The terrorist events of 9/11, along with a slew of recent natural and manmade disasters, has heightened the need for seasoned homeland security and emergency management professionals. These individuals work to prevent, mitigate, and recover from disasters of all types and scales.
Individuals who are motivated, compassionate, team-oriented, and responsive are the best candidates for this type of work. Careers in emergency management provide an excellent opportunity for those interested in meaningful careers in public service.
A master’s degree in emergency management prepares students to work in infrastructure protection, crisis management, and crisis prevention. Graduates might work in all levels of private and public service, from cybersecurity to border and maritime security, to disaster recovery planning.
These degree paths are excellent choices for current or prospective practitioners in first response, emergency management, health services, military, fire, and law enforcement. As a graduate of a Master of Science in Emergency Management program, you may be eligible for jobs such as emergency response coordinator, disaster coordinator, director of emergency management, biosecurity officer, and many others.
What kind of emergency management degree should you get?
There are a wide variety of emergency management degrees available, many with special concentrations in fields such as homeland security and public health. In general, candidates should look for a broad spectrum approach to emergency management when searching for degrees. Coursework should cover all elements of emergency management, with the option to specialize in certain tracks if necessary.
Furthermore, students should search for programs that best fit their lifestyles. Busy working adults benefit most from flexible, asynchronous online programs that can be accessed at any time of day. Students should also look for emergency management programs that incorporate a variety of learning technologies and strategies, as well as those that offer affordable financing and tuition rates. To learn more, check out our list of the Best Online Schools.
How much money do people make with an emergency management degree?
Spending on homeland security and emergency management has skyrocketed in the last decade. As a result, emergency management specialists are one of the top jobs, with employment expected to grow by 22 percent in the next decade. This is much higher than the national average.
Emergency management professionals usually see an annual median salary of $70,500. Graduates of master’s degree programs and those with leadership experience tend to earn much more. Many companies also award bonuses and other comparable awards for outstanding service at the end of the year.
What can you do with a degree in emergency management?
Career options for individuals with master’s degrees in emergency management are varied. Many students go on to pursue leadership opportunities in their chosen fields, with graduates working in public safety, emergency response, disaster response, homeland security, law enforcement, first response, intelligence, and fire services, among many others.
Graduates may work for nonprofit, federal, or state organizations, including, but not limited to, FEMA, the Red Cross, the Department of Defense, and the National Guard.
What are the requirements for a degree in emergency management?
Most master’s degrees in emergency management will require a minimum of thirty-six credit hours of study. This baseline provides for ample experience in the foundations of emergency management, as well as skills development. Students will receive extensive training in leadership, disaster response, communication, and interdisciplinary topics.
To apply for one of these master’s programs, most universities will require a similar undergraduate background in an area such as emergency response, medicine, public health, or law enforcement. However, not all require relevant undergraduate training and will accept any baccalaureate degree. Programs typically look for candidates who are level-headed, open to interdisciplinary training, and interested in public service.
What are the best emergency management degrees?
Because emergency management is such a broad field of study, the best degrees will be the ones that allow students to specialize in various aspects of emergency management. Most students pursuing graduate studies in this field are already employed in a specific sector. Therefore, programs that include specialization tracks in homeland security, first response, biosecurity, public health, and other fields offer the most flexibility and customization in designing a relevant set of courses.
The best degrees will also include a wide variety of coursework. Students should look for programs that include hands-on practice, both simulated and in the field, in addition to theoretical and foundational coursework.
See our rankings methodology page.
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $29,998
With over a century worth of experience in educating students who are prepared to engage with a global community, Northeastern University is an expert in graduate education. It is ranked among the top fifty best national universities by U.S. News and World Report, with a 92% career placement rate. Northeastern’s fully online Master of Arts in Homeland Security is comprehensive and covers all elements of emergency management, including leadership, intelligence gathering, risk management, and legal technological issues.
In addition to a broad foundation of courses in homeland security and management, Northeastern allows student’s to apply various study0track concentrations to their programs. These include Emergency Management and Geographic Information Technologies, Organization and Infrastructure Continuity, Port Security, and Aviation Security. Independent study programs are also available. In general, required courses include:
- The Unconventional Threat to Homeland Security
- Intelligence for Homeland Security
- Critical Infrastructure: Vulnerability Analysis and Protection
- Crisis Communication
- Domestic and International Terrorism
- Management for Security Professionals
- Legal and Regulatory Issues for Security Management
- Negotiation, Mediation, and Facilitation
This program incorporates a range of experiences, allowing students to become more agile in their learning and giving them the skills necessary to adapt to a range of challenges. Research crosses interdepartmental boundaries, giving students the freedom to explore coursework in a range of fields. Furthermore, the university hosts a powerful alumni network, connecting students with other graduates across the globe to help improve career success.
