Graduate Programs

Master's program available in person and remote synchronous. Doctoral program available in person.

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Emergency Management Master's Degree Programs

The comprehensive and challenging Master's degree programs in Emergency Management are intended to explore the academic research literature related to emergency management as well as provide students with opportunities to apply their knowledge through research and/or practicum. The program is built on a core of emergency management courses to help students learn how human beings create, interact, and cope with hazards, vulnerability, and associated events. The program emphasizes the study of how human beings cope with hazard events through activities related to preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation.

By the time a student graduates with a master’s degree in emergency management from North Dakota State University's Department of Emergency Management and Disaster Science, the student should be able to do the following:

  1. Suggest implications from the evolution of emergency management for practice  
  2. Articulate how threshold concepts of the academic discipline might shape and/or be applied in emergency management endeavors
  3. Evaluate opportunities and challenges for emergency management endeavors 
  4. Develop insights, make inferences and/or draw conclusions about key topics within the discipline’s purview

Additional for thesis-track:

  1. Identify the major research methods and standards of the academic discipline
  2. Create new knowledge in a manner consistent with the disciplinary methods and standards

We do not just say that our students achieve these learning objectives. We have a plan to assess student learning and agreed upon methods for doing so. Check out our master's program assessment plan and evaluation sheet.

The Department of Emergency Management and Disaster Science offers two tracks in its Master’s degree program.

The first option—the thesis track—is a research-focused degree track that entails a combination of emergency management coursework and research methods. This option is ideal for graduate students who intend to pursue a doctoral degree in Emergency Management or a related discipline and for those students who want to complete a traditional master’s degree. This option can only be completed face-to-face on campus in Fargo.

The second option—the comprehensive study option—is a more practice-based track with coursework in emergency management and a significant practicum requirement. THIS OPTION CAN NOW BE COMPLETE face-to-face OR REMOTE SYNCHRONOUS!

The Doctoral Degree Program

North Dakota State University offers a face-to-face Doctor of Philosophy in Emergency Management designed to prepare graduates for careers teaching future generations of emergency management students in higher education programs, conducting research that describes and explains patterns, processes, change, and effectiveness/efficiency related to emergency management, and/or policy development and analysis related to emergency management. 

By the time a student graduates with a doctoral degree in emergency management from North Dakota State University's Department of Emergency Management and Disaster Science, the student should be able to do the following:

  1. Suggest implications from the evolution of emergency management for policy, practice, and research
  2. Demonstrate extensive knowledge of the literature associated with the academic discipline within two of the four areas of specialization within emergency management (i.e. preparedness, response, recovery, mitigation)
  3. Develop insights, make inferences and/or draw conclusions about the current state of knowledge (e.g. challenges, opportunities and trends) and the status of theory on key topics within the discipline’s purview
  4. Formulate approaches to emergency management endeavors
  5. Assess the major methods/analytical approaches and research standards related to the discipline
  6. Create new knowledge in a manner consistent with the disciplinary research standards

We know our students are achieving these learning outcomes and developing into true scholars. We use an assessment plan and evaluation sheets to keep us consistently focused on maintaining this reality for current and future students. Check out our doctoral program assessment plan and evaluation sheet.

The degree program is built on a core of emergency management courses to help students learn how human beings create, interact, and cope with hazards, vulnerability, and associated events. The program emphasizes the study of how human beings cope with hazard events through activities related to preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. 

This comprehensive and challenging program is committed both to extensive research and its practical application in the areas of emergency management. Throughout their graduate career, students will have the opportunity to conduct research and work in the field. 

View the requirements associated with the Doctoral Degree in Emergency Management .

The Ph.D. is awarded in recognition of significant depth of understanding and scholarly achievement in emergency management. The recipient must complete all of the required course work, including two functional area specialization courses, pass two written comprehensive exams and oral defense of them (one on emergency management theory and one on research methods), complete a novel and significant research project for the dissertation; and successfully defend this research in an oral examination. The student’s progress will be reviewed by a supervisory committee that is responsible for reviewing the student’s plan of study, written comprehensive examinations, dissertation proposal, and dissertation defense.

