This dynamic two-year interdisciplinary degree is dedicated to educating both existing and aspiring disaster and emergency management professionals. In this program, you will learn how to support communities at risk and how to increase their resilience to the variety of hazards they may face, both now and in the future.
The program emphasizes an integrated and holistic approach to disaster and emergency management built on the understanding that disasters are more than hazards, and are products of the inter-relationship and mutual construction of the environmental, social, economic, and political spheres.
The MA in Disaster and Emergency Management program is a two-year interdisciplinary degree dedicated to educating both aspiring and existing disaster and emergency management professionals. The program explores the theoretical foundations of disaster and emergency management as a growing field of practice and study. The program emphasizes an integrated and holistic approach to disaster and emergency management built on the understanding that disasters are more than hazards, and are products of the inter-relationship and mutual construction of the environmental, social, economic, and political spheres. This approach supports the notion that disaster and emergency management processes and practices can and should contribute to risk reduction, community resilience and sustainable communities.
A one-year Graduate Diploma in Disaster and Emergency Management is also offered.
The majority of this program is experienced through online learning. Online courses enable you to meet the demands of work and family while studying. Using our web-based learning platform, you will access your reading materials, complete individual and group assignments, and engage with the rest of your classmates and instructors; online from anywhere. Each online course will be nine weeks in length, with a two-week break between courses.
During the course of your two-year program, you will attend two, two-week on-campus residencies. Here you’ll interact face-to-face with your instructors, cohort and team. You’ll have set class hours as well as homework and meetings outside of class hours, making this an intensive and rewarding time.
During the first year of study, all students will take the same set of courses. During the second year, students can select from the following options:
Students taking the thesis track will be required to take a second research course during their second residency.
Students taking the course-based track will be able to continue their studies online during the second year, choosing from a suite of electives designed to appeal to students in all three Humanitarian Studies graduate programs.
Course-based track with internship
Within the course-based track, students may choose to take a 6-credit internship. Students who choose an internship will gain field experience. This experiential learning will help students apply their theoretical knowledge by demonstrating their ability in a real-world setting and documenting their experiences.
Royal Roads University works with an outcomes-based learning model. Learning outcomes are clear, plain language descriptors of knowledge and performance tasks that students demonstrate in order to successfully complete a program.
Within the MA in Disaster and Emergency Management, there are five key learning outcome domains:
Professional Skills & Practice
Using learning outcomes helps to clarify a program’s focus, helps students connect their program to their workplace, provides a focus for assessment/evaluation, and helps employers understand the benefits of the program.
Who it’s for
This degree is designed for existing and aspiring disaster management and emergency services professionals. Many students come from the fields of government, emergency management, healthcare, education, NGOs, military, police, fire and community planning.
Applicants who do not have the formal academic education to qualify for admission may be assessed on the basis of both their formal education and their informal learning, in accordance with the Flexible Admission Process. Applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis. For more information, please visit our Admissions Requirements page.
Four year (or comparable) undergraduate degree in a relevant and related field*, with a minimum GPA of 'B+' (3.33/4.33), from a recognized post-secondary institution
* Relevant and related fields are defined by each program based on disciplinary and/or professional practices. Applicants are required to address how they consider their academic education to be relevant and related to their desired program of study within the personal statement questions.
Applicants who meet the degree requirement, but not the GPA requirement, will be required to have a minimum of 5 years of relevant* professional experience.
Applicants without an undergraduate degree will normally require 10 years of work experience, with a minimum of two years of relevant* professional experience in a leadership or management position**, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
All flexible admission applicants will be required to complete “Academic Writing and Critical Thinking" several weeks prior to starting the program and obtain a minimum B+ (77%).
* Each program, based on disciplinary and/or professional practices, defines what is considered relevant professional experience. Applicants are required to address how/why they consider their respective supervisory (and overall work experience) to be relevant and related to their desired program of study within the personal statement questions.
** Experience in a leadership or management position is considered on the basis of a holistic review of career progression, which demonstrates increasing competency and/or responsibility. This can include but is not limited to, supervisory functions, signing responsibilities, contributions to organisational change, and/or implementation of organisational vision and mission. Applicants are required to address how they consider their work experience to meet these requirements within the personal statement
English Language Proficiency
If English is not your primary language, please review our English Language Requirements.
Apply a holistic and interdisciplinary approach to the DEM field of study and practice.
Examine and situate one’s own personal beliefs.
Demonstrate openness to ideas and actions.
Evaluate evidence, its sources, meanings and intentions.
Identify, select, and sort relevant information in order to be able to describe, draw inferences, synthesize and validate that information.
Identify and explain the ethical dimensions of professional conduct and practice.
