2020 Most Affordable Online Master's in Emergency Management Programs

By the OnlineU team | Updated 2/2/2022
2020 Most Affordable Emergency Management Masters Degrees Badge
By the OnlineU team | Updated 2/2/2022

The skills of emergency management professionals are vital when communities experience crises and natural disasters. Students can earn a master's degree in emergency management online to prepare for crisis relief, emergency response, and disaster preparedness careers in government agencies and the private sector. The 24 schools we've listed make up the most affordable options for obtaining an online master's degree in emergency management, with all of their annual tuition rates priced at less than $12,000.

You can read more about our ranked schools below or browse our rankings of the most affordable online bachelor's in emergency management degrees. View our methodology or learn more about OnlineU.

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All tuition numbers were manually collected and verified
Rank School Annual Tuition
# 1 #1 Arkansas State University $4,986
# 2 #2 Columbia Southern University $5,670
# 3 #3 American Public University System $7,000
# 4 #4 California State University-Long Beach $7,984
# 5 #5 Auburn University at Montgomery $8,100
# 6 #6 Arizona State University $8,512
# 7 #7 Millersville University of Pennsylvania $9,026
# 8 #8 University of Alaska Fairbanks $9,240
# 9 #9 Sam Houston State University $9,283
# 10 #10 Excelsior College $9,675
# 11 #11 Park University $9,860
# 12 #12 University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh $9,900
# 13 #13 Upper Iowa University $9,990
# 14 #14 University of Central Florida $10,422
# 15 #15 Saint Leo University Online $10,620
# 16 #16 Nova Southeastern University $10,692
# 17 #17 Eastern Kentucky University $10,998
# 18 #18 Southern New Hampshire University Online $11,286
# 19 #19 University of Colorado Denver $11,358
# 20 #20 CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice $11,445
# 21 #21 Arkansas Tech University $11,680
# 22 #22 University of Maryland Global Campus $11,862
# 23 #23 National University $11,934
# 24 #24 University of Nebraska at Omaha $12,000
#1
#1

Arkansas State University

Jonesboro (AR)
Annual Tuition: $4,986
Annual Tuition: $4,986
Annual Tuition: $4,986
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
  • Graduation Rate: 53%
  • Acceptance Rate: 66%
  • Average SATs: 1013 -1220
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,064
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 3,414
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management
  • MS in Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (Internship Option)
  • MS in Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (Thesis Option)
#2
#2

Columbia Southern University

Orange Beach (AL)
Annual Tuition: $5,670
Annual Tuition: $5,670
Annual Tuition: $5,670
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 22%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 14,364
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 5,670
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: DEAC

Online Master's Degrees

  • M.S. Emergency Services Management
  • M.S. Homeland Security - Emergency Services Management
  • Master of Public Administration-Emergency Services Management
  • Master of Science in Fire Executive Leadership - Concentration in Emergency Services Management
#3
#3
Annual Tuition: $7,000
Annual Tuition: $7,000
Annual Tuition: $7,000
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 40%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 37,335
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 7,914
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Dual Master of Arts in Emergency and Disaster Management / Master of Arts in Homeland Security
  • Master of Arts in Criminal Justice - Concentration in Emergency Management and Disaster Management
  • Master of Arts in Emergency and Disaster Management
  • Master of Arts in Homeland Security - Concentration in Emergency Management and Public Health
  • Master of Public Administration - Concentration in Disaster Management
#4
#4
Annual Tuition: $7,984
Annual Tuition: $7,984
Annual Tuition: $7,984
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 81%
  • Graduation Rate: 74%
  • Acceptance Rate: 28%
  • Average SATs: 1040 -1250
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 218
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 279
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: WSCUC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Emergency Services Administration
#5
#5
Annual Tuition: $8,100
Annual Tuition: $8,100
Annual Tuition: $8,100
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 98%
  • Graduation Rate: 34%
  • Acceptance Rate: 83%
  • Average SATs: 920 -1150
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 378
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 264
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management
#6
#6

Arizona State University

Tempe (AZ) (and 4 others)
Annual Tuition: $8,512
Annual Tuition: $8,512
Annual Tuition: $8,512
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Graduation Rate: 54%
  • Acceptance Rate: 76%
  • Average SATs: 1091 -1301
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 33,410
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 10,843
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Online Master's Degrees

