10 Top Online Master’s in Emergency Management


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10 Top Online Master’s in Emergency Management

The top online Master’s in Emergency Management programs prepare students to work for Homeland Security, FEMA, and similar organizations. The career of an emergency management specialist or coordinator typically requires hands-on experience in emergency planning. These professionals also implement emergency goals and prepare programs. They provide training to the public, city or state officials, medical personnel, and also community outreach groups.

Emergency managers direct others in natural or man-made disasters as well. To become an emergency management specialist or in another management-related position, earning a graduate degree in emergency management from an accredited institution is required. An online master’s in emergency management will open more doors than just the average undergraduate program. Earning a graduate degree qualifies students for high-end or senior-level career positions in the emergency services and also a management career path. 

How We Ranked the Online Master’s in Emergency Management Programs

Many colleges and universities throughout the states offer master’s in emergency management degrees. To help you choose the right program, we made a list of the top online Master in Emergency Management programs.

The editors at Online Schools Guide found schools offering online Masters in Emergency Management. Then, based on cost and reputation, we ranked the programs.

1. Tulane University

Degree: Master of Professional Studies in Emergency Management

Tulane University’s Master of Professional Studies in Emergency Management offers students an advanced degree and is available online. The 33-credit program consists of nine courses that focus on various disciplines. Some are homeland security, counter-terrorism, disaster communications, and also emergency management administration.

At Tulane University, students have the option to take elective courses. These pertain to their specific interests or goals in the profession they choose. Additionally, the master’s program introduces courses such as business continuity, risk management, and threat assessment. Students also cover emergency planning, cyber threats, and homeland security. The MPS program ends with a capstone project. This final course provides students with the skills and resources needed in the public or nonprofit sector.

Graduate certificates in a specific concentration can also add to the MPS degree. Furthermore, Tulane University does not require a GRE or GMAT for the MPS program. Moreover, students can complete the program in 20 to 24 months. The college is also military-friendly and accepts transfer credits up to nine credits. For over 130 years, Tulane’s School of Professional Advancement has provided educational degrees to graduates throughout Louisiana. 

2. Northeastern University

Degree: Graduate Certificate in Emergency Management

Northeastern University’s Graduate Certificate in Emergency Management is a 21-credit program. It is available for graduates advancing into a career in emergency services positions. The course is designed for Professional Emergency Managers or Supervisors. So, students learn the importance of assessing and implementing response and emergency planning in government. They also study business sectors, evaluate the US emergency management system, and develop and organize planning strategies for real-world catastrophes and disasters.

Moreover, graduates can complete the full program in only one to two years. The course is available at a full-time commitment or also part-time. So, this option is perfect for working professionals. Northeastern University’s graduate certificate provides the flexibility to start in the Fall, Spring, Summer, and also Winter sessions. Additionally, graduates continuing their education toward the MA in Homeland Security can have their credits transferred to finish sooner.

Upon Graduation from Northeastern University, students will find employment in various professions, such as Operations Specialists, Hospital Emergency Managers, Public Health Response Coordinators, and Emergency Management Site Inspectors. 

3. Virginia Commonwealth University

Degree: MA in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness

The MA in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness degree program at Virginia Commonwealth University is an interdisciplinary degree. The graduate program is for students working toward an Emergency Management career focused on international and domestic affairs, terrorist threats, and natural disasters.

Students in the program dive into a comprehensive curriculum with courses surrounding the importance of national defense and security. Some classes are emergency management, law enforcement, criminal justice, policy management, and also public administration. The full course program is a minimum of thirty-six credits and is offered to both full-time and part-time students.

As part of the College’s requirements, graduate students need a GPA of 2.7 or higher to enroll in the program. The Master of Arts in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness degree is primarily an off-campus, online program option. However, it does have some VCU on-campus components. VCU offers a low student-to-faculty ratio and is among the best online master’s in emergency management programs throughout the US. 

