Capella University

PhD - Emergency Management

Current or potential leaders in the areas of emergency response or public safety could enhance or develop management and organizational skills when they choose to pursue studies in Capella University's Ph.D. in Emergency Management program. Continue reading for more information about this online doctoral degree program.

Official Program Name:

Ph.D. in Emergency Management

School Offering Program:

Capella University

Degree Level:


Program Prerequisites:

Aspiring students of Capella University's Ph.D. in Emergency Management program should hold a master's degree in criminal justice, public safety administration, or a related area. Current experience in law enforcement, disaster management, or public safety is beneficial. Applicants to Capella University who are under 24 years of age must have completed at least two years of college or have active military status; some programs may have additional admissions requirements.

Program Description:

Offered as a specialization in the public safety program, the Ph.D. in Emergency Management at Capella University is designed to provide students with the opportunity to study leadership theories and management techniques in the areas of critical incidents, emergency preparedness, and response and recovery practices. Emergency planning strategies, operational structures, stress intervention and management methods, natural disasters and terrorist attacks, business continuity plans, and collaborative efforts in emergency management are among the topics addressed in specialization courses. The program's core curriculum strengthens the student's awareness and knowledge of public safety procedures and leadership theories. A required dissertation is developed and completed through a series of mentor- and peer-supported research courses.

Learning Format:


Total Credits Required:

120 credits.

Financial Aid Available:

Capella participates in several federal financial aid programs including the Federal Pell Grant Program and Federal Stafford Loan Program. Capella is also eligible to certify Veterans Educational Benefits and can provide information on other non-federal loan programs.

Capella-funded scholarships are also available in select disciplines, such as the Robert C. Ford Human Services Scholarship and the Helene Krivosha Scholarship for education students. There are also external scholarships offered specifically to Capella students, such as the Go the Distance Scholarship.

Tuition, Financial Aid & Start Dates

Since every student is different, there isn't a "one size fits all" for school information. Start dates and tuition often vary between selected programs, and financial aid opportunities are unique to each student's circumstances. Complete the form to the right to get the most up-to-date and accurate information based on your selected program and circumstances.

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Required Courses for a Ph.D. in Emergency Management:

Degree program and course requirements are subject to change. Contact Capella University to confirm the most accurate information before enrolling in a program.

Core Courses

  • PSL 8002: Collaboration, Communication, and Case Analysis for Doctoral Learners (4 credits)
  • PSF 8601: Contemporary Public Safety Leadership (4 credits)
  • PSF 8603: Management and Leadership Theory (4 credits)
  • PSF 8604: Interagency Collaboration on Significant Events (4 credits)
  • PSF 8606: Diversity Issues in Public Safety (4 credits)
  • PSF 8106: Epistemology of Practice Knowledge (4 credits)
  • PSF 8100: Fundamentals of Social Science Research (4 credits)
  • PSF 8122: Quantitative Research Methods in Public Service (4 credits)
  • PSF 8123: Advanced Qualitative Research Methods in Public Service (4 credits)
  • PSF 8124: Advanced Study in Research Methods in Public Service (4 credits)

Specialization Courses

  • PSF 8620: Principles of Organization Theory and Practice (4 credits)
  • PSF 8631: Case Studies in Critical Incident Management (4 credits)
  • PSF 8635: Theoretical Constructs of Emergency Management (4 credits)
  • PSF 8609: Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation (4 credits)
  • PSF 8612: Emergency Management Operations (4 credits)

Elective Courses

  • Approved Graduate-Level Electives (36 credits)

Residency Requirements

  • Three 4-day weekend experiences
    • PSL-R 8921: Ph.D. Colloquium Track 1 (non-credit)
    • PSL-R 8922: Ph.D. Colloquium Track 2 (non-credit)
    • PSL-R 8923: Ph.D. Colloquium Track 3 (non-credit)

Dissertation and Exam

  • HS 9919: Doctoral Comprehensive Examination (4 credits)
  • HS 9960: Dissertation Courseroom (5 quarter credits each)
    • Students must register for ED 9960 a minimum of four times

Post-Graduation Opportunities

Career Paths:

Graduates of Capella University's Ph.D. in Emergency Management program could be prepared to assume greater responsibilities in their current positions or seek advancement in federal government organizations, state departments, corporate settings, law enforcement agencies, or community centers. They could be responsible for managing disaster planning, crisis situations, trauma, stress, or recovery operations.

Positions graduates could pursue include:

  • Emergency operations director
  • Emergency management specialist
  • Disaster recovery director
  • Emergency program analyst

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