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Emergency Management and Disaster Science

Master's Program


Graduate opportunities

The Department of Emergency Management and Disaster Science (EMDS) educates students in the theoretical and empirical underpinnings of emergency management. Primary emphasis is placed upon the human dimensions of hazards and disasters, and enhancing community and societal resilience to a wide range of threats. The department is home to the Emergency Administration and Planning (EADP) program, which was established in 1983 as the nation's first bachelor's degree program in emergency management.

The Master of Science degree in Emergency Management and Disaster Science provides students with in-depth knowledge of diverse theoretical perspectives and empirical research traditions that inform the practice of emergency management. This degree provides a solid academic and practical foundation for those seeking to begin or advance their careers in emergency management or pursue doctoral studies in a hazard-or disaster-related discipline. In addition to taking required courses in emergency management theory, methods and statistics, students may select from a range of electives covering such topics as challenges of disaster response, disaster preparedness and management, community recovery and resilience, and international disasters. Our program also offers:

  • Flexibility to tailor your degree to your own professional interests
  • Proximity to FEMA Region VI offices and unique learning opportunities
  • Opportunities to participate in research under a faculty memberís supervision
  • Study abroad opportunities

Outstanding faculty and student services

The department's faculty come from diverse educational and professional backgrounds, and bring a breadth of knowledge and experience to the classroom. They have written books on emergency management topics and have published in many of the top scholarly journals on hazards, disasters and emergency management. Faculty also have received significant external funding for their research from numerous sources, including the National Science Foundation and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Current research topics include:

  • Community disaster preparedness
  • Donations management
  • Evacuation and return-entry processes
  • Long-term community recovery
  • Post-disaster home buyout programs
  • Resilience planning

UNT provides a wide variety of services to graduate students. The Graduate Student Writing Support office assists with developing writing skills, and the Office of Research Consulting offers assistance with statistical research.

The Toulouse Graduate School® offers several professional development workshops, including Masterís and Dissertation Boot Camps. Many of the workshops are available online for your convenience.

Attending UNT

Admission requirements

You must first apply and be admitted to the Toulouse Graduate School. Once you are admitted to the graduate school, your application will be reviewed by the department for admission to the M.S. in Emergency Management and Disaster Science program. Admission decisions are based on a holistic review of the application packet, including:

  • Each applicantís undergraduate GPA in their major
  • A personal statement not exceeding 500 words
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • A writing sample of 1,000 words or less

(Optional: GRE scores, including verbal, quantitative and analytical writing)

Application information

Applying to the M.S. in Emergency Management and Disaster Science program is a two-step process:

Step 1: All students applying for graduate programs at the University of North Texas must apply through the UNT Toulouse Graduate School at applytexas.org. More information about the application process and UNT admission requirements for graduate students can be found at the Toulouse Graduate School website.

Step 2: Students applying for the M.S. in Emergency Management and Disaster Science program must also submit the following application materials electronically in either PDF or Microsoft Word format to emds.ms@unt.edu:

  • A personal statement (not exceeding 500 words) describing the reasons for your interest in the program and professional aspirations.
  • A writing sample (not exceeding 1,000 words), which can be from a course you have taken as an undergraduate student or a work-related report or project that you led and wrote.
  • Two letters of recommendation from individuals capable of evaluating your potential for advanced studies at the graduate level sent electronically directly to emds.ms@unt.edu.

Application Deadlines

Applications are reviewed for admission in the fall and spring semesters. Completed applications must be received no later than July 1 for fall admissions and November 1 for spring admission.

Degree requirements

The Master of Science in Emergency Management and Disaster Science requires 30 hours of coursework, including 24 hours in EMDS courses and 6 hours in a minor field of study. Students may choose either a thesis or a non-thesis option.

Required courses, 9 hours

  • EMDS 5010 - Emergency Management Theory and Practice
  • EMDS 5110 - Disaster Research Methods
  • EMDS 5120 - Applied Statistics in Disaster Science

This degree requires each student to select a thesis or non-thesis option.

Thesis option: Students selecting the thesis option will be required to complete the following:

  • 9 hours of core curriculum courses
  • 9 hours of elective courses in emergency management and disaster science
  • 6 hours of courses in a minor field of study
  • 6 hours of thesis

Students selecting the thesis option must have departmental consent to enroll in thesis and must successfully complete a thesis defense.

Non-thesis option: Students selecting the non-thesis option will be required to complete the following:

  • 9 hours of core curriculum courses
  • 12 hours of elective courses in emergency management and disaster science
  • 6 hours of courses in a minor field of study
  • 3 hours of directed readings

Students choosing the non-thesis option also must pass a written comprehensive exam covering the core curriculum.

All coursework applied toward the Master of Science in Emergency Management and Disaster Science must be at the 5000 level.

Graduate Courses in Emergency Management and Disaster Science

  • EMDS 5010 - Emergency Management Theory and Practice
  • EMDS 5110 - Disaster Research Methods
  • EMDS 5120 - Applied Statistics in Disaster Science
  • EMDS 5610 - Disaster Preparedness and Management
  • EMDS 5615 - Environmental Planning and Hazards
  • EMDS 5620 - Challenges of Disaster Response
  • EMDS 5630 - Technological Hazards
  • EMDS 5640 - Community Recovery and Resilience
  • EMDS 5650 - International Disaster Relief
  • EMDS 5800 - Seminar in Emergency Management and Disaster Science
  • EMDS 5950 - Master's Thesis
  • EMDS 5960 - Directed Reading in Emergency Management and Disaster Science
  • EMDS 6800 - Seminar in Emergency Management and Disaster Science

Funding opportunities

Students may apply for funding as a teaching or research assistant in the department. These positions typically require students to work 20 hours per week either assisting faculty in the classroom or with grant-funded research projects. Funding for these positions is limited and decisions are made on a competitive and selective basis.