What are my Bachelor’s Degree Choices in Emergency Management?

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Emergency management is “the managerial function charged with creating the framework within which communities reduce vulnerability to hazards and cope with disasters.” (FEMA.gov).


Emergency Management has the purpose of protecting a community and its citizens. Those working in this field use their experience and education to prepare for an imminent disaster and mitigate potential damage. Natural disasters, unfortunately, can cause enormous structural damage. A severe loss has a dramatic economic and emotional effect on all those affected by the forces of nature.

Not all these events are natural in origin. There are times when emergencies arise due to terrorism and large-scale criminal violence. These situations also demand the services of emergency managers, law enforcement, politicians, and emergency responders.

Emergency Management Process

Most often, emergency management deals with natural disasters. Emergency personnel initiates these principle steps when a weather-related catastrophe is imminent.

Preparation: Public awareness is paramount to alert communities of possible destruction and disruption. Training and planning are also part of the necessary actions to ensure the safety of the affected people.

Responding: When disaster strikes, the immediate response of emergency services personnel is critical.

Recovery: Communication to the public regarding the state of the disaster area. Deciding when residents may safely return to their homes.

However, not all disasters and hazards are due to natural causes. Emergency management, since 9/11, has adopted a prominent role in prevention and protection. Events including terrorism and disease outbreaks incorporate preventative techniques entailing intelligence, surveillance, detection, and even vaccinations.

The following are a sampling of degrees in this field.

Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management (EM)

This degree provides students with courses that cover topics related to emergency management and homeland security. The coursework aligns with the five National Preparedness System mission areas of prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery. Your required classes target terrorism/counter-terrorism and emergency management. From a list of electives, you can choose courses in victimology, white-collar crime, gangs, social psychology, international relations, and more.

Programs that combine homeland security with EM may research various government and private sector entities and report on suggested improvements in preparing for an emergency. These programs prepare graduates to work in a variety of homeland security and emergency management capacities. The employment venues are at land borders, seaports, and airports.

B.S. in Emergency Services Management

This degree combines the professional skills of the areas of homeland security, criminal justice, and emergency management with research and analytical skills. The coursework examines the roots of terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and other disaster incidents including crisis negotiation, and conflict resolution.

Graduates will have the qualifications to pursue a career in a variety of fields associated with emergency services. These include the federal government (FEMA), local fire and rescue departments, local government in public administration, the Department of Defense, and in hospital administration. Other job possibilities exist in law enforcement, criminal justice, corrections, and juvenile justice.

RELATED: The 10 Best Online Fire Science Degree Bachelor’s Programs

Bachelor of Technology in EM

This program studies how to prepare for and respond to emergencies. You will learn valuable leadership skills required to assume a role in public administration. Students also explore the liability and legal side of disasters, and government policies affect emergency management.

Therefore, the curriculum may examine disasters from a historical perspective to establish improvements for future situations. You learn about the effects of natural and human-made hazards. You explore how to make assessments to gauge potential destruction. Emergency management also requires knowledge of legal issues and liability exposures.

Students interested in emergencies created by criminal activity may prefer the following degree option.

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice-Homeland Security and Emergency Management

In this program, the core courses cover a range of topics specific to criminal law, terrorism, homeland security, and emergency management applications. Related courses examine the psychology of fear during terrorist acts, intelligence, policy analysis, and strategic planning. This education provides a foundation not only in emergency management, but also the bond between criminal activity, national security, and terrorism.

Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in EM Administration

Offered through the school’s Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice, this degree prepares students for jobs in the non-profit and governmental sectors. There is an emphasis on the development of leadership and communication skills. Both are imperative for your role in administration and emergency management. As a graduate, you will have a grasp of the political, social, and economic issues.


This information intends to demonstrate some of the degree choices in this field. There are several options for you to choose a program weighted towards public administration, homeland security, application of emergency management, criminal justice, terrorism, and others.

Related Resources: 

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What is the Benefit of a Degree in Occupational Safety vs. Emergency Management?

What Classes will I take in a Bachelor’s Degree in Homeland Security?

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For Further Reading: 

Top 10 Graduate Degree Programs in Criminal Justice