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Format and Requirements

The Bachelor of Arts Degree in Disaster and Emergency Management is earned completely online. Each class is five weeks long, and the average student finishes their degree in 36 months.

Program Format

BACHELOR OF ARTS IN DISASTER AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENTAn online cohort begins every month. The benefit of a cohort is that you proceed through the program with this same set of students, building relationships and professional bonds with your classmates.

Each class lasts five weeks; a term consists of twenty-five weeks and includes five classes. Ten classes or thirty semester hours can be completed in twelve months.

Degree Requirements

B. A. Disaster and Emergency Management Degree Requirements
Program Requirements:
24 hours of required courses: EM 101, 102, 110, 120, 201, 204, 230 and 495
15 hours from: EM 210, 220, 240, 250, 310, 320, 340, 350, 360, 410, 420, 430, 440, 460, 470, 471, 472, 473, 474, or Concentration in Homeland Security EM 470, 471, 472, 473, or 474
Electives: Hours earned from other Emergency Management courses, Criminal Justice courses, approved transfer credit earned from regionally accredited colleges and universities, the FBI National Academy, FEMA Emergency Management Institute, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center- FLETC, National Academy of Criminal Justice, National Fire Academy, Criminal Justice Academy, South Carolina Fire Academy, or the Southern Police Institute. 55
General Education Requirements:
OL 101, BIO 104, COMM 100, ENG 101, ENG 102, ENG 200, HIS 104, LA 104, MATH 120, PSY 102, REL 104
Total Hours to Earn a Degree 127

I. CORE Program Requirements = 24 s.h.

EM 101 – Introduction to Emergency Management: This course provides an introduction to principles, theory and practice of emergency management at the local, state, national and international levels. The course describes the history of emergency management policies and programs in the United States. It will explore the concepts of preparedness, prevention, response, recovery and mitigation. Natural and technological hazards are introduced and compared with terrorist threats. 3 s.h.

EM 102 – Introduction to Homeland Security: This course provides an introduction to homeland security laws, public policies and programs. It provides an historic overview of terrorism. Topics include the homeland security governmental structure, intelligence, border security, transportation security, cybersecurity, and emergency management for terrorist incidents. 3 s.h.

EM 110 – Psychological and Social Dimensions of Disaster: This course provides an introduction to behavioral and social science research on disasters. The course is an overview of basic concepts and theories relevant for understanding the psychological and social consequences of disasters. Topics include risk perception; risk communication; disaster preparedness and response; the ways in which disasters affect individuals, families and communities; crisis interventions, and recovery processes. 3 s.h.

EM 120 – Introduction to the Science of Hazards: This course will provide an introduction to the sciences related to natural hazards, geological hazards, weather and climate, and technological hazards, including basic concepts in geology, chemistry, biology and climatology. 3 s.h.

EM 201 – Planning for Emergency and Disaster Management: This course explores planning methods for preparing public safety personnel, agencies, organizations and communities for disasters. The purpose for this course is to provide the student with an understanding of emergency operations planning at the municipal, county, state and federal levels, with attention to emergency planning in business, schools and non-governmental organizations. Course topics include laws and policies related to emergency planning, municipal and county emergency planning, state emergency planning, emergency support functions, mutual aid and the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, federal emergency planning: the Federal Response Framework, Recovery Framework and related doctrine. 3 s.h.

EM 204 – Communication Skills for Emergency Management: This course will provide an overview of the principles and practices of risk communication, with emphasis on public information during disasters. This course examines the latest theory, practice, and innovative approaches for handling crisis communications. Case studies will illustrate successes and failures in risk communication, crisis management, and provision of public information in each phase of emergency management. 3 s.h.

EM 230 – Introduction to Public Administration: This course provides an introduction to the operations of government. The course will begin with an examination of the historical and theoretical perspectives of the study of administration and will then focus on leadership and organization in the public sector. Included will be the study of budgeting, personnel, legal, and oversight areas of administration. 3 s.h.

EM 495 – Leadership in Emergency Management Organizations: TThis course will establish the hierarchy of effective leadership roles and responsibilities for effective management of emergency services organizations to include ethical and legal responsibilities. 3 s.h.

II. 5 CORE electives = 15 s.h.

EM 210. Community Resiliency, Recovery and Mitigation: This course explores the concepts of community resiliency, social constructs of disaster, recovery and mitigation through discussion of policies, practices, research, theory and case studies. It will address social, economic, cultural and political dimensions of recovery and mitigation. Factors that promote community resiliency will be discussed. 3 s.h.

EM 220 – Introduction to Geographic Information Systems: This course will provide an overview of geographic information systems and their applications for emergency management. Geographic information is essential for all phases of emergency management. The course will examine applications in planning, data analysis, modeling, operations, logistics and situation awareness. 3 s.h.

