2020 Best Online Master's in Emergency Management Degrees

By OnlineU Staff | Updated 2/26/2020
2020 Best Online Master's in Emergency Management Badge

The following 24 schools offer the best online master's in emergency management programs, based on their low tuition rates and high mid-career salary potentials. The University of Colorado Denver is ranked #1, offering a Master of Criminal Justice - Emergency Management and Homeland Security for $11,358 per year. Graduates of the school reported a median salary of $120,708. Second-ranked Tulane University offers a Master of Public Health - Disaster Management for $31,510 per year. Graduates of the school's emergency management program earn a median salary of $122,863.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.

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RankSchool Annual Tuition Mid-Career Salary
# 1 #1 $11,358 $120,708
# 2 #2 $31,510 $122,863
# 3 #3 $7,984 $112,009
# 4 #4 $14,400 $111,683
# 5 #5 $17,030 $109,241
# 6 #6 $16,698 $108,369
# 7 #7 $8,512 $104,687
# 8 #8 $9,900 $103,000
# 9 #9 $22,816 $103,055
# 10 #10 $11,862 $98,635
# 11 #11 $14,840 $98,877
# 12 #12 $14,898 $96,642
# 13 #13 $10,422 $94,329
# 14 #14 $17,256 $96,863
# 15 #15 $9,240 $92,800
# 16 #16 $14,229 $93,985
# 17 #17 $15,051 $93,780
# 18 #18 $9,990 $89,100
# 19 #19 $64,170 $110,622
# 20 #20 $16,920 $90,503
# 21 #21 $18,538 $89,765
# 22 #22 $9,675 $85,713
# 23 #23 $10,998 $85,958
# 24 #24 $42,840 $97,033
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo

2020 Online Colleges Offering Emergency Management Degrees - Ranking Details

#1 University of Colorado Denver

  • Annual Tuition: $11,358
  • Median Salary: $120,708
  • Locations: Denver (CO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The University of Colorado Denver offers several options for students interested in pursuing online emergency management degrees. The Master of Criminal Justice – Emergency Management in Homeland Security program presents an interdisciplinary curriculum with a focus on criminology and the criminal justice system. Graduates of the program have the skills needed to pursue or advance in their careers in the fields of crime data analysis, victim advocacy, and criminal justice policy and reform, among others. The online Master of Public Administration is available with several concentrations, including two that fall within the field of emergency management: disasters, hazards, and emergency management (DHEM) and emergency management and homeland security (EMHS). These programs deliver core classes in public administration and policy, as well as a specific focus in the area of chosen concentration.

#2 Tulane University

  • Annual Tuition: $31,510
  • Median Salary: $122,863
  • Locations: New Orleans (LA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Master of Public Health in Disaster Management degree at Tulane University offers the academic preparation needed to pursue career opportunities in disaster preparedness. Students in this online master’s in emergency management program will gain the skills necessary in crisis communications and responses in the wake of both natural and man-made disasters. Applicants come from a diverse range of educational and professional experiences, including public and environmental health, behavioral health, and the biological sciences. This online emergency management degree program requires the completion of an integrated learning experience involving a public health analysis, as well as supervised practical experience.

#3 California State University-Long Beach

  • Annual Tuition: $7,984
  • Median Salary: $112,009
  • Locations: Long Beach (CA)
  • Accreditation: WSCUC

The Master of Science in Emergency Services Administration at California State University, Long Beach, teaches students the skills they need for management and leadership positions in the field of emergency services. The curriculum is based on theory and research and is focused on complex topics related to disaster risk management. All students will complete either a project or a thesis based on their communities or organizations. This program is well suited for emergency management professionals looking to advance their education, including firefighters, police officers, veterans and currently enlisted military personnel, and disaster response professionals.

#4 Adelphi University

  • Annual Tuition: $14,400
  • Median Salary: $111,683
  • Locations: Garden City (NY)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

The Master of Science in Emergency Management program at Adelphi University takes a multidisciplinary approach to hazard planning. Faculty members have extensive experience managing planned and unforeseen events such as terrorist attacks, medical epidemics, transportation emergencies, and natural disasters. The program combines hands-on training with theory-based knowledge for an education that can lead to career opportunities in emergency management. The Concurrent Admission Program (ConAP) permits students enlisted in the military to complete coursework in this online emergency management degree program while they continue to fulfill their service duties.

