is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

An online doctorate in emergency management will prepare you for executive and academic positions in the growing field of emergency management. Due to the rise of terrorism and the growing frequency of natural disasters like wildfires, hurricanes, and floods, emergency management has grown into a thriving profession over the past decade. Transformed by 9/11, the field continues to develop, and the need for high-level, administrative professionals grows steadily. To meet this need, several universities offer online doctoral programs in emergency management.

Featured Online Programs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for executives in emergency management will remain steady. Several of the occupations a Ph.D. in emergency management prepares you for continue to add jobs at rates well above the national average. Medical and health service managers, for example, command salaries near $100,000 a year and run public health agencies in an industry growing by 20% through 2026. College professors in emergency management also outpace the national growth-rate average.

Online Doctorate in Emergency Management Programs

Best Online Doctorate in Emergency Management Programs Badge
Download this badge

Online Doctorate in Emergency Management Degree Program Ranking Guidelines:
We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

The Best Online Doctorate in Emergency Management Degree Programs

  1. Jacksonville State University

    Jacksonville, AL

    Jacksonville State University offers an online doctorate in emergency management to candidates who meet application requirements and successfully complete the 60-credit degree plan. Courses cover topics in administration and policy, practice areas, and research methods and statistics. Students also have nine different elective options to customize the degree, including risk communication, health care systems in disaster, and IT applications for disaster management.

    An asynchronous learning format allows students to access course material at any time, as long as assignment and exam deadlines are met. After completing 42 credits, students must successfully pass three qualifying exams before they begin the 18-credit applied research dissertation. While all major degree requirements of this online doctoral program in emergency management allow for completion from anywhere in the world, students must attend an on-campus, week-long integrative seminar every academic year.

  2. Capella University

    Minneapolis, MN

    Capella University, a private, for-profit university established in 1993 offers two opportunities for students to earn doctorate degrees in emergency management, through an online doctor of emergency management degree program and an online Ph.D. in emergency management degree program. Both programs prepare students for top positions in emergency management, with different emphases; the doctor of emergency management program takes a professional practice focus, while the Ph.D. focuses more on theory and research.

    The online doctor of emergency management program requires 90 quarter-credits for completion and consists of 14 core courses, four elective courses, two doctoral research seminars, and a doctoral capstone. The program develops advanced skills and knowledge in areas such as emergency management theory and application, emergency management systems, operations and planning, and contemporary issues of the field. The online Ph.D. in emergency management requires 96 quarter-credits for completion, and consists of 14 core courses, four elective courses, three dissertation research seminars, a comprehensive exam, and a dissertation. The program develops advanced skills and knowledge in key areas, including critical analysis and research, emergency management systems, evaluation and implementation, and research design and analysis.

    Both programs also offer concentrations in the areas of continuity management, critical infrastructure and key resources, higher education, and project management, allowing for professional specialization through academic focus. Students in either program benefit from thorough curricula, dedicated faculty, and flexible course delivery.

  3. Walden University

    Minneapolis, MN

    Walden University, an online for-profit university established in 1970, offers numerous online degree programs, including an online Ph.D. in public policy and administration with a concentration in emergency management. The program prepares students for leadership roles in emergency management settings, with the skills to develop and apply solutions, utilize leadership models, evaluate and change practices, and make key ethical decisions.

    The online Ph.D. program requires 88 quarter-credits for completion, including core courses, specialization courses, and a dissertation. Courses in the program covers topics such as research methods, leadership models, critical issues in emergency management, disaster response and recovery, and governance and public policy.

    Students must complete four Ph.D. residences, equal to a minimum of 16 days total. Applicants must hold a minimum of a master’s degree for admission.

Return to the top

Featured Online Programs

Choosing an Online Emergency Management Program

Emergencies take many forms and the field of emergency management trains students to plan for and respond natural disasters, health outbreaks, and manmade attacks. The field takes an interdisciplinary approach, with courses in subjects diverse as law enforcement, disaster relief, national security, and public health. Emergency management doctoral degree online programs also offer classes dedicated to administrative skills, including communication, public speaking, leadership, and critical thinking. Together, these subjects create an exciting program designed to create leaders ready to handle a variety of situations.

Doctorate emergency management online programs differ widely, so do your homework. Many schools offer them as part of criminal justice or homeland security programs, while others grow out of MBAs. Make sure you understand the requirements of each program that interests you. Many Ph.D. programs require a thesis or dissertation, while others call for a practicum experience. Furthermore, some programs offer concentrations in areas like public health, counter terrorism, or fire science, while others simply blend these subjects into the degree itself. The diversity of these programs means that you can find a program that suits your career interests.

What Else Can I Expect From an Online Doctorate in Emergency Management Program?

Because emergency management doctoral programs take interdisciplinary approaches, they tend to vary widely. Some programs concentrate on one area, such as administrative skills, while others focus heavily on disaster preparedness. Most, however, include classes like those on the list below.

Curriculum for an Online Doctoral Degree in Emergency Management

  • Emergency Management Systems:
    This course explores the infrastructure of emergency management, including communications and agencies. Because it focuses on theory and incident command, it provides great training for jobs in emergency management.
  • Contemporary Issues in Emergency Management:
    The latest trends and challenges in emergency management form the basis for this class. It looks at the use of social media and other communications, risk-based planning, and jurisdictional issues, making it particularly useful to administrators and other leaders in any emergency management area.
  • Risk Management:
    This course focuses on how to mitigate the risk of natural and manmade threats, with particular emphasis on threat identification. The topic helps anyone going into emergency management but especially those in risk assessment.
  • Finance and Budgeting for the Public Sector:
    This course examines the administrative side of emergency management, including determining who is responsible for paying for disasters and ensuring administrators have access to appropriate resources. The course serves as exceptional training for anyone on the leadership side of a government agency.
  • Dissertation Research:
    Doctoral education almost always includes a dissertation, and this class prepares you for the research. It features help at uncovering resources, identifying sources, and organization.
Return to the top

Careers with a Doctorate in Emergency Management

Online doctorate in emergency management programs position you to step into a wide range of fields. You might take a position as a college professor, lecturing to classes on homeland security, or work in public health, traveling the world to prevent disease outbreaks. You could work for FEMA or take a job with a private corporation, keeping their operations safe from natural and manmade disasters.

  1. Emergency Management Director:
    Emergency management directors work for local, state, and federal government agencies preparing communities to handle natural and manmade disasters. They run tests, implement strategies, oversee training, and maintain communication networks. A doctorate in the field prepares you for jobs at the highest administrative levels.
    • Median Annual Salary: $72,760
    • Projected Growth Rate: 8%
  2. Post-Secondary Teacher:
    Emergency management remains in its relative infancy as a subject, and demand for experts who can teach and train others continues to grow. College professors in emergency management instruct the next generation, conduct research, and help write policy. A doctorate gives you an advantage in landing a position.
    • Median Annual Salary: $76,000
    • Projected Growth Rate: 15%
  3. Medical and Health Services Manager:
    These individuals typically run public health agencies, a field that overlaps with emergency management. Executive-level jobs often require a master's or better, and a Ph.D. positions you perfectly as a candidate.
    • Median Annual Salary: $98,350
    • Projected Growth Rate: 20%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Return to the top

Featured%20Online Programs

Popular with our students.

Highly informative resources to keep your education journey on track.

Take the next step toward your future with online learning.

Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today.

woman in an office