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Emergency Management Doctor of Emergency Management

School of Public Service Leadership

Protect the Public With Sound Leadership

Make solid, quick decisions that will save lives and keep the public safe. Capella’s online Doctor of Emergency Management degree will help you gain immediately applicable skills in your career. Critically analyze all phases of emergency management to pursue leadership, managerial, or operational careers. You’ll be able to develop and implement policy and work as emergency management consultants in a public safety organization or within the general emergency management field. This professional doctorate emphasizes building leadership, professional communications, and ethical decision-making skills.

At a Glance

  • Online & In Person
  • 14 Core Courses
  • 4 Elective Courses
  • 2 Doctoral Research Seminars
  • Doctoral Capstone

Reduce Your Tuition by $5,000

Enroll in a qualified program, apply for a $5K scholarship, and meet the eligibility requirements.

Apply Now »

Classes Start July 8th

Ready to get started? We’re ready for you. Chat with an enrollment counselor or apply now to take the first step on the journey toward your future.

$50 application fee (waived w/promo SPRING)

What you’ll learn

See How Research Impacts Policy

Examine how research in emergency management impacts policy and practices in the field.

Identify the Hazards

Apply theoretical perspectives dealing with hazards, risks, and vulnerability within emergency management systems.

Apply Theory to Policies

Apply emergency management theories to research questions and policies.

Mitigate Emergencies

Design a risk-based decision-making program for emergency use in public, private, and nonprofit organizations.

Back Up Decisions with Research

Apply valid, reliable, and ethical research to your decisions.

Communicate Professionally

Communicate in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and consistent with the expectations for your profession.

25 years of online doctoral experience

With over 25 years of experience in online doctoral education, we understand the unique needs of doctoral students, and have designed our programs to meet those needs. We've structured our programs to help you reach your goals and obtain critical skills—with our expert faculty, support teams, and online resources to help guide you every step of the way.

Program features

Our program offers additional benefits you might be interested in.

Scholar-Practitioner Faculty

Learn the latest in theory and practice from a doctoral faculty who are actively engaged in the emergency management field.

Relevant, Real-World Learning

Learn through our immersive media simulation, Riverbend City, to develop and practice your skills in a risk-free environment.

Convenient, Flexible Learning

Access our engaging, online learning environment anytime, anywhere, with any device—set your own schedule while meeting deadlines.

Learn to make practical, field-ready decisions based on research. Because our curriculum is research-based and practically applied, you’ll gain the foundational knowledge you need to make effective, evidence-based decisions in the field that are based on research and not popular opinion.

Cost & learning format

Online education isn’t one-size-fits-all. We know you’re busy—you need a learning experience tailored to your life, not the other way around. Capella has learning and tuition formats to suit you, however you learn. 

Our original learning format offers extra structure for those who want it. We'll set the schedule, you meet the deadlines. 

  • Based on the quarter system; 1-3 courses per 10-week quarter
  • 1 semester credit = 1.5 quarter credits
  • Weekly assignments and courseroom discussions
  • Pay for what you take, price varies by courseload or term
$710 per credit, 90 total quarter credits, 20 max transfer credits

Get the details

Speak with an enrollment counselor to get a personalized cost estimate for what you can expect to pay.

Ways to save

At Capella, we believe your education is an investment in your future. It’s also an investment within your grasp. Your goals are achievable—there are more ways to save than you might think. 

10% military discount

If you're an active-duty military service member, spouse, or veteran, discounts may be available.

Transfer credits

We can accept many transfer credits from regionally accredited schools.

Employer & association discounts

If your employer or organization is a partner with Capella, you may be eligible for a tuition discount.

Learning online doesn’t mean you’ll learn alone.

From day one, you’ll interact in a multidisciplinary courseroom that mimics the real world. You’ll be paired with an expert instructor and writing coach who’ll help you develop the skills needed for success.

Accredited & recognized

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Accreditation and recognitions provide the assurance we meet standards for quality of faculty, curriculum, learner services, and fiscal stability. See all of our accreditations and recognitions

Sample courses

The Doctor of Emergency Management degree curriculum focuses on policy development and evaluation in crisis and emergency preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. This program includes professional doctorate research seminars which allow you to gain momentum toward your doctoral capstone early in your program.

Show course with description
EMG7025 *
Emergency Management Policy and the Administration of Emergencies and Disasters

This course focuses on the organizational challenges that emergency management leadership typically encounters in contemporary society. Learners critically examine the intended and unintended effects of political, social, and legal policies and pressures impacting the ways emergency management organizations function. Learners assess organizational and administrative theories, and best practices for leadership and administration in emergency management. Learners also analyze innovative policies and change initiatives to achieve specific ethical and functional objectives. Prerequisite(s): Completion of or concurrent registration in EMG7015; PSL7030.