EM 240 – Statistics and Research Methods: This course provides an overview of social science statistical and research methods related to emergency management. The course covers descriptive statistics, introductory survey and sampling methods and basic experimental design. Concepts will be illustrated through critical review of emergency management research studies. 3 s.h.

EM 250 – Disasters and Public Health: Each type of disaster poses a range of threats to human health. This survey course provides an overview of the public health consequences of natural disasters, technological disasters and terrorism and the preparedness and response measures for addressing health consequences. Attention is given to the public health and hospital preparedness programs instituted in the United States to prepare for emergencies. 3 s.h.

EM 310 – Terrorism in the Modern World. This course provides an overview of terrorism and perspectives on why individuals participate in terrorism. Counterterrorism policies are examined in an international context. Options for countering terrorism are reviewed and analyzed. The course incorporates risk analysis and threat assessments based on modern world terrorism and potential threats. 3 s.h.

EM 320 – Weapons of Mass Destruction: This course presents an overview of the modes and methods of weapons of mass destruction including chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive weapons. Homeland security doctrine is reviewed. Considerations for preparedness and emergency response are described. 3 s.h.

EM 340 – Hazard Modeling: This course will examine methods and techniques for modeling hazards. It will provide an introduction to SLOSH modeling of hurricane effects, HAZUS models for impact and loss estimation, and other hazard models used for planning, response and mitigation. 3 s.h.

EM 350 – Risk Analysis and Threat Assessment: This course provides a framework for risk analysis and threat assessment that may be applied to natural and manmade disasters. This course examines principles and practices in risk management and insurance and their implications for disaster preparedness and recovery. Topics will include risk analysis, strategies for risk management, types of insurance, coverage of disaster-related losses, and implications for corporate resilience. 3 s.h.

EM 360 – Homeland Security Law and Public Policy: This course will review homeland security law and public policy. Topics include constitutional law; individual rights; political processes; roles and responsibilities of local, state and federal government; and laws and policies related to border security, immigration, intelligence and cybersecurity. 3 s.h.

EM 410 – Public Safety Theory and Application: This course focuses on the theoretical approach to public safety and the responses to emergency situations. 3 s.h.

EM 420 – Management of Human Resources: This course provides the framework for understanding human resources administration for effective leadership in emergency management. 3 s.h.

EM 430 – Strategic Planning: This course teaches principles and practices for strategic planning in the public sector. It addresses the broader issues of successful management in public organizations, including governmental organizational structures, funding mechanisms, and management issues. 3 s.h.

EM 440 – Financial Management: This course will review basic fiscal responsibilities and requirements for effective management of organizations including grant acquisition, payroll, and liability and budget issues. 3 s.h.

EM 460 – International Disaster Response: This course examines emergency management from a cross-cultural perspective that compares countries’ approaches to disaster response. The course will highlight organizations engaged in international disaster assistance and their roles in each phase of emergency management. 3 s.h.

EM 471 – Terrorist Organizations: Structure and Operations: This course is designed to provide students a broad understanding of terrorist organizations, their motivations, and methods of operation. History of terrorism, current movements and organizations (both domestic and transnational groups) will be covered. Emphasis will be placed on terrorist use of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons of mass destruction. 3 s.h.

EM 472 – Terrorist Threat Assessment: Critical Infrastructure protection is one of the cornerstones of homeland security. The National Strategy for Protection of Critical Infrastructure and Key Assets lists 11 sectors that need threat assessment: Water, Power & Energy, Information & Telecommunications, Chemical Industry, Transportation, Banking & Finance, Defense Industry, Postal & Shipping, Agriculture & Food, Public Health, and Emergency Services. This course focuses attention on only the most fundamental critical infrastructures. This course develops a network theory of vulnerability analysis and risk assessment called “model-based vulnerability analysis” used to extract the critical nodes from each sector, model the nodes’ vulnerabilities by representing them in the form of a fault tree, and then applying fault and financial risk reduction techniques to derive the optimal strategy for protection of each sector. At the completion of the course, students will be able to apply the model-based vulnerability technique to any critical infrastructure within their multi-jurisdictional region, and derive optimal strategies and draft policies for prevention of future terrorist attacks.

EM 473 – Emergency Management of Epidemics and Bioterrorism: This course reviews history, laws, and public policies related to public health preparedness and emergency management. The course will cover preparedness and response measures for epidemic disease, biological warfare and bioterrorist acts. Center for Disease Control categories for bioterrorism agents and their traits are reviewed. Government preparedness measures to deal with epidemics, including pandemic influenza, and bioterrorism will be addressed with emphasis on surveillance and response. 3 s.h.