  • MA in Emergency Management & Homeland Security - Emergency Management
  • MA in Emergency Management & Homeland Security
  • MA in Emergency Management & Homeland Security - Community Resilience
  • MA in Emergency Management & Homeland Security - Cybersecurity Policy and Management
  • MA in Emergency Management & Homeland Security - Homeland Security
#7
#7
Annual Tuition: $9,026
Annual Tuition: $9,026
Annual Tuition: $9,026
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 88%
  • Graduation Rate: 56%
  • Acceptance Rate: 79%
  • Average SATs: 980 -1170
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 424
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 221
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: MSCHE

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Emergency Management
#8
#8

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Fairbanks (AK) (and 1 other)
Annual Tuition: $9,240
Annual Tuition: $9,240
Annual Tuition: $9,240
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 88%
  • Graduation Rate: 35%
  • Acceptance Rate: 73%
  • Average SATs: 1030 -1280
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 2,350
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 598
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: NWCCU

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Security and Disaster Management
#9
#9
Annual Tuition: $9,283
Annual Tuition: $9,283
Annual Tuition: $9,283
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 86%
  • Graduation Rate: 54%
  • Acceptance Rate: 74%
  • Average SATs: 990 -1140
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 2,120
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,562
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Public Administration - Disaster and Emergency Management
#10
#10

Excelsior College

Albany (NY)
Annual Tuition: $9,675
Annual Tuition: $9,675
Annual Tuition: $9,675
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 22,674
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,571
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: MSCHE

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice - Concentration in Homeland Security and Emergency Management
#11
#11

Park University

Parkville (MO)
Annual Tuition: $9,860
Annual Tuition: $9,860
Annual Tuition: $9,860
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 93%
  • Graduation Rate: 62%
  • Acceptance Rate: 69%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 5,473
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,358
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Business Administration - Disaster and Emergency Management
  • Master of Healthcare Administration - Disaster and Emergency Management
  • Master of Public Administration - Disaster and Emergency Management
#12
#12
Annual Tuition: $9,900
Annual Tuition: $9,900
Annual Tuition: $9,900
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 75%
  • Graduation Rate: 61%
  • Acceptance Rate: 63%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 632
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 303
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Public Administration - Fire and Emergency Administration and Management
#13
#13

Upper Iowa University

Fayette (IA)
Annual Tuition: $9,990
Annual Tuition: $9,990
Annual Tuition: $9,990
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
  • Graduation Rate: 47%
  • Acceptance Rate: 56%
  • Average SATs: 980 -1160
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,872
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 514
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Public Administration - Emergency Management and Homeland Security
#14
#14

University of Central Florida

Orlando (FL) (and 7 others)
Annual Tuition: $10,422
Annual Tuition: $10,422
Annual Tuition: $10,422
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 92%
  • Graduation Rate: 72%
  • Acceptance Rate: 50%
  • Average SATs: 1170 -1340
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 7,588
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 3,485
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Emergency and Crisis Management, MECM
#15
#15
Annual Tuition: $10,620
Annual Tuition: $10,620
Annual Tuition: $10,620
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 49%
  • Acceptance Rate: 58%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 8,242
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 4,720
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

Online Master's Degrees

  • M.S. in Criminal Justice - Critical Incident Management
  • M.S. in Emergency and Disaster Management
  • M.S. in Emergency and Disaster Management: Fire Science Administration
#16
#16

Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale (FL)
Annual Tuition: $10,692
Annual Tuition: $10,692
Annual Tuition: $10,692
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 58%
  • Acceptance Rate: 58%
  • Average SATs: 1070 -1280
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 292
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 5,532
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice - Concentration in Emergency Preparedness Leadership
  • Master of Science in Disaster and Emergency Management
  • Master of Science in Disaster and Emergency Management - Concentration in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science in Disaster and Emergency Management - Concentration in Cyber Security
  • Master of Science in Disaster and Emergency Management - Concentration in Environmental Hazards
  • Master of Science in Disaster and Emergency Management - Concentration in Fire Administration
#17
#17
Annual Tuition: $10,998
Annual Tuition: $10,998
Annual Tuition: $10,998
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 98%
  • Graduation Rate: 45%
  • Acceptance Rate: 87%
  • Average SATs: 990 -1170
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 2,187
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,386
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Business Administration - Concentration in Emergency Management and Disaster Resilience
  • Master of Science in Safety, Security & Emergency Management
  • Master of Science in Safety, Security & Emergency Management - Concentration in Construction Safety
  • Master of Science in Safety, Security & Emergency Management - Concentration in Safety Leadership
  • MS in Safety, Security and Emergency Management - Corporate Security Operations
  • MS in Safety, Security and Emergency Management - Emergency Management and Disaster Resilience
#18
#18
Annual Tuition: $11,286
Annual Tuition: $11,286
Annual Tuition: $11,286
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 77%
  • Graduation Rate: 44%
  • Acceptance Rate: 78%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 86,849
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 19,526
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: NECHE

Online Master's Degrees

  • MSM in Emergency Management
  • MS in Criminal Justice - Advanced Counterterrorism & Homeland Security
#19
#19
Annual Tuition: $11,358
Annual Tuition: $11,358
Annual Tuition: $11,358
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 82%
  • Graduation Rate: 52%
  • Acceptance Rate: 65%
  • Average SATs: 1000 -1220
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,046
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,528
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Criminal Justice - Concentration in Disasters, Hazards and Emergency Management
  • Master of Criminal Justice - Concentration in Emergency Management and Homeland Security
  • Master of Public Administration - Concentration in Disasters, Hazards and Emergency Management
  • Master of Public Administration - Concentration in Emergency Management and Homeland Security
#20
#20
Annual Tuition: $11,445
Annual Tuition: $11,445
Annual Tuition: $11,445
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 85%
  • Graduation Rate: 52%
  • Acceptance Rate: 39%
  • Average SATs: 980 -1130
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 570
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 641
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: MSCHE

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Public Administration in Public Policy and Administration - Specialization in Emergency Management
  • Master of Science in Emergency Management
#21
#21

Arkansas Tech University

Russellville (AR)
Annual Tuition: $11,680
Annual Tuition: $11,680
Annual Tuition: $11,680
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Graduation Rate: 38%
  • Acceptance Rate: 95%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 2,231
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 562
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Emergency Management & Homeland Security
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Concentration in Nursing Administration and Emergency Management
#22
#22
Annual Tuition: $11,862
Annual Tuition: $11,862
Annual Tuition: $11,862
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 46%
  • Graduation Rate: 15%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 35,971
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 10,876
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: MSCHE

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Management - Specialization in Emergency Management
#23
#23

National University

La Jolla (CA)
Annual Tuition: $11,934
Annual Tuition: $11,934
Annual Tuition: $11,934
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 33%
  • Graduation Rate: 29%
  • Average SATs: 750 -1170
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,849
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 4,165
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: WSCUC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management
#24
#24
Annual Tuition: $12,000
Annual Tuition: $12,000
Annual Tuition: $12,000
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 85%
  • Graduation Rate: 50%
  • Acceptance Rate: 87%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 923
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 511
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Public Administration - Concentration in Emergency Management

Can You Get a Master's in Emergency Management Online?

Yes, you can earn a master's in emergency management online or a master's degree with a concentration in emergency management. In fact, a 2020 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) survey found that these programs are increasingly being offered online. Over 64% of programs offer a majority of their curriculum through distance learning. This can be a flexible way to earn a degree while maintaining a busy schedule. The curriculum covers the hazards, risks, and theories of disaster to help you prepare for careers in crisis management.

Emergency Management Master’s Degree Quick Facts
  • Average Credits: 36
  • Average Duration: 1-2 years

Program Requirements

General admission requirements for this program usually include a bachelor's degree, official college transcripts, a 2.7 GPA or better, and a nonrefundable application fee of approximately $30. Program admission may also require certifications in Health Care Provider CPR, Basic Disaster Life Support, and/or Core Disaster Life Support. Some may even require the prior completion of FEMA introductory courses that are offered online for free.

Online master's degree programs typically call for the completion of 15 core classes, 15 major-related courses, three electives, and three final semester credit hours. In addition, students may need to complete either an internship or practicum hours as well as a capstone course or thesis. Core course content helps students develop critical thinking skills, identify the social determinants of risk, communicate effectively when disaster strikes, and understand emergency management's integration with public policy.

