10 Most Affordable Doctorates in Emergency Management Online in 2021

Staff picture
Updated June 29, 2021

GradSchoolHub.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Discover a program that is right for you.

Affordable online PhD in Emergency Management programs are money-saving lifeboats that can rescue your leadership career opportunities without catastrophic debt. Doctorates are the highest, most intensive degrees for emergency managers to maximize their preparedness for natural and man-made disasters. Emergency management PhDs are ideal for resilient graduates seeking to activate their resume for executive, consulting, faculty, and research jobs in today's risky post-9/11 world. According to The World Bank, weather hazards caused 994 disasters that impacted 326 million global citizens with $100 billion worth of damage from 2012 to 2014 alone. The Aon Terrorism & Political Violence Map 2017 also shows that extremist attacks rose by 14 percent last year. Cost-effective PhD emergency management online offerings help fulfill this growing demand and avoid borrowing dangerous loans up a storm.

Explore these promoted online degree programs.

These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online graduate degree programs. Figuring out where to apply? Consider one of these online Master’s or PhD programs.

10 Most Affordable Online Emergency Management PhD Programs in 2021

  • Capella University

    Minneapolis, MN



    Labeled an NSA Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense for 2014-2021, Capella University is a for-profit, HLC-accredited online learning institution and Yellow Ribbon Summit member that participated in Quality Matters to enlighten 35,889 working adults on Blackboard from its headquarters in the "Mini Apple." Capella earned the 2012 Catalyst Exemplary Course Award and 2016 NILOA Excellence in Assessment Award. College Factual recognized Capella for America's 22nd most popular homeland security programs while OnlineDegreeReviews.org ranked it 38th nationally. Offering a free trial course, the School of Public Service Leadership houses the Online PhD in Emergency Management with a 14:1 student-professor ratio. Led by Dr. John Darland, the 76-96 credit curriculum trains scholar-practitioners for using research to influence disaster response and prevention decisions. Real-world simulations in Capella's Riverbend City app practice content like emergency planning and risk management on the GuidedPath toward dissertations. Two specializations exist for Higher Education or Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources (CIKR).

    For more information: Capella University

  • Colorado Technical University

    Colorado Springs, CO



    Linked to 77,120 LinkedIn alumni, such as Kenneth Andam, Monica Mims, and Terry Guthrie, Colorado Technical University has rolling admission as a for-profit, science-based research institution located conveniently off Route 25 in Colorado Springs that supports 92 percent of its 25,000 adults with online study on Intellipath. The U.S. News & World Report applauded CTU for the 34th best online graduate criminal justice programs. Granted the 2016 IMS Global Learning Consortium Award and Appy Award for Best Mobile App, Colorado Tech is ranked the West's 189th best buck by Washington Monthly. The School of Business & Technology gives the ACBSP-accredited Online Doctor of Management – Homeland Security with six annual starts. Organized by Dr. Tony Lyons, the 96-credit, post-bachelor's "all-threat" curriculum develops upper-level expertise for operations securing our borders. Funding like the Career Education Scholarship further reduces course costs on topics from emergency management to risk resilience and public health with quantitative dissertation research. Up to 30 percent of credits can be transferred from MPA, MBA, and other master's with grades above "B" overall.

    For more information: Colorado Technical University

  • Jacksonville State University

    Jacksonville, AL



    Founded as the State Normal School in 1883 by Governor Edward O'Neal, Jacksonville State University is self-proclaimed the South's friendliest public, four-year doctoral teaching institution that's endowed for $12.5 million to serve 8,514 Gamecocks affordably at the 59-building northeast Alabama campus and online through Canvas. The Princeton Review ranked JSU among the United States' top 90th percentile. Jacksonville State also stands as the 188th best Southeastern value in Washington Monthly with the 254th best professors nationwide on Niche. Known for its Center for Disaster and Community Resilience, the School of Human Services & Social Sciences made its Doctor of Science Degree in Emergency Management available online for working professionals. Chaired by Dr. Jeffrey Richard Ryan, the 60-credit, post-master's program draws faculty with 200+ combined experience years for comprehensive analysis of hazardous and effective mitigation tools. Accepting $35 applications until January 31st, the cohort-based curriculum includes one five-day seminar in Jacksonville yearly between courses like risk communication and geographic information systems before intensive dissertation work.

