “one university focused on redefining humanly possible.” Thomas Jefferson University began as the Jefferson Medical College in 1824, and 60 years later Philadelphia University was established as the Philadelphia Textile School. Both schools outgrew their initial academic intent and changed names several times, before becoming Thomas Jefferson University and Philadelphia University, respectively. After the two schools became one combined institution of higher education, they maintained the Thomas Jefferson name, often being shortened to simply “Jefferson.” Nearly 8,000 students are enrolled in this private university located in Center City and East Falls, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and sixteen colleges, schools, and institutes offer more than 160 academic degree programs. With a mission to “improve lives and provide students with exceptional value in 21st century professional education,” Jefferson is fully regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
Program Details: The Jefferson College of Health Professions provides an online MS in Disaster and Medicine Management degree program that can be completed in a year. The 36-credit hour program requires one on-campus, six-and-a-half-day residency in which students receive hands-on instruction with two core courses in “Psychological Aspects of Disasters” and “Principles of Disaster Exercises and Drills.” Other relevant core coursework is available asynchronously, and all students must complete 100 hours of Experiential Learning within their communities. The program is offered through a collaboration between Jefferson and the Department of Emergency Medicine of the Albert Einstein Health Network, and through additional partnerships with Saint Louis University and the Naval Postgraduate School, online MS students are able to access a broad array of electives and specializations (such as concentrations in Biosecurity or Disaster Preparedness). Students learn from faculty who are also practitioners, working on federal response teams and providing training. Additionally, students have opportunities to pursue two different certificate options.
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. Over 31,000 students are currently enrolled in more than 200 academic degree programs offered through the twelve schools and two colleges of this public research institution. Covering nearly 175 acres in the downtown area of Richmond, VCU also has several branch and satellite campus locations, both in Virginia and globally. VCU is classified as having the highest level of research activity by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, and regional accreditation comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Program Details: Through the VCU L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, students of the MA in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness degree program are 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 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.” The faculty have expertise in policy change, publications, and real-world applications, and 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, VCU offers an online Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness graduate certificate as well.
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 institutions of higher education 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 name of the university was shortened to “University of Florida.” A public university with land-, sea-, and space-grant designation, nearly 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. An exclusively online program, 33 credit hours are required to earn the MS degree, and students construct their individualized coursework plan with advisor guidance. Classes are presented asynchronously for flexibility, and choices include topics such as “Hazard Mitigation & Preparedness,” “Impacts of Natural & Man-made Disasters on Buildings,” and “Communications in Emergency Management.” A 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.
Established in 1991 to provide “career-relevant, distance education for a mobile population of military learners with unique needs,” the American Military University (AMU) offered distance education programs through the administrative offices initially located in Manassas, Virginia. Founded by a military officer (retired Marine Corps officer James P. Etter), AMU grew to require a university system in 2002: the American Public University System (APUS). Comprised of both AMU and the newly-established American Public University (APU), APUS moved the administrative headquarters to Charles Town, West Virginia. A private, for-profit university, AMU presents “high quality higher education with emphasis on educating the nation’s military and public service communities.” Through six schools (Arts & Humanities, Health Sciences, Business, Education, Security & Global Studies, and Science, Technology, Engineering & Math), over 200 academic degree programs are offered to the almost 100,000 enrolled online students, and regional accreditation is provided through the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: Through the School of Security & Global Studies, the MA in Emergency and Disaster Management (EDM) degree program is accredited by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) and offered completely online. The degree provides a 36-credit hour curriculum taught by a host of faculty that are “highly credentialed and respected leaders.” Coursework includes core topics like “Crisis Action Planning” and “Interagency Disaster Management,” as well as major requirements that include classes such as “Hazard Mitigation and Resilient Communities” and “Weapons of Mass Destruction and the New Terrorism.” A final Capstone completes the degree, which is the first of its kind to be acknowledged by the Foundation of Higher Education for Disaster and Emergency Management and Homeland Security. Two online graduate certificate options are also available: Emergency and Disaster Management and Emergency Management Executive Leadership. Both certificates require eighteen credit hours and can be completed in a year, and some coursework is shared between the two (such as “Emergency Management and Public Law” and “Economics of Disaster”).
