Content | Navigation |

This page offers a variety of resources for prospective graduate students in emergency management, including:

What Emergency Management Students Study

For a transcript of this video, please go to this page

Emergency Management Master's Degree Program

The comprehensive and challenging Master's degree program 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, the student should be able to demonstrate:

  • Ability to synthesize information
  • Demonstrated ability to think critically
  • Effective written skills
  • Effective oral communication skills
  • Familiarity with foundational literature of the academic discipline
  • Understanding of key concepts integral to the academic discipline
  • Understanding of major research methods of the field
  • Ability to contribute creatively to the discipline (i.e., advance the discipline through the creation of new knowledge)
  • Understanding of the professional and ethical behavior standards of the discipline
  • Professional and workplace skills necessary to succeed in chosen career path

The Department of Emergency Management 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. The second option—the comprehensive study option—is a more practice-based track with coursework in emergency management and a significant practicum requirement. 

You can view the listed Requirements for the Emergency Management Master's Thesis Track and the Requirements for the Emergency Management Master's Degree Comprehensive Study Track.

Or you can download a Pdf of the Requirements for the Emergency Management Master's Thesis Track and the Requirements for the Emergency Management Master's Degree Comprehensive Study Track.

Within two weeks of the end of their second semester in the Department of Emergency Management's Master's degree program, all students will take an oral comprehensive exam. Master's students will coordinate the scheduling of their comprehensive exam with their advisor.

The comprehensive exam will be attended by all Department faculty. During the comprehensive exam, Department faculty will ask students three of the following questions:

 

  • Define the concept of sustainability; explain how the disaster literature has explored the concept; and, articulate how the concept relates to the practice of emergency management.
    • Define the concept of resilience; explain how the disaster literature has explored the concept; and, articulate how the concept relates to the practice of emergency management.
    • Define the concept of vulnerability; explain how the disaster literature has explored the concept; and, articulate how the concept relates to the practice of emergency management.
    • Define the concept of hazard event; explain how the disaster literature has explored the concept; and, articulate how the concept relates to the practice of emergency management.
    • Define the concept of stakeholder; explain how the disaster literature has explored the concept; and, articulate how the concept relates to the practice of emergency management.
    • Tell us about some of the key response research findings and how those findings can inform emergency management practice.
    • Tell us about some of the key recovery research findings and how those findings can inform emergency management practice.
    • Tell us about some of the key mitigation research findings and how those findings can inform emergency management practice.
    • Tell us about some of the key preparedness research findings and how those findings can inform emergency management practice.
    • Tell us about the primary political challenges facing emergency management.
    • Explain why disasters are experienced differently from country-to-country.
    • Explain why we see differences in emergency management across countries.
    • Describe the evolution of emergency management research.
    • Describe the evolution of emergency management policy.
    • Describe the evolution of the emergency management profession.

Students should be able to deliver a 10-15 minute response to each of the questions they are asked. Faculty members will ask students follow-up questions and probes to further explore student knowledge and understanding of each question.

Students are expected to offer evidence supporting their responses. Evidence is expected to be drawn from course lectures/notes, course reading assignments, and the following books :

  • Burby, R. (ed). (1998). Cooperating with nature: Confronting natural hazards with land-use planning for sustainable communities. Washington, DC: John Henry Press.
  • Cutter, S. (ed) (2001). American hazardscapes: The regionalization of hazards and disasters. Washington, DC: John Henry Press.
  • Mileti, D. (ed)  (1999). Disasters by design: A reassessment of natural hazards in the United States. Washington, DC: John Henry Press.
  • National Research Council of the National Academes.  (2006). Facing hazards and disasters: Understanding human dimensions. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
  •  Rubin, C. (ed) (2007). Emergency Management: The American experience 1900-2006. PERI.
  • Sylves, R. (2008). Disaster policy & politics. Washington, DC: CQ Press.
  • Tierney, K., Lindell, M., & Perry, R. (2001). Facing the unexpected: Disaster preparedness and response in the United States. Washington, DC: John Henry Press.
  • Wisner, B., Blaikie, P., Cannon, T., & Davis, I. (2004). At risk: Natural hazards, people’s vulnerability and disasters. New York: Routledge.

The oral comprehensive questions will be purposefully broad and designed to allow students to draw upon more than one of the books on the reading list. Students will be expected to refer to the book author(s) as evidence while providing their responses to the questions posed. The Department faculty will evaluate each student as to whether they have passed, conditionally passed, or failed to pass. Those who pass the oral comprehensive exam will continue unabated with their degree program. Those who conditionally pass must retake the exam within 60 days; and, those who fail to pass will be terminated from the degree program.

Download the Master's Reading List.