4. Grand Canyon University

Degree: Master of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Grand Canyon University’s MS in Homeland Security and Emergency Management prepares graduates for an advanced career as managers, supervisors, or other related positions. The program’s curriculum focuses on leadership roles and applying ethical and practical leadership skills.

Graduates will learn the skills to address environmental issues, offers crisis management communication, and encourages graduates to lead others in evaluating strategic planning, organizational growth, and coaching. The MS in Leadership-Homeland Security program is a 34-credit degree that can be completed in less than two years; however, the college does accept up to twelve transferable credits if eligible. Each course is approximately eight weeks in length.

GCU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). GCU holds other accreditations in several degree programs, such as nursing, business, and teaching. Scholarship opportunities are also available at GCU at the graduate level. These high regards make GCU one of the best online masters in emergency management programs in Arizona. 

5. University of Florida

Degree: Master of Fire and Emergency Sciences

The University of Florida offers a graduate program for students in a career based on emergency services. The Master of Fire and Emergency Sciences and Emergency Services and Disaster Management program at UF is available through the College of Design, Construction, and Planning. This program provides a thirty-three-credit degree consisting of courses on emergency planning, hazard mitigation preparedness, disaster response, recovery, and also homeland security.

Students learn critical thinking and leadership skills, research new recovery process advancements, and discuss current casework that professionals in the FES or ES, or DM fields are working on. To be eligible for the graduate program, students must graduate from an accredited undergraduate program, hold a GPA of 3.0 or higher, provide three letters of recommendation, provide a statement of purpose, and also present a current resume. The University of Florida offers students admission into the MS in Fire and Emergency Services degree during the Spring, Fall, and Summer semesters. 

6. Arizona State University

Degree: MA in Emergency Management and Homeland Security

The MA in Emergency Management and Homeland Security at Arizona State University is highly ranked and also among the best online Master in Emergency Management degrees nationwide, according to the US News and World Report.

The EMHS program is for working professionals already in the emergency services field, or graduates of an undergraduate program focused on emergency services or similar majors. This 33-credit program is a total of eleven classes, each taking 7.5 weeks to complete. So, most students complete the course program in about one year.

Graduate students in the course program learn from top, experienced, and highly-trained professionals of the University’s Center for Emergency Management and Homeland Security, located in the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions building. The course will address various modern-era challenges and confrontations, requiring tactful and well-planned solutions and also informed leadership. ASU also allows students to choose one concentration to complement their MA in EMHS degree. Concentrations include Biosecurity and threat management, Community resilience, Cybersecurity policy and management, Emergency management, and also Homeland security. 

7. Lander University

Degree: Master of Science in Emergency Management

Lander University offers the MS in Emergency Management to graduate students and working professionals ready for an exciting Emergency Services and Management career.

The graduate program addresses the need for preparedness, mitigation, first response, and also recovery over time. Students learn what to do in all types of disasters, from critical to economic development to business continuity. The program is taught by expert professionals currently working in the field. The curriculum provides an interdisciplinary approach, introducing a variety of educational disciplines and training students in the science of management of natural and man-made disasters.

The University holds accreditation with the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC), awarding both Baccalaureate and Master’s degrees. Lander University is among the best online master in emergency management programs available to Emergency Personnel in the Nation. The MS in Emergency Management curriculum consists of 6 core courses, four elective courses, and 1 required capstone course, totaling thirty-one credit hours. 

8. Eastern Kentucky University

Degree: MS in Safety, Security, and Emergency Management

Eastern Kentucky University’s MS in Safety, Security, and Emergency Management program prepares graduates for an unprecedented career with many leadership opportunities. Students receive an extensive background in the emergency management field. This includes the option to take a multidisciplinary track or also a concentration in three subject areas.

The concentrations available to students are Corporate Security Operations, Occupational Safety, and Emergency Management & Disaster Resilience. Students will learn the skills such as drawing logical conclusions, offering creative thinking, and communicating effectively in challenging situations.

