2023 Best Online PhD in Emergency Management Programs

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Explore online PhD in Emergency Management programs. Find flexible online programs to advance your career in crisis response and pursue leadership roles.

Are you thinking about earning an online PhD in Emergency Management?

PhD in Emergency Management

A doctorate in emergency management can help prepare you to pursue leadership roles in organizations that respond to public emergencies and crises.

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There are many options available for pursuing your PhD. Online degree programs in emergency management are often the most flexible format, as some allow you to earn your degree anytime, anywhere. Plus, a growing number of universities offer accelerated online degree programs in emergency management.

Online PhD in Emergency Management Programs

PhD in Emergency Management Programs

The field of emergency management is about helping people in times of emergency. The four phases of emergency management are mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. An online doctorate in emergency management provides in-depth instruction about each of these four phases.

Earning an online emergency management PhD can help qualify you to pursue management or leadership positions in an organization that provides emergency management services.

These organizations can include state or local government agencies and private organizations, such as hospitals, colleges and universities, and private companies.

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Emergency management directors who work for private businesses are sometimes called business continuity managers. It is their job to ensure that the business experiences minimal losses and can continue operating as normally as possible in the event of an emergency.

Some professionals who work in emergency management may specialize in dealing with specific types of emergencies, such as fires, earthquakes, or threats to homeland security. Most careers in emergency management involve looking for ways to prevent emergencies from happening in the first place.

Responsibilities of emergency management professionals can include creating plans for how to keep people safe in the event of an emergency and assisting those who have experienced injuries or property damage.

Emergency Management Careers & Salaries

Emergency Management Careers & Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, emergency management directors make a median annual salary of $74,590. The following careers are related to the field of emergency management.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Public Relations and Fundraising Managers $116,180
Emergency Management Directors, Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services $106,420
Top Executives $104,690
Medical and Health Services Managers $100,980
Emergency Management Directors, Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools $90,730
Management Analysts $85,260
Emergency Management Directors, Hospitals $84,330
Budget Analysts $76,540
Emergency Management Directors, Local Government $67,060
Emergency Management Directors, State Government $64,710

Many different types of businesses, organizations, and government agencies need workers who are knowledgeable about preventing, planning for, and responding to emergencies. Earning emergency management doctorates online can help prepare students to meet this need.

Holding a PhD typically qualifies you for higher earnings. PhD graduates can also pursue research or postsecondary teaching positions.

Emergency Management Doctorate Curriculum

Emergency Management Doctorate

Here are some examples of courses you might take while earning a doctoral degree in emergency management.

  • Disaster Management Principles and Practice: This course provides an overview of disaster management.
  • Application of Emergency Management Theory: This course discusses how to relate theoretical knowledge of emergency management to real-world situations.
  • Hazards Risk Management and Community Resilience: This course covers how to keep communities safe and prepared as well as how to equip communities to recover from possible disasters.
  • Emergency Management Operations and Planning: This course covers how to form strategic plans for preventing and responding to emergencies.
  • Methods for Disaster Research: This course discusses how to conduct research on the most effective methods of emergency management.
  • Emergency Management Systems: This course explores how to create and implement systems for handling emergencies within government agencies or other organizations.
  • Emergency Management Policy and Administration: This course discusses legal aspects of emergency management.
  • Contemporary Issues in Emergency Management: This course discusses how current events and social issues might affect emergency management.
  • Risk Management: This course covers how to minimize risks so that emergencies are unlikely to happen.
  • Psychology of Emergency Management: This course explores how people usually behave and are affected mentally and emotionally in crisis situations.

In addition to taking courses, earning a PhD typically requires the completion of a dissertation.

Admissions Requirements

Emergency Management Doctorate student

Here are some common admission requirements for doctoral degree programs in emergency management.

  • Master’s degree in emergency management or a related field
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal essay
  • Resumé

If you are asked to submit a resumé, previous work experience related to emergency management will probably be advantageous.

Many degree programs have minimum GPA requirements. Some may require that you provide GRE scores. Every degree program has its own application and admissions requirements, so you may want to look into a school’s particular requirements before applying.


PhD in Emergency Management Accreditation

Regional accreditation can be an important factor to consider when choosing a doctoral program.

An accredited degree often holds more credibility with employers. Credits from an accredited institution are also more likely to transfer to another school or program. In order to receive the status of regional accreditation, colleges are regularly evaluated to ensure that they are providing a quality education.

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These evaluations are done by outside organizations, such as the seven regional accrediting organizations that have been approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Financial Aid and Scholarships

PhD in Emergency Management

You may be wondering if you can still qualify for student financial aid while completing an online PhD in Emergency Management.

Financial aid and scholarships are often available for doctoral students who qualify, even if they are completing their degrees online. As an online doctoral student, you may be able to qualify for federal aid, state aid, employer programs, or scholarships.

You can start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if you qualify for federal financial aid.

Professional Emergency Management Organizations

Professional Emergency Management Organizations

The following are some professional organizations for those working in the field of emergency management.

As you grow your career in emergency management, you may find it helpful to join a professional organization. Joining one can provide networking opportunities and a supportive community that you can learn from.

What Can You Do with a PhD in Emergency Management?

Emergency management directors

The most common job title for professionals in the field of emergency management is emergency management director. Emergency management directors develop plans for how their organization will respond to certain emergencies and think of ways to prevent these situations from arising when possible.

