17 Online Degrees to Survive the Apocalypse

In an effort at saving the world, Successful Student has compiled 17 Online Degrees to Survive the Apocalypse. In these uncertain times, with natural disasters, financial uncertainty, terrorist attacks and more, those who can stand in the face of devastation and lead others to safety are modern heroes.

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From Firefighters, Emergency Management or Criminal Justice positions, the need for personnel with the know-how to not only survive disasters, but to also manage and/or prevent them, is critical. The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction is working to equip countries with databases to assess disaster risks, in an effort to reduce loss of property and life. Ready.gov, a website maintained by the US government, is a good resource for disaster preparedness.

With a Bachelor’s degree, Emergency Management Directors have a median income of $67,330.00 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with an employment rate increase of 6% between now and the year 2024. Emergency Management Directors work mostly for state or local governments, such as FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). While others might work with private companies, hospitals, or nonprofit organizations (such as The American Red Cross).

The programs listed below educate and train students with a passion for these noble professions. Professors bring real life experience to the classroom, and the online flexibility keeps classes accessible to students.


17 Online Degrees to Survive the Apocalypse


Purdue University Global

1. Associate of Applied Science in Fire Science

Recognized by the U.S. Fire Administration as an official Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education institution, Purdue University Global’s online Associate of Applied Science in Fire Science degree program follows the FESHE curriculum model. Designed to prepare students for careers as fire inspectors, firefighters and fire investigators, the AAS in Fire Science provides students with a foundation in firefighter safety, fire prevention, building codes, firefighting strategy and tactics, and code inspection.

The 90-credit program includes core courses in Fire Behavior and Combustion; Fire Protection Systems; Principles of Emergency Services, among others.

Students who hold certifications such as Fire Fighter II, Fire Service Instructor I, II and III or Hazardous Materials-Technician can earn credit toward their degree.


2. Bachelor of Science in Fire Science

Purdue University Global’s Bachelor of Science in Fire Science builds on its associate’s degree. The curriculum follows the FESHE model and includes analytical approaches to fire investigation and protection, the fire service’s role in the community, and the legal, technical, and social aspects of arson.

The University designed the program for individuals entering the field as well as those looking to advance their careers.

The 180-credit online Bachelor’s in Fire Science degree includes courses, such as Fire Prevention Organization and Management, Community Risk Reduction for Fire and EMS, and Advanced Principles of Firefighter Safety and Survival.

Purdue University Global’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences received accreditation from the International Fire Service Accredited Congress for its BS in Fire Science. Purdue Global also has accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Purdue Global provides a tuition reduction to staff, members and immediate family members of organizations such as the International Association of Fire Fighters.

Students who completed professional learning, courses or certifications can earn credit toward their degree, allowing them to earn their Bachelor in Fire Science degree faster.


3. Bachelor of Science in Fire and Emergency Management

Recognized by the U.S. Fire Administration as an official Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education institution, Purdue University Global’s degree offerings include an online Bachelor of Science in Fire and Emergency Management. The degree program follows the FESHE curriculum model and prepares graduates for careers as emergency planners, and emergency program managers or directors.

The 180-credit program includes courses in Crisis Management in Terrorist Attacks and Disasters, Recovery Practices in Emergency Management, Emergency Management Response, and more. The program also prepares graduates for challenges in human resource management, fiscal responsibility, and technology.

Purdue University Global provides a tuition reduction to members, immediate family members and staff of organizations such as the International Association of Fire Fighters.

Students who completed certifications, professional learning or courses can earn credit toward their degree, allowing them to earn their BS in Fire and Emergency Management degree faster.

The Higher Learning Commission provides Purdue University Global with accreditation.


Capella UniversityCapella University

4. Master of Science in Emergency Management

At the School of Public Service Leadership at Capella University, students can learn detailed knowledge of actions to take in emergencies and disasters. Controlled experience is obtained through the Capella virtual simulation lab, where critical-thinking and problem-solving skills are developed.

Upon graduation students will have completed 48 Total Quarter Credits, with one academic quarter being equivalent to three months. There are eight required courses including 21st-Century Communication and Leadership, Application of Emergency Management Theory, and Risk Management Application. The curriculum allows for an additional four elective courses. All courses run for 10 weeks, and up to 12 transfer credits may be accepted into the program. The school and program are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


5. PhD in Emergency Management

Doctoral candidates studying Emergency Management at Capella University typically have a passion for saving lives and the environment, protecting property, and restoring a community to normal after a crisis.