#26. Crown College
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 more than 1,300 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 can be completed in two years, and students 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”). For students who desire the DEM emphasis without a full master’s degree, the Graduate Certificate in Disaster and Emergency Management is an option.
The University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) was established as the first private medical college in the state of Nebraska in 1880. Located in Omaha, Nebraska and called the Omaha Medical College at that time, the institution would join the University of Nebraska System just over two decades later in 1902. By 1968 the University of Nebraska wanted to organize the health sciences contingent all together, and thus the UNMC was created. One of four institutions of higher education in the University of Nebraska System, the Omaha campus of UNMC is the flagship joined by four additional branch campuses throughout the state. Nearly 4,000 students are currently enrolled in the programs offered by UNMC’s six colleges (Colleges of Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health, and Allied Health Professions), and this public institution dedicated to health science education is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: The University of Nebraska Medical Center provides an entirely online MS in Emergency Preparedness through the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accredited College of Public Health. The curriculum of the 36-credit hour program covers the Department of Homeland Security’s core focus areas of “Prevent, Protect, Respond and Recover” and offers other course topics such as “Terrorism,” “Biostatistics,” and “Foundations of Public Health.” The coursework is taught by the same experienced faculty as the on-campus program, and the resources from the Center for Biosecurity, Biopreparedness and Emerging Infectious Diseases (which “encompasses both the Center for Preparedness Education and the UNMC Center for Biosecurity”) serves to enhance, inform, and enrich the student experience. An additional option, the entirely online Certificate in Emergency Preparedness, is also available, and students exit the certificate program with the “emergency preparedness and response skills . . . essential to the public health infrastructure.”
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 80,000 students are currently enrolled in this comprehensive public metropolitan research university. 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 ASU, and approximately 350 academic degree programs are offered through the sixteen schools and colleges. Main campus remains in Tempe, but there are four additional campuses and multiple extension centers as well. With the designation of having the highest level of research activity through the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, ASU 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. Four optional concentration focus areas allow for degree customization, and students 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, and if students do not choose to pursue a concentration they can select from electives such as “Interoperability for Emergency Managers,” “Critical Incident Stress Management,” and “Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction.”
#29. Clemson University
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. Located in Clemson, South Carolina and currently enrolling nearly 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students in over 200 academic degree programs in seven colleges and the Graduate School, Clemson is a public research institution of higher education. 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 the student’s 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.” Entirely online and presented in a synchronous format, students gain the benefit of an interactive learning environment where they engage in discussion with the professor and their 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 an internal assessment conducted in the spring of 2018. Students provided feedback on the program, as well as praise.
#30. University of Denver
Denver University (DU) embodies a vision of being a “great private university dedicated to the public good,” which is inline 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 Colorado Territory former Governor John Evans and members of the Methodist church established the Colorado Seminary as an attempt to tame the city, but the school changed its name to 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 12,000 currently enrolled students, and 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 course cores, four Emergency Planning and Response courses, and the final three courses are chosen by the student from a selection of electives. Students 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 (students can choose from a Project 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, and the same active faculty members present the coursework.
