Disaster Medicine and Management (M.S.)

Program Director: Jean Bail, Ed.D., RN, MSN, CEN, EMT-P

Campus Location: This program is offered in two formats: a flexible distance-learning process or a hybrid model combining the online requirements with seminar and in-person activities. A 6.5 day on-campus conference week is required once during the program.


Disaster medicine and management is a graduate program focusing on a comprehensive foundation of disaster medicine and emergency management principles and practice. The program recognizes that there is an overwhelming global need to educate professionals whose expertise will be needed to prepare for, respond to and recover from natural and man-made disasters and mass casualty incidents. Through experiential learning and intensive online work, learners apply written and verbal communication skills, research analysis, interdisciplinary collaboration and critical thinking to operational approaches of disaster management.

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the disaster medicine and management program will be able to:

  • Apply information from the core subjects in disaster/emergency management to prepare for participation in the global response community.
  • Effectively communicate in written and oral formats complex, analytical emergency response needs, analysis, plans and policies.
  • Analyze the current literature to discuss the practice of disaster management and contribute to the knowledge base.
  • Apply multidisciplinary and collaborative approaches to integrate theory and practice to inform the management of potential disasters, and to prepare for future disasters using an all-hazards approach.
  • Introduce/change to the field by using a strong foundation in the history and practice of disaster management to anticipate future directions.
  • Apply core information to develop and implement a systematic approach to exercise development, evaluation, and post-exercise evaluation activities.

Program Description

Recent events in our nation and the world have focused our attention on the prevalence of disasters, mass casualty situations and public service disruptions including terrorism, biological and chemical terrorism, war, tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, wildfires, volcanoes and major power grid disruptions. Additionally, we are facing an increasing number of accidents involving hazardous materials. The effects of all of these events on people, animals, the environment, physical structures and our public infrastructure have been immense. This has brought increased attention to our public safety, emergency medical services (EMS) and public health systems in terms of disaster preparedness. The need for a highly organized disaster preparedness infrastructure and individuals with expertise in this area has become readily apparent to the government and private sector. Disaster emergency planning and management has become an expanding area of study in the fields of medicine, emergency medical services, public safety, mental health, public health and the military.

The Master of Science in Disaster Medicine and Management is a comprehensive graduate degree program encompassing all facets of disaster management. The program encompasses the study of: terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, hazardous materials, natural disasters, psychological aspects of disasters, acute traumatic stress intervention, public health considerations of disasters, research methods and disaster planning and management including risk assessment, incident command and resource allocation. The program is delivered as a partnership between Philadelphia University and the Department of Emergency Medicine of the Albert Einstein Health Network.

The program is designed as a 36-credit, 12-course curriculum that can be completed in one to three years depending on the course load taken by the student. The courses will be offered in four 12-week semesters per year. Courses will be offered in a distance-learning format using the BlackBoard© course management system with a variety of teaching modalities such as online PowerPoint© lectures with audio, asynchronous discussion boards, synchronous chat rooms, via Adobe Connect, reading assignments, research papers, online journals and online testing. The Hybrid course delivery model includes the online materials plus seminars and activities as directed by the faculty. Students will be required to attend one six-and-a-half-day, on-campus summer seminar that will include live lectures, hands-on skills labs, role-playing seminars, disaster drills and table-top exercises. This summer seminar is a mandatory component of two of the required courses (DMM635 and DMM639). Students will also be required to complete a capstone experience that has several options, but a formal thesis is not required. The program can arrange for students to participate in an internship at a site that provides emergency and disaster planning and preparedness in the United States and internationally.

Experiential Learning Requirement

Students will demonstrate the connection between academic learning and real world application by participating in local, regional, state, or federal agencies activities for a minimum of 100 hours during the program. This participation is a graduation pre-requisite and supporting documents will need to be submitted to the Program by the beginning of your final term (If you are already working in the disaster/emergency management you will need to provide documentation that supports meeting this requirement).