#5 DePaul University

  • Annual Tuition: $17,030
  • Median Salary: $109,241
  • Locations: Chicago (IL)
  • Accreditation: HLC

A concentration in emergency management is available through the online Master of Public Service Management degree at DePaul University. The curriculum is suited for individuals who want to build the skills needed to pursue management opportunities in a variety of fields in the public and private sectors, including government, education, and health care. Students must complete an integrative seminar or a thesis to earn the degree. This program can be completed within two years with an additional summer session.

#6 Northeastern University

  • Annual Tuition: $16,698
  • Median Salary: $108,369
  • Locations: Burlington (MA)
  • Accreditation: NECHE

Northeastern University hosts an online graduate program in emergency management. The Master of Arts in Homeland Security – Emergency Management is available as both a thesis and a non-thesis option. Both options for the degree are available as part-time or full-time degrees, and they take an average of two to three years to complete. Students can enroll in the program in the spring, summer, or fall semester. Coursework includes an experiential learning course, foundational courses, electives, and either an experience capstone course (non-thesis option) or a thesis at the end of the program. Applicants must submit a statement of purpose outlining their education goals, a professional resume, unofficial college transcripts (official ones will be required at the time of admission), two letters of recommendation, and English language proficiency proof (if the applicant’s primary language is not English). Online students have access to support from faculty and advisors throughout their time learning online.

#7 Arizona State University

  • Annual Tuition: $8,512
  • Median Salary: $104,687
  • Locations: Tempe (AZ) (and 4 others)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Arizona State University hosts an online Master of Arts in Emergency Management and Homeland Security. The 33-credit program gives students the option to choose a concentration in Biosecurity and Threat Management, Community Resilience, Cybersecurity Policy and Management, Emergency Management, and Homeland Security. The degree can be completed on a part-time or full-time schedule, and the program can be completed in one year. Coursework explores topics like international security and disaster mitigation. The Cybersecurity Policy and Management concentration includes 11 courses, and the online Master’s in Emergency Management requires 10 courses. Students take one course at a time, each one lasting seven-and-a-half weeks. All applicants must have earned a bachelor’s or master’s in criminology or criminal justice, public administration, social work, or another closely related field. Applicants must submit official transcripts, evidence of current employment or a bachelor’s degree in a related field, two letters of recommendation, and a written statement outlining career and education goals. 

#8 University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

  • Annual Tuition: $9,900
  • Median Salary: $103,000
  • Locations: Oshkosh (WI)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh offers an online Master of Public Administration degree with a professional emphasis in Fire and Emergency Administration and Management. The degree program requires students to complete 36 credits, composed of 27 foundation courses and 9 hours in the professional emphasis concentration. Classes are offered in the spring, fall, and summer semesters, and students can enroll during fall and spring terms. The program can be completed in two years and either be done full-time or part-time. Students in the program will complete courses such as multicultural and diversity strategy for the fire service, supervisory skills for fire and emergency personnel, crisis management and leadership, and municipal management. Classes are asynchronous, so students can login online when it is most convenient for them, and online discussion boards allow students to connect with their peers and professors. To be considered for admission, a student needs to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school with a minimum GPA of 2.75. Applicants will need to submit official transcripts, a current resume, a statement of professional goals and objectives, three professional or academic letters of recommendation, and an essay. 

#9 University of Denver

  • Annual Tuition: $22,816
  • Median Salary: $103,055
  • Locations: Denver (CO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The University of Denver offers an online Master of Science in Security Management with a concentration in Emergency Planning and Response through its University College. The program can be completed part-time or full-time in as short a time as 18 months. Students are required to complete 12 courses, totaling 48 credits. Each term lasts 10 weeks, with four terms per year. Students will take courses like critical incident management, emergency planning, hazardous and radiological material preparedness, and mitigation for emergency managers. Online classes are asynchronous, and class materials are delivered through the Canvas online learning management system. Students communicate with their peers and professors through live chats, email, discussion boards, and web conferencing. To qualify for enrollment, students must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum GPA of 2.5. They will need to submit two professional letters of recommendation, a personal statement, a current resume, and official college transcripts.

#10 University of Maryland Global Campus

  • Annual Tuition: $11,862
  • Median Salary: $98,635
  • Locations: Adelphi (MD)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

The University of Maryland Global Campus offers an online Master of Science in Management with a concentration in Emergency Management. The 36-credit degree program is designed to help students master the five focus points of the National Preparedness Goal—prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery. The degree is meant for mid-career professionals and can be done full-time or part-time, but it must be completed within five consecutive years. Topics of study include financial analysis, organization theory, vulnerability assessments, and crisis communication. Students will be required to complete a capstone course in strategic management at the end of their program and must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher at all times. Online courses are administered through the Learning Experience Online platform. Courses are asynchronous, and students can communicate with their peers and instructors through online discussion boards and email. Virtual students also have access to online tutoring, the UMGC Writing Center, and the UMGC library. Applicants are required to submit a statement of purpose along with official transcripts proving the completion of a bachelor’s degree and relevant coursework. 

