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DSc in Emergency Management

The Doctor of Science degree requires a total of 60 semester credit hours. Required coursework includes 42 hours in administration and policy, practice areas, and research methods and statistics, plus a minimum of 18 hours of dissertation credit.  In addition, applicants must hold a master’s degree in emergency management or a related field.  While courses are delivered online, students are required to participate in a weeklong seminar on campus once each academic year, for the first three years of their program. 

Upon completion of the required 42 hours of coursework, doctoral students must pass three qualifying exams.  Accommodations will be made to support students with either onsite or offsite qualifying exam administration. After students have passed all three exams, they may advance to doctoral candidacy.

Doctoral candidates will complete an applied research dissertation. The candidate must enroll for a minimum of 18 hours of dissertation credit during candidacy.  All requirements for the degree must be completed in ten years.  All students must maintain a 3.0 GPA to remain in the program. 

60 Doctoral Semester Hours Required for this Degree

Integrative Seminar (In-Residence; 2 hours each; 6 hours required)

  • EM 802 - Integrative Seminar (1st Year)
  • EM 804 - Integrative Seminar (2nd Year)
  • EM 806 - Integrative Seminar (3rd Year)

 Administration and Policy (3 hours each; 9 hours required)

  • EM 812 - Disaster Management Principles and Practice
  • EM 814 - Interdisciplinary Disaster Theory and Research
  • EM 823 - Institutional Context and Emergency Management Policy 
  • EM 825 - Systems Thinking and Applications in Emergency Management

Practice Areas (3 hours each; 6 hours required)

  • EM 832 - Hazards Risk Management and Community Resilience
  • EM 834 - Risk-Based Response and Recovery Strategy Development and Operations
  • EM 843 - Emergency Management Program Management

Research Methods and Statistics (3 hours each; 12 hours required)

  • EM 853 - Research Design
  • EM 855 - Advanced Data Analysis
  • EM 862 - Cost-Benefit Analysis or
  • EM 864 - Qualitative Research or
  • EM 866 - Evaluation Research or
  • EM 868 and EM 869 - Directed Research

Electives (3 hours each; 9 hours required)

  • EM 871 - Voluntary and Nonprofit Disaster Management
  • EM 873 - Health Care Systems in Disaster
  • EM 875 - Risk Communication
  • EM 877 - Crisis Leadership and Management
  • EM 878 - IT Applications for Emergency Management
  • EM 879 - Spatial Analysis and GIS for Emergency Management
  • EM 882, 884, and 886 - Directed Study

Dissertation (3 hours each; 18 hours required)

  • EM 899 - Dissertation Research

Required Application Materials

Applicants for the Doctor of Science in Emergency Management degree must hold a master’s degree from an accredited school and must submit all of the following documentation to the College of Graduate Studies, Jacksonville State University, 700 Pelham Road North, Jacksonville, AL 36265-1602, to be considered for admission:

  1. Completed JSU Graduate Application for Admission. (
  2. Non-refundable $35 application processing fee.
  3. A Statement of Purpose setting forth career goals and research interests.
  4. A resume including education, employment, and service activities.
  5. Three “Graduate Reference Forms” completed by individuals who can provide qualitative assessment of applicant’s potential for success in doctoral course work and citing potential professional leadership ability. (scroll dow onthe page of the previous link and look for forms)
  6. Official transcript(s) from all postsecondary institutions attended. (Students who have previously attended JSU do not need to request a transcript from the University.) For international postsecondary institutions, please see section entitled International Student Applicants in the Graduate Bulletin.
  7. Official test scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) taken within five years of enrollment.
  8. If English is not the applicant’s native language, the applicant is required to submit an official TOEFL score report, an IELTS score report, or a PTE score report.  

Admission Requirements

See the College of Graduate Studies website for forms and fee information.  All items must be sent to the College of Graduate Studies, Jacksonville State University, 700 Pelham Road North, Jacksonville, Alabama 36265-1602.  Applications are considered for admission for the fall semester only and all materials must be received in the College of Graduate Studies by March 31.  Applications completed after March 31 will be considered for admission in the fall semester of the following year.  