College Choice Score: 96.79
Average Net Price: $6,349
Bellevue is a small nonprofit university, with a close-knit alumni network of just over 50,000 graduates spread throughout the globe. It is a nationally renowned leader in preparing students with career-relevant coursework at an affordable rate. As a result, its online programs are especially popular for adult learners desiring maximum flexibility and convenience. The university was named as a Top Ten University for Adult Learners twice in a row by Forbes. It is also nationally acclaimed and widely attended by military veterans.
Students in the Master of Science in Security Management at Bellevue will develop leadership skills consistent with those needed for security management methods and emergency preparedness. The program, also offered on campus, is high-ranked and offers students a variety of career options upon graduation. Required classes include:
- Homeland Security Principles and Practices
- Critical Infrastructure: Analysis and Strategies
- Emergency Preparedness and Management
- Principles and Theories of Security Management
- Cyber-Security and Information Protection
- Vulnerability Assessment and Risk Analysis
This program was rated one of 2015’s best homeland security training programs by Government Security News, placing it in the top twenty online cyber security programs. The school’s attention to national policy and emergency preparedness has also landed the department several recognitions by the National Security Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense.
American Public University System
College Choice Score: 96.12
Average Net Price: $11,470
American Military University is a unique online campus, founded in 1991 to service those who serve. It is the top provider of continuing education to the U.S. Armed Forces, and as result, its online programs are beyond comparison in regards to convenience, flexibility, and affordability. Over half of all students receive college credit for prior education or work experience and all receive access to unmatched student support services.
The program is taught by practicing experts, many of whom are leaders with extensive experience working on scene at some of the most involved emergency and disaster situations in the United States and abroad. The university fosters student partnerships with organizations such as the International Association of Emergency Managers, Masters of Disaster, and the Golden Key International Honor Society. Required classes include:
- Emergency and Disaster Theory
- Interagency Disaster Management
- Crisis Action Planning
- Emergency Management and Public Law
- Hazard Mitigation and Resilient Communities
- Economics of Disaster
- Mass Casualty Incident Management
- Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management
This program is designed for first-responders interested in learning advanced skills in disaster response. The program enhances critical thinking skills necessary for management relief, recovery, and mission planning in a crisis of any scale. Program developers work closely with industry leaders to guarantee that all students receive education in the most cutting-edge techniques and advanced strategies available in the modern field.
Tulane University of Louisiana
College Choice Score: 93.68
Average Net Price: $32,515
Tulane’s Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security Studies emphasizes the importance of securing and maintaining the wellbeing of U.S. citizens through real-life applications of security and emergency management. Graduates go on to work in intelligence, emergency management, first response, and law enforcement, and is designed for current members of the workforce hoping to advance their careers.
Teaching faculty in this program are widely experienced, with members including current or past members of the FBI, emergency response teams, and law enforcement intelligence. Students complete a set of core courses, studying under the close guidance of these supportive faculty members, before moving on to develop an individual plan of study with the program director. Required and elective courses include:
- Health and Medical Issues in Emergency Management
- Intelligence Analysis/Critical Thinking
- Homeland Security and Approaches to Counter-Terrorism
- Maritime and Border Security
- Intelligence Research, Methods, and Analysis
- Critical Infrastructure and Interdependencies
- Transportation and Border Security Strategy
- Homeland Security: The National Challenge
This program is unique in that it is one of the few nationally that is a member and participant in the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security and University and Agency Partner Initiative. This makes it a leading program for establishing homeland security curriculum. Current faculty are either active or have experience in security agencies such as FEMA, the FBI, the CIA, and the U.S. State Department.
Jacksonville State University
College Choice Score: 92.54
Average Net Price: $12,474
Thirty semester hours are required for this hands-on degree at Jacksonville State University. The university also offers a comparable certificate program that allows students to obtain skills acquisition in hazard assessment, crisis management, and other skills in a reduced amount of time. Jacksonville State is a pioneer in the field of distance learning, with 1,200 of the university’s 8,900 students pursuing online degrees.
Located in Jacksonville, Alabama, this university hosts over forty-five degree programs ranging from certificates to doctoral degrees. Online courses at Jacksonville State take place in virtual classrooms, so that students can complete coursework at any time or place. The curriculum includes core courses in:
- Disaster Recovery
- Research Methods in Emergency Management
- Hazard Mitigation
- Emergency Preparedness
- Disaster Response
- Disasters and the Media
- Legal Aspects of Emergency Management
This accredited program is taught by distinguished faculty with extensive experience in the field and an excellent reputation in the field. The university offers comprehensive students for all online students, including access to a prestigious library system. In addition, seventy-nine percent of online students receive some form of financial aid. Scholarships are available specifically for Emergency Management Majors, including the Alabama Association of Emergency Managers Scholarship, making this a low-cost, highly engaging option for distance learning students.
