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Kyle Turner writing something down with two laptops in front of him with text Kyle Turner '15

Master's in Emergency Management Degree Online MS in Management Concentration

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Register By: July 01 Classes Start: July 03

Get a Master's in Emergency Management

  • $627/credit (36 credits total)
  • Pandemic-driven, in-field demand
  • Complete in as few as 15 months, or at your own pace
  • Program accredited by ACBSP
  • Transfer up to 12 graduate credits
  • 24/7 online accessibility – attend class when and where it's convenient

Master's in Emergency Management Degree Online Program Overview

Minimize risk and safeguard the public by earning an online Master of Science in Management (MSM) with a concentration in Emergency Management. You'll learn the management skills to plan, prepare and respond to critical threats in both life and business, such as organizational crises, natural disasters, hazardous spills and security threats.

MSM degrees are becoming increasingly popular and are designed to give current and aspiring managers the people and project skills to face today's extreme business challenges. In fact, in a Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) survey in 2021, about 80% of students said they believed a graduate business degree is an important investment in themselves – even in times of uncertainty, like a global pandemic.1

With Southern New Hampshire University's emergency management concentration, you'll be ready to evaluate strategies for preparedness and response and recovery using the guidelines of the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Incident Management System (FIMS). Upon graduation, you may be prepared to lead the crisis response in a variety of settings, from public agencies to private firms, on a local or global scale.

"The MS in Management with a concentration in Emergency Management program enhances student knowledge to prepare them to successfully practice within an evolving EM discipline," said Dr. Brenda Miller, adjunct instructor.

What You'll Learn

  • Preparation and response to critical threats and events
  • Expert knowledge that can guide teams through organizational change
  • Communication skills for gathering and presenting information
  • Strategic decision-making in business and management
  • Task prioritization and project management tools

How You'll Learn

At SNHU, you'll get support from day 1 to graduation and beyond. And with no set class times, 24/7 access to the online classroom and helpful learning resources along the way, you'll have everything you need to reach your goals.

Career Outlook

Earning a master's degree in management puts you in a powerful position for employment in a range of fields, including government agencies, education, healthcare and private business.

"There has never been a better time to earn our emergency management concentration," said Dr. Michelle Caron, CPC, an associate dean at Southern New Hampshire University. "COVID-19 has brought to light efficiencies that developed out of necessity versus innovation and these will remain in place for future emergency planning and preparedness."

Plus, management occupations are in demand: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 8% growth – faster than the average for all occupations – which amounts to over 883,900 new jobs by 2031.2 The BLS believes the creation of new businesses and expansion of existing ones will cause the job growth.

When you add this emergency management concentration to your MSM degree, you can still see a 3% upward change in emergency management director employment through 2031 – about as fast as the average for all occupations.2

Katrinia L. Lester with the text Katrinia L. LesterHowever, that could see even more change.

"We will likely exceed forecasts due to the increased need for more emergency management directors," Caron said.

Katrinia L. Lester '16 agrees.

"Emergency management is a program that allowed me to see that community supports is an area that our nation struggles with," she said. "We need more resources to ensure that emergency management can respond to crisis situations effectively and help during times of crisis interventions."

And what could you do as an emergency director in your career? The BLS states your duties2 might have you:

  • Assess hazards and prepare plans to respond to emergencies
  • Meet with officials and the public regarding emergency response plans
  • Organize response training for staff, volunteers and other responders
  • Coordinate the sharing of resources across communities
  • Analyze and prepare damage assessments
  • Review emergency plans of individual organizations
  • Apply for federal funding for emergency management planning, responses and recovery
  • Review local emergency operations plans and make revisions if necessary
  • Maintain facilities used during emergency operations

With these tasks, it may be your responsibility to lead the response in coordination with elected officials, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and public safety officials.2

Top employers of emergency management directors in 20212 were:

  • Local government (excluding education and hospitals): 57%
  • State government (excluding education and hospitals): 17%
  • Hospitals (state, local and private): 6%
  • Colleges, universities and professional schools (state, local and private): 4%
  • Professional, scientific and technical services: 2%

These 5 industries also paid the best for workers in these roles, according to the BLS.2 The median annual wages for all emergency management directors in 2021 was $76,730.2

Dr. Brenda Miller, adjunct instructor at SNHU, knows that careers can be found across the industry.

"Opportunities are available in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regions, nationwide, within government and non-government organizations (NGOs), profit and nonprofit organizations," she said. "For example, DHS often announces hiring events for EM practitioners and recent student graduates."

The strong core of your online MSM degree gives you the added flexibility to apply your management skills across a wide range of industries.

With this degree, you'll be prepared to take on jobs such as:

  • Crisis recovery manager
  • Disaster management specialist
  • Disaster program manager
  • Emergency preparedness coordinator
  • Emergency response coordinator
  • Environmental health and safety manager
  • Global response communicator
  • Hazard/risk manager specialist

Also, employees with a master's degree earn about 18% more on average than those with only a bachelor's degree and about 63% more than those without an associate degree, according to BLS.2


The 2021 median salary for emergency directors was $76,730, with the highest 10% earning more than $133,580.2

Where Could You Work?