Emergency Management Courses

Prefix EM

505.    Foundations of Emergency Management (3). History of the profession; contemporary emergency management concepts, functions, and practices for government, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector.
511.    Disasters and the Media (3). Course examines the portrayal of disasters in electronic and print media. Emphasis will be on the impact that newspapers, websites, television, social media, and film have on affecting individual and societal constructions of natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and man-made disasters. Each of the four phases of emergency management will be discussed from the perspective of social, political, and cultural implications of media coverage or lack of coverage.
515.    Legal Aspects of Emergency Management (3). Legal context and constraints for emergency management; administrative law, administrative discretion, and liability.
521.    Exercise Design and Evaluation (3). Introduction to the fundamentals of exercise design, development and implementation. Includes a review of the different types of exercises, how they are used, and how they are conducted. Provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to develop and conduct disaster exercises that test a community's emergency response plan and capabilities.
525.    Disaster Recovery (3).
528.    Maritime Transportation Security (3). Prerequisite: EM 505. Processes for short- and long-term recovery for individuals, families, and communities; provision of recovery assistance by both public and voluntary sectors.
530.    Research Methods in Emergency Management (3). Comprehensive coverage of major analytical and statistical tools used in emergency management program administration.
535.    Terrorism and Homeland Security (3). Prerequisite: EM 505. Incident management approaches for domestic and international terrorism; anti and counter-terrorism organizational roles, responsibilities, and coordination, homeland security initiatives.
540.    Hazard Mitigation (3). Prerequisite: EM 505. Mitigation concepts, implementation approaches, and planning.
545.    Emergency Preparedness (3). Prerequisite: EM 505. Preparedness frameworks and strategies; techniques of emergency operations planning, exercise design and evaluation, and public education.
548.    Vulnerability and Capacity-Building (3). Prerequisite: EM 505. Individual, social, economic and policy dimensions of vulnerability and client needs for disaster; service delivery strategies, coordination models, resource management and capacity building for nonprofit disaster relief organizations.
555.    Disaster Response (3). Prerequisite: EM 505. Context of disaster response, response functions, assessment, resource mobilization and adjudication, and emergency operations center (EOC) operations.
565.    Management Systems in Disaster (3). Prerequisites: EM 505, EM 525, and EM 555. Integration of emergency management functions, response
568.    Crisis Management for Business and Industry (3). Prerequisite: EM 505. Contingency planning, business impact analysis, business resumption processes, risk/crisis communication and management, disaster recovery and organizational continuity.
570.    Biosecurity (3). A detailed review of global concerns for biosecurity including the history of biological warfare, bioterrorism, concerns for agroterrorism and current initiatives in bio-defense. Included will be a thorough review of specific agents, the diseases they cause, detection methodologies, and consequence management consideration.
575.    Medical Aspects of Emergency Management (3). Prerequisites: EM 505, EM 525, and EM 555. Surveillance and rapid needs assessment, disaster epidemiology, disaster medical systems and approaches, and disaster mental health.
580.    Current Issues in Homeland Security (3). The examination of current issues and concerns with Homeland Security including upcoming National Special Security Events that mandate comprehensive security planning and response capabilities. Innovations and reactions from politicians and citizens will serve to offer students insight into the challenges of implementing and maintaining homeland security.
581.    Disaster Analysis (3). The course will focus on modeling and simulation of high consequence events as a means of preparing emergency managers for future disasters. Several types of high consequence disasters will be examined from the perspectives of preparedness, prevention, decision-making, and effective response.
585.    The Military's Role in Disaster Relief (3). Prerequisite: EM 505. A historical review of the military role in disaster relief and humanitarian support missions. Primary emphasis will be on recent case studies of major disasters. The course will also discuss the possible expanding role of the military in future natural disasters and CBRN events. Students will conduct a small research project to explore a current issue surrounding the use of the US military in domestically-based incidents.
586.    Current Topics in Emergency Management (3). An in-depth study of current topics and the application of cutting-edge technologies in Emergency Management.
590.    Capstone in Emergency Management (3). Prerequisites: EM 505 and three of the following four courses: EM 525, EM 540, EM 545, and EM 555. Should be taken in the last term of program of study. Integration and synthesis of theory and practice for emergency management.
594.    Directed Study (3). Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor and approval of the program director. In-depth study of selected topic or special project. Letter grade or Pass/Fail.
595.    Directed Studies (3). Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor and approval of the program director. In-depth study of selected topic of special project.
596.    Internship (3). Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor and approval of the program director. Supervised practice experience in a professional emergency management setting.
598.    Emergency Management Leadership and Organizational Behavior (3). Prerequisite: EM 505. Leadership and organizational theory for emergency management; conflict management, use of power, group dynamics, and team performance.