In 1906 in Fairbanks, Alaska, a federal Agricultural Experiment Station was established in the spot that would become the campus of University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). In 1917 the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines was founded as a land-grant institution, and classes began in 1922 with six students and six faculty members. The school was very successful, and the Experiment Station was transferred from federal ownership to the college in 1931. Four years later, the school officially became the University of Alaska, and in 1975 the University of Alaska system was created and the school gained the name University of Alaska Fairbanks. UAF is the flagship campus of the system with ten schools and colleges offering nearly 150 academic degree programs to the more than 8,700 currently enrolled students. Also a sea- and space-grant institution with additional locations across the state, UAF is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Program Details: The UAF AACSB-accredited School of Management provides an entirely online Master of Security and Disaster Management (MSDM) degree through its Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) program. Ideal for students who have undergraduate experience in emergency management or homeland security, students who do not have that educational background will need to take prerequisite classes such as “Emergency Planning and Preparedness” and/or “Principles of Emergency Management & Homeland Security.” Requiring 30 credits (only 21 credits for students with an undergraduate degree in an emergency management or related field), core courses cover topics like “Legal Aspects of Homeland Security & Emergency Management” and “Disaster Management Policy.” Electives such as “International Disaster Management,” “All Hazards Risk Analysis,” and “Supervising Emergency Services” are offered, and a final Security and Disaster Management Capstone culminates the degree. Alumni sing the praises of the program and give back in order to help it advance.
#32. Boston University
A rich history of multiple institutions of higher education led to the creation of Boston University. In 1839, Boston delegates of the United Methodist Church founded the first manifestation of the university, 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. Private and coeducational, Boston University (BU) is now comprised of seventeen schools and colleges offering academic programs to more than 33,000 enrolled students. A very high doctoral research activity school (as determined by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education), BU is a nonsectarian institution of higher education and is 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 a Master of Science 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.” Students participate in a two-part Research Practicum and Thesis course, as well as a Directed Studies internship opportunity. Faculty members of GMS have years of real-world experience, and both faculty and students showcase their success through presentations and publications. All GMS master degree students are provided with mentorship, advising, and other support services and professional development resources to help them succeed academically and be “prepared for successful careers . . . after BU.”
#33. Pace University
Founded originally as Pace & Pace, a business school for both men and women in the early 1900s, Pace University is a private institution of higher education with campus locations in the New York cities of Manhattan, Pleasantville, and White Plains (both in Westchester County). Two brothers, Homer and Charles Pace, opened the newly incorporated Pace Institute in a space in the New York Tribune Building in New York City in 1906. Becoming Pace University in 1973, over 13,000 students are currently enrolled. Nearly 300 academic degree programs are offered through nine schools, colleges, and institutes. The largest building and flagship campus for Pace is the 1 Place Plaza building (formerly the Tribune Building). Pace has a vision to “educate those who aspire to excellence and leadership in their professions, their lives, and their communities,” and regional accreditation is provided by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.
Program Details: Pace University’s MA in Management for Public Safety and Homeland Security Professionals is offered by the Criminal Justice and Security Department in the Dyson College of Arts & Sciences. A 36-credit hour curriculum can be completed in about two years, and a strategic partnership with the Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) at the Naval Postgraduate School allows Pace students to participate in CHDS classes as well as the Homeland Security Digital Library. Students can choose a thesis or a master’s project option to complete the degree, and the required core coursework covers topics like “U.S. Constitution and Ethical Issues” and “Public Sector Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation” and electives such as “Comparative Governments” and “Intelligence Gathering Strategies for Homeland Security.” In addition to the experienced faculty, the program is guided by an Advisory Board who lend their expertise and years of leadership in the field.
Senate Bill 711 passed the Florida Senate in 1965 to lead to the creation of a public university for the Miami area. Four years later, an opening ceremony (the largest-scale single opening enrollment of any university in the history of the United States) was held for the 5,667 students who had enrolled in the newly established school. The campus of Florida International University (FIU) is located on the former Tamiami Airport, and the air traffic control tower remains as a symbol of the school’s gumption and resoluteness. Multiple campus locations across Florida join the main campus in Miami, and over 23 schools and colleges provide nearly 200 academic programs to the 54,000 currently enrolled students. A public research-intensive institution of higher education, FIU’s mission is to be “committed to high-quality teaching, state-of-the-art research and creative activity, and collaborative engagement,” and regional accreditation comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Program Details: Offered as a one-year, cohort format experience at the FIU Washington D.C. campus, the MA in Disaster Management degree program is provided more than three-quarters online. The on-campus components include time in D.C. as well as an immersive disaster field exercise held at the Miami campus. Requiring 30-credit hours, the interdisciplinary program is housed within the Academy for International Disaster Preparedness within the Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work. Coursework provides the essential skills needed, with classes such as “Disaster Health Readiness,” “Foundations in Humanitarian Assistance and Coordination,” and “Introduction to Vulnerability Analysis and Hazard Mitigation,” and “will help students obtain 95% of the requirements to become IAEM CEM certified.” Students gain the benefit of a faculty that have extensive field experience and credentials, with former and current positions held such as FEMA National Preparedness Director, State Emergency Management Director, and United Nations Senior Humanitarian Coordination Advisor.