Sample Theory Comprehensive Exam Question

The findings of empirical research represent one component of theory. There is a significant body of literature related to individual and household (I&H) preparedness that describes/reports the testing of variables that explain I&H preparedness for hazard events. Develop an essay that 1) articulates the variables that have been found to explain I&H preparedness and 2) evaluates the theoretical strength of the body of literature. Note: Students generally respond to 2 or more such questions on this exam. SAMPLE OF A RESPONSE THAT PASSED

Sample Methods Comprehensive Exam Question

Tackle the methodological challenge of developing a 5-year survey study to track the Northwood community’s recovery process utilizing a random sample. Include a step-by-step discussion of the primary design issues as well as the rationale for design decisions. The primary design issues that should be addressed include type of survey, instrument design, topics in the survey, how the survey will measure community recovery, and sampling. Note: Students generally respond to 4 or more such questions on this exam. SAMPLE OF A RESPONSE THAT PASSED

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can I contact for more information if my question is not answered here?
You can feel free to contact the Department Head, Dr. Jensen, at ja.jensen@ndsu.edu with any questions you might have.

Admission Process 

When may students enter the program
Completed applications are reviewed monthly for potential admission the following semester (i.e., fall or spring). 

When are applications due
Applications are accepted year round. 

Do I have to take the GRE
Normally, all applicants who have not completed a master's degree in the United States must submit GRE scores. If an applicant has completed a master's degree in the United States, then GRE scores are not required but still strongly recommended. It is helpful to have as much data about an applicant and their aptitude for graduate work in our program. In no case are specific GRE discipline tests required.

Do I have to write a Letter of Intent
All applicants must submit a Letter of Intent as part of the NDSU Graduate School application process. 

Selection Criteria 

How selective is the Department of Emergency Management admission process?
At the masters level, admission is based on student interest and goodness-of-fit for one of two available tracks--the comprehensive study track or the masters track.

The vast majority of applicants to the comprehensive study track will be accepted, but, relatively few will be admitted to the thesis track. The thesis track is associated with an empirical data collection project and development of a thesis document. Admission to the doctoral program, on the other hand, is competitive. 

Is there a minimum GRE score required for admission
No. GRE scores are just one source of data about an applicant's aptitude for graduate work. No minimum cutoff score has been established. We examine the analytical writing and verbal reasoning components more closely than the quantitative reasoning component when considering applicant's for potential admission. 

What undergraduate majors and/or master’s degrees are acceptable
We welcome individuals with degrees from any discipline to apply to the graduate degree programs in Emergency Management. Majors besides emergency management that are likely to enhance student success in the program include the following: Political Science, Public Administration, Communications, Economics, Sociology, Anthropology, Civil Engineering, Natural Resource Management, Environmental Management, Public Safety, and Facilities Management.

Funding 

Is funding available (i.e., tuition stipend)
Competitive research and teaching graduate assistantships are a potential source of funding.  Assistantship awards typically provide funding for 10 to 20 hours of work per week.  Assistantships also typically include a tuition stipend.  Awards are based both on student merit and on availability of funds—all applicants are reviewed for possible assistantships but not all admitted students will receive assistantships. Other sources of campus-based funding can be located on the Graduate School’s website. 

The Master’s Degree Program 

What is the difference between the comprehensive study track and thesis track
Master's students in the comprehensive study track complete more emergency management elective and internship credits than those in the thesis track, but the culminating experience for comprehensive study track students is different. Comprehensive study track students complete an oral exam as a culminating experience while all master's thesis track students complete a empirical, original data collection-based thesis.

The Doctorate Degree Program 

Can I apply directly to the doctoral program without having completed a master’s degree
Prospective students who have not completed a master’s degree cannot apply directly to the doctoral program in Emergency Management. Students whose ultimate goal is the doctorate must first apply to and complete the master’s degree program.  

If I have completed a master’s degree elsewhere, can my master’s degree credits apply to the doctoral degree?  
According to NDSU Graduate School policy, between 0 and 30 credits from a student’s master’s degree program can be applied to the credits required for a doctoral degree. The determination of how many credits will be applied to a student’s doctoral degree program will be based on the extent to which the courses a student took in his or her master’s degree work demonstrates goodness-of-fit with the curriculum requirements for a doctoral degree in emergency management. The actual number of credits that apply to a student’s doctoral degree program will be determined by the student’s graduate advisor at NDSU. 

Online Graduate Courses 

Can the master’s or doctorate degree be completed entirely online?
The masters program, comprehensive study track, can be completed remote synchronous or in person. Remote synchronous means that you attend class at the same time as in person students do and participate in class discussions and activities "live" as a blended class of in person and remote students. The masters program, thesis track, and the doctoral program can only be completed in person; however, select classes and experiential components (e.g., internships, research practicums, thesis and dissertation data collection) are typically completed at a distance.

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