Get a Master's in Emergency Management
- $627/credit (36 credits total)
- Roles in demand due to COVID-19
- 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.
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.
Learn how to:
- Plan, prepare and respond to critical threats and events
- Facilitate high-performance teams, disperse expert knowledge and guide teams through organizational change
- Integrate communication skills for gathering and presenting information
- Ensure strategic decision-making in business and management
- Create plans that prioritize tasks, stabilize resource conflicts and integrate project management tools
- Maintain accountability to the business through plans and decisions
- Encourage an enterprising organizational culture and brand stewardship in employees and management approach
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.
Plus, management occupations are in demand: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 7% growth – faster than the average for all occupations – which amounts to over 700,000 new jobs.1 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 5% upward change in employment through 2028 – about as fast as the average for all occupations.1
However, that could see even more change.
"Emergency management is exceptionally relevant amidst the current challenges of the COVID-19," said Dr. Michelle Caron, CPC, an associate dean at Southern New Hampshire University. "We will likely exceed forecasts due to the increased need for more emergency management directors."
Katrinia 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 duties1 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.1
Top employers of emergency management directors in 20181 were:
- Local government (excluding education and hospitals): 51%
- State government (excluding education and hospitals): 14%
- Hospitals (state, local and private): 8%
- Colleges, universities and professional schools (state, local and private): 4%
- Professional, scientific and technical services: 4%
These 5 industries also paid the best for workers in these roles, according to the BLS.1 The median annual wages for all emergency management directors in 2019 was $74,590.1
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 20% more on average than those with only a bachelor's degree and 100% more than those without a degree, according to BLS.1
Start Your Journey Toward an Online Emergency Management Degree
Why SNHU For Your Master’s in Emergency Management
With no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7.
Take advantage of some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation, plus financial aid for those who qualify. We also make it easy to transfer to SNHU by accepting up to 12 credits from your previous institution.
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution with over 100,000 graduates across the country. SNHU is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), which advocates for institutional improvement and public assurance of quality.
Recently, SNHU has been nationally recognized for leading the way toward more innovative, affordable and achievable education:
- “Most Innovative” regional university honors from U.S. News & World Report each year since 2015
- A $1 million grant from Google.org to explore soft skills assessments for high-need youth
- Recognition as a 2017 Digital Learning Innovator by the Online Learning Consortium
At Southern New Hampshire University, you'll have access to a powerful network of more than 200,000 students, alumni and staff that can help support you long after graduation. Our instructors offer relevant, real-world expertise to help you understand and navigate the field. Plus, with our growing, nationwide alumni network, you'll have the potential to tap into a number of internship and career opportunities.
96.5% of students would recommend SNHU.2 Discover why SNHU may be right for you.
Part of our mission to expand access to quality, higher education means removing the barriers that may stand between you and your degree. That’s why you can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials — with no GRE or GMAT required.
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 5 graduate terms.
How to Apply
Simply contact an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options, answer all your questions, and walk you through the application process, which includes:
- Completing a graduate application
- Providing undergraduate transcripts
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.
“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.
"The curriculum prepares students to hit the ground running," said Dr. Brenda Miller, an adjunct instructor at SNHU. "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."
She said those resources include national- to local-level emergency-management guidelines, laws and best practices.
"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," Miller said. "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."
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.