EM 474 – Response to Explosive Devices and Incidents: This course is designed to prepare emergency responders to perform effectively and safely during bombing incidents at all locations at an incident scene, including the hot (kill) zone. The course includes detailed instruction on Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), explosive materials and explosive effects; and comprehensive training on critical response actions during pre- and post‐detonation operations. In addition, the course addresses actions that emergency responders can take to prevent and/or deter terrorist attacks involving energetic materials.

EM 475 – Homeland Security Measures: This course provides an overview of the essential ideas that constitute the emerging discipline of homeland security. It has two central objectives: to expand the way participants think, analyze and communicate about homeland security; and to assess knowledge in critical homeland security knowledge domains: including strategy, history, terrorism, fear management, crisis communication, conventional and unconventional threats, network leadership, weapons of mass destruction, lessons learned from other nations, civil liberties and security, intelligence and information, homeland security technology, and analytics. The course is organized around an evolving narrative about what homeland security leaders need.

II. General Electives = 55 hours

from previous college credit, training courses, military courses, CEU’s, CLEE’s, courses within the Criminal Justice program, other online courses offered by Columbia College, and/or approved transfer credit = 55 s.h.

III. CORE General Education Requirements = 33 hours

English 101 – Analytical Thinking, Writing, and Research I: This course prepares students for academic writing at the college level with special attention to exposition and argument. Students learn to focus, organize, support, and develop their ideas and to provide proper attribution for secondary sources. Individual sections of this course will focus on a particular theme – such as the family, education, pop culture, gender, ethnography, or film. 3 s.h.

English 102 – Analytical Thinking, Writing and Research II: (Prerequisite: English 101) This course provides students with opportunities to hone the writing skills learned in English 101; to recognize the rhetorical strategies applied by scholars in one or more disciplines; and to research, synthesize, and incorporate scholarly sources into the students’ own arguments. 3 s.h.

English 200 – Survey of World Literature: (Prerequisite: English 101 and 102) A course designed to help the student appreciate literature as human experience and art. Selections from various periods, nationalities, and genres will serve as text materials. 3 s.h.

Biology 104 – Environmental Science with Lab: Investigation of the interrelationships between the biotic and abiotic environments which form the natural world. Topics include structure and function of ecosystems, the causes and consequences of human population growth, environmental pollution, and the importance of balancing utilization and conservation of natural resources. 3 s.h.

Communication 100 – Introduction to Oral Communication: Introduction to the fundamentals of effective oral communication with emphasis on informative and persuasive speaking, and group communication and leadership. 3 s.h

History 104 – Contemporary World History-Post 1945: This course considers the history of the world since 1945. Topics to be explained include, but are not limited to, the Cold War, the end of colonial empires, the rise of Islamic nationalism and fundamentalism, the creation and growth of the European Union, the United States as a superpower, the rise of China, and the fall of the Soviet Empire. 3 s.h.

Math 120 – Liberal Arts Mathematics: This course covers basic topics in quantitative literacy. Numbers, sets, logic, probability, and descriptive statistics are the core concepts. Additional topics such as financial mathematics, geometry, and algebraic modeling may be included at the discretion of the instructor. All topics will be placed in both historical and present-day contexts. Problem solving, communication skills, and applications will be emphasized. 3 s.h.

Psychology 102 – Introduction to Psychology: An introduction to the field of psychology and the psychological study of human behavior. Topics may include research methods in psychology, biological bases for behavior, perception, learning and cognition, motivation and emotion, personality, social bases of behavior, psychological disorder, and psychological treatment. 3 s.h.

Religion 104 – Contemporary Cultures and World Views: This course is designed to help the student identify the diverse cultures and worldviews in today’s society, develop an ability to assess the local cultures, and acquire an ability to respond to different cultures from a theistic perspective. This course will introduce the student to philosophical thought reflected in contemporary culture. Philosophies such as Postmodernism, Secular Humanism, Cosmic Humanism, Christianity, and Islam are investigated in light of their contributions to the major institutions of modern society. 3 s.h.

Liberal Arts 104 – Fine Arts in the Modern World: This course examines the human interactions between the artist, audience, and the work of art in a study focused upon the application of art forms such as theater, film, visual arts, music, architecture, and dance. 3 s.h

Online Learning 101 – Orientation to Online Learning: This course prepares adult learners for the online learning experience. It provides an overview of the Virtual Campus and a tutorial on the learning system. The Online Library is introduced. The Student Handbook is reviewed to explore the requirements and expectations of the program. Student strengths and weaknesses are assessed to establish a baseline for supporting successful online learning. 3 s.h.

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