#35. National University
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 Master of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management (MSHSEM). Housed within the Department of Professional Studies and bringing “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.” Taught by faculty who have years of experience in the field, the program also provides the full support offered by NU to all online students and desires “to create a strong community within the online classroom.” NU also offers a transition program for undergraduate HSEM students, allowing them to move into the master’s program if admission requirements are met.
#36. Walden University
Observing the difficulty most working adults encountered when trying to pursue a doctoral degree, three educators determined to establish a solution: Walden University. It was 1971, and the three educators were married couple Bernie and Rita Turner and colleague Harold “Bud” Hodgkinson, who was faculty member at UC Berkeley. The school began in Naples, Florida, but quickly moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1982 due to the Minnesota Higher Education Coordinating Board granting them the ability to begin offering PhD and EdD degrees. Now bachelor degrees and master degrees are also available through this for-profit institution of higher education, and a vision to provide students with “the opportunity to transform themselves as scholar-practitioners so that they can effect positive social change” serves as the school’s vision. Over 57,000 students from all corners of the globe are enrolled in Walden’s exclusively online academic programs, and the Higher Learning Commission provides regional accreditation.
Program Details: Walden’s MS in Emergency Management degree program is provided online through the School of Public Policy and Administration in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and students can follow the general prescribed path, or choose a self-designed, customized program. Both paths start with the same set of core coursework totaling 48-quarter credits, which is delivered in a dictated sequence. The ten required classes include topics in “Critical Issues in Emergency Management,” “Disaster Response and Recovery,” and “Terrorism: Legislation and Policy.” If students choose to pursue an optional specialization, the required coursework is followed by their choice of three graduate-level elective courses from within the School of Public Policy and Administration, for a total of 63 quarter credits. Students have the opportunity to transfer in up to 23 credits to shorten the time it takes to complete the degree, and graduates of the program are prepared “to earn certificates from Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) Emergency Management Institute.”
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 with the purpose of providing a faith-based college for the state, Grand Canyon is now well-known for being both a Christian university and having a strong range of online programs. GCU became a for-profit school in 2004 when purchased by Significant Education, LLC, but in 2018 the university began the transition back to not-for-profit status. This coeducational research university has nine colleges and offers over 200 academic degree programs to nearly 20,000 residential students and more than 60,000 online students. Preparing “learners to become global citizens, critical thinkers, effective communicators and responsible leaders” is the mission of the school, and regional accreditation comes from the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: The GCU Master of Science in Leadership with an Emphasis in Disaster Preparedness and Executive Fire Leadership is provided online through the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) accredited Colangelo College of Business. The 38-credit hour program is particularly geared towards individuals who have gone through and successfully completed the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program and provides students with a focus on gaining the qualities necessary to be successful leaders—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” and allows up to twelve credits to be transferred into the program. Classes are presented in eight-week terms, and students can work at their own pace. Resources and services begin when a prospective student contacts admission representatives, and continues through the program—blog entries provide resources and up-to-the-minute disaster management information.
