Doctorate in Disaster Management

Doctorate degree programs in disaster management prepare students to teach at the postsecondary level or to research and create policies and management plans for emergency situations and natural disasters. Learn about Ph.D. programs that cover disaster management, including course topics and online availability.

Is Disaster Management Offered at the Doctorate Level?

Only a few colleges offer a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Disaster Management. Other options may include completing a doctorate degree in emergency management, disaster science and management, public administration or public safety. In some instances, degrees are lumped together under the same title.

Either way you choose, with a Ph.D. in Disaster Management you'll be prepared with an academic level of disaster management knowledge. Along with skills, you'll be among the few who teach others about disasters and managing a crisis. You'll also research and establish alternative plans for different man-made and natural disasters.

Possible DegreesEmergency management, disaster science and management, public safety, public administration
Common Course TopicsLeadership theory, decision making, problem solving, institutional structures, disaster predictions, disaster trends
Online AvailabilityPartial programs available
Median Salary (2018) $74,420 (for all emergency management directors)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 8% growth (for all emergency management directors)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Study?

One of the priorities for this program is to teach you management as it relates to organization and leadership. In an emergency situation, a leader must emerge to guide others and designate tasks. Some of the subjects you may study in this program are leadership theory, decision making, problem solving, institutional structures, social structures and critical thinking. The secondary goal of this program is to teach you about emergency management. Here, you'll study stress management in emergencies, natural disasters, public safety, emergency operations, emergency planning and manufactured disasters.

The program also covers global disaster plans and how to prepare for international incidents, along with research methodology and writing skills. You'll be expected to complete a dissertation using your research and writing skills. Your dissertation may cover problems with current emergency plans, future disaster predictions, your own disaster management plans, disaster trends or any special topic in disaster relief that may be of interest to you. Once you've completed your education you'll be able to not only find problems with current disaster management plans but also help to create and implement new ones.

Is this Degree Offered Online?

While other degree levels are available for online study, this program is not unless taken through a for-profit university and even in that case some in person work, in the form of residencies, will be required. Because colleges prefer you to have hands-on experience in simulated hazards and real-life emergencies, this degree just can't be delivered fully online.