Emergency Management Master's Degree Program
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, the student should be able to do the following:
- Suggest implications for the evolution of emergency management on policy and practice
- Articulate how threshold concepts of the academic discipline might shape and/or be applied in emergency management endeavors
- Evaluate the opportunities and challenges for emergency management endeavors on the basis of empirical evidence and given the contexts and units of analysis in which emergency management must occur.
- Synthesize academic literature and use it to develop insights, make inferences and/or draw conclusions about key topics within the discipline’s purview.
Additional for thesis-track:
- Identify the major research methods and standards of the academic discipline
- Create new knowledge in a manner consistent with the disciplinary methods and standards
- Assess the significance of this knowledge to emergency management research, practice, and policy
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.
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 do the following:
- Suggest implications for the evolution of emergency management on policy, practice, and research
- Demonstrate extensive knowledge of the literature associated with the academic discipline within two of the four are of specialization within emergency management (i.e. preparedness, response, recovery, mitigation)
- Synthesize academic literature and use it to 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
- Formulate approaches to emergency management endeavors on the basis of empirical evidence and the contexts and units of analysis in which emergency management must occur
- Assess the major methods/analytical approaches and research standards related to the discipline
- Produce original emergency management research grounded in the literature of the academic discipline and the disciplinary research standards
- Assess the significance of this research to emergency management research, practice, and policy
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.
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 functinoal 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 firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you might have.
When may students enter the program?
Completed applications are reviewed monthly for potential admission the following semester (i.e., gall or spring).
When are applications due?
Applications are accepted year round.
Do I have to take the GRE?
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.
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. Most masters applicants 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?
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. 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.
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 emprical, 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
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.
Past Graduate Student Theses and Dissertations
Current students can review the list of Theses and Dissertations completed by students in Emergency Management to see examples of topics studied by students in the program; and, where complete copies of a thesis or dissertation are provided, students can learn about potential methodological approaches to emergency management research, examples of how to approach writing an introduction and literature review to a thesis or dissertation, and much more.