|View Full Curriculum in the Catalog|
|MS in Management - Emergency Management|
|Courses May Include|
|Ms in Management Emergency Management|
|MGT 510||Cultivating Organizational Culture||Business leaders are responsible for cultivating, maintaining, and fostering an organizational culture that accurately represents the organization internally and externally, encourages and supports people, and holds organizational members accountable to the vision, mission, and goals of a business. This course provides students with the skills, theories, and practices necessary to identify a strong culture that permeates the ethics, decision-making, and behaviors of the organization. Students will work through advanced cases and apply these experiences to their own learning and organizations.|
|MGT 600||Resource Planning and Decision Making||This course serves as an advanced exploration into ill-structured situations requiring strategic plans and effective resource management. Students are asked to develop strategies around personnel management, budget allocation, performance metrics, and goal setting. This course prepares students for the advanced concentration courses in their area and serves as a precursor to the integrated capstone experience.|
|MGT 620||Principles of Emergency Management||This course examines the nation's emergency management system at all levels of government. Using exemplars and anti-exemplars, students will study how the system works to prevent disasters that are preventable, and how it works to mitigate the consequences of those disasters that are not. The National Incident Management System and the National Preparedness System will be studied and emphasized. Topics will include: communications, leadership, disaster management methods and program building models, the all-hazards concept and analysis, community resiliency, the whole-community concept, and the five national frameworks (Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response and Recovery) under the National Preparedness System. Students who complete this course will have a comprehensive understanding of the nation's emergency management system, and of how communities mitigate against, respond to, and recover from all disaster events.|
|MGT 622||Emergency Planning and Preparedness||This course uses real-world disaster planning strategies and structures to prepare students for roles encompassing the construction of community or organizational disaster-preparedness programs. Various types of threats and hazards to communities and organizations will be studied. Using a scenario-based approach, students will examine existing real-world planning strategies intended to prevent or mitigate the consequences of a disaster event on communities. Students will use the latest guidelines and strategies from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Emphasis is on assessing risk, threats, and vulnerabilities to safeguard against disaster incidents. Emphasis will be on using FEMA systems and tools to assess and construct community disaster preparedness plans. Topics include: all aspects of the all hazards analysis, proper emergency management program building, including the use of community working groups, The National Preparedness System, the National Incident Management System, resilience planning, the whole community concept, the construction of community emergency management plans with FEMA standards, and roles and responsibilities of local, state, and federal government. Students who have completed this course will be well-prepared to plan and prepare for different types of emergencies, using the same FEMA guidelines and tools for disaster planning and program building currently in use by emergency managers throughout the county.|
|MGT 625||Disaster Response and Recovery||The course explores issues and challenges in disaster response and recovery, including evacuation or relocation in the aftermath of a crisis. Using a case-study approach, students analyze real-world critical incidents requiring fast response measures and recovery support and determine the degree of success, in part, on the coordination and cooperation of various departments and agencies. Topics include National Response Framework (NRF), National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF), resource management, stakeholders, infrastructure, leadership, communication, and mitigation activities. Students completing the course have a broad view of a response and recovery mission from beginning to end.|
|MGT 628||Applied Emergency Management||The course dissects various types of crises within communities, organizations, and governmental agencies. Using a scenario-based approach, students differentiate between the types of crises and develop a systematic response to a critical incident using emergency management planning and preparedness strategies as well as analyzing the crisis in relation to FEMA and NIMS guidelines. Topics include FEMA's Continuity of Operations. Students completing the course have a thorough understanding of the level of preparation in developing an emergency management plan from the planning stages into the final phase of recovery.|
|MGT 701||Critical Issues in Management Capstone||This capstone course is the culminating experience for the M.S. in Management program. The aim of the capstone is to assess students' ability to synthesize and integrate the knowledge and skills they have developed throughout their coursework, rather than introducing new concepts. This course is structured to support student success in fulfilling program requirements.|
|OL 500||Human Behavior in Organizations||This course is a study of individuals and groups and their interaction. Students examine theories of motivation, communication, leadership, power and change with practical relation to contemporary issues. They also study organizations for key design variables and reward systems aimed at improved performance and organizational efficiency through employee motivational programs, participative management and cooperative decision making.|
|OL 600||Strategic Human Resource Management||Examine key regulatory procedures and human resource requirements as they relate to applications in organizations. Analyze the strategic role of the human resource manager in performing functions of recruitment, hiring, training, career development and other contemporary processes within the organizational setting. Study concepts aligned with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Body of Competency and Knowledge (BoCK).|
|QSO 500||Business Research||This course presents an overview of the various primary and secondary research methodologies used in the business world and the application of statistical techniques to those strategies. The focus of this course is the design and execution of a practical, primary research. It is recommended that this course be one of the first three taken in degree programs in which it is required.|
|QSO 640||Project Management||This course includes the study of concepts, tools, and practices of project management. The course adopts a managerial process approach to Project Management, which consists of initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing the project. Major topics will include project scope, project time, project cost, project quality, project risk, project resources, project communications and how to be an effective project manager. Cases are utilized to integrate the learning in the course and provide decision- making experience for the student.|
|Total Credits: 36|
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|
(U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)
Tuition rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.