Critically reflect on the impacts and consequences of decisions and resulting actions.
Articulate ideas and arguments effectively in oral and written formats.
Demonstrate competence in interpersonal and intercultural communication skills.
Critically analyze the influence of new, emergent and collaborative technologies on the DEM field of practice.
Select and employ different communication mediums based on an assessment of situation and context.
Illustrate the use and limitations of knowledge and theory in the field to professional DEM practice.
Identify and explain the core concepts and constructs of research.
Contribute to knowledge in the field of study or practice using systematic and recognized research design and methods.
Critically evaluate the rigour and validity of information and academic materials.
Recognize gaps in professional knowledge and seek out information to address deficiencies.
Analyze historic and contemporary evolution of how societies have come to understand the relationships between hazards and disasters.
Differentiate, assess and apply the theoretical foundations of disaster and emergency management as an evolving field of study and practice.
Examine key factors (e.g. social, political, and economic) that impact how hazards and disasters are perceived, experienced and acted on or managed.
Identify and assess the barriers and opportunities for applying theory to practice.
Explain and analyze the historic and contemporary norms, values, principles, and policy and legal frameworks guiding disaster and emergency management practice in domestic and international contexts.
Compare and analyze the connections and relationships among disaster and emergency management, disaster risk reduction, sustainable development, and climate change adaptation activities.
Identify and analyze a range of models (e.g. decision making) and frameworks for enhancing resilience, reducing risk and managing disasters in local, regional and international contexts.
Identify and explain the implications of stress for self, disaster and emergency management professionals, other stakeholders and populations.
Professional skills & practices
Identify stakeholders relevant to DEM activities and develop collaborative processes that account for various interests, needs, capacities and capabilities.
Facilitate group processes, taking into account the influence of personal styles and interpersonal dynamics on decision-making and group interactions.
Employ outcome-based planning that incorporates shared values, long-term orientation and strategic perspectives.
Select or develop a range of disaster management strategies that:
Integrate analysis of risk and resilience;
Account for variance across and within population groups and contexts;
Incorporate monitoring and evaluation.
Analyze, monitor and evaluate complex DEM problems and situations.
Facilitate and/or lead decision-making and adaptive planning in anticipation of and in response to rapidly changing, uncertain and complex environments.
Analyze and integrate ethical implications in decision-making and planning processes.
DEMNSOL: Student Orientation to Learning
HUMSIP: Internship Preparation and Career Management Skills
ITAI: Introduction to Academic Integrity
CPWB500: Foundations: Reframing Child Wellbeing in Complex Global Realities
DEMN502: Foundations in Disaster and Emergency Management
DEMN503: Facilitation, Coordination and Decision Making in Multi-Stakeholder Environments
DEMN504: Human Dimensions of Disasters
DEMN552: Hazard and Disaster Risk Management
DEMN553: Disaster Response and Sustainable Recovery
HUMS551: Foundations of Research
PJMN501: Managing Complex Projects
DEMN601: Disaster and Emergency Management Planning: From Policy to Practice
DEMN602: Advanced Professional Practice: Planning for Resilience in an Age of Uncertainty
HUMS611: Intercultural Competence
HUMS630: Advanced Research Methods
HUMS641: Foundations of Policy and Practice in Humanitarian Action
HUMS642: Psychosocial Interventions: Managing Stress, Trauma, and Loss
HUMS643: Ethnopolitical Conflicts in the Canadian Context
HUMS651: Case Studies in Humanitarian Action: Advanced Policy and Practice
HUMS652: Adaptive Management for Complex Humanitarian Problems in the 21st Century
HUMS653: Environmental and Resource-Based Conflict Management
HUMS661: Risk and Crisis Communication
HUMS662: Professional Practice in Conflict and Change Management
HUMS671: Transdisciplinarity in Practice
HUMS672: Public Images of Justice and Fairness
HUMS673: Indigenous Perspectives on Humanitarianism
HUMS674: Glade Report Writing
HUMS691: Short Paper
Financial Aid & Awards
The Financial Aid & Awards team is here to provide information and support on a variety of funding sources and award opportunities, starting with a video that introduces the comprehensive details you’ll find on this website and in our blog.
View a summary of government assistance programs for those affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Learn more...
Financial planning is a crucial component of early educational planning. Please review funding opportunities well before your program begins to help build a reasonable budget.
Explore the various types of loans available to help fund your studies. Learn more...
Explore a variety of competitively awarded scholarships, awards, and bursaries available from RRU and other funding agencies. Learn more...
RRU manages the scholarship administration for select funding agencies. These are some of the more substantial awards. Learn more...
Discover alternate funding opportunities like Highbred Points. Learn more...