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Emergency Management and Disaster Recovery


The ability to respond effectively to natural, human-caused and technology-related disasters is essential to keeping populations safe, mitigating losses, and ensuring the continuity of essential services and business operations. Aging infrastructures, climate change, population growth, scarce natural resources, terrorist and active shooter scenarios, and sophisticated cyber-crime all contribute to the rapidly expanding need for individuals who are skilled at preventing, responding, mitigating, and recovering from a wide variety of threats. The Emergency Management and Disaster Recovery Specialized Studies certificate prepares professionals to enter or advance their careers in this rewarding and highly demanding field.

Who Should Enroll

The program is for individuals who wish to enter this exciting field and those already in the field looking to enhance their professional credentials with applicable knowledge and practical skills. The certificate is valuable for government employees, first responders, and private sector professionals who are or wish to become more skilled in emergency management, disaster recovery, and business continuity. The program is also ideal for military personnel transitioning to civilian careers, facilities and human resource managers, professionals who are assigned emergency management duties, and recent college graduates. The program is also valuable for individual citizens who wish to become effective members of an emergency response team.

Career Insight

Occupational summary for Emergency Management Directors in the U.S. Source: Lightcast™ 2022

Annual Job Openings
Projected Growth
Salary for Highly Experienced Professionals
(Median Salary $77k)

“UCI’s specialized study certificate program does a very thorough job of bringing together concepts, working theory, and best practices with instructors that are content experts in the field. The personal network built with class peers and instructors is a program hallmark. The program has provided me a confidence level and credibility among my peers to take advantage of the diverse professional opportunities the field offers.” Mark Ayton
Emergency Management and Disaster Recovery Specialized Studies Program Student

Program Benefits

  • Build skills and knowledge that are essential when preparing, mitigating, responding, and recovering from a wide variety of possible disasters
  • Become an effective member of an emergency response team
  • Have the confidence to take action in a crisis based on established models and practices
  • Learn practical knowledge from experts in the field
  • Create effective response plans for a variety of emergencies and disasters
  • Understand the relationships between local, state, and federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, during a disaster
  • Create hazard and risk analysis plans
  • Create an incident management report to prevent future re-occurrences
  • Enhance your knowledge of risk and threat assessments, prepare emergency plans, manage response, and develop and implement recovery plans
  • Learn how to apply the regulations, standards, and tools that govern emergency management, such as Standard Event Management Systems (SEMS), National Incident Management Systems (NIMS), and the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA 1600) National Preparedness Standard
  • Build a business continuity plan
  • Learn how to reduce and/or eliminate long term risks and hazards

Course Schedule

Required Courses

Principles of Emergency Management (3.00 Units)
Emergency Management: Business Continuity Planning (1.50 Units)
    to be scheduled  
Response & Recovery Management (3.00 Units)
Disaster Mitigation (1.50 Units)
  to be scheduled    
The Social Impacts of Disasters (3.00 Units)
    to be scheduled  

Course schedules are subject to change. Individual courses may be taken without enrolling in the full program.

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Academic Calendar

Event Fall 2023 Winter 2024 Spring 2024 Summer 2024
Registration Begins (after 2pm PT) Jul 13 Oct 19 Jan 18 Apr 18
Courses Begin* (week of) Sep 25 Jan 8 Apr 1 Jun 24
Courses End* (week of) Dec 11 Mar 18 Jun 10 Sep 9
Administrative Holidays Nov 10, Nov 23-24, Dec 25-26, Jan 1-2 Jan 15, Feb 19 Mar 29, May 27 Jun 19, Jul 4, Sep 2

*Actual dates may vary by program.

Learn How To Earn Your Certificate

Earn a Certificate

Apply to become a candidate for the program: A Declaration of Candidacy is required to establish candidacy in this program. Complete the application and pay the application and candidacy fee of $125 (non-refundable). Learn more about the benefits of becoming a candidate. Candidacy is not required to enroll into individual course in a program.

A candidate in the program is awarded a specialized studies certificate upon the successful completion of a minimum of 9 units, each with a letter grade of “C” or better. All requirements must be completed within five (5) years after the student enrolls in their first course. To receive the Certified Digital Certificate after the completing all the program requirements, students must submit the Request for Certificate to initiate the certificate audit process. Students not pursuing the certificate are welcome to take as many individual courses as they wish.