    For more information: Jacksonville State University

  • New Jersey City University

    Jersey City, NJ



    Welcoming 9,150 Gothic Knights who "Enter to Learn, Exit to Serve," New Jersey City University is a public, state-funded coeducational liberal arts school founded in 1929 that's endowed for $7.2 million to teach upon its 46-acre Kennedy Boulevard campus near Newark Bay and online via Blackboard Collaborate. The Equality of Opportunity Project ranked NJCU 23rd among America's selective public institutions. New Jersey City University was also declared the 384th most liberal college on Niche, 233rd top value by WalletHub, and 383rd best master's school in Washington Monthly. Since 2012, the Professional Security Studies Department has admitted cohorts of 15-20 post-grads online for the Doctor of Science in Civil Security Leadership, Management, and Policy. Recognized by ASIS International, the 65-credit, three-year program directed by Dr. Kathleen Donohue Rennie includes only one two-week summer residency and four weekend trips to Jersey City. Scholar-practitioners with minimum master's GPAs of 3.5 log in 24/7 for courses like security intelligence and emergency management while tackling dissertation research to become Certified Protection Professionals (CPPs).

    For more information: New Jersey City University

  • North Dakota State University

    Fargo, ND



    Occupying 18,488 total acres from Fargo to Williston and online 24/7 learning on Blackboard Learn with Great Plains Idea tuition, North Dakota State University is a public, HLC-accredited applied sciences doctoral institution founded in 1890 that's endowed for $167 million to instruct 14,538 Thundering Herd. The National Science Foundation ranked NDSU 127th for America's highest research expenditures. North Dakota State is also named the 87th top public school on Niche, 239th best value in Money, and 157th best faculty employer by Washington Monthly. Located in Minard Hall, the College of Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences had a hybrid face-to-face and online format for the Doctor of Philosophy in Emergency Management since 2009. Directed by Dr. Jessica Jensen, the 90-credit, post-baccalaureate program follows EMAP standards for blended courses from preparedness theory to vulnerability assessment and business continuity. Qualifying exams are requisite before faculty-advised dissertation research that's often published by outlets like International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters.

    For more information: North Dakota State University

  • Northcentral University

    San Diego, CA



    Owned by Rockbridge Growth Equity LLC, Northcentral University is an independent, for-profit virtual institution and charter member of the Golden Key International Honor Society that moved from Prescott Valley to San Diego in October 2015 to continue instructing over 12,000 nontraditional scholars on Desire2Learn for $16,821 on average. The U.S. News & World Report placed NCU within America's top 158 for online graduate business education. Northcentral was crowned the 164th most focused B-school on College Factual and 24th best online college by College Rank too. Taught by 100 percent PhD-level faculty 1:1 under Dr. Abigail Scheg, the ACBSP-accredited School of Business has a DBA Specialized in Homeland Security Leadership and Policy Online. Estimated to take 39 months, the 18-course, 54-credit doctorate suits post-master's students seeking broad managerial methods applied for protecting national safety during emergencies. Online, self-paced courses dip into terrorism, transportation security, civil preparedness, and cyber intelligence before the dissertation completion pathway. Emergency managers also consider the DBA Specialized in Criminal Justice or DBA Specialized in Public Administration.

    For more information: Northcentral University

  • Oklahoma State University

    Stillwater, OK



    Declared a Truman Honor Institution and NSA Center of Academic Excellence, Oklahoma State University provides public, land-grant doctoral RU/VH training to 23,459 Cowboys and Cowgirls for our list's cheapest in-state price of $5,033 at the 1,489-acre Big 12 campus in Stillwater and online via D2L. The Center for World Rankings placed OSU 211th for alumni employment and 275th for education quality. Oklahoma State was deemed America's 45th best big college on Niche, 100th top public university in Forbes, and 86th best management school by Poets & Quants. Recommended by FEMA, the Department of Political Science grants the PhD in Fire and Emergency Management online with just one-week summer residencies in Tornado Alley. Open for admission until March 1st, the 60-credit, post-master's hybrid program emphasizes research for advancing crisis response rapidity and efficiency. Chaired by Dr. Dave Neal of Oak Ridge National Laboratories, the curriculum mandates 3.0 GPAs through content like public budgeting and disaster politics before online dissertation support seminars.

