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B.S. Emergency and Disaster Management

Western Carolina University's Emergency and Disaster Management Program is ranked #1 by CollegeChoice.

The Emergency and Disaster Management Program is specifically designed to prepare students to assume leadership and professional career positions in government, non-profit agencies, and the private sector after graduation.

The mission of the Emergency and Disaster Management Program is to enhance the safety and security of the community, the region, and the nation by providing a functional and relevant education and other assistance to those who are, or seek to be, responsible for preventing, mitigating, responding to, or recovering from, a natural, man-made, or technological disaster.

The B.S. in Emergency and Disaster Management is offered as a residential and online programs, providing our students with the opportunity to learn in a traditional classroom setting or advance professionally and academically by taking requisite online courses through part-time study.

Our dedicated faculty teach an interdisciplinary curriculum that applies the evolving knowledge and standards of public safety and security management and stays current with developments in the field. The program offers a B.S. in Emergency and Disaster Management as well as a minor course of study.

Our graduates find employment with the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, various state, county, and local governments as well as not-for-profit and commercial hazard mitigation organizations. We also have a number of former students pursuing advanced education in the areas of homeland security and emergency management.

For advising information for residential students, please review this document or contact your advisor.

For advising information for online students, contact Professor Aaron Vassey.

Emergency and Disaster Management, B.S.

The Emergency and Disaster Management, B.S. degree requires 42 Liberal Studies hours, 48 major hours, and 30 general elective hours. The curriculum offers an internship (CJ/EDM 483), a unique way to gain work experience while earning a maximum of 12 hours of academic credit.

Requirements & Curriculum for B.S. in Emergency & Disaster Management

Minor in Emergency and Disaster Management

The minor in Emergency and Disaster Management is an excellent complement for students majoring in criminal justice or emergency medical care. It also is relevant for anyone interested in learning how to prepare to respond to emergencies, natural disasters, or terrorist activities that might impact our communities.

Requirements for Minor in Emergency & Disaster Management

Emergency and Disaster Management Career Opportunities

Our graduates find employment with the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, various state, county, and local governments as well as not-for-profit and commercial hazard mitigation organizations. We also have a number of former students pursuing advanced education in the areas of homeland security and emergency management.

Read more about employment for emergency and disaster management majors

Student Andrew Uy Reflects on his Internship with Haywood County

Andrew Uy

Andrew Uy at Haywood County Emergency Management Office.

When I started my internship with Haywood County Emergency Management Office, my career developed very quickly. The people I worked with helped me to understand how lessons I learned in the classroom connected with the emergency management role, especially at the county level. They were able to teach me many skills that helped me better understand emergency managers' roles and what they and other emergency management staff do during emergencies.

Soon after I began my internship, Haywood County started their mass vaccination operations, and I was lucky to be part of their daily operations for the past 13 weeks. I helped with the Logistics function and learned what it took to feed approximately 100 volunteers and supply the vaccination site's needs until the operation was finished. As I learned and gained experience, my responsibilities within the department gradually rose.

Later, I was tasked with writing an emergency operation plan for the county and it was assigned as part of our Emergency Management Performance Grant. This plan will be implemented in January 2022.  The plan describes the distribution of personal protective equipment and medical countermeasures such as vaccines.  I have used our experiences in dealing with COVID-19 to begin constructing a plan draft that may be used in the future if the county is affected by another pandemic.

During times where mass vaccination operations were slack, I would help around the office, filing documents, transcribing plans, developing incident command outlines, and helping out with whatever task needed to be done. Lately, I have been tasked with gathering the data after each mass vaccination and compiling it into a situation report to be presented to the emergency managers. I have also been given more responsibility when it comes to planning and writing reports for the management officials. While I have only been interning for a couple of months, I have been able to experience much ranging from a small natural disaster to a search-and-rescue incident. It has been a blessing to help the Haywood County Emergency Management office.

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