Best Online Master’s in Emergency Management Programs 2021

by TBS Staff
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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

California State University-Long Beach true View School Profile $ Long Beach, CA 69% 32% 29% California State University-Long Beach is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior Colleges and University Commission (WSCUC).

A public university founded in 1857, CSLUB offers a master of science in emergency management. Students complete all coursework online with no residency requirements.

The program requires 32 credits, including courses such as emergency planning and management, applied research methods and analytical techniques for decision support and innovation, and emergency management leadership across the megacommunity. Students can also choose between a thesis or a final project.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA in a related field to qualify for admission. The program accepts up to six transfer credits.

Arkansas State University-Main Campus true View School Profile $$ Jonesboro, AR 48% 51% 56% Arkansas State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

A public university founded in 1909, A-State offers an online master of science in disaster preparedness and emergency management. Learners complete 36 credits and select either a thesis or final internship.

Required courses include crisis communications, theory development in disaster preparedness, global perspectives, and healthcare issues and policies. A final practicum offers students the opportunity to explore special topics.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 or a GPA of 3.0 on the last 60 credits of coursework to qualify for admission.

Arizona State University-Skysong true View School Profile $$ Scottsdale, AZ 14% 55% 97% Arizona State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

A public university founded in 1885, ASU offers an online master of arts in emergency management and homeland security. Students complete 33 credits in 7.5-week terms.

Required courses include program evaluation for emergency management and homeland security, applied data analysis in criminal justice, integrated emergency management, and GIS for hazards analysis.

Students need a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 credits of coursework to qualify for admission. Students must also possess a bachelor's degree in a related field or two years of relevant work experience to apply.

Jacksonville State University true View School Profile $$ Jacksonville, AL 42% 64% 68% Jacksonville State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

A public university founded in 1883, JSU offers an online master of emergency management. Students complete 30 credits with no residency requirements.

Required courses include foundations of emergency management, emergency preparedness, research methods in emergency management, and disaster recovery. A capstone course provides opportunities for deeper exploration.

Students may transfer up to six credits into the program. Applicants need a bachelor's degree and may waive standardized test requirements with a 3.0 GPA.

Lander University true View School Profile $$ Greenwood, SC 43% 64% 33% Lander University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

A public university founded in 1872, Lander offers an online master of science in emergency management. Students may also opt for an all-hazard emergency management certificate.

Required courses include foundations in emergency management, preparedness and mitigation, mental health and emergency management, and business and economic continuity. Learners take two courses per term and finish in two years, or choose the one-year accelerated track.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75 to qualify for admission. The school allows students to transfer up to nine credits toward their degree from previous graduate work or work experience.

Liberty University View School Profile Lynchburg, VA 50% 60% 90% Liberty University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

A private Christian university founded in 1971, Liberty offers a master of public administration with an emphasis in disaster management. Students complete 36 credits in convenient eight-week terms.

Required courses include understanding terrorism and homeland security, hazard mitigation, and politics and policy of public sector building. A thesis completes degree requirements.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 to qualify for admission. The school allows students to transfer up to 50% of course requirements from work experience or other graduate work toward their degree.

Arkansas Tech University View School Profile $$ Russellville, AR 40% 41% 47% Arkansas Tech University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

A public university founded in 1909, ATU offers a master of science in emergency management and homeland security. Students complete 36 credits online with no residency requirements.

Required courses include foundations of leadership; principles of emergency management; fundamentals of homeland security; and ethical, legal, and political considerations in emergency management and homeland security. Students complete the degree with a practicum, a thesis, or a comprehensive exam.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 to qualify for admission. The school does not require standardized test scores.

Thomas Jefferson University View School Profile Philadelphia, PA 64% 70% 32% Thomas Jefferson University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

A private medical college founded in 1825, Jefferson offers an online master of science in disaster medicine and management. Students complete coursework online with one 6.5-day campus residency required in the summer.