    For more information: Oklahoma State University

  • Saint Louis University

    St. Louis, MO



    Endowed for $1.1 billion with 3,097 faculty teaching 12,949 Billikens from 78 nations, Saint Louis University is a private, coeducational Jesuit RU/VH doctoral institution of the Atlantic 10 that delivers 180 programs at its 235-acre Missouri campus, 36-acre Madrid campus, and online on Skillsoft. Washington Monthly ranked SLU 129th for doctoral completion and 31st for service participation. Saint Louis was proclaimed America's 144th best private university in Forbes, 11th top Catholic college on Niche, and 122nd best research school by the CWUR. The College for Public Health and Social Justice confers a Ph.D. in Public Health Studies with six hybrid concentrations, including Biosecurity and Disaster Preparedness. Directed by Dr. Mario Schootman, the 72-credit, post-master's curriculum has CEPH accreditation to build students' rapid response capabilities for health-related emergencies globally. Asynchronous online logins into courses like epidemic prevention are paired with faculty mentoring and dissertation research in the cutting-edge Institute for Biosecurity. Alums have 96 percent job placement at the Centers for Disease Control, US Army Medical Research Institute, Department of Homeland Security, and others.

    For more information: Saint Louis University

  • Walden University

    Minneapolis, MN



    Inspired by philosopher Henry David Thoreau's transcendental book, Walden University opened in 1972 in Naples and moved to Minneapolis 10 years later for delivering for-profit, civic-engaged higher learning committed to positive social change to 51,016 students online via Blackboard Learn. Given 2016 and 2017 OLC Effective Practices Awards, Walden is declared the 19th best four-year university for adults in Washington Monthly. Walden University was lauded for America's 353rd highest-paid criminal justice graduates on College Factual and fifth most affordable PhDs by College Values Online. Adhering to FEMA Institute certifications, the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences confers the PhD in Criminal Justice for seven concentrations, including Emergency Management, with a $3,000 signup grant. Coordinated by Dr. Shana Garrett, the 83-unit curriculum has two admission tracks for MSCJ graduates and non-criminal justice master's holders with four residencies requiring 16 days in Minneapolis. The Fast Track squeezes more online courses like law enforcement administration and disaster recovery into semesters to expedite time toward dissertation submissions on ProQuest.

    For more information: Walden University

  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute

    Worcester, MA



    Named among AAU's 16 Greater Expectations Leadership Institutions, Worcester Polytechnic Institute is a private, STEM-centric engineering school of the Liberty League that's endowed for $466 million to train 1,962 post-grads with "Theory and Practice" at its 80-care Boynton Hill campus and online on Canvas. Forbes previously declared WPI the ninth best college for getting rich. Worcester Polytechnic was ranked America's 41st best engineering university on Niche, 11th best-run college by The Princeton Review, and 142nd top value in Money magazine. Celebrating its 30th year, the ABET-accredited Fire Protection Engineering Department offers an emergency management PhD online alternative that focuses on improving first responder operations. Chaired by Dr. Brian Meacham, the 60-credit, post-master's program has application deadlines of January 1st for Fall and October 1st for Spring. Online courses like smoke control, risk assessment, and failure analysis are applied with dissertation research in Worcester at the 2,000-square-foot Performance Engineering Lab. For free, PhD students join the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) chapter.

    For more information: Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Our Methodology, Explained

Grad School Hub compiles rankings based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics play a significant role in how we source our educational data. After collecting insight for each institution, we organize information into five weighted categories.
Metric Data Used Percentage
Academic Quality Full-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates 30%
Affordability Tuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid 10%
Reputation Admission and enrollment rates 30%
Program Offerings Number of program options 20%
Online Enrollment Score Portion of learners taking at least one online course 10%
A more comprehensive evaluation of how each category is determined and scored is accessible on our Ranking Methodology page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Careers Benefit from Emergency Management PhD Online Programs?

