Best Online Master’s in Emergency Management

by TBS Staff

Updated October 19, 2022

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An online master's degree in emergency management prepares students to take charge of public safety during crises.

Emergency management professionals direct communities during hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, terrorist attacks, and floods. They work in the private sector and in local, state, and federal governments. Emergency management professionals take on challenging roles supporting their communities.

The disastrous weather events and terror threats of the last decade have increased demand for emergency management professionals. After earning an emergency management degree online, graduates have plenty of job opportunities, and the field is growing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the number of emergency management directors in the United States to increase 8% by 2026.

The Best Online Emergency Management Master's Programs

#1 Best Online Master’s in Emergency Management

California State University, Long Beach

  • Long Beach, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master's in emergency management program, offered by California State University, Long Beach, ranks as a top program. The master of science in emergency services administration emphasizes industry-relevant knowledge and skills, preparing graduates for decision-making responsibilities. A master's degree also helps candidates pursue new career paths.

The master's curriculum explores theoretical and practical perspectives in the field. Learners focus the program with electives or a concentration. The master's program recommends that applicants bring a background in emergency management or a related field.

Online enrollees work with the program to arrange professional internships at approved locations in their local area. Graduate students also participate in networking events to expand their professional connections.

California State University, Long Beach at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 39%

Total Online Master's Programs: 3

Program Name: Master of Science in Emergency Services Administration

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,176

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $16,680

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,742
Out-of-state
$17,622
Retention Rate
87%
Admission Rate
39%
Students Enrolled
38,674
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#2 Best Online Master’s in Emergency Management

Arkansas State University-Main Campus

  • Jonesboro, AR
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master's in emergency management degree at Arkansas State University, located in Jonesboro, uses a flexible distance learning format. The master of science in disaster preparedness and emergency management program emphasizes advanced practice skills, training graduates for leadership roles and an increased earning potential. A master's degree allows candidates to move up the career ladder or pursue a new career path.

The master's curriculum incorporates theoretical and applied approaches. Learners focus the program with electives or a concentration. The program encourages applicants to gain experience in emergency management before applying to the program.

Online enrollees complete internship programs in their local area to gain hands-on experience. The program encourages graduate students to attend networking events to expand their professional connections.

Arkansas State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 80%

Total Online Master's Programs: 19

Program Name: Master of Science in Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management

Graduate Tuition In State: $4,986

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $9,972

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,540
Out-of-state
$13,500
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
13,356
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 Best Online Master’s in Emergency Management

Arizona State University

  • Scottsdale, AZ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master's in emergency management degree at Arizona State University, located in Scottsdale, uses a flexible distance learning format. The master of arts in emergency management and homeland security program strengthens specialized skills, preparing graduates for leadership roles with a higher earning potential. A master's degree can also lead candidates to new career paths.

The master's curriculum examines advanced theories and practices in emergency management. Learners specialize the program by choosing from a variety of electives. The master's program builds on undergraduate training or professional experience in emergency management.

Online enrollees complete internship requirements at approved sites in their own community. Internships and other networking events help graduate students expand their professional network.

Arizona State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 64%

Total Online Master's Programs: 48

Program Name: Master of Arts in Emergency Management and Homeland Security

Graduate Tuition In State: $6,384

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $6,384

Average Tuition
In-state
$8,867
Out-of-state
$19,282
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
64%
Students Enrolled
45,073
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
98% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 Best Online Master’s in Emergency Management

Jacksonville State University

  • Jacksonville, AL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Jacksonville State University, located in Jacksonville, Alabama, offers a flexible online master's in emergency management. The master of science or master of public administration in emergency management helps graduates move into leadership roles and increase their earning potential. A master's degree can also prepare candidates for opportunities in new fields.

The master's curriculum explores advanced methodologies and research in emergency management. Learners take electives and other specialized courses to gain career-specific training. The program encourages applicants to gain experience in emergency management before applying to the program.

Online enrollees participate in internship programs at approved locations in their local area. The program encourages graduate students to participate in hands-on experiences and networking events to grow their professional connections.