Arkansas Tech University
College Choice Score: 92.32
Average Net Price: $10,887
The Arkansas Tech University Master of Science in Emergency Management and Homeland Security is the program of choice for working practitioners seeking to further develop their careers. This program can be completed online, on campus, or a combination of both, requiring thirty-six hours of coursework. There is no limitation on how many hours a student can complete per semester, allowing motivated candidates to finish in just four semesters. This specialized program incorporates a multidisciplinary approach that targets the principles of emergency management, such as mitigation, response, and prevention, with state-of-the-art technologies.
This program may include an original research thesis or practicum project to allow for greater insight into the discipline, if desired. Required courses include a sampling of the following subjects:
- Foundation of Leadership
- Principles of Emergency Management
- Fundamentals of Homeland Security
- Research Design and Methods
- Ethical, Legal, and Political Considerations in Emergency Management and Homeland Security
- Technology for Comprehensive Emergency Management
The program features various financial aid options, with out-of-state-students eligible for out-of-state tuition waivers under certain conditions. Several scholarships are available exclusively for Emergency Management students, including the James L. Witt Scholarship, the Dr. Richard Ihde Emergency Management Communications Scholarship, and the Ed Leachman Emergency Management Scholarship.
Thomas Jefferson University
College Choice Score: 92.31
Average Net Price: $28,596
The Master of Science in Disaster Medicine and Management program exists as a partnership between Thomas Jefferson and the Department of Emergency Medicine of the Albert Einstein Health Network. It is designed to educate public safety, defense, and medical professionals working in both public and private sectors to respond to and mitigate the effects of both natural and manmade disasters. This program, offered online with a one-week on-campus summer session, features a special focus on national preparedness.
In addition to the online master’s, Jefferson also offers two certificate programs in Disaster Medicine and Management and also in Business Continuity. These certificates, pursued in conjunction with the master’s or on their own, provide additional background in the field of emergency management. Required classes for the master’s program include:
- Foundations in Emergency Management
- Organizational Management and Communications in Disasters
- Psychological Aspects of Disasters
- Principles of Disaster Exercises and Drills
- Public Health Implications of Disasters
- Logistic Management for Disasters
- Applied Research Methods and Statistics
- Capstone Experience in Disaster Medicine and Management
This program can be completed entirely online with the exception of a one-time, on-campus conference and exercise week. This includes live lectures, hands-on skills labs, disaster drills, and role-playing seminars. Online courses include a variety of interactive activities, including seminars, chat rooms, and lessons uploaded through the Blackboard learning system. Students must also complete one hundred hours of experiential learning, in which they demonstrate the connection between academic learning and real world application.
University of South Florida
College Choice Score: 91.90
Average Net Price: $11,398
The University of South Florida provides a fully online Master of Public Health in Global Disaster Management, Humanitarian Relief, and Homeland Security that prepares students to work for local and international organizations, governments, and United Nations agencies. Students will engage in a combination of core interactive courses, field experiences, and special projects that prepare them to work in disaster management, humanitarian assistance, and homeland security.
This program’s online courses are available throughout the day, offering students access to the same outstanding degree programs provided on campus.
Required classes include:
- Population Assessment
- Translation to Public Health Practice
- Overview of US & International Disaster Management
- Public Health Implications and Concerns in Homeland Security
- Disaster Management
- Disaster Preparedness & Planning Concepts
- Public Health Emergencies in Large Populations
The university features alumni across the globe, working in entry level and supervisory positions at organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the military, and international nongovernmental organizations. The university hosts an interdisciplinary research approach that allows students to transform their understandings of global crises situations to solve problems and create healthful living conditions for all mankind.
University of Nebraska Medical Center
College Choice Score: 90.21
Average Net Price: $29,200
The University of Nebraska Medical Center operates a Master of Science in Emergency Preparedness that prepares professionals for responding to naturally occurring disasters, terrorism, and infectious disease threats. The university is a leader in the field, providing students outstanding access to research to establish evidence-based knowledge. Students receive the same diplomas as their on-campus counterparts as they develop current and nationally endorsed competencies.
The curriculum is nationally unique, offered by an institution that has offered distance education courses for more than one hundred years. Students will engage with peers and faculty through email, discussion forums, and chat groups, and receive direct access to world-class faculty with real-world experience. Required classes include:
- Emergency Preparedness: Protection
- Applied Research in Public Health
- Emergency Preparedness
- Foundations of Public Health
Students at the University of Nebraska receive access to the same student services available to on-campus students, such as career services, technical support, library services, and academic advising. Students may engage in coursework from any of the University of Nebraska campuses, including Kearney, Lincoln, Omaha, and Medical Center. Each of these campuses is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and features highly competitive tuition and fees.
