Oct 01, 2023  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Emergency Management Certificate

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Karen Miller, Ph.D., Department Chair

Julie Cencula Olberding, Ph.D., Graduate Program Director

Program Description

The Emergency Management (EM) certificate is an 18 credit hour program suited for individuals currently employed or interested in emergency management in local, state or federal government or in universities, schools, hospitals, other nonprofits, or private businesses. Students may complete the certificate at their own pace with most of them taking a year or two by enrolling in one to three courses per semester. In addition, they may choose to pursue the certificate in a mix of online and face-to-face classes or in a completely online format.

The core courses are taught online, and the electives are taught either online or on weekday evenings (6:15 to 9 p.m.), and they include a mix of lecture, seminar, small group, and service learning.

Office of the EM Certificate

The main office of the Emergency Management certificate program is currently 125 Landrum Academic Center. For more information please call (859) 572-5326.

Program Mission

NKU’s Emergency Management graduate certificate provides students and practitioners with the knowledge, skills, and competencies to manage and lead in emergency management. An 18 credit hour program, this graduate certificate includes three required courses (three credits each) plus at least nine semester hours of electives selected by the student from a variety of offerings. The EM certificate program includes both pre-career students and in-career students who work in the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati metropolitan region.

Program Objectives

Current staff and leaders in emergency management, as well as students wishing to explore a future in this field, can benefit from this program.


  1. Provide fundamental managerial and analytical skills that can be applied to emergency management, homeland security, and other areas of public safety.
  2. Enhance understanding of the four phases of emergency management for natural and man-made disasters - mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery - and how each phase is developed at the local, state and federal levels as well as by private and nonprofit organizations.
  3. Increase knowledge related to the workings of the various government agencies involved in emergency management and homeland security and their different structures, policies and programs.
  4. Enhance awareness and understanding of the different types of terrorism and identify their causes and prevention strategies.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Develop knowledge and skills suitable for a career in emergency management, homeland security, or other area of public safety.
  2. Develop knowledge and skills to respond and recover in a community during an actual emergency.
  3. Evaluate a community’s preparedness against various types of natural and man-made disasters.
  4. Learn historical perspectives on terrorism, basic definitions of cogent terms and concepts, and the symbols of terrorism.
  5. Understand different forms of terrorist tactics and targets along with methods of appropriate prevention, detection, and response, applying such knowledge to the local environment.

Program Administration

While the Emergency Management certificate follows the academic rules established by the NKU Graduate Council (detailed previously in this catalog), there are also program-specific guidelines. To facilitate program-specific activities, the certificate is administered by the director of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program. The MPA director, with the input and consultation of other MPA faculty, makes program-specific decisions related to curriculum, admission, enrollment, and graduation. The Emergency Management and MPA programs are housed in the Department of Political Science, Criminal Justice and Organizational Leadership located in the College of Arts and Sciences at NKU.


To qualify for admission to the Emergency Management graduate certificate, an applicant must:

  1. Possess a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  2. Have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or higher (on a scale of 4.0) for all college work or a 3.0 for all graduate work.
  3. Submit a narrative essay of 300 to 400 words stating your career and academic goals and how the graduate certificate program will help you attain those goals.

Transfer Credit

Successful applicants to the EM certificate may transfer up to three semester hours of appropriate, acceptable graduate coursework from other programs and/or institutions in which they must have earned a minimum grade of B. These courses must be deemed appropriate to your program of study at the time of admission by the graduate program director.

Relationship between EM Certificate and MPA Programs

Students completing the Emergency Management graduate certificate may apply for admission to the MPA program. If admitted, they may receive up to 15 semester hours of credit toward the 39 credit hour master’s degree. For academic questions about the EM and/or MPA programs, contact the MPA office at (859) 572-5326.

Academic Standing

A cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 must be maintained for all 600-level coursework. A student cannot receive the Emergency Management certificate without a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above. Students falling below 3.0 will be placed on probation. A course may be repeated only once, and only two courses may be repeated. Only courses with a grade of C or below can be repeated; the repeat grade is used in the GPA determination.

Program Curriculum

Emergency Management Core: 9 credit hours

Students are required to complete three core courses. All courses are three semester hours (45 academic contact hours) and are taught online by a mix of full-time MPA faculty and experienced professionals.

Total Hours: 18

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