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Complex emergency situations call for quick-thinking professionals who are ready to respond at a moment’s notice. Knowing what to do and when to do it can make all the difference when it comes to saving lives, protecting property and the environment, and helping a community return to normal after a crisis. Professionals who have learned to make evidence-based decisions and apply best practices consistently increase their value as leaders and advance the profession of Emergency Management.

Contribute to the profession by creating new knowledge in the field while growing your leadership and communications skills with Capella University’s online PhD in Emergency Management. This program can show you the best approaches for applying your unique style of leadership to addressing the issues and crises faced by our communities every day.

  • Learning online doesn’t mean learning alone. In Capella’s PhD in Emergency Management, you work with a team of experts who can help you develop foundational skills you’ll need to be successful throughout the program—and in your career.
  • Discover, develop and strengthen your unique leadership style. Capella offers you self-assessment and interactive, consistent contacts with faculty who can help you discover and develop your leadership skills.
  • Gain credible, concrete proof that you’re learning and developing market-ready skills. Complete personal assessments that will help you identify your strengths and your opportunities for improvement.
  • Engage in immersive simulations. Rich media and simulated real-world scenarios help you apply theory and practice critical thinking to solve problems.
  • Achieve your goals faster, saving time and money. Apply credits earned in prior graduate-level work to a doctoral program.
  • All of the skills you learn apply directly to your career path. You will have the chance to apply a research-based understanding of the field and develop an approach to decision-making about mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.

As you engage with your faculty, classmates, and coaching staff, you will back up your professional perspective with theory and critical thinking to make the right decisions under pressure. And you’ll work with our immersive, one-of-a-kind simulation tool, a controlled online environment for encountering real-world challenges and outcomes.

Focus on Research for Professional Credibility

Capella’s PhD in Emergency Management offers a strong balance of theory, research, and application, growing your decision-making capabilities and giving you the skill set that employers want to see. Your research experience will be grounded in credit-bearing dissertation research seminars, which allow you to start your dissertation from the very beginning of your PhD program. This in turn can save you time and money by helping you complete your degree faster.

Our expert faculty have extensive emergency management experience. All hold PhDs in this field, and many are also Certified Emergency Managers, providing you with real-world, balanced perspectives on the use of theory and practice. In addition, they enjoy affiliation with organizations such as FEMA, IAEM, various state agencies, private consulting firms, the U.S. armed forces, and others.

The Building Blocks of Your PhD

Your PhD in Emergency Management program includes 4 integrated components: online coursework, in-person experiences (called residencies), comprehensive exams, and dissertation. Each facet of your education builds on the others to take you through your program and to your goal of a PhD.

A key aspect of this program is implementation and testing of emergency management theory, developing real-world data based on the results, and growth as a leader in policy creation and development. The result: you enhance your skills as a professional with confidence to build and administer programs.

View a sample course sequence to understand program timing and see how your coursework, residencies, comprehensive exams, and dissertation all fit together.

To learn more about this program, request more information and we will match you with an enrollment counselor who specializes in your area of study.

Degree Outcomes

Upon completion of your PhD in Emergency Management from Capella, you will be prepared to:

  • Evaluate the impact of policy on evolving emergency management issues
  • Apply theoretical perspectives related to hazard, risk, and vulnerability within emergency management systems
  • Conduct valid, reliable, and ethical research
  • Examine how cross-cultural historical shifts have influenced contemporary emergency management
  • Apply valid, reliable, and ethical research to decision-making in the field
  • Apply professional and social ethics to make sound and ethical decisions
  • Communicate in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and consistent with the expectations for members of the emergency management profession

View full learning and career outcomes report for this program at

Career Outcomes

Common jobs* with an online PhD in Emergency Management include adjunct, full- or part-time faculty, crisis management consultant, crisis management training director, disaster response consultant, emergency management director, emergency management planner, emergency operations center director, mitigation planner/specialist, homeland security coordinator/manager, logistics coordinator, preparedness and incident management director, and risk management consultant.

Potential workplaces include: emergency communications agency, emergency medical service, federal government agency, federal or state emergency management agency, land-based or online college or university private security firm, law enforcement organization, or state government agency.

To learn more, call 866.933.5830, or email us. When you connect with Capella, we will immediately put you in touch with an enrollment counselor trained to assist you with specific questions and needs for your area of interest.

*These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title.