#38. Bellevue University
Through 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 (named Bellevue College until it gained university status in 1994). The next 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.” Utilizing a learning approach called “Real Mastery®,” Bellevue offers both on-campus and online, accelerated programs to nearly 9,000 currently enrolled students. An alumni network of over 50,000 graduates have made their 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 Continuing and Professional Education. One of the largest private universities in Nebraska with several centers around the state, Bellevue has regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: Bellevue University’s Master of Science in Security Management (MSSM) is offered in an accelerated cohort format entirely online, and the 36-credit hour program provides coursework that students progress through together in a set sequence. Classes include “Critical Infrastructure: Analysis and Strategies,” “Terrorism and Homeland Defense Fundamentals,” and “Emergency Preparedness and Management.” As a 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, so students have access to cutting-edge research and real-world experience. In addition to coursework taught by “faculty with industry experience,” students participate in projects mimicking real crisis situations to gain the “skills and knowledge necessary to address emerging threats, terrorism, homeland defense, information security, and critical infrastructure protection.”
#39. Adler University
Founder of individual psychology, or Adlerian psychology, Alfred Adler was a doctor and psychotherapist in the early 20th century. His unique approach to therapy influenced psychiatrist Rudolf Dreikurs to establish the Institute of Adlerian Psychology in 1952 in Chicago, Illinois. Just two years later the name of the school was changed the first time—it would go through several changes before becoming Adler University. In 1963 the non-profit charter was received, and currently 20 programs are offered through two campus locations (Chicago and Vancouver) and online. The oldest independent psychology institution of higher education in the nation, Adler currently enrolls more than 1,200 students in graduate-level programs, continuing “the pioneering work of Alfred Adler by graduating socially responsible practitioners, engaging communities, and advancing social justice.” With a vision to be the “leading academic institution advancing socially responsible practice, healthy communities, and a more just society,” Adler University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: Offering a Master of Arts in Applied Psychology with an Emphasis in Crisis Management, Adler University provides a graduate-level degree program that accentuates the school’s “commitment to social justice, inclusiveness, and socially responsible practice” in a format that appeals to working professionals. Provided entirely online in a supportive cohort, the Crisis Management emphasis provides the skills one would expect in an emergency management degree program, with the addition of a specific focus on how to serve and advocate for “those communities that are at-risk and/or marginalized during times of crises.” The 35-credit hour curriculum includes core coursework like “Diversity & Individual Differences,” “Cognitive, Affective & Biological Bases of Behavior” and a “Social Justice Practicum,” and emphasis courses cover topics such as “Supporting Functional Needs Populations in Disasters” and “Leading in Times of Crisis.” Students receive “individualized mentorship” from the faculty members, and after graduation can participate in the continued support of the Alumni Association.
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, the institution joined the California State University System in 1968 (and currently is the third largest campus in terms of enrollment within the 23-school system), and the school began offering admission to freshman and sophomores. Over 37,000 students are currently enrolled in CSULB, which is also one of the largest institutions of higher education in the state. 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 School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Emergency Management and the College of Health and Human Services. The interdisciplinary program requires 32-credit hours, and students 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 supplied for prospective students to learn more about the program, how to apply, and what is required, and once admitted, students gain the benefits of learning from faculty who are professionals in the emergency management field.
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 air field no longer being used just outside of Tampa, 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, which makes it one of the five largest universities in Florida. More than 100 academic degree programs are provided through the fourteen colleges, and in addition to being a member of the USF System, USF Tampa is also part of the State University System of Florida. A metropolitan research university, 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, which is ideal for individuals who desire to gain a public health basis with an understanding of the disaster lifecycle but particularly want to center their academic focus on the recovery process. The 42-credit hour program is entirely online, with MPH courses covering topics like “History & 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 who have 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. Three fully-online graduate certificates are also available: Disaster Management, Humanitarian Assistance, or Homeland Security.
