Some programs listed below offer specialization in disaster relief with a focus on humanitarianism, while others emphasis national security.
Some degrees are Master of Arts and others are Master of Science. We've parsed out the differences below and noted the programs' shared interest: low cost of attendance. We've also created an entire ranking of the most affordable master's programs.
It's important to note that the tuition rates listed below reflect the cost of the entire program, start to finish. Finally, our data comes from the university and colleges' websites as well as nationally recognized U.S. News and World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.
See our rankings methodology page.
University of South Florida
The University of South Florida (USF) offers an online Masters of Public Health in Disaster Management, Humanitarian Relief, and Homeland Security. USF is a public research university located in Tampa, Florida that consistently ranks among the nation’s top fifty schools in the U.S. News & World Report graduate school rankings. Their public health programs, especially the Disaster Management degree, train students to supervise and manage local, national, and international programs that aim to reduce public health threats, from natural disasters to terrorism.
Capella University is a for-profit institution located in Minneapolis, though most of its education is delivered online. Through their School of Public Service Leadership, students can obtain a Master of Science in Public Safety with an Emergency Management specialization. Capella boasts a network of over five hundred partnerships with renowned US organizations such the FBI National Academy, the International Association of Emergency Managers, the US Secret Service, and more. Training students to become leaders in crisis situations, Capella’s curriculum covers a breadth of natural and man-made disaster dynamics.
Anna Maria College
Offering a Master of Public Administration with Specialization in Emergency Management degree, Anna Maria College trains students to work in the local, state, or federal government, as well as hospitals, community centers, and non-profit organizations. Students learn how to handle a wide variety of crises, including though not limited to: hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, nuclear disasters, terrorist attacks, biological and chemical spills, healthcare epidemics, workplace and school violence, and more. Anna Maria is a Catholic liberal arts college located in Paxton, Massachusetts.
Grand Canyon University
A private, for-profit Christian university located in Phoenix, Arizona, Grand Canyon University has a Master of Science in Leadership program with an emphasis in Disaster Preparedness and Executive Fire Leadership, making it a more niche program than many of the others on this list. For those looking to work in police and fire departments, in emergency services, or in cyber-security roles, this program prepares students for leadership at the local level.
The Master of Science in Emergency Management degree at Bellevue University—a private non-profit university based in Bellevue, Nebraska—is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Unlike some of the other programs, which focus on one area or emphasis, Bellevue students are introduced to a wide range of skills and concepts crucial to all levels of emergency management, and it was one of the few with a curriculum that includes courses on funding and grant writing.
Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University is a private, non-profit, Roman Catholic liberal arts university that offers a Master of Science in Critical Incident Management. The online degree typically takes two years to complete, but with permission from the school, students can opt into the accelerated program and finish in less than two years. The classes cover both the conceptual and practical: law, finances, politics, terrorism, how to handle hazardous material, managing personnel, and more. As one of the leading military colleges in the United States, Saint Leo has a long history of educating criminal justice professionals.
Arkansas Tech University
Covering mitigation, recovery, prevention, protection, strategic collaboration, and more, Arkansas Tech University has a Master of Science program that combines Emergency Management with Homeland Security (EMHS). Notably multi-disciplinary in its approach, Arkansas Tech also differentiates itself in that the director of the EMHS program acts as a personal advisor to each student. The curriculum features four areas of study: professional, methodology, applied research, and interdisciplinary components, making it one of the most affordable and wide-ranging programs on our list.
Jacksonville State University
Jacksonville State University’s (JSU) Masters in Emergency Management requires only thirty completed credit hours for graduation. Located in Jacksonville, Alabama, JSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. They seek to combine the conceptual with skill acquisition to thereby provide their students with a balanced approach to emergency management. Covering hazard assessment, disaster recovery, research methods, preparedness, and disaster response, JSU’s program is at once affordable, thorough, and efficient.
American Military University
Part of the American Public University System, American Military University (AMU) is accredited by the Found of Higher Education for Disaster and Emergency Management and Homeland Security. With a curriculum that includes history, response, planning, management, recovery, economics, and more, AMU offers a comprehensive Master of Arts in Emergency and Disaster Management. The university also maintains a close network of communities, organizations, and professionals to provide the most updated concepts and strategies to their student body.