The Doctoral Degree Program

North Dakota State University offers a 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, the student should be able to demonstrate:

  • Ability to synthesize information
  • Ability to think critically
  • Effective written and oral communication skills
  • Mastery of major methods/analytical approaches of the field
  • Extensive knowledge of the literature of the academic discipline
  • Extensive knowledge of the theoretical components integral to the academic discipline
  • Mastery of two of the four major areas of specialization in emergency management (i.e., preparedness, response, recovery, mitigation)
  • Ability to contribute creatively to the discipline(i.e., advance the discipline through the creation of new knowledge)
  • Extensive knowledge of the evolution of emergency management policy
  • Extensive knowledge of how research can be used to inform the development of emergency management policy
  • Professional and ethical behavior standards consistent with the expectations of the discipline
  • Professional and workplace skills necessary to succeed in chosen career path (i.e., teaching, research, policy development)

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. 

You can download the requirements associated with the Doctoral Degree in Emergency Management or you can view the requirements here.

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, pass three written comprehensive exams (one on emergency management theory,  one that tests student knowledge of the literature related to two of the four functional areas of emergency management, i.e., preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation, 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 Functional Area Comprehensive Exam Question

In this example, student chose recovery as one of their 2 areas. Pick a stakeholder group in recovery (i.e., individuals and households, businesses, nonprofits, or communities). Based on the literature write an essay that argues what factors could be assessed the moment after a disaster occurred to predict how recovery would progress for that group (or entities within that group) AND what factors would be meaningful to assess within the recovery process to gauge that group’s (or entities within that group’s) progress. Note: You do not need to suggest actual measures for the factors you introduce. How the factors would be actually assessed may be through qualitative or quantitative means and assessment of the factors may involve the quick collection of data or be based purely on the perception of the assessor. These issues should not be the focus of the essay. 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

Graduate Handbook

The Department of Emergency Management's Graduate Handbook contains important policy related to graduate study in our Department specifically and at NDSU in general. It is a key document; and, it is recommended that prospective students  review it to get a sense of the expectations and policies associated with graduate study in our department.

DOWNLOAD the Graduate Handbook.

Sample Syllabi

Our curriculum is designed to be rigourous and challenging. There is a heavy reading load and writing requirement associated with all graduate courses. We seek to educate graduate students in the findings of the disaster literature with a particular focus on integrating and synthesizing findings from various disciplines to determine how the literature collectively informs the newly emerging discipline of emergency management, practice in the profession, and/or how the distributed function of emergency management is carried out.  Feel free to view and/or download two sample syllabi:  EMGT 410/610:Comprehensive Emergency Management Planning, EMGT 663: Voluntary Agency Services in Disaster, EMGT 761: Preparedness Theory and Practice,  EMGT 763: Response Theory and Practice, and EMGT 764: Recovery Theory and Practice. Please keep in mind that these courses change significantly from year-to-year as instructors identify ways to improve the course.

Graduate School Resources

NDSU's Graduate School webpage has a variety of resources for prospective students. For instance, the Graduate School's Funding Opportunities page has information about sources of funding for graduate tuition and research and the Graduate School's Prospective Students page has information about general NDSU application requirements.

How to Apply

The Department of Emergency Management at NDSU is highly selective in choosing graduate applicants for entry into the master’s and doctoral programs. Admission is competitive reflecting the Department's commitment to small, high quality, student cohorts that match the mentoring capacity of fthe faculty. Each year we accept five or fewer new students at the Master’s level and two or fewer new students at the doctoral level. 

Applicants will be evaluated in a two stage process. In the first stage, the applicant’s Graduate School application, letters of reference, GRE scores, and academic writing paper samples will be reviewed by the Department of Emergency Management faculty. Applicant’s demonstrating goodness-of-fit with the Department of Emergency Management’s mission and goals and an aptitude for graduate study will be invited to complete the second stage of the admissions process.

Admissions Process
The two-stage admissions process for graduate studies in the Department of Emergency Management is as follows:

STAGE ONE
1. Applicants must first complete the Graduate School's online application form and submit the required materials. 

2. Applicants must submit transcripts from the higher education institutions they have attended to the Graduate School.

3. Applicants must submit three letters of reference through the Online Application tool. Academic references are preferred.

4. Applicants must submit GRE scores by requesting ETS-GRE send the Graduate School their score. Specific GRE discipline tests are not required. GRE scores are required for the  admissions process because they provide another perspective on an applicant's academic abilities. To be competitive, verbal and writing scores must be above the 50th percentile. At this time, however, no specific score totals are used as a cutoff. Applications are evaluated holistically using all indicators of student aptitude for successful completion of graduate study in this program.