California State University-Long Beach
College Choice Score: 90.15
Average Net Price: $9,867
The Master of Science in Emergency Service Administration is an entirely online program, focusing on developing the leadership and critical thinking skills necessary for managing communities in times of crises. It is designed for working professionals and those interested in engaging interdisciplinary research and theory of disaster management.
Students complete a range of core courses, along with elective areas of a specialization. These specializations can be chosen based on individual career objectives and interests. Students also complete capstone projects to help them strengthen their newly acquired skills. This thirty-three credit program features coursework in:
- Information Literacy and Practical Writing Applications for Emergency Management
- Emergency Planning and Management
- Applied Research Methods and Analytical Techniques for Decision Support and Innovation
- Emergency Management Organizations: Constructs for Influencing Complex Systems
- Risk, Crisis, and Inter-Agency Communications
- Emergency Management Leadership across the Megacommunity
- Strategic Planning and Integrative Practices in Emergency Services Administration
Online students also have access to unparalleled university resources such as experienced faculty and staff, libraries, and student support services. Instructors are distinguished faculty from the emergency services field. Students’ course work has both practical and real-world applications, and the scheduling of courses is such that students may take classes throughout the entire year for optimum flexibility.
College Choice Score: 90.09
Average Net Price: $28,095
Adelphi acknowledges the growing demand for emergency management professionals with its broad, all-hazard perspective Master of Science in Emergency Management program. All coursework for this program is available entirely online, and makes it possible for students to manage their studies on their own time. Students may obtain internationally recognized professional credentials as they work alongside a prestigious network of established emergency management professionals from all fields and industries.
In addition to a thirty-nine credit Master of Science program, the university also offers an eighteen credit certificate program. The master’s program, which can be completed in just two years of part time study, includes an emergency management capstone research project and presentation, in addition to core courses such as:
- Health Management in Times of Disaster
- Business Continuity Planning
- Emergency Management Law
- Management Theory/ Organizational Behavior
- Securing The Homeland
Founded in 1863, Adelphi has a long tradition of educating successful graduate students. More than 280 professors have been hired since 2001, with a current student/faculty ratio of just ten to one. The university has also invested significant funding into new facilities, both digital and on-campus, to help students succeed. The university has received substantial funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation.
Millersville University of Pennsylvania
College Choice Score: 89.86
Average Net Price: $18,624
Millersville is one of the most highly acclaimed public universities in its area of the united States, and is home to a dedicated, highly experienced faculty. Its online program in emergency management is taught by distinguished instructors who provide a broad-based, industry-responsive graduate curriculum. Classes are offered at any time of day, with lectures and resources available twenty-four seven. The online campus is unique in that it includes a virtual library, bookstore, and administrative offices. Instructors are available via digital “office hours” to address any questions students might have.
Thirty credit hours are required for graduation, including courses such as:
- Principles & Practices of Emergency Management
- Technical & Professional Writing for Emergency Management
- Social Dimensions of Disaster
- Emergency Mental Health & Trauma
- Natural Hazards Primer
- Emergency Preparedness for Industry
- Emergency Management Planning
The program culminates in a final capstone experience in which students engage in a field experience at an emergency management position. Students who are already employed in this context may use their current employment as their capstone projects.
The Master’s in Emergency Management at Millersville was ranked one of the best by BestColleges.com, recognizing its flexible course formats and tailor-made programs for students from a variety of disciplines and educational backgrounds. It is also ranked one of the most affordable programs in the country, a must-have for busy working professionals seeking to advance their careers in emergency management.
College Choice Score: 88.78
Average Net Price: $16,218
Wilmington University offers a master’s degree in homeland security that is relevant to career professionals. Students in this program gain hands-on experience in security preparedness as they work under the guidance of seasoned professionals. This program is offered online, in a traditional classroom, or as a hybrid of the two formats.
This dynamic program offers concentrations in safety and security, organizational leadership, and information assurance, allowing students cutting-edge exposure to modern issues in homeland security. Students will take courses that are practical, methodological, and theoretical in nature, for example:
- Contemporary Issues in Homeland Security
- Sociology of Terrorism
- Legal Aspects and Policy of Homeland Security
- Risk Assessment and Management
- Crisis Leadership
- Research Methods in Criminal Justice
- Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Applied Systems
In addition, each student must complete a capstone project, either by participation in a field practicum, a small project, or a research study.
In addition to flexible course offerings, the university also features rock-bottom tuition rates, allowing all students affordable access to these exceptional programs. The university features low in-state tuition rates for all students, regardless of where they live. Furthermore, the university is ranked one of the most military friendly, serving the unique educational needs of current and veteran military students.