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, and six years later the high school component was eliminated. Becoming Arkansas Tech in 1976 and maintaining the campus in Russellville, an additional satellite campus was acquired in Ozark, Arkansas in 2004. Six colleges (College of Applied Sciences, College of Arts & Humanities, College of Business, College of Natural & Health Sciences, College of Education, and College of Professional Studies and Community Outreach) provide academic programs to nearly 10,000 students on the main campus alone, and Arkansas Tech has a vision to be a place “where students succeed, innovation thrives, and communities flourish.” Regional accreditation is granted by the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: Presenting an online MS in Emergency Management and Homeland Security (EMHS), Arkansas Tech gives students 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.” Each student is guided through advisement by the Program Director, and the 36-credit hour program offers 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.” Students can choose from a wide variety of electives (such as “Community Management of Hazardous Materials,” “Introduction to Terrorism,” and “Information Security for Public Managers”) and are able to transfer in up to nine credit hours of previous coursework.
A satellite of the University of Maryland’s College of Education was established in Adelphi, Maryland in 1947. The College of Special and Continuation Studies (CSCS) provided academics to working adults and non-traditional students. The CSC was one of several satellite campuses of the University of Maryland but would move towards becoming a university in its own right. In 1970, the school achieved its status as the independent University of Maryland University College (UMUC)—the name references the school’s connection to the University of Maryland and acknowledges the ability to seek education outside of traditional classrooms (much like the British model). Some programs are offered on the Adelphi campus, but the majority of UMUC’s academics are offered online. Catering to active-duty military members, UMUC has 140 locations located on four continents, and over 80,000 students are currently enrolled. A member of the University System of Maryland, UMUC is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Program Details: UMUC provides an interdisciplinary online Master of Science in Management degree program with a specialization in Emergency Management. Strong faculty presence is provided with experience both in the Business and Management field and the Public Safety field. Requiring 36 credit hours, the program engages students in a base of core courses covering “Organizational Theory and Behavior,” “Financial Decision Making for Managers,” and “Statistics for Managerial Decision Making.” The specialization core covers relevant topics such as “Comprehensive Crisis and Emergency Management,” “Concepts in Homeland Security,” and “Hazard Risk and Vulnerability Assessment.” A final Strategic Management Capstone course and a Seminar in Emergency Management Leadership complete the degree. Graduates of the MS program have fulfilled some of the Certified Emergency Exam educational requirements and are eligible to sit for the certification exam. Many of the faculty members have worked for recognized emergency management organizations and governmental entities, and share their wealth of knowledge with the online students.
#44. Marywood University
The Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary founded Marywood University (Marywood College at that time) in 1915 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The Sisters had been envisioning a school for women for some time, and this college was the fruition of much hard work. Only the fifth Catholic-affiliated women’s college in the nation, 34 students were enrolled the first year. Men were admitted for the first time in 1989, and in 1997 university status was granted. Currently over 3,000 students are enrolled in programs within the College of Arts & Sciences, College of Health & Human Services, and the College of Professional Studies. Deeply Catholic in identity, Marywood is in “pursuit of truth, goodness, beauty, justice, and the common good within the context of the Catholic faith tradition and in dialogue and service with persons of diverse faiths and worldviews.” Marywood is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Program Details: The Marywood Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree program with a concentration in Homeland Security and Disaster Management (and which follows the NASPAA accreditation guidelines) is offered exclusively and sequentially online. A 30-credit hour program, the curriculum provides a solid foundation in public administration core courses, and the twelve-credits of concentration courses includes topics like “Issues in National Security” “Intelligence for Homeland Security,” and “Natural Disaster.” Provided through the College of Professional Studies, the MPA degree culminates with a Research Methodology course and a final LEAD (Learning, Experiencing, Applying, and Discussing) Project Capstone course. A holistic and comprehensive final project, students incorporate the knowledge gained in their coursework to highlight that they have developed “a capacity for strategic management.” MPA student services and resources are provided to help online students succeed.