#11 Clemson University

  • Annual Tuition: $14,840
  • Median Salary: $98,877
  • Locations: Clemson (SC)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Clemson University offers a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Emergency Management that can be completed online through its College of Behavioral, Social, and Health Sciences. The degree program requires students to complete 39 to 42 credits, depending on whether a student decides to complete a capstone final research project or to take a comprehensive exam. Students can enroll part-time or full-time and have up to six years to complete their degree. Enrollment dates are available in the fall, spring, and summer terms. Students who do not have professional experience in the field will need to complete an internship before graduating. Classes are delivered synchronously so students can interact with their professors and peers and can participate in interactive group activities. Students access classes and course materials through the Canvas learning platform and use Zoom web conferencing to join live classes. Applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree at an accredited college or university and will need to submit transcripts. They will also need to submit GRE scores, two letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and documentation of related work experience. 

#12 Oklahoma State University-Main Campus

  • Annual Tuition: $14,898
  • Median Salary: $96,642
  • Locations: Stillwater (OK)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Oklahoma State University offers an online Master of Science in Fire and Emergency Management Administration through the university's College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology. The 33-credit degree program is designed for mid-career professionals who are looking to serve as managers or administrators in the fire service, emergency management, emergency medical services, or other related careers. All students are required to complete three credit hours for a practicum research project or at least six credit hours for a thesis. Courses are delivered synchronously, and all graduate students are required to complete nine credits on campus in Stillwater, Oklahoma. These on-campus credits can be completed during one-week courses in the summer semester. To be eligible to enroll, students should have significant experience in a fire or emergency service organization as well as having a bachelor’s degree major or minor in a discipline related to fire or emergency services. Applicants must submit official college transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a current resume, and an essay outlining their career goals. 

#13 University of Central Florida

  • Annual Tuition: $10,422
  • Median Salary: $94,329
  • Locations: Orlando (FL) (and 7 others)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The University of Central Florida offers a Master of Emergency and Crisis Management (MECM) degree through its College of Community Innovation and Education. The online emergency management degree requires students to complete 36 credits. Students can enroll in the fall, spring, or summer terms, and they have the option of taking part-time or full-time coursework. The MECM degree is a non-thesis program designed to prepare individuals to be highly trained practitioners in the emergency management field. Online courses are delivered asynchronously, but they often require group work and interaction through discussion boards and web conferencing. Students must maintain a grade of a B- or higher in all concentration courses and must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 throughout their studies. Applicants must submit official transcripts for all undergraduate education, a current resume, a statement of goals, and three letters of recommendation. Online students will have access to a success coach, academic advisors, and program coordinators.

#14 Norwich University

  • Annual Tuition: $17,256
  • Median Salary: $96,863
  • Locations: Northfield (VT)
  • Accreditation: NECHE

Norwich University offers a Master of Public Administration in Public Administration Leadership and Crisis Management. This online emergency management degree takes an average of 18 months to finish and requires students to complete 36 credit hours. Students take one course at a time, each course lasting 11 weeks, and they progress through the program as part of a cohort of peers. The public administration leadership and crisis management courses include Foundations of Leadership and Ethical Decision-Making,;and Public Leadership, Crisis Management, and Organizational Change. Online courses at Norwich University are delivered asynchronously, and students are expected to participate in online discussions and to submit weekly assignments on time. All students are required to report to the Norwich University campus in Vermont for a one-week residency at the end of their program. This capstone course includes networking sessions, interdisciplinary workshops, presentations, and academic recognition. Applicants to the program must have an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher and must submit a resume, official transcripts, and a letter of intent.

#15 University of Alaska Fairbanks

  • Annual Tuition: $9,240
  • Median Salary: $92,800
  • Locations: Fairbanks (AK) (and 1 other)
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

The School of Management at the University of Alaska Fairbanks offers an online Master of Security and Disaster Management. To complete this online emergency management degree, students must take a minimum of 30 credit hours. This degree is available both as a part-time and a full-time program. Concentrations are available in Arctic Security, Business Continuity, Cybersecurity, Disaster Management, and Strategic Leadership. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for strategic and leadership roles within emergency management and homeland security fields. The program can be finished in two years, and most students finish it within three years. Students access course materials through the Blackboard learning management system and the eCampus platform. Most classes are asynchronous, though some may require virtual video conferencing at a scheduled time. To be considered for admissions, students should have a bachelor’s degree in emergency management or related professional experience. Those who do not meet this requirement will need to take extra coursework. All applicants will need to submit official transcripts, a current resume, a statement of academic goals, and three letters of recommendation.