Arkansas State University
College Choice Score: 88.48
Average Net Price: $12,310
Arkansas State enrolls over 14,000 students in its student-friendly programs. Offering over one hundred and fifty degree areas of study, most of which are available online, the university combines world-class research with outstanding student support. The university offers a Master of Science in disaster preparedness and emergency management that is highly interdisciplinary, incorporating a variety of teaching strategies and activities. The degree includes the ability for each student to undertake an internship, research project, or final thesis to culminate his or her studies.
Students will complete coursework in unique module-based components, working through a sequence of courses as they gain competence in each. The modules are as follows:
- Theoretical Framework for Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management
- Communication in Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management
- Research Topics in Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management
- Humanitarian Perspectives in Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management
- Collaboration in Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Management
- Internship, Research Project or Thesis
Tuition is incredibly low, starting at just $267 per credit hour for resident students. In addition, the university hosts various economic, cultural, and industry partnerships that are beneficial for students hoping to make lasting career connections. Public-private partnerships include hosting the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, and working with O’Reilly Management for the Red Wolf Convention Center.
Nova Southeastern University
College Choice Score: 88.47
Average Net Price: $25,344
The Disaster and Emergency Management program at Nova Southeastern is highly personalized, allowing students to customize their emergency operations coursework so that it is tailored towards their individual preferences and career goals. Students in this program will study all aspects of emergency management, from the local to the international level, and prepare to become leaders in this field. Students may choose specialties in maritime safety and security, fire administration, criminal justice, public health, or cyber security.
Each course at Nova is taught by academics that also have leadership experience in emergency management. The program culminates with a community internship or research practicum in the chosen area of specialty. This final project connects students with influential experts, providing them unparalleled career insight and networking capabilities. Other required courses include:
- Leadership and Organizational Behavior for Emergency Preparedness
- Executive Leadership and Administration
- Security Management in a Global Society
- Threats, Hazards and Impacts
- Environmental Hazards in Emergency Preparedness
- Risk Assessment and Mitigation
- Agroterrorism and Food System Disasters
- Weapons of Mass Threat and Communicable Diseases
Nova’s small class sizes give students exclusive one-on-one access to talented professors. The college is ranked a top 200 best college among national universities for 2018, incorporating the latest teaching technologies and research libraries. Students in all programs, online and on-campus, participate in significant research in a broad range of fields.
Colorado Technical University
College Choice Score: 88.20
Average Net Price: $19,856
Colorado Technical University at Colorado Springs is an institutionally accredited and nationally acclaimed experiential school that provides students with the ability to synthesize, interpret, and evaluate critical elements of their field of study. The Master of Science in Homeland Security with a concentration in Emergency Management and Public Health allows students to evaluate the threats posed to communities and provides them with the abilities necessary to respond. Students graduate from this program as seasoned professionals who are ready to take on the challenges of a global community in crisis.
Courses in this program are taught by professors who are experts in their fields and subject matters. They are skilled at predicting the trends and challenges of tomorrow, and carry these challenges forth to the classroom. Required classes include:
- Homeland Security Fundamentals
- Private Sector Role in Homeland Security
- Organizational and Policy Challenges
- Vulnerability Analysis and Protection
- Homeland Security and Government
- Disaster Emergency Planning
- Principles of Disaster Medicine
- Emergency Management and Communication in Disasters
With over one hundred and thirty degree options and a unique “Fast Track” option, Colorado Technical University allows students to save up to thirty percent of their tuition expenses. The university also features a convenient mobile app that lets students complete classes on the go. As a result, the university is ranked one of the best in 2018, according to U.S. News and World Report rankings, and is also one of the best for military veterans.
Pennsylvania State University
College Choice Score: 87.73
Average Net Price: $25,055
Pennsylvania State University offers a fully online intercollege Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security with an option in Public Health Preparedness. This program equips students to respond to natural and man-made disasters, along with their aftermath. Students have graduated from this program and gone on to fill high-profile roles in public health, health care, emergency management, the military, and education.
In addition to the master’s degree, Penn State also offers graduate certificate sin homeland security. This program is exclusive as it is the nation’s only first online homeland security program provided by a medical school. This unique viewpoint gives the program an emphasis on public health and wellness while also focusing on the other aspects of homeland security. Required classes for the program include:
- Homeland Security: Social and Ethical Issues
- Violence, Threats, Terror, and Insurgency
- Public Health Preparedness for Disaster and Terrorist Emergencies
- Critical Infrastructure Protection of Health Care Delivery Systems
- Agricultural Biosecurity: Protecting a Key Infrastructure
- Disaster Communication
Penn State’s World Campus, exclusively online, is the second largest campus in the Pennsylvania State network, enrolling nearly 18,000 students. This size allows all students to receive top-notch education that is comparable to the education received on any of the university’s physical campus. Over one hundred and fifty degree programs are offered online, each taught exclusively by on-campus Penn State faculty. According to a survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal, Penn State is the top institution in the nation for producing prepared, well-rounded graduates.