The 22 required courses for this degree include Emergency Management Operations and Planning, Contemporary Issues in Emergency Management, and Quantitative Design and Analysis. Courses are divided into 10 week units. Professors all hold doctorates in the field, and many are Certified Emergency Managers with extensive experience.

The degree concludes with three Dissertation Research Seminar Tracks, which include a four day residency. A total of 96 program credits should be completed before graduation with 20 possible transfer credits.


Grand Canyon UniversityGrand Canyon University

6. Bachelor of Science in Public Safety and Emergency Management

The Bachelor of Science in Public Safety and Emergency Management at Grand Canyon University (GCU) was designed for advancing within fields such as fire protection, emergency medical response, law enforcement, and environmental health and safety.

The degree program requires a total of 120 program credits, with 34-40 for general credits, and 44-50 for open elective credits. Courses typically run for seven weeks, and include topics such as Servant Leadership, Mitigation Planning, and Terrorism Impact on Emergency Management.

The Bachelor’s program is a nice stepping stone for further education in programs such as GCU’s Master of Public Administration, or Master of Science in Leadership with an Emphasis in Disaster Preparedness and Executive Fire Leadership.


Saint Leo UniversitySaint Leo University Online

7. Master of Science in Critical Incident Management

Saint Leo University was founded in 1889 by the Order of Saint Benedict of Florida. The School of Education and Social Services offers a Master of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Critical Incident Management. Students will receive detailed instruction on challenging topics, such as hostage negotiations, the impact of terrorism on homeland security, and the psychological aspects of critical incidents. Professors bring personal experience and real-life examples to the online environment.

The 36 required credits include five core criminal justice courses, four courses in critical incident management, and two electives. The four critical incident management courses are the Impact of Terrorism on Homeland Security, Management of Critical Incident Operations, Risk Identification and Assessment, and the Psychological Aspects of Critical Incidents.


Southern New Hampshire UniversitySouthern New Hampshire University

8. Master of Science in Management in Emergency Management

At Southern New Hampshire University, online graduate programs can be completed in as little as 15 months. There are no GMAT or GRE requirements for admission. Admission occurs on a rolling basis throughout the year.

One program growing in popularity is the Masters of Science in Emergency Management. This degree is an excellent choice for community minded professionals looking to advance within their careers.

Following the guidelines of the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Incident Management System, students will be exposed to a variety of topics including Disaster Response and Recovery, Strategic Human Resource Management, and Cultivating Organizational Culture. All class curricula includes the FEMA tenets of planning, preparedness, response and recovery. The program is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.


Walden UniversityWalden University

9. Bachelor of Science in Health Studies: Disaster and Emergency Management

The Bachelor of Science in Health Studies has 10 concentrations from which to choose, one of which is Disaster and Emergency Management. Geared towards students looking for a comprehensive overview of preparing for and recovering from natural or man-made disasters, the program covers 181 total quarter credits.

The breakdown of the credits is as follows: 46 on General Education, 55 on Core courses, 30 Concentration courses, 45 Electives, and a five credit capstone project. Class topics include Aging Across the Life Span, Weapons of Mass Destruction and Disaster Response, and Crisis Communications. A Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio considers relevant past experiences for which students may be able to obtain course credit. Students may be eligible to transfer up to 135 credits.


10. Master of Public Administration in Emergency Management

There are 13 concentrations from which to choose for the Masters of Public Administration, including Homeland Security Policy and Coordination, Terrorism/Mediation and Peace, and Emergency Management. The main goal of the Emergency Management program is to prepare students for maintaining public safety during times of disaster.

Students are required to complete 61 total quarter credits, which include a one credit Foundation course, 40 Core credits, 15 Specialization credits, and a five credit Capstone Seminar. Class topics include Ethics and Social Justice, Critical Issues in Emergency Management, and Disaster Response and Recovery. The typical course will run for 11 weeks. Graduates of this program may be prepared for positions as City Managers, Public Health Administrators, and Management Analysts, among many other rewarding occupations.


17 Online Degrees to Survive the Apocalypse11. Master of Public Policy in Emergency Management

Public policy decisions influence every area of our lives, from the state of the economy to the protection of the environment. A Master of Public Policy in Emergency Management degree is for the select few with a desire to influence social programs on both local and national levels. Students may analyze policy and it’s social impact, and gain knowledge of the finances that influence democratic government.