#16 Virginia Commonwealth University

  • Annual Tuition: $14,229
  • Median Salary: $93,985
  • Locations: Richmond (VA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Virginia Commonwealth University offers an online Master of Arts in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness through its Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs. This 36-credit online master’s program takes an average of one and a half to two years to complete. The program is designed to prepare students to become leaders and to equip them with the skills to protect their communities from unpredictable disasters. Online courses are delivered weekly as 60- to 90-minute live sessions and include learning modules, case studies, presentations, and breakout group sessions. This program emphasizes student collaboration. Students access course materials through the Canvas learning management system and have access to a virtual student union where they can participate in study groups and make social connections with their peers. Applicants must submit official undergraduate transcripts, satisfactory standardized test scores, a current resume, and three letters of recommendation from professional references.

#17 University of Nevada at Las Vegas

  • Annual Tuition: $15,051
  • Median Salary: $93,780
  • Locations: Las Vegas (NV)
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

The University of Nevada at Las Vegas hosts an online Master of Science in Emergency and Crisis Management. The 36-credit degree program is composed of 12 courses and requires five in-person campus visits throughout the course of study, which take place over long weekends. Students are enrolled as a cohort and progress along the program at the same pace as their peers. Coursework covers the skills students need to become emergency and crisis management leaders so they can effectively address natural, intentional, and technological disasters. All students must maintain a GPA of 3.00 or higher to graduate. Online courses are delivered through WebCampus and are asynchronous, providing maximum flexibility. To be considered for admission, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and proof of a  minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75. Applicants must submit official transcripts, a resume that indicates professional experience, a personal statement, and three letters of recommendation. GRE scores may also be required. 

#18 Upper Iowa University

  • Annual Tuition: $9,990
  • Median Salary: $89,100
  • Locations: Fayette (IA)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Upper Iowa University offers an online Master of Public Administration in Emergency Management and Homeland Security through its School of Arts and Sciences. The degree requires students to complete 36 credits and is designed for mid-career professionals pursuing work with leadership agencies and organizations with missions to protect communities from hazards and emergency situations. Students can enroll either part-time or full-time, but all students must complete the degree within five years of enrollment. Students are able to complete an internship for course credit. All courses are delivered asynchronously and require students to participate in weekly discussions and submit assignments according to weekly deadlines. Applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum GPA of 2.75 in all undergraduate coursework or a minimum GPA of 3.0 for the 60 most recent semester credits of their undergraduate work. They must also submit two letters of recommendation and official undergraduate transcripts. GRE or GMAT scores are accepted but not required.

#19 Georgetown University

  • Annual Tuition: $64,170
  • Median Salary: $110,622
  • Locations: Washington D.C.
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Georgetown University offers two options for students looking to further their careers with an online master’s in emergency management. The Master of Professional Studies in Emergency and Disaster Management is a 33-credit program that can take two to five years to complete, depending on whether the student is taking classes full-time or part-time. This degree is meant for entry- and mid-level professionals. Students can enroll in the fall, spring, or summer term. The International Executive Master of Professional Studies in Emergency and Disaster Management is a 30-credit degree program that is mostly online but requires five one-week, international residencies over the course of the program. Residencies focus on challenges like terrorism, public health, and natural and technological disasters. The degree usually takes one year to complete and is available as a part-time cohort program. Enrollment happens once a year in the fall. Online courses are distributed through the Canvas learning platform, and most classes are asynchronous, though some do require synchronous video sessions throughout the semester. Both programs require applicants to submit official transcripts from previously attended institutions, two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and proof of English proficiency. 

#20 University of New Haven

  • Annual Tuition: $16,920
  • Median Salary: $90,503
  • Locations: West Haven (CT)
  • Accreditation: NECHE

The University of New Haven offers a Master of Science in Emergency Management program that can be completed entirely online. This degree requires students to complete 36 credits, which can be done in two years. Participants take courses one at a time, with each course taking between six and seven and a half weeks to complete. Students can apply on a rolling basis, and there are course start dates throughout the year. Terms for online students are accelerated to accommodate one course per term. Curriculum explores disaster preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery with research-based principles. Online courses are delivered asynchronously, and students are expected to meet weekly deadlines and participate in virtual discussion boards with their classmates and professors. Prospective students must submit official transcripts from all previous educational institutions, a statement of purpose, an up-to-date resume, and two letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources. GRE or other standardized test scores are accepted but not required. 