Saint Leo University
College Choice Score: 87.45
Average Net Price: $21,296
Each of Saint Leo’s undergraduate and graduate online degree programs is taught by accomplished faculty with relevant experience. These convenient online programs are guided by Catholic values and provide students access to expert support professionals and student services in as little as a single click. Each program is designed specifically for adult learners, preparing them for high-demand careers in the twenty-first century job market. Because each program contains a general education core, students receive well-rounded degrees that prepare them for any career challenge.
Saint Leo offers a unique option to students seeking the flexibility of an online degree with the structure of on-campus learning. The university operates over thirty-five convenient education centers in seven states around the country. This allows them to take classes with the assistance of accomplished faculty. Required classes for the Master of Science in Emergency and Disaster Management include:
- Legal & Regulatory Aspects in Critical Incident Management
- Financial Management
- Policy & Politics in Critical Incident Management
- Leadership Application in Critical Incident Management
- Social Dimensions of Disaster
- Impact of Terrorism on Homeland Security
- Management of Critical Incident Operations
- Risk Identification and Assessment
The university has a student to faculty ratio of just fourteen to one, and also provides engaging, student-focused classes through the use of cutting-edge learning technology. Many programs, including the Emergency and Disaster Management program, can be completed as two-year traditional programs or as accelerated degrees. This allows students to save both time and money while receiving a top-ranked degree.
Arizona State University
College Choice Score: 87.10
Average Net Price: $12,981
The Master of Arts in Emergency Management and Homeland Security at Arizona State fosters the development of strong, disaster-resilient communities by preparing students to manage all types and scales of hazards and crises. This cutting-edge program provides collaboration among faculty, students, and industry practitioners that addresses the challenges of twenty-first century emergency management. Furthermore, Arizona State fosters exclusive access to courses and faculty interaction with programs in Australia and the United Kingdom.
Each course lasts seven and a half weeks, allowing students to start classes at any interval throughout the year. Students may choose to concentrate their studies in biosecurity and threat management, community resilience, emergency management, or homeland security. Regardless, all students will take the following courses:
- Data Analysis in Criminal Justice
- Integrated Emergency Management
- Geographic Information Systems
- Seminar on the Nature of Crime
- Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction
- Public Budgeting and Finance
- Information Technology in Emergency Management
- Critical Incident Stress Management
Research is an integral part of all of Arizona State’s programs, with the university operating over twenty research centers. As a result, it is the top university in the United States for innovation, and the fourth university in the country for best online programs. Furthermore, Arizona State is nationally ranked as a “top-tier” recruiting and hiring institution, with over fifty of country’s top corporations recruiting Arizona State students on a regular basis.
Angelo State University
College Choice Score: 86.51
Average Net Price: $10,943
Angelo State University’s Master of Science in Homeland Security addresses the growing challenges faced by security and law enforcement personnel in dealing with the rapidly changing world of transnational crime, terrorism, and other security threats. The program incorporates theoretical and practical understandings, as well as hands-on practice, in the areas of intelligence, terrorism, law, and other issues. This program is unique in that it has no undergraduate prerequisites, and is instead open to students from any undergraduate background.
With each course offered in a sixteen week format, this degree can be completed in as little as eighteen months. Required and elective classes include:
- Research Methods in Security Studies
- National Security Policy
- Seminar in Criminal Justice Agency Ethics
- Advanced Studies in Transnational Crime
- Studies in Weapons of Mass Destruction Hazards and Responses
- Constitutional Issues in Homeland Security
- Cybersecurity and Constitutional Issues
- Emerging Technologies in Homeland Security
The Princeton Review named Angelo State one of 2018’s best colleges. This ranking was based on several factors, namely the university’s dedication to preparing skilled, career-responsive individuals who are prepared for leadership roles in the military and other settings. Angelo State collaborates with the Department of Defense as well as other national and local security forces to provide students relevant, hands-on experience in the most up-to-date technologies and solutions.
College Choice Score: 86.49
Average Net Price: $31,040
The graduate-level emergency management program at Pace University requires thirty-three to thirty-six hours of study and is primarily online. It prepares students for leadership in all aspects of emergency management, from military to fire to public health. Pace is top-ranked for the overall value of its programs, and is recognized for its outstanding commitment to working adult students as well as military veterans.