802, 804, 806.    Integrative Seminar (2,2,2). On-campus integrative seminar during the first three years of program of study. Specialized topics include how to review and critique scholarly literature and research findings, how to present scholarly work at conferences, and how to write for journal publication. Opportunities for students to exchange ideas, present their work, and interact with faculty. Includes special topics of current interest.
812.    Disaster Management Principles and Practice (3). In depth analysis of disaster management principles and practice, including historical and emergent trends and conditions relevant to the current state-of-the-practice and standards, plus further development.
814.    Interdisciplinary Disaster Theory and Research (3). Examination of the major theoretical topics, questions, and literature that inform the discipline and practice of emergency management, with topics including the nature of disaster, human and organizational behavior under stress, and risk perception and communication. An interdisciplinary approach whereby students think critically about the epistemological assumptions of alternative theoretical perspectives and divergent policy approaches.
823.    Institutional Context and Emergency Management Policy (3). Analysis of political, administrative, and fiscal relationships among governments in the provision of emergency management programs and disaster relief policy in the American political system. Exploration of the role of society in shaping institutions and how these institutions influence and structure Public policy making and administration.
825.    Systems Thinking and Applications in Emergency Management (3). Analysis and application of systems thinking concepts and methodologies to problems encountered in emergency management.
832.    Hazards Risk Management and Community Resilience (3). Tools and methods used to manage risk associated with the hazards facing a community; role of emergency management programs in community resilience and sustainability.
834.    Risk -Based Response and Recovery Strategy Development and Operations (3). Explores strategies public officials employ to cope with disasters and their impacts, risk-based operational considerations, and management structures.
843.    Emergency Management Program Management (3). Examines emergency Management functional demands and program delivery on a day-to-day basis; considers managerial practices such as communication with the public, the meaning of public service, making effective presentations to governing boards and legislatures, effective meetings and group facilitation, citizen engagement, media relations and ethics.
853.    Research Design (3). Social science research methods including research design and approaches to inquiry (quantitative, qualitative, experimental, evaluation), the role of theory in empirical research, causal inference, and reporting and reviewing research.
855.    Advanced Data Analysis (3). An examination of statistical and research techniques appropriate to emergency management applied research, including descriptive statistics, probability theory, sampling and statistical inference, hypothesis testing, regression and correlation analysis, analysis of variance, modeling, and techniques for data reduction (e.g., factor analysis). Prerequisite: EM 853 (may take concurrently).
862.    Cost-Benefit Analysis (3). Research, measurement and methodological Requirements for the assessment of benefits and costs of programs and projects. Prerequisites: EM 853 and EM 855.
864.    Qualitative Research (3). Examination of qualitative methods that can be applied in the study of disasters; explores a range of activities necessary to perform disaster field research. Prerequisites: EM 853 and EM 855.
866.    Evaluation Research (3). Practical application of appropriate social science Research methodology to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of public sector and nonprofit policies and programs, with topics including how to develop an evaluation plan; evaluation types such as process, impact, cost-benefit, and cost-effectiveness evaluations; and management of evaluation projects. Prerequisites: EM 853 and EM 855
868,869.    Directed Research (3). Directed reading and research in fields of special interest. Prerequisite: consent of program director.
871.    Voluntary and Nonprofit Disaster Management (3). Unique considerations of nonprofit disaster management and service delivery, including volunteer administration, donations management, fundraising, and cross-sector collaboration. Prerequisite: EM 834.
873.    Health Care Systems in Disaster (3). Overview of emergency management considerations for health and medical professionals and range of medical, public health, behavioral and psychological problems associated with disaster; incident management processes and organization that integrate health and medical assets into the response. Prerequisite: EM 834.
875.    Risk Communication (3). Examines theories related to risk perception and behavior; principles of risk communication and special communication challenges with diverse audiences; and development of crisis and emergency risk communication plans.
877.    Crisis Leadership and Management (3). ). Classic and contemporary theories and models of leadership, with emphasis on the role of leadership in crisis situations; principles of crisis management.
878.    IT Applications for Emergency Management (3). Explores the importance of information in emergency management; information requirements and breakdowns; and information technologies applied to crisis and disaster situations.
879.    Spatial Analysis and GIS for Emergency Management (3). Disaster-related applications of spatial analysis techniques; use of GIS software.
882, 884,886.    Directed Study (3). Independent study under the direction of the instructor. Prerequisite: consent of program director.
899.    Dissertation Research (3,3,3,3,3,3). Prerequisite: consent of program director. At least 18 credit hours required; no credit assigned until dissertation has been completed and filed with the graduate dean. Continuous enrollment required subsequent to passing qualifying exams for admission to candidacy. Students may register for 3, 6, or 9 hours per semester.

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