The Online Emergency Management Certificate

From the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Design and Lead Community Disaster Response

If you’re interested in learning more about disaster and emergency management systems, consider the Community Preparedness and Disaster Management Certificate Program (CPDM), offered online through the Department of Health Policy and Management within the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Over the course of three semesters, you’ll learn how to design emergency management systems to respond to situations such as natural disasters, terrorist attacks, environmental threats and health pandemics in North Carolina and beyond. The program takes an “all hazards” approach to disaster management with an emphasis on building emergency management systems through partnering and networking.

The emergency management certificate program attracts professionals from a variety of backgrounds, which leads to a rich environment for peer networking and learning. It’s not unusual for a class to include veterinarians, fire and medical responders, public health officials, military personnel and community leaders.


Emergency Management Certificate Online at a Glance

3 courses, 9 credit hours

1.5 years to complete

No test scores or degree needed

Emergency Management Certificate Curriculum

The curriculum for the online emergency management certificate consists of three online courses that last 16 weeks each. Students usually take one course per semester.

Much of the course content features case studies and frameworks that apply to emergency management in North Carolina. You’ll work together with peers on projects that develop your understanding of why and how agencies plan and respond to emergencies and disasters.

Course Sequence

The following courses are required for the disaster management certificate online:

  • Community and Public Health Security–Disasters, Terrorism and Emergency Management Systems
  • Emergency Management I–Analytic Methods
  • Emergency Management II–Planning and Implementation

You may be eligible to apply the nine credit hours earned toward a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

Admissions: Online Emergency Management Certificate

The program welcomes only one cohort of students every year, starting in January. The application deadline is usually in December.

No bachelor’s degree or test scores are required. The emergency management certificate is designed for working professionals with or without formal training. It introduces people to the discipline and brings them up to speed quickly. 

Application Requirements:

  • Graduate school application
  • Resume
  • 500-word essay

Review a complete list of application requirements and deadlines for the emergency management certificate.

Build Essential Emergency Management Skills

The CPDM program allows you to hit the ground running, without any barriers. You don’t have to hold a bachelor’s degree, nor must you submit GRE scores. Fill out your application now.


The Online Learning Experience

Students learn entirely online for the online emergency management certificate, with an optional graduation attendance each May. Enrolled students should have access to a personal computer with a high-speed Internet connection (T1, cable or DSL service).

You will complete orientation in a half-day session via Zoom. You will complete all coursework online as well. A typical online module consists of 2–3 video presentations, 5–8 journal articles (there are no textbooks) and two 3–5 page research papers to produce. The modules are designed to be challenging, but also sensitive to the time constraints of the working professional.

Additional Online Offerings From UNC-Chapel Hill

In addition to the online emergency management certificate, UNC-Chapel Hill offers
other online education options in public health and government, such as:




Add Emergency Management to Your Skill Set

If you’ve been thinking about expanding your individual knowledge or you want to advance your career in disaster management, the online Community Preparedness and Disaster Management Certificate Program might be a perfect fit. Take the next step toward building an emergency management system through partnering and networking.

Ready to get started?