Students will complete a variety of practical and theoretical courses to prepare them for immediate or continued employment in any aspect of emergency management. Required core and elective courses include:
- Public Sector Strategic Planning and Budgeting
- U.S. Constitution and Ethical Issues
- Public Sector Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation
- Comparative Governments
- International Human Rights
- Technology and Critical Infrastructure Protection
- Multi-Disciplinary Approaches to Homeland Security
- Special Topics in Homeland Security
Pace’s online programs are top-rated by U.S. News and World Report, offering the same employer-respected degrees as those received by on-campus students. Although Pace is a private university, its online programs are offered at a significantly low tuition cost, allowing students to increase their earning potential without overspending. Furthermore, Pace features accessible faculty and dedicated students services, from advising to admissions to career services.
College Choice Score: 86.48
Average Net Price: $13,682
Lander’s online Master of Science in Emergency Management helps graduates enhance their careers in emergency management. It emphasizes both preparedness and response to crises situations, regardless of whether they are natural or man-made. The program is one-of-a-kind in that it prepares students o deal with mental health challenges in emergency situations, an often ignored component of emergency management that is crucial for all practitioners.
This program allows students to complete courses in just one year. It fosters an interdisciplinary approach that allows students to examine the process of emergency management from other academic viewpoints. Required courses include:
- Foundations in Emergency Management
- Preparation and Mitigation
- Response and Recovery
- Business and Economic Continuity
- Emergency Mental Health
- Continuity of Government
A small school with just over three thousand students, Lander is considered a Yellow Ribbon College, meaning it is exceptionally military friendly. All courses in this program are taught by expert faculty with experience in academics, leadership, and emergency management. The curriculum was developed, and continues to be amended, based on feedback from government, non-profit, and business employers, as well as governmental agencies such as FEMA and the National Guard.
College Choice Score: 85.78
Average Net Price: $42,505
Adler University, at just around sixty-five years old, is still comparatively a fledgling institution. However, it offers expert online courses that bear the same hallmarks of academic excellence and student support as those provide on-campus. Each online course is highly engaging and innovative, lasting only eight weeks to provide students refreshed course material on a regular basis. All courses are offered through the easy-to-use online learning system, Canvas, which allows students to interact with instructors and classmates on their own time and at their own pace.
This thirty-seven credit hour program features a high level of student support. Instructors are constantly available to provide support, and students move through coursework in distinctive cohorts of classmates. This cohort-system allows students to work with the same group of peers for the duration of their studies, providing for additional support and networking opportunities. Required courses include:
- Foundations of Emergency Management Systems
- Law and Politics of Emergency Management
- Supporting Functional Needs Populations in Disasters
- Disaster Response, Recovery and Continuity
- Psychology of Terrorism
- Leading In Times of Crisis
- Essentials of Effective Communication
- Research Methods for Leaders in Emergency Management
Adler’s program in Emergency Management Leadership was the first graduate program in the country that was crated from the ground up to produce outstanding emergency management leaders. IT is taught by experienced professionals and can be completed in as little as two years while balancing full-time career and personal responsibilities.
College Choice Score: 85.78
Average Net Price: $22,033
The Master of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management at National University prepares students for natural and man-made disasters in a fully online format. This interdisciplinary program requires fifty-four credit units of study. As a veteran-founded not-for-profit university, National focuses on providing flexible, accessible education to adult learners.
National offers over one hundred different degree programs outside of Emergency Management, each containing compact, four-week classes offered either on campus or online. Required courses for Emergency Management include:
- Policies of Homeland Security
- Infrastructure Protection
- Leading Complex Environments
- Domestic Terrorism
- Emergency/Disaster Response
- Fundamentals of Recovery
- Managing Information Security
National has offered online programs for over twenty years, educating students from all fifty states and from sixty-five different countries. The university offers extensive military tuition discounts and scholarships, and is a designated Yellow Ribbon school. While National has won multiple awards and accolades for its education programs, it is recognized as a leader among all departments for academic excellence and affordability in online programs.
College Choice Score: 84.85
Average Net Price: $15,597
Towson University offers a Master of Science in Integrated Homeland Security Management and Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Security Assessment and Management. This unique combination is designed to prepare innately qualified practitioners to fulfill a workforce need in homeland security. The curriculum blends practical experience, academic skills, and applied knowledge to help students understand how to research, develop, and analyze security strategies and plans.
While pursuing this program, students may choose from several areas of specialization. These include health preparedness, security policy, and information assurance. While students take classes mostly in that area of specialization, they must also take one courses in each of the other two areas to provide a more well-rounded degree. General course requirements include:
- Critical National Infrastructures
- Planning, Prevention, and Risk Management
- Emergency Communication and Management
- Team Building and Leadership Skills
- Strategic and Tactical Planning
- Information Systems Vulnerability and Risk Analysis
- Introduction to Software Security
- Bioterror Public Health Preparedness
As the culmination to each student’s studies at Towson, he or she must complete a thorough capstone research project. This project offers a practical problem-solving experience that requires skills application to a specific setting. It helps to advance each student’s career in homeland security. All Towson classes in this department are offered entirely online through the Blackboard learning system, allowing students to engage in class discussions and review class materials at any time. With just a seventeen to one student to faculty ratio, student and faculty interaction is outstanding.
