Schools with Disaster Management Programs: How to Choose

Students interested in helping communities and businesses prepare for, respond to and recover from manmade and natural disasters can pursue studies in disaster management, also called emergency management. Programs in disaster management are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Disaster management involves preparation, response and recovery plans for dealing with a full range of manmade, natural and civil disasters. Schools around the country offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs in this area, as well as certificates.

10 Schools with Disaster Management Programs

These schools offer disaster management programs in traditional or online formats at varying levels:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees 2015-2016*
Immaculata University Immaculata, PA 4-year, Private Bachelor's $33,280
Saint Louis University Saint Louis, MO 4-year, Private Master's, Graduate Certificate $18,900 (graduate)
The University of North Texas Denton, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's $9,730 in-state, $19,090 out-of-state
Voorhees College Denmark, SC 4-year, Private Bachelor's $12,630
University of Central Missouri Warrensburg, MO 4-year, Public Certificate, Bachelor's $7,322 in-state, $13,767 out-of-state
Adelphi University Garden City, NY 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's, Graduate Certificate $34,034 (undergraduate), $35,800 (graduate)
North Dakota State University Fargo, ND 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $8,098 in-state (undergraduate), $5,440 in-state (graduate)
Barry University Miami, FL 4-year, Public Bachelor's $28,800
Arkansas State University Jonesboro, AR 4-year, Public Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's $5,674 in-state (undergraduate), $4,572 in-state (graduate)
University of Alaska - Fairbanks Fairbanks, AK 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $5,674 in-state (undergraduate), $8,037 in-state (graduate)

Source: *National Center for Educational Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Students should consider the following points when selecting a program:

  • Depending on their career goals, students should decide whether they want a program that offers a wide range of knowledge pertaining to disaster management, or a degree that offers specialization in an area of planning or type of disaster.
  • Students who already work in the field may look at the many schools that offer programs in the evening and/or online to accommodate working schedules.
  • Students may want to consider schools that have relationships with agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, in order to help them obtain internships or externships.
  • Students looking for hands-on experience can consider schools that offer state-of-the-art labs and simulators, allowing students to experience what it's like working in a disaster scenario.

Undergraduate Certificate in Disaster Management

Disaster management certificate programs can be found online and on campus. Credits earned in a certificate program often can be applied toward a bachelor's degree.

Bachelor's Degree in Disaster Management

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Disaster Management typically are introduced to the three main areas of the field: emergency preparedness before, management during and recovery after a disaster. Many colleges encourage bachelor's degree candidates to participate in internships and externships. Areas of study include social policy, stress management and legal issues.

Master's Degree in Disaster Management

Master's programs in disaster management aim to prepare students to become leaders in the field, either in managing responders or in research. Many master's programs are designed around FEMA's Emergency Management Institute competencies. These programs often require students to take an elective track in a specific area, such as government, health or the environment.

Students can find disaster management programs at the certificate, bachelor's, master's or doctoral level. They may consider online programs, or schools with labs, specializations or internships.


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