In 1964, educator Audrey Cohen established the Women’s Talent Corps in New York, New York to offer training and job assistance to women in economically-depressed areas. Men were admitted by 1969, and a year later a Charter by the New York State Board of Regents allowed the transition to become the College for Human Services. In the early 1970s, the school developed its approach to learning: Purpose-Centered Education. In 1992 the school was renamed in honor of its founder, but Audrey Cohen College developed even further to become Metropolitan College of New York (MCNY) in 2002. There are now two campus locations: the main campus in lower Manhattan and one in the Bronx, and three schools (the Audrey Cohen School for Human Services and Education, the School for Business and the School for Public Affairs and Administration) provide programs to just over 1,000 currently enrolled students. MCNY is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Program Details: The online Master of Public Administration in Emergency and Disaster Management (MPA-EDM-DST) degree program at MCNY is provided through the School for Public Affairs & Administration. The 45-credit hour program can be completed online in just twelve months on a full-time basis. Structured into three semesters, a big component of the program is the Constructive Action (CA) project, which is conducted over the course of all three semesters. Coursework includes topical and thought-provoking classes such as “Values & Ethics for Administrative Decision Making,” “Economic & Social Trends & Implementing Social Services,” and “Evaluating Cultural Competencies & Community Resilience,” and all students conclude the program with a five day on-campus residency. The impressive and award-winning faculty have the years of real-world experience needed to impart the skills that public administrators need to be confident and effective in emergency and disaster situations, so MPA-EDM-DST students can be assured they are learning from the best.
#46. Lander University
Founded by Reverend Samuel Lander in 1872 as the Williamston Female College, Lander University was originally a private school for women located in Williamston, South Carolina. The South Carolina Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South began supporting the institution in 1898, which allowed it to become Lander College and move to its current location in Greenwood, South Carolina in 1904. Starting in 1943, men were allowed admission, and now the school is fully coeducational. Through the 1950s to the 1970s, Lander transitioned to county control, making it a public institution, and university status was gained in 1992. Campus covers nearly 125 acres, and the university houses five academic colleges (College of Arts and Humanities, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, College of Business, College of Education, and College of Science and Mathematics). Around 3,000 students are currently enrolled, and Lander University is regionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Program Details: Lander’s MS in Emergency Management degree program is available entirely online through the Department of Government, Criminology, & Sociology in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. The 31-credit hour program includes coursework that was specifically crafted for the degree taught by instructors who have years of both real-world and teaching experience. The curriculum offers both theory and application, with core courses such as “Preparedness and Mitigation,” “Business and Economic Continuity,” and “Foundations of Emergency Management.” Additionally, students are required to participate in a “Mental Health and Emergency Management” class as part of the curricular core—this significant and relevant course provides the skills for identifying “the range of psychological responses exhibited by disaster survivors and responders” in order to “develop an understanding of the risk and protective factors” of survivors and responders. Electives range from technology-infused coursework to classes on leadership to specific disaster-focused courses, and a final Capstone culminates the degree.
#47. Liberty University
Wanting to chart “the moral and ethical course of America” in the late 20th century, Jerry Falwell, minister and evangelical, determined to establish an institution of higher education in Lynchburg, Virginia. He was pastoring the Thomas Road Baptist Church at that time, and with the congregation’s full support and financial backing, he founded the Lynchburg Baptist College in 1971. The school would be renamed Liberty University (LU), and it would grow to become the largest Christian university in the world. The distance education side of Liberty was started in 1985 and is called LU Online, and this has been one of the elements of Liberty’s success: over 110,000 students are enrolled in online programming. An additional 15,000 residential students are enrolled on-campus, and LU has seventeen schools and colleges that offer more than 600 academic degree programs. Regional accreditation was first granted in 1980 by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Program Details: Liberty Online provides an entirely online Master of Public Administration (MPA) in Disaster Management degree program. The 36-credit hour program is housed within the Helms School of Government and allows up to half of the program credits to be transferred into the program. Students generally complete the degree within a year and a half, taking classes such as “Understanding Terrorism and Homeland Security,” “Hazard Mitigation,” and “Politics and Policy of Public Sector Budgeting.” Being at the forefront of universities with an online presence, Liberty makes sure all students have the resources they need. Just a few of the resources and services offered include a student-constructed Liberty University Online Degree Completion Plan to make sure they are on track with their education, current emergency response professionals receive tuition discounts, and webinars are provided to help instruct and guide online students.