Trident University International
College Choice Score: 82.10
Average Net Price: $13,175
At Trident University International, students can earn a Master’s in Homeland Security in a one hundred percent online program. This degree prepares students for needed positions in homeland security professions at the federal, state, and municipal levels. It is designed for individuals who are both military and civilian members with some level of experience in responding to domestic events, terrorism, and natural disasters.
Courses at Trident are both relevant and inspiring, incorporating crises simulations and scenarios to help students apply their skills in real-world settings. Over eighty percent of Trident faculty have terminal degrees, providing excellent access to top-notch support and academic rigor. Forty semester credits of core courses and electives are required. Students may pursue several different concentrations, including those in:
- Emergency and Disaster Management
Trident is ranked one of the five best fully online colleges in the country, according to OnlineColleges.com. This is largely due to the overall success of its graduates in finding work. Trident hosts the exclusive Trident Corporate and Career Learning Center, an all-in-one training and development solution that works with industry partners to help curriculum address current and anticipated needs. Students receive exclusive access to leadership building activities, career planning, and networking opportunities while enrolled and after graduating from Trident.
College Choice Score: 81.57
Average Net Price: $16,538
Capella is a for-profit institution with over one hundred and forty two different graduate and undergraduate specializations. Fully online, the university enrolls nearly forty thousand students, with a majority enrolled in quality master’s programs such as Emergency Management. It has been the recipient of numerous accolades, including the CHEA Award for Outstanding Institutional Practice in Student Learning Outcomes by The Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Students in this program experience online emergency management training like none other. The program incorporates simulated media in a virtual lab, allowing students to gain critical-thinking and decision-making abilities in real-world simulations. Courses include:
- Application of Emergency Management Theory
- Emergency Management Policy and the Administration of Emergencies and Disasters
- Emergency Management Systems
- Risk Management Application
- Integrative Project in Emergency Management
Capella provides one of the best value programs in emergency management in the country. Students gain marketable skills, learning the leadership and mitigation skills necessary for responding to any scale or type of disaster. In addition to the university’s already low costs, it also offers scholarships specifically for emergency management students, offering discounts of up to $3,000.
Grand Canyon University
College Choice Score: 80.98
Average Net Price: $21,168
Grand Canyon University allows students to accelerate their learning with a Master of Science in Disaster Preparedness. This program provides students with the skills necessary to develop as professionals and gain the abilities, skills, and confidences necessary to become leaders in the field. Courses are offered online as well as in an evening cohort, with each course lasting no longer than eight weeks total.
The curriculum for this program covers a range of topics, allowing students to gain competencies in business, critical thinking, communication, relationships awareness, and leadership. They will gain practical and theoretical knowledge of legislation and skillsets related to emergency management as they take classes such as:
- Leadership and Organizations
- Power, Politics and Influence
- Emergency Planning and Management
- Economics and Human Issues
- Law and Legal Issues
- Understanding Terrorism’s Threat
Grand Canyon is a private Christian university that has invested millions of dollars into its academics and infrastructure in the last decade. Tens of thousands of students attend classes solely online, and as a result the university is constantly refining their digital platforms to better serve that population of students. These online courses are convenient and flexible, taught by full-time faculty members and fully trained adjunct instructors with practical experience in the field.
Virginia Commonwealth University
College Choice Score: 80.08
Average Net Price: $20,544
The Master of Arts in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness at Virginia Commonwealth University is designed to be broad and interdisciplinary. Students gain theoretical and practical knowledge and skills that prepare them for either private or public sector employment. It allows students to examine the larger picture of organizational, political, economic, legislative, ethical, and social aspects of disaster studies.
This program, situated just ninety minutes from the nation’s capital, provides students with exclusive access to homeland security institutions and partners. Course requirements include:
- Technology, Security and Preparedness
- Institutional Challenges of Security Preparedness
- Survey of Terrorism
- Emergency Management: Response Planning and Incident Command
- Government, Industry and Community Strategic Planning
- Risk Assessment
- Law Enforcement Policy and Judicial Precedent
- Private Sector Issues in Security and Preparedness
The university emphasizes student involvement and academic research, and is one of only twenty-eight public universities with an academic medical center to be disengaged as a research university with very high research activity. Over thirty-one thousand students are enrolled in over two hundred degree and certificate programs, many of them engaging in cross curricular and interdisciplinary studies.