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Welcome to the Department of Emergency Management’s homepage. Our homepage provides a wide range of information on our face-to-face programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level. Specifically, you can find information on Departmental news and events, undergraduate and graduate program requirements, faculty profiles, and much more. 

History of Emergency Management at NDSU

Involvement in disaster research at North Dakota State University extends back to 1979 when departmental faculty received National Science Foundation funding to study the impact of a large tornado in Texas. The establishment of a specific Emergency Management curriculum, however, began in 2001 when the State Board of Higher Education approved a minor in Emergency Management. In 2003 the State Board approved proposals to offer bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in Emergency Management. As a result, NDSU became one of the many undergraduate programs in Emergency Management, one of the few with master’s degrees, and the only doctoral degree in the United States that was specifically granted in Emergency Management.

The degree programs were initially nested in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. The department was renamed the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Emergency Management in 2007. In 2008, a Center for Disaster Studies and Emergency Management was established and in July of 2010 the State Board approved the establishment of a separate Department of Emergency Management. The program has grown significantly since 2001 to include five faculty, over fifty undergraduates, and more than twenty-five resident graduate students. The first bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees were awarded in 2004, 2006, and 2009 respectively.

What is Emergency Management?

The discipline of emergency management studies how human beings create, interact, and cope with hazards, vulnerability, and associated events. The discipline focuses its research on the study of how human beings cope with hazard events through activities related to preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. 

The academic discipline of emergency management serves the profession of emergency management charged with protecting "communities by coordinating and integrating all activities necessary to build, sustain, and improve the capability to mitigate against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from threatened or actual natural disasters, acts of terrorism, or other man-made disasters" (Principles of Emergency Management, 2007, p. 4).

Emergency management professionals are employed at each level of government (e.g., city, county, state, and federal) and within various governmental agencies at each level (e.g., Departments of Emergency Management, Departments of Public Health, Departments of Transportation, Departments of  Public Works), domestic and international nongovernmental organizations, and businesses. 

Through educating students and research, the academic discipline of emergency management also serves a host of other professions such as law, natural resources management, business administration, public administration, social work, and engineering.  


The Department of Emergency Management at NDSU believes that through educating students in and conducting research related to emergency management several objectives can be accomplished:

  • The occurrence of hazard events (i.e., emergencies, disasters, catastrophes, and complex humanitarian crises) can be reduced;
  • When hazard events do occur, the impacts and needs generated as a result can be decreased; and,
  • Moreover, when hazard events occur, they can be coped with effectively and efficiently.

The Department believes that a reduction in the occurrence of hazard events, a decrease in resulting impacts and needs, and the efficiency and effectiveness with which hazard events are coped can be based upon a body of knowledge. The body of knowledge will describe and explain patterns, processes, change, and effectiveness/efficiency related to how human beings create, interact, and cope with hazards, vulnerabilities, and associated events. The foundational knowledge will be provided by research conducted within the discipline of emergency management as well as the integration and synthesis of findings related to emergency management from other academic disciplines.

Mission and Goals

The mission of NDSU’s Department of Emergency Management, therefore, is to educate people in the emergency management body of knowledge while simultaneously adding to the body of knowledge through research. Specifically, the goals of the Department of Emergency Management are to:

  • Educate students in emergency management;
  • Provide training in the field related to emergency management topics;
  • Support professionalization of emergency management;
  • Contribute to the development of the emergency management discipline;
  • Provide a means to conduct both multidisciplinary research and emergency management research through the Center for Disaster Studies and Emergency Management; and,
  • Engage the public in emergency management through community service and outreach projects conducted by the Center for Disaster Studies and Emergency Management.  

Support the Emergency Management Program

The North Dakota State University Development Foundation now has a separate account for donations to the newly formed Department of Emergency Management.

Those interested in supporting the program can mail checks to the NDSU Development Foundation at 1241 N. University Drive, Fargo, North Dakota 58102. In the subject or notation line of the check you should write Department of Emergency Management. 

Gifts can also be made online by going to the Foundation website at:  and clicking on the link "Make a Gift Online".

Few disciplines have such a clear and profound impact.  Donations benefit not only the Emergency Management Department at North Dakota State University, but by extension the newly developing discipline of Emergency Management, and disaster mitigation, preparation, response, and recovery.  Your contributions make an impact at the local, county, state, national, and international levels. 

Upcoming Events

Webinar Training: Disaster Preparedness and Your Supply Chain--April 12, 2016. Hosted by the SBA. Learn more and register.

Webinar Training: Partnerships for Protecting Cultural and Historic Resources--April 12, 2016. Hosted by IAEM.  Learn more and register.

IAEM Scholarship Application Due--June 1, 2016 deadline. Learn more and apply.

ICS 300--May 2-4, 2016 at the Fargo Public Safety Building. Contact Amanda Johnson ( for more information and to register.

ICS 400--May 25-26, 2016 at the Fargo Public Safety Building. Contact Amanda Johnson ( for more information and to register.

G235 Emergency Planning--May 17-19, 2016 at the Comfort Inn in Bismarck, ND. Learn more and register.

FEMA Higher Education Conference--June 6-9, 2016 in Emmitsburg, Maryland at the Emergency Management Institute. Learn more and apply to attend

Natural Hazards Workshop--July 10-13, 2016 at the Omni Interlocken Resort in Broomfield, Colorado. Learn more and register.



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Site Manager: Jessica Jensen


Last Updated: Friday, April 01, 2016 2:28:52 PM