There are many different types of public and private organizations that hire emergency management workers. Some professionals in the field work for organizations that provide relief to victims of natural disasters, and others work in homeland security for the government.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for emergency management directors is $74,590. Doctoral graduates, though, may qualify for higher starting average salaries. PhD graduates may also go on to pursue a research position or a teaching position at a university.

How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD in Emergency Management Online?

PhD in Emergency Management Online

Earning a Ph.D. can potentially be a big time commitment. How long it takes you to complete your degree can depend on your program as well as how you pace yourself.

Full-time students typically need 3 to 5 years to complete a PhD. Part-time students may take longer overall, but going to school part-time requires less of a time commitment each semester.

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An online degree program, whether it’s an online masters in emergency management or one at the doctoral level, often offers flexible scheduling, which can enable you to choose a course load that is right for you.

What Does an Emergency Management Director Do?

Emergency Management Director

Emergency management directors can have many responsibilities. Common duties include looking for possible hazards, recommending preventative measures, and creating and reviewing plans for how to respond to emergencies.

For example, an emergency management director at a hospital might figure out the most efficient way to evacuate the building in the event of a fire. Emergency management directors also typically have administrative responsibilities. For instance, they might need to assess property damages in the aftermath of an emergency.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top industries that hire emergency management directors are professional, scientific, and technical services, colleges and professional schools, hospitals, and state and local governments.

Is a PhD in Emergency Management Worth It?

Emergency Management Directors meeting

Yes, a PhD in Emergency Management is worth it for many students. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for emergency management directors is projected to grow at a rate of 4% over the next decade.

In the field of emergency management, there is a consistent need for people who are very knowledgeable about how to respond to emergencies.

If you already have education and work experience in emergency management, earning your doctoral degree can help you develop and increase your knowledge and improve your general critical thinking skills in this field.

Universities Offering Online PhD in Emergency Management Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Colorado Technical University

Colorado Technical University campus

At Colorado Technical University, you can earn a Doctorate of Management with a concentration in Homeland Security, which is a specialized type of emergency management. This is an online degree program with a residency component.

There are multiple start dates throughout the year, and the degree may be completed in three years.

Colorado Technical University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

George Washington University

George Washington University campus

George Washington University offers an online Ph.D. in Engineering Management program that includes the study of natural disaster logistics and related topics. Crisis, emergency, and risk management are among the top research areas of the department.

In this program, you may also have the opportunity to study other topics, such as environmental and energy management.

George Washington University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Jacksonville State University

Jacksonville State University campus

At Jacksonville State University, you can earn a Doctorate of Science in Emergency Management. This degree program requires 42 hours of coursework and a minimum of 18 hours of dissertation credit. Coursework is entirely online, but students must attend a weeklong seminar on campus once each year.

Jacksonville State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

National University

National University campus

National University offers an online PhD in Business Administration with a specialization in Homeland Security Leadership and Policy.

This degree program teaches emergency management as it pertains to preventing and responding to terrorist attacks. As part of this program, you will be expected to study topics such as terrorism, strategy, intelligence, and critical infrastructure security issues.

National University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

North Dakota State University

North Dakota State University campus

North Dakota State University’s doctoral program in emergency management is an on-campus program. It aims to prepare graduates to conduct scientific research on the best methods of emergency management with the goal of creating new knowledge.

Graduates of this program are expected to know how to analyze public policy as it relates to emergency management.

North Dakota State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Oklahoma State University

Oklahoma State University campus

Oklahoma State University has one of the oldest Fire and Emergency Management Administration programs in the nation. OSU offers doctorates in this field both online and on-campus.

The degree program is designed to prepare students for leadership positions in fire and rescue, emergency medical services, law enforcement, and homeland security.

Oklahoma State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

St Johns University

St Johns University campus

St. John’s University offers a Doctorate of Professional Studies in Homeland Security that is available online and on-campus.

This degree program can help you learn to conduct research more effectively and to think critically about real-world security problems. It requires 78 credit hours to complete.

St. John’s University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of Maryland – Baltimore County

University of Maryland Baltimore County campus

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County offers a Ph.D. in Public Policy with a concentration in Emergency Services. The program requires 48 credit hours of coursework and 18 hours of dissertation research.

Courses can be taken online or in-person with a full-time or part-time schedule.

UMBC is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of Nebraska Medical Center

University of Nebraska campus

The Emergency Preparedness concentration in the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s online Doctor of Public Health program focuses on preventing disease or injury and improving health. The curriculum explores essential strategies for preparing communities for disasters and operating in leading roles during disaster response.

Graduates often pursue work as health department directors or health policy advisors.

The UNMC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Walden University

Walden University campus

Walden University offers an online Ph.D. in Criminal Justice with a specialization in Emergency Management. The program includes a fast-track option in which you can complete your degree quickly by taking more courses each term.

This specialization can allow you opportunities to earn certificates from the FEMA Emergency Management Institute.

Walden is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your PhD in Emergency Management Online

PhD in Emergency Management Online

The field of emergency management can be very rewarding as you work to assist people and provide safety. Earning your doctoral degree might expand your career options or qualify you for higher pay.

If you are considering earning a doctoral degree in emergency management, there are many different program options available. For instance, there are many online degree programs that provide both convenience and flexible scheduling.

You can start the next step in your educational journey today by exploring emergency management doctoral programs from accredited universities.

Ready to start your journey?
While attending the University of Georgia, Amy enrolled in both on-campus and online courses giving her the opportunity to explore the pros and cons of each course delivery system. Amy's research is focused on making education more accessible to everyone and how different education methodologies can affect student outcomes.