#21 University of South Florida Online

  • Annual Tuition: $18,538
  • Median Salary: $89,765
  • Locations: Tampa (FL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The University of South Florida offers an online Master of Public Health with a concentration in Global Disaster Management, Humanitarian Relief, and Homeland Security through its College of Public Health. The degree program requires students to take 42 credits to complete it and can be taken on either a full-time or part-time schedule. The program was designed to prepare students looking to expand their careers as leaders within the disaster management, homeland security, and humanitarian aid fields. Before graduating, all students are required to complete a special project with field experience and to take a comprehensive exam. Online students at USF access course materials and submit assignments through the Canvas learning management system. Applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university to be eligible for admissions. To apply, students need to submit official transcripts, a GRE score from the last five years, two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and an up-to-date resume. 

#22 Excelsior College

  • Annual Tuition: $9,675
  • Median Salary: $85,713
  • Locations: Albany (NY)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Excelsior College offers an online Master of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Homeland Security and Emergency Management. This online emergency management degree requires students to complete 30 credit hours and was designed to accommodate the schedules of working professionals. Students can enroll full-time or part-time, and they are permitted to take up to six years to complete their degree. The curriculum in this concentration explores domestic and international issues and trends and their impact on criminal justice. Students are required to take a capstone course at the end of their program, where they identify, research, and present solutions to issues in their workplace, organization, or community. Online classes are delivered asynchronously and are administered through learning modules that vary in length depending on the topic. All modules include recorded lectures and presentations, and students are expected to participate in discussions and submit assignments according to deadlines. To apply, students must submit official undergraduate transcripts.

#23 Eastern Kentucky University

  • Annual Tuition: $10,998
  • Median Salary: $85,958
  • Locations: Richmond (KY)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Eastern Kentucky University offers an online Master of Science in Safety, Security and Emergency Management. This online degree has three concentration areas: Occupational Safety, Corporate Security Operations, and Emergency Management and Disaster Resilience. The degree program requires students to complete 36 credits, a capstone applied research project, and a comprehensive exam at the end of their studies. Students graduating from the program can apply for the Associate Safety and Health Manager certification, and those with two years of professional experience in the field can apply to take the Certified Safety and Health Manager exam. Online courses are delivered asynchronously, and students are encouraged to communicate with their peers and instructors through discussion boards and forums via the Blackboard learning platform. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and must have an average GPA of 2.5 or higher. Those who do not meet the GPA requirement will have to submit satisfactory GRE test scores. 

#24 Thomas Jefferson University

  • Annual Tuition: $42,840
  • Median Salary: $97,033
  • Locations: Philadelphia (PA)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Thomas Jefferson University offers an online Master of Science in Disaster Medicine and Management through its College of Health Professions. This 36-credit degree program can be taken part-time or full-time, and there are start dates in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. The curriculum explores topics such as logistics management, applied research methods and statistics, and public health implications. Students will be required to complete a week on campus with their peers where they will hear from disaster medicine experts, network with faculty and classmates, and participate in full-scale exercises and real-world disaster simulations. They are also required to complete 100 hours of experiential learning. Online courses are delivered through the Blackboard platform and follow an asynchronous schedule. Students are expected to read content materials, complete assignments, post to discussion boards, and respond to their classmates’ postings. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and should have relevant work experience. The application process involves submitting official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a current resume, and a personal essay. 

Overview of an Online Master's in Emergency Management

Online master's degrees in emergency management may give students the opportunities to excel in advanced management positions upon graduation. Individuals with this degree may find work in the public and private sectors, helping communities deal with emergencies and lowering the risk of disastrous situations occurring. There are also emergency management master's programs that have a homeland security emphasis, so individuals interested in a career in homeland security should look into those. Some job titles open to master's degree holders include Emergency Planner, Director of Emergency Management, and Disaster Recovery Specialist.

A master's degree will typically take one to two years to complete and requires 30-36 semester credit hours. Typical coursework includes hazard risk and vulnerability assessment, information technology in emergency management, criminal justice, and public policy. A culminating project or capstone course will also likely be required. In order to be admitted to one of these programs, a student must have earned a bachelor's degree in a related field and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Letters of recommendation and test scores from exams like the GRE or GMAT may also be required, depending on the school. Online emergency management master's programs are available at multiple colleges and universities around the country.

References

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