There are 12 concentrations under the study of Public Policy. The Emergency Management program is comprised of a one credit Foundation course, 40 credits of Core course work, 15 credits of Specialization courses, and a five credit Capstone course, for a total of 61 quarter credits. Class topics include Governance and Public Policy, Risk Assessment/Preparedness and Disaster Mitigation, and Leadership and Organizational Change.


Statue of Liberty12. Master of Science in Criminal Justice Leadership and Executive Management: Emergency Management

For those who are already in the law enforcement field, the Master of Science in Criminal Justice Leadership and Executive Management will aid such students in preparing for executive management roles, or in transitioning into an educational or consultant career. In general, students will be exposed to management philosophies, budgeting, and communication skills necessary for the criminal justice professionals to create and influence policy makers.

Of the nine specializations available, the Emergency Management track helps students develop knowledge and critical-thinking skills, which are then used for developing effective emergency response strategies. Students will complete 61 total quarter credits before graduation. Class topics include Organizational Management and Leadership, Finance and Budgeting for the Public Sector, and Critical Issues in Emergency Management.


13. Master of Science in Criminal Justice: Emergency Management

As technology advances, the capacity for illegal activities also increases. Thus, those studying in the field of Criminal Justice should also continuously expand their knowledge. The Master of Science in Criminal Justice at will expose students to many aspects of managing emergencies stemming from criminal behavior. With nine concentration from which to select, the Emergency Management program focuses on forming skilled leaders who will guide others through times of emergency with intelligence and efficiency.

There are 61 total quarter credits required for the completion of the Emergency Management program. Classes include a one credit Foundations course, 45 credits of Core courses, and 15 credits of Specialization courses. Victimology, Special Populations, and the Nature of Crime and Criminology are just a few examples of the relevant coursework offered.


Large Carrier Plane14. PhD in Public Policy and Administration: Emergency Management

The Masters of Public Policy at Walden is an easy stepping stone into the Doctoral track for the same degree. Doctoral candidates can expect to go more in depth into the study of public policy theory, and its research and application in a global context. There are 13 separate concentrations from which to select, which includes the Emergency Management track.

A total of 86 quarter credits are required for graduation in Emergency Management, including 33 Core credits, 15 specialization credits, 20 credits for the Foundation Research Sequence, and a minimum of 20 credits for the Dissertation. The average student takes approximately two years, or a minimum of 8-9 quarter enrollments, to complete this program.


15. Ph.D in Criminal Justice: Emergency Management

One track in Walden University’s Criminal Justice program is for students who have Master’s level training in a degree other than Criminal Justice. Students in this track will have to complete a total of 96 quarter credits: six credits for Introductory courses, 55 credits for Core courses, 15 credits for Specialization courses, and 20 credits for the Dissertation.

Course work includes classes such as Controversies in Criminal Justice, Leadership: Putting Theory into Practice in Criminal Justice Administration, and Critical Issues in Emergency Management.

Most students will need more than two years to complete this program.

The Doctoral program may prepare students to apply for certificates from the Federal Emergency Management Agency Emergency Management Institute.


Fire Truck16. PhD in Criminal Justice: Emergency Management (Advanced)

The importance of well educated Criminal Justice personnel cannot be overstated. As such, Walden University is proud to offer one of the first online Criminal Justice doctoral programs that is flexible enough for the working professional. Students will be exposed to topics such as technology and law enforcement, homeland security, and criminal behavior.

The PhD in Criminal Justice: Emergency Management (Advanced) is for students who already have a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice or a related field. Most students will complete the required 81 quarter credits in approximately two years. The total requirements include six credits of introductory courses, 40 credits of core courses, 15 credits of specialization courses, and 20 credits for the dissertation.


17. PhD in Human and Social Services: Disaster, Crisis, and Intervention

For students with a passion for the under-served populations across the world, a Doctorate in Human and Social Services with a concentration in Disaster, Crisis, and Intervention focuses on helping people at their time of most need. Previous Master’s  degrees in human services, counseling, social work, or psychology is required for admission to this doctoral program.

The 83 total quarter credits include 15 credits of Specialization courses, 15 credits for the Foundation Research sequence, and approximately 20 credits for the Dissertation. Four Doctoral residencies will be required as well, which should take a minimum of 16 total days to complete. Most students will take over two years to complete their studies. However certain students may be eligible for a Fast-Track, depending on prior education and experience.


17 Online Degrees to Survive the Apocalypse


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