$150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you get a master's in emergency management online?
Yes! Like many other programs of interest, you can earn a master's in emergency management online.
With this focused degree, SNHU believes you can learn to evaluate crisis, emergency and disaster management strategies to plan, prepare and respond to critical threats and events within multiple contexts and situations.
At SNHU, you'll have instructors with deep professional knowledge of both management and emergency management. They can share their experiences with you each week as you progress through your courses.
Like Dr. Brenda Miller, an adjunct instructor at SNHU. Outside of teaching, she's been an EM volunteer in her county for years, as well as a senior operational analyst within a subcomponent command to the newly formed U.S. Space Command.
"Students come from a variety of professional and academic disciplines, and by course end, their expertise is threaded through each discussion and product," Miller said. "Additionally, students who are EM practitioners share their knowledge about current on-the-ground practices and perspectives. Each student’s participation enhances every course. Students are the beneficiaries to the well-designed courses that encourage interaction, small group activities and peer-review opportunities."
Think you won't get the same hands-on experience as you would with a campus program? Think again. You'll use scenario-based approaches and case studies to analyze real-world critical incidents, so you’ll be ready to manage an emergency – from the early stages to the final phase of recovery.
You'll also deepen your understanding in critical areas such as effective business communication, data-driven decision making, developing and supporting talent, project management, supporting and fostering stewardship of an organization's culture and brand, leadership, and strategic planning – skills any organization can appreciate.
What can you do with an emergency management degree?
With an emergency management degree, you can help your community and beyond avoid the threat of so many disasters, as well as assist those who need it after a disaster has struck.
COVID-19? California wildfires? Hurricane Katrina? Or even business emergencies like allocating resources efficiently? Major threats have struck the United States and have affected large and small populations around the country – and that's where emergency management teams step in.
This program gives you the skills and knowledge you need to lead a team out of crisis with a planned response aimed at recovery. Before disaster strikes, it's crucial to have a planning process in place to prepare an organization to respond effectively.
You'll learn the latest guidelines and strategies from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), including how to assess risks, threats and vulnerabilities.
You can learn more about the type of career you want with your emergency management degree when think more about what area you'd like to focus on. FEMA has 5 frameworks – one for each mission area – that are part of its National Preparedness System3:
- Prevention: The entire community is prepared to prevent an imminent terrorist attack within the United States.
- Protection: The whole community safeguards against acts of terrorism, natural disasters, and other threats or hazards.
- Mitigation: The whole community builds, sustains and delivers the core capabilities set by the strategy and doctrine.
- Response: The nation responds to all types of disasters and emergencies, as well as aligns key roles and responsibilities.
- Recovery: The whole community builds, sustains, and coordinates delivery of recovery capabilities by establishing a common platform.
You may already be a first-responder at the local, regional, national or global level and now feel ready to take your experience to the next level – or you may be new to the field. Fire and police departments, government agencies, hospitals, private firms and not-for-profit agencies all need trained professionals in emergency management.
For Walt Wilkerson '17, a few doors opened by completing his emergency management master's.
"The master's degree helped me obtain an adjunct teaching job for two semesters at my local technical college," he said. With your emergency management degree, there's a way for you to contribute and help others in their time of need.
How do you get a degree in emergency management?
You can earn an emergency management degree the same as you would with any other degree – by successfully completing all the required courses in the program that you choose.
In SNHU's online emergency management degree program, you'll complete your degree by taking 8 courses in management and 4 courses in emergency management.
By taking 8 general management courses, you can be prepared to lead – no matter the situation. Courses about communication, decision making, human behavior and project management can give you skills that employers find useful, wherever you choose to take your career.
Then, by taking 4 classes in emergency management, you can pair your management skills with strategies that can make you an effective leader in situations that are unpredictable or that affect an area immediately.
By merging those two areas into one degree, you can become a leader that the community looks up to during disastrous times.