Emergency Management Master's Courses

Emergency management personnel use skills gained in degree programs in the face of life-threatening emergencies, including communication, leadership, critical thinking, and data analytics. Degree curriculum supports the four phases of emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. Courses cover ethics, emerging technology, infrastructure attacks, biosecurity, and risk management. They are also designed to build skills, such as identifying vulnerabilities in an organization or community and applying theories and practices to minimize risks.

Course titles may differ, but learning outcomes are similar:

Economics of Disaster

This course is designed to teach students about the economic impact of local, national, and international disasters. Students often research and analyze the resulting indirect financial losses to private and public sectors.

Mass Casualty Incident Management

Students may enroll in this class to explore the consequences of large-scale emergencies and disasters. Topics may include public health, casualty, and mortuary services. Students typically study examples of real-world casualty incidents.

Social Justice Issues in Emergency Management

Students must be prepared for the various challenges that arise during a crisis. Coursework often covers the socioeconomics of disaster and its disproportionate impact on minorities, women, and individuals experiencing poverty.

Risk Communications

Faculty often cover the public announcements, press releases, and other notifications that may be necessary to inform and protect the public during a crisis. Students reflect on recent incidents to gain fresh perspectives, and they engage in classroom discussions about best practices

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and the New Terrorism

This class is intended for students who want to examine the threat of WMD to U.S. security and safety. Students strive to gain national and international historical perspectives of the destruction caused by these weapons and how they disrupt everyday life.

Funding an Online Emergency Management Master's Degree

Annual tuition from our rankings list above ranges from $4,986 to $12,000 for online programs. Although online tuition and fees are typically cheaper than on-campus programs, the Emergency Management degrees on our rankings list are often similar in cost to traditional, in-person programs. While other online programs may charge students in-state tuition regardless of residency, many programs on our list do not offer this benefit and charge based on a student's residency status. However, some schools may have reciprocity agreements with participating schools in other states, which could potentially lower tuition rates for online graduate students in this field.



Annual tuition from our rankings list of online emergency management master's programs ranges from $4,986 to $12,000.

Completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) determines a student’s eligibility for federal grants, scholarships, and low-interest loans to help make college more affordable. Grants and scholarships are the best way to pay for college because they don't require repayment. Students studying emergency management may also turn to organizations offering private funding, such as the International Association of Emergency Managers Scholarship.

For college affordability tips, students can check out our resources about paying for a college degree.

What Can I Do With a Master's in Emergency Management?

Employment in the emergency and disaster relief field has more than doubled between 1990 and 2017 and is expected to continue growing through 2026. Graduates often work for the federal government in FEMA or the Department of Homeland Security to help communities prevent and recover from disasters. Some work in local government or private industries, including hospitals, schools, and corporations. Some workers report finding gratification in improving the lives of those experiencing desperate situations.

Employment growth in emergency and other relief services
*Source: BLS

Graduates may choose from several occupations, but these typically only require a bachelor's degree. Emergency management directors help build community resilience and create disaster recovery plans while earning an annual median salary of $76,250. Another role to consider is an occupational health and safety specialist. They analyze work environments to prevent disease and injury, earning a median wage of $72,530 per year. Some graduates could choose to become business continuity planners who develop, maintain, and implement an organization's recovery strategies. They earn an annual median salary of $77,420. The job outlook for all of these occupations averages between 5-10%.

Is an Online Master's in Emergency Management Worth It?

The decision to earn an online emergency management master's degree is ultimately up to you, but it’s important to determine whether it will help you meet your career goals. While emergency management jobs may pay well, they can often be attained with only a bachelor's degree. Instead of a graduate program, employers may prefer a Certified Emergency Manager credential or completing an online

Work experience is highly valued for emergency management jobs because it helps develop decision-making abilities during real-life emergencies. In fact, hands-on experience is crucial in disaster recovery. According to John Fredenberg, the lead emergency management specialist for a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “You learn by doing, so you need to try as early and as often as you can to go to disasters. … In our field, lives literally hang in the balance.” Military, paramedic, and healthcare experience may provide such training in crisis management.

Are you unsure about pursuing a master's degree in emergency management? Explore related master's programs, including healthcare management, human services, and public health.

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