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Emergency Management Doctor of Philosophy in Emergency Management

School of Public Service Leadership


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 bolster 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. And you can personalize your learning with a concentration that lets you focus on an area that fits your career goals.

Program Highlights:

  • 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.

Our expert faculty have extensive emergency management experience. All hold doctorates 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.

Personalize Your Degree With a Concentration

Concentrations are designed to integrate theory with real-world application for personalized learning at no additional program cost or time commitment.

  • CIKR Concentration—Address the hazards that threaten the well-being of society with the Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources (CIKR) Concentration.
  • Higher Education—Apply teaching theories to meet the needs of diverse adult learners within today’s higher education settings.

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

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.

Detailed Program Information

Get all the details about cost, courses, requirements, and more.

Download the GuidedPath Specialization Guide »

Classes Start November 6th

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. 

Admission Requirements »  | $50 Application Fee

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 online-learning format that guides you along. You pay per credit; we set 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
$697 per credit, 96 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

Military service members and their spouses could be eligible for a discount.

Discover Military Benefits »

Transfer Credits

We can accept many transfer credits from regionally accredited schools. 

Learn about Transfer Credits »

Employer & Association Discounts

Many employers and organizations partner with Capella to offer tuition discounts. Talk to an enrollment counselor to learn more. 

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.