How much do emergency management specialists make?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, emergency management directors made a median salary of $74,590 in 2019.1
However, the industry that you work in may make more of a difference in your salary.
In the top 5 industries for emergency management directors, 2019 median salaries1 were:
- Professional, scientific and technical services: $106,420
- Colleges, universities and professional schools – state, local and private: $90,730
- Hospitals – state, local and private: $84,330
- Local government, excluding education and hospitals: $67,060
- State government, excluding education and hospitals: $64,710
Each of those salaries are well above the median pay for all occupations, which was $39,810 in 2019.1
How much does an online master's in emergency management cost?
The cost of emergency management degrees varies across universities, but some institutions prioritize keeping tuition low and accessible for students.
At SNHU, the cost per graduate credit is $627. For our 36-credit online emergency management degree, the total tuition cost comes to $22,572.
And while that's already an extremely low total for a master's degree, SNHU works hard to make your degree even more affordable.
SNHU now accepts up to 12 transfer credits you've earned from other accredited universities. If you're able to transfer all 12 credits into your program, the cost is reduced to $15,048.
We believe cost shouldn't hinder anyone from receiving the degree they want to earn. That's why SNHU hasn't raised its tuition rates since 2012. We understand how rising costs make it harder for some students to commit to a college program, and – as a nonprofit university – it's important to us to remove that barrier.
You'll also have the opportunity to work with our Student Financial Services team. Our counselors will work one on one with you to help you understand financial aid – if you're eligible – and to create a customized plan that's specific to your financial needs.
By taking advantage of all of our services when you enroll, you position yourself for a better financial future.
Is a degree in emergency management worth it?
The mission statement of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (better known as FEMA) is "helping people, before, during and after disasters."3 That sounds worth it to us!
If taking on some of the nation's most deadly events head on and serving the American people in their time of need sounds like a career you're ready to get behind, then earning your disaster management degree
Think Sept. 11 attacks. Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Fires, floods, landslides, mudslides. From large national events to those that hit smaller communities, emergency management will always be a necessary field in our country.
"This program aligned with my first master's," said Katrinia L. Lester '16. "My academic advisor suggested this would align with what I had previously taken and would fit with what I would continue to take in the future – and he was absolutely right." Lester is currently working on her PhD in criminal justice.
Additionally, a degree in emergency management could help you protect traditional businesses as well, especially when thinking about reallocating resources when disaster strikes.
"SNHU students who are interested in activating their management interests with an evolving emergency management discipline will find the EM degree worthwhile of academic pursuit," said Dr. Brenda Miller, adjunct instructor at SNHU. "The EM degree program promotes development of those interests with the added benefit of developing society (organization) enhancing perspectives and products.
And earning your emergency management degree online might be the right way to go. SNHU understands that disaster relief certainly isn't a 9-to-5 job – that you have commitments that might interfere with taking classes at a traditional brick-and-mortar institution.
That's why you get 24/7 access to our classroom. So you can finish your coursework when you need to, whether that's 12 pm or 12 am.
"I think an education is always worth it," said Walt Wilkerson '17. "I would encourage everyone to get an education. You’ll have an upper hand in knowledge, communication and a great network of other people bettering themselves with an education."
Plus, he said, SNHU was worth it to him.
"I was attracted to SNHU because I was looking for more than just an online intuition," he said. "I liked that SNHU had an actual campus, their accreditation was solid and every review from alumni was very positive. The emergency management program had partnering federal agencies that made me feel at ease that the program was solid."
By removing barriers and making your master's more accessible, you're in a better position to complete your emergency management MS degree and reach your career goals.
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.
Sources & Citations (1, 2, 3)
1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the internet, at:
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/home.htm (viewed June 25, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/emergency-management-directors.htm (viewed June 30, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/emp/graphics/2019/unemployment-rates-and-earnings.htm (viewed June 30, 2020)
Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.
2According to a survey responses from over 9,200 SNHU online students conducted in the fall of 2019.
3FEMA, on the internet, at:
- https://www.fema.gov/about-agency (viewed July 1, 2020)
- https://www.fema.gov/national-planning-frameworks (viewed July 2, 2020)