Jacksonville State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 55%

Total Online Master's Programs: 14

Program Name: Master of Science or Master of Public Administration in Emergency Management

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,600

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $19,200

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,720
Out-of-state
$19,440
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
55%
Students Enrolled
9,021
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
70% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Best Online Master’s in Emergency Management

Lander University

  • Greenwood, SC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Greenwood, South Carolina, Lander University enrolls master's students in its top-ranked online emergency management program. The master of science in emergency management strengthens specialized skills, preparing graduates for leadership roles with a higher earning potential. A master's degree can also lead candidates to new career paths.

The master's curriculum explores advanced methodologies and research in emergency management. Learners choose electives or a specialization to stand out in a competitive job market. The admission requirements include a background in emergency management or a related field.

Online enrollees work with the program to arrange professional internships at approved locations in their local area. Graduate students expand their professional connections by attending virtual networking events.

Lander University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 43%

Total Online Master's Programs: 3

Program Name: Master of Science in Emergency Management

Graduate Tuition In State: $8,856

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $16,844

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,700
Out-of-state
$20,300
Retention Rate
68%
Admission Rate
43%
Students Enrolled
3,226
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#6 Best Online Master’s in Emergency Management

Liberty University

  • Lynchburg, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Liberty University, located in Lynchburg, Virginia, offers a flexible online master's in emergency management. The master of public administration in disaster management program helps graduates increase their salary potential and take on more professional responsibilities. A master's degree allows candidates to move up the career ladder or pursue a new career path.

The master's curriculum explores theoretical and practical perspectives in the field. Learners take electives and other specialized courses to gain career-specific training. The program encourages applicants to gain experience in emergency management before applying to the program.

Online enrollees gain hands-on experience during professional internships in their local area. Internships and other practicum activities also provide professional networking opportunities.

Liberty University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private

Admission Rate: 51%

Total Online Master's Programs: 67

Program Name: Master of Public Administration in Disaster Management

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,980

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $7,980

Average Tuition
In-state
$15,417
Out-of-state
$15,417
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
51%
Students Enrolled
85,586
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#7 Best Online Master’s in Emergency Management

Arkansas Tech University

  • Russellville, AR
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master's degree in emergency management at Arkansas Tech University, located in Russellville, offers high academic quality. The master of science in emergency management and homeland security program strengthens industry-specific skills, preparing graduates for leadership responsibilities. A master's degree also helps candidates pursue new career paths.

The master's curriculum emphasizes both practical and theoretical approaches to emergency management. Learners choose electives or a specialization to gain focused career training. The program encourages applicants to gain experience in emergency management before applying to the program.

Online enrollees gain hands-on experience during professional internships in their local area. The program encourages graduate students to expand their professional connections through internships and networking events.

Arkansas Tech University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 95%

Total Online Master's Programs: 9

Program Name: Master of Science in Emergency Management and Homeland Security

Graduate Tuition In State: $5,256

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $10,512

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,568
Out-of-state
$11,136
Retention Rate
70%
Admission Rate
95%
Students Enrolled
11,829
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#8 Best Online Master’s in Emergency Management

Millersville University

  • Millersville, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduate students seeking an online emergency management degree can enroll in the master's program at Millersville University, located in Millersville, Pennsylvania. The master of science in emergency management builds specialized skills for advanced practice, preparing graduates for leadership positions with increased salary potential. With a master's degree, candidates also pursue new career opportunities.

The master's curriculum emphasizes the best practices in emergency management. Learners often choose a specialized concentration, which can help them stand out in a competitive job market. Applicants without an emergency management background may need to complete prerequisite courses to enroll in the program.

Online enrollees can often complete professional internships at approved locations in their own community. Graduate students expand their professional connections by attending virtual networking events.