Spending two to five years finishing an emergency management doctorate online makes post-grads qualified for virtually any upper-level career related to people's safety. Adding "PhD" after one's name conveys in-depth industry expertise to diverse employers, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, American Red Cross, International Rescue Committee, and Transportation Security Administration. Doctoral candidates can further their marketability with professional certifications too. For instance, the International Association of Emergency Managers has granted the Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) distinction for 6,000 members who've passed the 100-question, $395 exam. The Disaster Recovery Institute confers the Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP) for 2+ years of corporate experience and a qualifying exam score of 75 or better. Here are five sample careers where PhD emergency management online graduates may excel:

Postsecondary Instructor – Nearly 80 percent of PhD candidates exhibit interest in academia, so teaching emergency management, homeland security, or similar subjects to college-age students is a popular pathway. Postsecondary instructors spend the nine-month academic year planning career-oriented lectures, grading papers, modifying curriculum, researching field innovations, advising students on course registration, publishing books, supervising graduate assistants, and leading clubs like IAEM chapters.

Emergency Management Director – Listed among the U.S. News & World Report's 50 best jobs, emergency management directors sometimes have PhDs to prepare crisis intervention plans for life-threatening incidents. Their senior-level duties include assessing hazards, coordinating responses with government officials, allocating taxpayer funds, hiring quality personnel, procuring clean-up equipment, supervising emergency operations, performing damage assessment, and complying with regulations in the public sector.

Fire Protection Engineer- Attending Worcester Polytechnic Institute would train online PhD grads for researching, designing, and testing the effectiveness of firefighting methods during emergencies like nuclear explosions. Fire protection engineers innovative extinguishing devices, study ignition sources, check alarm systems, develop safety regulations, advise builders on code compliance, analyze potential construction hazards, consult with fire chiefs, evaluate department performance, and attend industry conferences.

Infectious Disease Epidemiologist- Saint Louis University's Ph.D. in Public Health Studies is perfect for emergency management officials to help avert deadly outbreaks of epidemics like Zika virus and cholera. Infectious disease epidemiologists have Forbes 19th most meaningful job directing public health research, collecting patient samples, drawing conclusions on contagion, communicating findings to physicians, advising the public on prevention tips, coordinating epidemic treatment, and monitoring bioterrorism threats.

Chief Security Officer- Emergency management online PhD training may help follow the footsteps of Chief Security Officers like Microsoft's Katie Moussouris and Verizon's Thomas Stamulius to keep corporations safe from physical or digital threats. CSOs establish security protocols, analyze organizational risks, remedy vulnerabilities, supervise personnel, create business continuity plans, choose IT encryption software, develop employee security training, address security breaches fast, and assist with law enforcement investigations.

How Much Do PhD Emergency Management Online Graduates Earn?

Cheap online emergency management PhD investments can pay off with salaries that rise above the mean doctoral wage of $64,423 on PayScale. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that emergency management directors make an annual mean salary of $78,060, but income skyrockets to $148,060 on average with federal employment. Disaster operations managers bring home a mean $122,090. Chief Security Officers snag top executive pay averaging 194,350. Infectious disease epidemiology jobs have median profits of $77,720. Emergency management professors fall into the "other" category for average income of $73,990. According to Salary.com, emergency services administrators are compensated with a median yearly wage of $135,256. Other careers with high-income averages included campus security director at $90,048, police lieutenant at $87,168, and senior-level safety representative at $95,862.

What is the Hiring Outlook With an Online Emergency Management PhD Degree?

Unemployment after PhD in Emergency Management online study isn't likely since Federal Reserve economic data reports only 1.6 percent of doctoral grads age 25 and over lack jobs. Our scary world needs a frontline of emergency services administrators to coordinate responses to terrorist attacks, mass shootings, wildfires, hurricanes, epidemics, and cyber attacks that are increasing. Protecting organizations is important too since Security Magazine showed a 31 percent jump in small business breaches from 2014 to 2016. Hiring of emergency management directors is expected to grow eight percent from 10,100 to 10,900 U.S. jobs by 2026 according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. Public health demands will spark nine percent growth for 500 more epidemiologists this next decade. Job outlooks also show 10-year growth of 7 percent in criminal justice, 28 percent in information security, nine percent in safety engineering, and 15 percent in higher education teaching. Picking an online PhD in Emergency Management degree outlined above can strengthen crisis leadership skills and open in-demand doors while guarding your bank account from drought.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Explore Similar Programs.

This concludes our ranking of the Top 10 Most Affordable Doctorate in Emergency Management Online.

Additional Resources

See All Posts

GradSchoolHub.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Discover a program that is right for you.

Explore different options for you based on your degree interests.