This is more than being a First Responder – it needs to be at the level of not just responding and working a call but participating in the management aspects. Students are expected to participate in activities and to volunteer in many roles, including exercises. Be clear that the primary focus is to be on management activities of disasters – planning/preparedness, mitigation, specific response needs i.e. sheltering, special populations, risk communication, and recovery planning. A review of the Certified Emergency Manager 12 knowledge areas may help guide your choices in activities. This is a 0 credit activity.

The program also offers two nine-credit, three-course graduate certificates for professionals seeking a less intensive educational experience. One involves core material on Disaster Medicine and Management for those seeking a less intensive educational experience. The second certificate addresses business and crisis continuity issues exploring organizational continuity, risk assessment and organizational recovery.

E-Learning at Philadelphia University

The program is offered in a flexible online environment. In the online delivery model, the vast majority of this is asynchronous and can be completed on the student’s own schedule provided the student meets the required examination and assignment deadlines. The hybrid model combines the online platform and expands the material using campus based seminars and activities chosen by the faculty.

Program Hardware and Software Requirements

  • Access to a computer with the Windows operating system (Windows 2000, Windows XP or above) and the capacity to hear audio (sound card). Also, a USB microphone is required and webcam capability will be useful.
  • Internet access with high speed connection (DSL, Broadband or cable)
  • Microsoft Office software (Word and PowerPoint)

Admission to the Program

Applications to the program should be submitted to the Philadelphia University Office of Graduate Admissions. Admission into the program requires a bachelor’s degree, undergraduate transcripts, a current resume, two letters of recommendation and a personal essay. Admission to the program will be based on several criteria: undergraduate GPA, relevant work experience, two letters of reference, a personal essay, and whether or not the applicant has completed the required prerequisites (see below). The GRE is not required. Those applying for a graduate assistantship may wish to take the GREs to be more competitive for this award.

Prerequisite Courses

English Composition or College Writing 3
College-level Math or Statistics   3
General Biology or Anatomy and Physiology or Equivalent 3-4
Introductory Psychology or Behavioral Science Course  3


Core Courses

DMM611 Principles of Disaster Medicine and Management  3
DMM631 Organizational Management & Communication in Disasters 3
DMM635 Psychological Aspects of Disasters
(Distance learning & mandatory on-campus experience)
DMM639 Principles of Disaster Exercises & Drills
(Distance learning & mandatory on-campus experience)
DMM643 Public Health Implications of Disasters 3
DMM647 Disaster Emergency Planning 3
DMM651 Applied Research Methods & Statistics 3
DMM755 Capstone Experience in Disaster Medicine and Management


  Master’s Project (Distance Learning Only)  
  Master’s Project with Internship  

Electives (Choose four from the following)
DMM612 Foundations of Homeland Security & Defense 3
DMM613 International and Humanitarian Disaster Management 3
DMM615 Hazardous Materials & Industrial Safety 3
DMM617 GIS in Emergency Management 3
DMM619 Natural Disasters 3
DMM623 Weapons of Mass Destruction 3
DMM624 Organizational Risk and Crisis Management 3
DMM625 Business and Crisis Continuity 3
DMM626 Organizational Recovery and Planning 3
DMM627 Principles of Terrorism 3
DMM648 Emergency Preparedness with Special Needs Populations 3
DMM649 Health care Emergency Management 3
DMM653 Clinical Disaster Medicine 3
DMM791 Internship in Disaster Medicine and Management 3
DMM797 Special Topics in Disaster Medicine and Management 1-3


Graduate Certificate in Disaster and Medicine Management
DMM-611 Principles of Disaster Medicine and Management 3
DMM-647 Disaster Emergency Planning 3
Electives Choose any one DMM course 3


Graduate Certificate in Business and Organizational Continuity
DMM625 Business and Crisis Continuity 3
DMM624 Organizational Risk and Crisis Management 3
DMM626 Organizational Recovery and Planning 3