Advisory Committee

  • Michelle Anderson, Deputy Director, Emergency Management Division, County of Orange, Sheriff Department, Emergency Management Division
  • Lily Bui, PhD, Urban Studies & Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Todd De Voe, Director, Emergency Management at Titan Health & Security Technologies, Inc.
  • Mary Jo Flynn-Nevins, MS, CEM, Emergency Operations Coordinator, Sacramento County Office of Emergency Services (SacOES)
  • Justin Mammen, Emergency Response and Security Services Manager, Superior Court of California, County of Orange
  • Jenny Novak, CEM, Director, Emergency Management & Continuity, California State University Long Beach
  • Randy Styner, Director of Emergency Management, University of California, Irvine
  • Bill Wostenberg, CBCP, PMP, Business Continuity Management Consultant & Trusted Advisor

Career Advancement Network (CAN)

We are proud to provide our certificate students and alumni with newly enhanced career services that include one-on-one coaching, technology tools, webinars and workshops, networking events, mentorship/internship opportunities, and a rich collection of free online career resources. Learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much does the program cost?
  • Fees for each course vary from $450 - $725 based on unit value. There is also a non-fundable $125 Application for Candidacy fee for the program. Therefore, the entire program costs $2,875. Note that you pay for each class as you enroll, as opposed to the entire tuition sum at once. Please keep in mind that this cost does not include textbooks, which some of our instructors do require. Textbook information for specific courses can be found on our website on the enrollment page. Students may purchase textbooks from the vendor of their choice. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • How long will it take me to complete the entire program?
  • It depends on how many classes you can take at once. A certificate is awarded upon completion of students must complete a minimum of 9 units (90 hours) of required courses with a grade of “C” or better in each course. Courses are either 3 units and will run for 10 weeks online or 1.5 units and will run for 6 weeks online. We recommend students plan accordingly and enroll into the courses they are interested in as they are only offered once a year. On average you can complete the program in 12 months. Most students who work full time take one or two classes per quarter, depending on their work schedules and other obligations. You can take as many courses as you wish simultaneously, but we strongly recommend starting with one or two to ensure you have the necessary time to devote to the course(s).
  • Do I have to apply and be accepted before I start?
  • No. This is an open-enrollment program, and you will not have to provide transcripts or prove prerequisites before you begin.
  • Where can I find the course schedule? Do I have to take the classes in order?
  • The course schedule can be found be above. You may take the classes in any order that you like. We recommend students plan accordingly and enroll into the courses they are interested in as they are only offered once a year.
  • Can I complete the entire program online?
  • Yes, this is a fully online program.
  • I’ve never taken an online class. How does it work? Is it self-paced?
  • No, the classes are not self-paced. Our online classes take place in an asynchronous online environment, meaning there will not be a day of the week or time of day that you will need to be online. You can log in when you have time to do so. However, the courses are structured week-to-week, from Monday to Sunday, and you are expected to log in multiple times during the week to keep up with class discussions and assignments. Some instructors may hold optional synchronous sessions which happen in real time. These sessions will be recorded and posted in the course for all students to access.
  • I am an international student / I am located overseas – am I able to enroll?
  • Yes. As an open-enrollment program, international students are welcome in the program. Please note that if English is not your native language, enrollment in this program assumes that you have a working proficiency in English to allow you to engage in high-level academic discourse without any additional language coaching. If you are interested in taking the program fully online, you may enroll in courses via the Continuing Education website at your convenience and on a quarter by quarter basis. You are not required to have a student visa while taking online courses from your home county.

    If you wish to apply for an F-1 student visa to study in person at UC Irvine Division of Continuing Education (DCE), you must formally apply to UC Irvine DCE’s International Programs and request an I-20. Please keep in mind that not all evening certificate programs are available to F-1 student visa holders based on the availability of classes that meet on campus. We cannot issue an I-20 for fully online programs. Please visit International Programs or email for more information.
  • Do you offer job placement at the end of the program?
  • No. While UCI DCE does not offer placement services, our certificate certainly puts you in a good position to find employment. Additionally, the networking to be done in the class can also be invaluable. Our advisors, instructors, and a good number of our students, are current professionals in the industry, and are an excellent resource for hiring trends and opportunities.
  • Is UC Irvine Division of Continuing Education an accredited institution?
  • Yes. We are affiliated with the University of California system of schools, and are accredited through WASC. DCE programs are all approved by the respective school within UCI. For more information, please visit UCI Accreditation.
  • What is the “declaration of candidacy”? When do I have to complete it?
  • The declaration of candidacy can be thought of as declaring your major for the certificate program. This lets our student services know that you intend to complete the entire program, and puts you on track for the certificate when you have completed all requirements. We strongly recommend that you complete the declaration of candidacy and pay the applicable fee before enrolling into your third class.
  • Are there scholarships or financial aid available for this program?
  • Since UCI DCE is the continuing education unit of the university, we do not offer/accept any federal financial aid or scholarships. If you take courses through us, you may apply directly to private lenders for funding. It is recommended that you begin the loan application process early as UCI DCE does not enroll students in courses until payment is received, and applying for a loan does not reserve a space in the course. For more information, please visit Student Loan Programs. If you have any questions regarding student loans, please contact Student Services at 949-824-5414. For more financial information, please go to Financial Information.
  • I can’t find the answer to my question.
  • If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact

On-site Training Available

Our Corporate Training specialists can deliver this program or customize one that fits your organization’s specific needs. Visit Corporate Training or call (949) 824-1847 for information.

English Proficiency Requirement
All certificate programs at UCI Division of Continuing Education (classroom and online formats) require professional-level English language proficiency in listening and note-taking, reading comprehension and vocabulary, written expression, and oral presentation.

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