The program also provides leadership skills needed for planning, delivery of loss prevention, and safety at the state, regional, and national levels. Students seeking admission into the graduate program must have obtained an undergraduate accredited degree and a 2.5 GPA. The total curriculum requirement to complete the program is thirty-six credit hours. 

9. Southern New Hampshire University

Degree: Masters of Science in Management (MSM) w/ Emergency Management Concentration

The MSM in Emergency Management degree at Southern New Hampshire University is thirty-six credits and also entirely online. It was designed to meet the demands of Emergency personnel, especially during the current issues due to COVID-19.

Students will learn management and leadership skills to better prepare, plan, and correspond to all threats. Students can complete this degree in about fifteen months or also at the student’s own pace. Additionally, SNHU offers the option to transfer up to 12 graduate credits.

The course will provide graduates with strategic decision-making abilities in both business and management positions; including prioritizing tasks, resolving or stabilizing conflicts, and being responsive to others and the organizational culture of the employees you work with. In addition, this program is 100 percent online, has accreditation from the ACBSP, and ranks high among the best online master in emergency management degrees in the Nation. 

10. California State University Long Beach

Degree: Master of Science in Emergency Services Administration

California State University Long Beach (CSULB) campus offers an MS in Emergency Services Administration. The program provides a 32-unit degree that is entirely online and prepares students to acquire skills in organizational leadership and high-level positions throughout the emergency services field.

The courses taught in the EMER degree program are designed to engage students in both theory and research of disaster risk management, using a wide range of highly qualified courses. Classes may cover Administrative Leadership, Human Issues in Emergency Administration, Organizational Change Mechanisms, Homeland Security, Risk, Crisis, Interagency Communications, and Business Continuity.

The MS in Emergency Services Administration program at California State-Long Beach is among the best online master’s programs. Additionally, this emergency management program is one of the top five of the Guide to Online Schools in its Best Value Colleges, including highly ranked on the Most Affordable colleges list. 

What Do Emergency Managers Do?

Starting a career in Emergency Management provides many learning opportunities and also training in today’s emergency service fields. Furthermore, graduates of the Master in Emergency Management degree learn unique skills to carry them through their careers.

These skills include leadership, communication, management, critical thinking analysis, emergency planning, and global awareness. Graduates learn to respond to specific cases, such as disasters and catastrophes, whether man-made and also natural destruction.

Is a Master in Emergency Management Worth It?

Is emergency management a promising career? The EM field is one of the broadest career paths for graduate students entering emergency services or related positions. There are so many job titles within the field, and it offers a great skill set for those who desire to lend a helping hand to victims that have found themselves amid dangerous situations.

Recently, emergency management positions have become quite competitive due to employers seeking out workers who have obtained graduate-level education. Most graduates with a master’s degree in emergency management will be better equipped to handle the technical advances and more likely to receive promotion opportunities.

What Jobs Can You Do with a Masters in Emergency and Disaster Management?

Graduates of the MS or MA in Emergency Management degree will be well-suited for jobs such as Firefighters, Police Officers, disaster response personnel such as FEMA or DHS, and those in government, business, or nonprofit organizations.

If you are looking for more in-depth positions, then consider some of the top career options for an emergency management graduate student below.

  • Emergency Management Director
  • Operations Specialist
  • Business Continuity Planner
  • Safety Manager
  • Training Coordinator
  • Federal Coordinating Officer
  • Emergency Management Site Inspector
  • Hospital Emergency Manager
  • Public Health Emergency Preparedness and also Response Manager
  • Environmental professionals Public Health Emergency Preparedness and also Response Manager
  • Industrial emergency responders

How to Choose the Best Program

When choosing the best program, graduates should consider many factors. Always choose an accredited school or institution. Also, look at the school’s rankings and recognitions, ensuring they are high on national lists such as the US News and World Report. And where they stand on affordability and convenience.


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