5. Applicants must submit electronic copies of two writing samples that you have written through the Online Application tool. The samples may be a publication, material from prior coursework, or specifically written for this application. The samples do not have to focus on emergency management or disasters. The samples must be written in English. Writing samples are used to gain information on the applicant's writing style and ability to write research-based papers. Samples submitted in support of an application would ideally be eight or more pages in length. In addition, to meet the objective of the admission criteria the paper must employ formal citations. Writing samples will most typically be library-based research papers but papers based on original data gathering are also encouraged. The latter might be more likely to come from an applicant with a master's degree.

STAGE TWO
1. Applicants invited to participate in the second stage of the admissions process will take part in a conference call interview with two or more of the program faculty. Applicant interviews are designed to provide two-way communication between the faculty and prospective applicant. Faculty will ask questions but will also want the applicant to pose questions about the program and Departmental educational objectives. The interview should assist the applicant and faculty to further assess the goodness-of-fit between the program and the applicant. Interviews will also evaluate  the applicant's ability to engage in evidence-based reasoning.

We are most likely to accept doctoral applicants who demonstrate their understanding of the concepts included in the following list of books: 

  • Mileti, D. (ed)  (1999). Disasters by design: A reassessment of natural hazards in the United States. Washington, DC: John Henry Press.
  • Rubin, C. (ed) (2007). Emergency Management: The American experience 1900-2006. PERI.
  • Sylves, R. (2008). Disaster policy & politics. Washington, DC: CQ Press.
  • Tierney, K., Lindell, M., & Perry, R. (2001). Facing the unexpected: Disaster preparedness and response in the United States. Washington, DC: John Henry Press.
  • Wisner, B., Blaikie, P., Cannon, T., & Davis, I. (2004). At risk: Natural hazards , people’s vulnerability and disasters. New York: Routledge.

The emergency management faculty at NDSU believe that the best doctoral degree program in emergency management will be made up of a diverse student body. We welcome applicants to the doctoral degree program with Master's degrees from a variety of disciplines; applicants from all countries; applicants with different professional backgrounds; and, applicants with varying goals and interests. We want to ensure, however, that applicants entering the program are knowledgeable about emergency management and some of the literature that provides the foundation for the discipline. Therefore, when applicants are interviewed during the application process, the faculty expects that the best candidates will demonstrate their familiarity with the major concepts presented in the books listed above.

By asking potential doctoral students to enter the program with foundational knowledge of the emergency management literature the Department hopes to accomplish several goals. First, in reading the books on the reading list, prospective students will be able to confirm their desire to pursue a doctoral education in the discipline of emergency management. Second, the Department assumes that students who undertake this reading in preparation for their application interview will be bright, motivated, and passionate about the study of emergency management. Third, and finally, a basic understanding of the emergency management literature will help students coming into the program from a variety of backgrounds succeed once they begin their studies at NDSU.

Frequently Asked Questions

Download FAQ Sheet.

Admission Process 

When may students enter the program
Graduate students are accepted for admission, once a year, for fall semester only. 

When are applications due
Completed application packages are due by February 15th. 

Do I have to take the GRE
All applicants must submit GRE scores. Specific GRE discipline tests are not 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?
Admission is competitive reflecting the Department’s commitment to small, high quality, student cohorts (0-5 master’s students and 0-2 doctoral students admitted annually). 

Is there a minimum GRE score required for admission
Applications are evaluated holistically using all requested indicators of a student’s aptitude for successful graduate study. No minimum cutoff score has been established. Yet, it may be helpful for potential applicants to note that we pay close attention to applicant performance on the writing component of the GRE in our evaluation. 

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, but students with relatively little course work related to emergency management will likely need to complete certain prerequisite courses before full engagement in core graduate courses.  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—not all graduate students will receive assistantships. Other sources of campus-based funding can be located on the Graduate School’s website. 

The Master’s Degree Program 

Do I have to write a thesis for a master’s degree
All students in the master’s degree program in Emergency Management must complete either a master’s thesis or comprehensive study paper. 

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 

Does the Department of Emergency Management offer online courses
A limited number of courses are offered online from time-to-time.  These courses are generally elective and typically offered during the summer.  Some courses applicable to the degree, but offered through other departments, also may be available online.  

Can the master’s or doctorate degree be completed entirely online?
No.  The large majority of graduate courses in emergency management are face-to-face, classroom courses.  Once course work is completed, work on a thesis or dissertation can be completed off-campus although it is generally advantageous to students to complete these efforts on campus.

Learn More About the Emergency Management Program

If you want to learn more about our program from current and former graduate students, find our group on facebook. The group is called NDSU Emergency Management Program!


Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

Follow NDSU
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • RSS
  • Google Maps

Site Manager: Jessica Jensen

 

Last Updated: Monday, August 18, 2014 11:05:13 AM