Emergencies happen everywhere. And you'll often work with other organizations to come to immediate solutions.


Often most necessary at the local and state level, you can bring together resources for disastrous events.


From administrative roles to those on the ground, be prepared for instances in which resources could be stretched thin.


Help keep large populations safe through training and emergency planning.


Emergencies can take place after takeoffs and before landings – and everywhere in between.

Start Your Journey Toward an Online Emergency Management Degree

Brenda Miller

Courses to Prepare You for Your Career

Dr. Brenda Miller, an adjunct instructor at SNHU

"The curriculum prepares students to hit the ground running. Our emergency management subject-matter experts envelop learning resources that are dynamic, those that EM practitioners access in all phases of emergency management in their daily planning and in an emergency."

Courses & Curriculum

When you enroll in our emergency management degree program, you have the added benefit of learning about both management and emergency preparation and response.

Our Master of Science in Management program begins with 24 required credits – or 8 courses. With topics like project management, cultivating organizational culture and business research, you'll be prepared for plenty of leadership roles – even beyond emergency management.

But by adding our emergency management concentration, you'll learn to evaluate strategies in planning, preparedness, response and recovery in relation to the guidelines of the Department of Homeland Security to include the Federal Incident Management System (FIMS). You'll also focus on crisis leadership and communication and how to safeguard an organization, government agency, community or nation from an unpredictable event.

Dr. Michelle Caron with the text Dr. Michelle Caron“The emergency management concentration provides the necessary exposure to emergency planning and preparedness through the exploration and evaluation of actual real-world emergency plans to simulate challenges professionals meet in the field," said Dr. Michelle Caron, CPC, an associate dean at Southern New Hampshire University.

When you add the emergency concentration to your MSM, you commit to 4 master's-level courses that can prepare you for your career:

  • Principles of Emergency Management: Learn how the system works to prevent disasters that are preventable and how it mitigates the consequences of those disasters that are not. Study the 5 national frameworks: prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery.
  • Applied Emergency Management: Differentiate between the types of crises and develop a systematic response using emergency management planning and preparedness strategies.
  • Disaster Response and Recovery: Analyze real-world critical incidents requiring fast response measures and recovery support to determine the degree of success on the coordination and cooperation of various departments and agencies.
  • Emergency Planning and Preparedness: Examine existing real-world planning strategies intended to prevent or mitigate the consequences of a disaster event on communities.

"Disaster response and recovery is an essential component to the curriculum as it builds necessary skills, such as collaboration and communication skills with multiple stakeholders, including critical incident stress with the public,” Caron said.

In the concentration courses, you'll learn more about crisis leadership and communication and how to safeguard an organization, government agency, community, or nation from an unpredictable event. You'll focus your studies on the prevention, protection and mitigation of risk and threat due to – but not limited to – public health incidents, natural disasters, organizational crisis, hazardous spills and security threats. 

Walt Wilkerson with the text Walt Wilkerson"I liked the emergency management classes," said Walt Wilkerson '17. "I enjoyed creating emergency operations plans and learning the process. I felt like I was getting preparation for real-world emergencies."

Caron noted that having experienced emergency management professionals both develop and deliver the curriculum puts students in an excellent position for their career after graduation. By learning best practices of crisis management through instructors who work in the field, she said, it can better help you create plans for leading organizations.

How else can SNHU's classes prepare you for your career?

"Students also participate in academic consortium and simulations, as well as module discussion forums that promote enhanced EM perspectives – since many students are practitioners whose shared knowledge is invaluable," said Dr. Brenda Miller, an adjunct instructor at SNHU. "And courses are designed to permit students to practice collaboration skills leading to the development of professional and academically sound EM products that are operational and relevant."

For Katrinia L. Lester '16, working with SNHU instructors helped her get more out of the program.

"I had amazing instructors at SNHU from the beginning," she said. "Each instructor brings a different level of experience and knowledge and can help each student in a different way."

Isiah Cowan with the text Isiah CowanIsiah Cowan '21 agreed.

“I had instructors who really wanted to see me succeed," he said. "I thought I would be creating an emergency plan or a relief project based around WHO or FEMA, but I have learned not all disasters are large scale. Businesses need planning and other emergency management services constantly. This made me take a step back and release a sigh of relief, because it is better certainty of job security – and for that lesson I am thankful."

Don't have a business background? You may need to take our Business Foundations course before beginning our program. This course is designed to help you succeed in a business master's program, whether it's an MSM or an online MBA, and to prepare you for the coursework ahead of you. Have a discussion with your admission counselor or academic advisor to determine whether you'll need to take this class.

University Accreditation

New England Commission of Higher Education Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer a 25% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.

Online Graduate Programs Per Course Per Credit Hour Annual Cost for 15 credits 
Degree/Certificates $1,881 $627 $9,405 
(U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)*
$1,410 $470 $7,050 

Tuition rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.
*Note: students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.

Additional Costs:
$150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)

Frequently Asked Questions

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