In 1932, a married couple founded a business school that would grow to become a university. Entrepreneurial 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 remains the campus today. Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) became the current name in 2001 after going through multiple changes, and currently over 80,000 students are enrolled. The 5,000 on-campus students are joined by 75,000 online students, and there are six academic colleges which provide the degree programs. A private, nonsectarian, coeducational university, SNHU is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Program Details: SNHU 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 supplies a focus on “the FEMA tenets of planning, preparedness, response and recovery.” The curriculum starts with management topics such as “Human Behavior in Organizations” and “Resource Planning and Decision Making,” and 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,” and “Disaster Response and Recovery.” Ideal for individuals who desire be managers who are 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.”
#49. Regent University
Religious Right evangelist and conservative spokesperson Pat Robertson founded the Christian Broadcasting Network University in Virginia Beach, Virginia in 1977 in order to produce “capable men and women for the challenge of representing Christ in their professions.” This institution would grow to become Regent University, but it began humbly with 70 students in 1978. The campus was not fully constructed the first year, so classes were held nearby in rented classrooms. The name became Regent University in 1990 to acknowledge the university status, and “regent” was chosen to reflect that the students serve as regents in this world to their professed Christ. Almost 9,000 students are currently enrolled in this private Christian university, and Regent is comprised of eight schools that provide more than 125 academic degree programs. Regional accreditation for this “center of Christian thought and action” is granted through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Program Details: The Master of Public Administration (MPA) with a concentration in Emergency Management & Homeland Security at Regent University is presented online with “the lens of a Christian worldview” through the Robertson School of Government. The program requires a minimum of 37-credit hours, and students explore course topics such as “Local Government Administration,” “Terrorism & Homeland Defense,” and “Crisis/Disaster Consequence Management.” The program equips students with “emergency management skills to identify, assess and prepare for potential threats from domestic terrorism to natural disasters,” and Regent provides evidence of past students’ success by detailing some of their current positions (such as Senior Counter-Terrorism Analyst for the U.S. Joint Forces Command or Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services). Faculty members are part of an intentionally crafted “academic team . . . who were leaders in Washington, D.C., former Cabinet members, retired military officers, and practitioners from local and state government.”
Discussing the need for a Catholic university at the Second Plenary Council of Baltimore in 1866 would lead to the formation of the only institution of higher education in the nation to be founded by United States Catholic Bishops. The discussion continued at the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore in 1885, and action was taken to establish The Catholic University of America (often called “Catholic University” for simplicity). Initially designed in 1887 as a graduate-level school and research center, the school was located on 66 acres in the District of Columbia. Classes began for the graduate students in 1889, and by 1904 undergraduate programs were added. A comprehensive, pontifical university (having received papal approval in 1887 from Pope Leo XIII), almost 7,000 students are currently enrolled at this private, coeducational institution in the capital of the U.S., and regional accreditation is provided by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Program Details: The Master of Science in Emergency Service Administration (MS-ESA) degree program is provided through The Catholic University of America’s Metropolitan School of Professional Studies (MSPS). A professional degree, the 40-credit hour program can be completed in just two years. Required core courses include a basis in leadership and organizational skills, such as “Effective Communication in Leadership,” “Public Policy Analysis and Implementation,” and “Principles of Budgeting and Finance,” and specialization courses cover topics like “Hazard Risk and Vulnerability Assessment,” “Information Technology for Emergency Services,” and “Organizations and Systems in Emergency Response.” A final Master’s Capstone and a Catholic Servant Leadership course (taken in the first term) are important components of the program, as is the Catholic focus of applying “ethical behavior to evaluating and solving problems . . . related to emergency services.” Faculty in the MSPS have a variety of experience to share with students, and the program offers plenty of flexibility with “courses available online and in person.”