Required courses include foundations in emergency management, organization management and communications in disasters, principles of disaster exercises and drills, and logistic management for disasters. Students complete simulated disaster assessment and mitigation during the summer residency as part of the 100-hour experiential learning requirement.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with four prerequisites: English composition, statistics or college math, biology or anatomy and physiology, and psychology.

Millersville University of Pennsylvania View School Profile $$$ Millersville, PA 60% 63% 21% Millersville University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

A public university founded in 1855, Millersville offers an online master of science in emergency management. Students complete 30 credits with no residency requirements.

Required courses include principles and practices in emergency management, social dimensions of disaster, emergency mental health and trauma, and emergency preparedness for industry. Students also complete a field experience practicum for hands-on training at an approved location.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree but may waive the GRE requirement with a GPA of 2.8 or higher.

Nova Southeastern University View School Profile Fort Lauderdale, FL 50% 51% 47% Nova Southeastern University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

A private university founded in 1964, NSU offers an online master of science in disaster and emergency management. Students may choose one of five specialty tracks, including maritime safety and security, cybersecurity, or fire administration.

Required courses include bioterrorism and all-hazard preparedness, disaster planning and evaluation, and applied research methods. Learners also choose courses in threats and hazards, as well as management and leadership. From there, students complete courses in their chosen specialty track to satisfy degree requirements.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 to qualify for admission. The school prefers students submit GMAT or GRE scores but does not require them.

Eastern Kentucky University View School Profile $$ Richmond, KY 47% 52% 45% Eastern Kentucky University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

A public university founded in 1906, EKU offers an online master of science in safety, security, and emergency management with a concentration in emergency management and disaster resilience. Students graduate in as few as two years with no residency requirements.

Required courses include the evolution of emergency management, intergovernmental relations in disaster management, and infrastructure protection and analysis. Learners also choose emergency management concentration courses such as managing the nation's disasters.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree and may apply for one of six start dates per year.

Adelphi University View School Profile Garden City, NY 70% 60% 19% Adelphi University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

A private university founded in 1896, Adelphi offers an online master of science in emergency management. Students complete courses 100% online with no residency requirements.

The 39-credit curriculum includes required courses such as introduction to emergency management, health management in times of disaster, research in emergency and disaster management, and organizational planning and response. Students complete a capstone experience and project to satisfy degree requirements.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.7 to qualify for admission. The school does not require students to submit standardized test scores.

Saint Leo University View School Profile Saint Leo, FL 45% 55% 74% Saint Leo University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

A private Catholic university founded in 1889, Saint Leo offers an online master of science in emergency and disaster management. Students complete one class per eight-week term to graduate in two years.

Required courses include policy and politics in critical incident management, social dimensions of disaster, the impact of terrorism on homeland security, and management of critical incident operations. Students may also choose to specialize in fire science administration.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a competitive GPA to qualify for admission. The school does not require students to submit standardized test scores.

University of Nebraska Medical Center View School Profile Omaha, NE 59% 19% University of Nebraska Medical Center is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

A public university founded in 1869, UNMC offers an online master of science in emergency preparedness. Students complete 36 credits without any residency requirements.

Required courses include applied research in public health, emergency preparedness response and recovery, epidemiology in public health, and foundations of public health. Students receive training in research principles before preparing and completing their thesis.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 to qualify for admission. The school does not require students to submit standardized test scores.

Bellevue University View School Profile Bellevue, NE 40% 85% Bellevue University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

A private university founded in 1966, BU offers an online master of science in emergency management. Students complete 36 credits without residency requirements.

Required courses include fundamentals of emergency management, emergency management and the law, disaster response and recovery, and risk management. Students complete four hands-on projects — one per term.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a 2.5 GPA (or a 3.0 GPA in any previous graduate work) to qualify for admission. The school does not require students to submit standardized test scores.

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.

true Emergency Management Directors $70,500 8%

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.

true Computer and Information Systems Managers $135,800 12%

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.

true Logisticians $74,170 7%

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.

Header Image Credit: miodrag ignjatovic | Getty Images

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