Millersville University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 79%

Total Online Master's Programs: 2

Program Name: Master of Science in Emergency Management

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,288

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $13,932

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,570
Out-of-state
$19,290
Retention Rate
77%
Admission Rate
79%
Students Enrolled
7,783
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
25% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#9 Best Online Master’s in Emergency Management

Nova Southeastern University

  • Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduate students seeking an online emergency management degree can enroll in the master's program at Nova Southeastern University, located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The master of science in disaster and emergency management builds specialized skills for advanced practice, preparing graduates for leadership positions with increased salary potential. Earning a master's degree helps candidates move into a new career path or advance in their current field.

The master's curriculum covers theoretical and practical approaches to emergency management. Learners often choose a specialized concentration, which can help them stand out in a competitive job market. Applicants with a background in emergency management typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees participate in internship programs at approved locations in their local area. Graduate students grow their professional connections through internships and virtual networking events.

Nova Southeastern University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private 

Admission Rate: 80%

Total Online Master's Programs: 46

Program Name: Master of Science in Disaster and Emergency Management

Graduate Tuition In State: $19,665

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $19,665

Average Tuition
In-state
$31,150
Out-of-state
$31,150
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
20,576
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#10 Best Online Master’s in Emergency Management

Eastern Kentucky University

  • Richmond, KY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Eastern Kentucky University, located in Richmond, offers a flexible online master's in emergency management. The master of science in safety, security, and emergency management with a concentration in emergency management and disaster resilience emphasizes industry-relevant knowledge and skills, preparing graduates for decision-making responsibilities. After earning a master's degree, candidates also pursue careers in new industries.

The master's curriculum emphasizes research methods and analytical skills. Learners individualize the program to prepare for focused careers. Applicants without a background in emergency management may need to complete prerequisite courses before enrolling in the master's program.

Online enrollees complete internship programs in their local area to gain hands-on experience. Internships and other networking events help graduate students expand their professional network.

Eastern Kentucky University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 94%

Total Online Master's Programs: 16

Program Name: Master of Science in Safety, Security, and Emergency Management: Emergency Management and Disaster Resilience

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,900

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $13,950

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,266
Out-of-state
$19,338
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
94%
Students Enrolled
14,980
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Best Online Master's

Online Master's in Emergency Management Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, 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 AcademicInfluence.com, 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.

Featured Online Master's in Emergency Management Programs

Choosing an Online Master’s in Emergency Management Program

Students pursuing a master’s degree in emergency management online gain a broad understanding of emergency planning and analysis and typically concentrate in a specific area. Core courses include homeland security and criminal justice data analysis.

Common concentrations in master’s degree in emergency management online programs include homeland security, information systems, public safety or health, law enforcement and fire protection, and logistics. Concentrations reflect the job sector students plan to work in after graduation. For example, students planning to pursue government jobs often concentrate in homeland security. Students who excel in analysis and project management may become logisticians, who establish protocols for officials and the public to follow during catastrophic events.

Some online master’s degree in emergency management programs, such as Adelphi University’s MS in emergency management program, emphasize homeland security and leadership during disasters. Other programs, such as Jefferson’s online MS degree, focus on disaster medicine and management. When selecting a program, consider your educational and career ambitions.

Online Master’s in Emergency Management Careers

Some emergency management directors work for state or local governments; others work for private companies or nonprofit organizations. After earning an emergency management master’s degree online, graduates pursue specialized roles, such as social community manager or logistician. Careers in emergency management span industries, so graduates have a variety of employment options.

Emergency Management Directors

Emergency management directors lead emergency preparedness efforts and direct others during crises. They work with local and state officials, and during crises, they communicate ongoing plans to the public.

Median Salary: $70,500 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 8%

Computer and Information Systems Managers

Computer and information systems managers provide computer–related assistance during emergencies, including launching and directing an information website at which the community can access logistical information. They also inform the public of where to find supplies and government assistance.

Median Salary: $135,800 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 12%

Logisticians

Logisticians manage processes during emergency situations. They coordinate supplies, shelter, and services necessary for a community in crisis. Logistician create plans based on population needs for a variety of emergency situations.

Median Salary: $74,170 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 7%

Header Image Credit: miodrag ignjatovic | Getty Images

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