4 quarter credits
EMG7035 *
Emergency Management Systems

Learners in this course identify best practices to coordinate and manage comprehensive emergency management systems. Learners examine technology and research-integrated applications, risk communication, risk-based decision making, application of theory, and monitoring and measurement of the programs analyzed. Prerequisite(s): EMG7015, PSL7030. 

4 quarter credits
EMG8015 *
Risk Management in Emergency Management

Learners in this course integrate the concepts of hazard, risk, and vulnerability with impact assessments to inform the planning of effective and efficient risk-based decision making. Learners examine multiple real-life disaster scenarios, public events, and existing risk assessments then identify the relevant theoretical perspectives that can be applied to each type of context. Learners also develop and implement an assessment of their own creation as a final project. Prerequisite(s): EMG7015, EMG7025. 

4 quarter credits
EMG8025 *
Emergency Management Operations and Planning

In this course, learners examine relevant theoretical paradigms related to risk, planning, and resiliency. Throughout the course, learners analyze the interorganizational and intergovernmental roles seen regularly in the emergency management field, and interpret current federal laws and national policies driving the field. The course culminates with the learner selecting a specific community and developing a strategic proposal for enhancing community resilience. Prerequisite(s): EMG7035, EMG8015. 

4 quarter credits
EMG8035 *
Response, Continuity, Recovery, and Resilience

This course focuses on an examination of human-made and natural disasters through cross-cultural and historical perspectives. Learners analyze the impact that culture has on disaster response, recovery, and resilience as well as the cultural variation that may be seen across and within communities, including variations within disasters and emergency management systems. Prerequisite(s): EMG8025.

4 quarter credits


Concentrations let you hone in on your specific area of interest that can get you even closer to your exact career goals. The concentrations you earn will be included on your transcript.

Continuity Management

Apply research and theory to inform policy and practice to design and manage resilient systems.

Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources (CIKR)

Address the hazards that threaten the well-being of society with the Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources (CIKR) Concentration.

Higher Education

Prepare to teach using your personal teaching philosophy and applying ethical decision-making, multicultural competence, and more.

Project Management

Implement project management practices through innovative technology related to communication, collaboration, information management, and decision support.

Faculty & support

You’re never going it alone at Capella. Our dedicated faculty and support teams are waiting to guide, help, and advise you through every step of your educational journey.

Enrollment counselors

These experts will set you up for success. They’ll help you find the right degree and program, and answer all your questions about Capella.


Our courses are taught by distinguished faculty members who hold top credentials and have hands-on expertise in their fields. They know what you need to know today.

Doctoral advising

Doctoral programs are specific and challenging. That’s why you’ll have access to expert support at every step along the road to your degree.

Career center

For this team, it's more than resumes and interview tips. It's about thoughtful and strategic career planning—beyond graduation.

Relevant blog posts

Focused Education Is Key to Emergency Management, Expert Says

Kay Goss, former Associate FEMA Director, talks about the importance of a focused education.

The Difference Between a PhD and Professional Doctorate

Learn the main difference between these two doctoral program types and the questions you should ask to help guide your program decision.

When Disaster Strikes, the World Depends on Public Service Professionals

It takes a range of public service professionals, from law enforcement to case managers, to respond to a crisis.

Move forward in your career

Here are just some of the career options you could explore with our online doctoral degree in emergency management.

Related Job Titles to Explore*

  • Crisis management consultant
  • Risk management consultant
  • Disaster response consultant
  • Emergency management director
  • Emergency operations center director
  • Crime scene investigation unit manager
  • Homeland Security coordinator/manager
  • Crisis management training director
  • Emergency management planner
  • Adjunct, part-time, or full-time faculty
  • Disaster and emergency service director
  • Mitigation planner/specialist

Related Employment Settings to Explore

  • Law enforcement organization—local, state, federal
  • Private security firm
  • Business continuity department for private businesses such as railroads, hospitals and Fortune 500 companies
  • Land-based or online college or university
  • Community college
  • Federal or state emergency management agency
  • Emergency medical service
  • Fire service
  • Emergency communications agency
  • Federal government agency
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Preparedness directorate

*These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Some positions may prefer or even require previous experience, licensure, certifications, and/or other designations along with a degree. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title, a promotion, salary increase, or other career outcome. We encourage you to research requirements for your job target and career goals.

Other programs to explore

Is this program close to what you need, but maybe not a perfect fit? The programs below might be interesting. Check them out to find one that suits your academic and professional goals.

Ready for the Next Step?

Learning online doesn't mean going it alone. Help is here. From faculty, coaches, advisors, and more. Plus a supportive community of students who are as passionate about their careers as you are about yours.