Emergency and Disaster Management Degree

Emergency and Disaster Management Degree at Harper College

Earn your degree in emergency and disaster management

Career options  Liberal Arts icon

  • Compliance
  • Disaster management
  • Emergency services
  • Planning

Prepare for a career in emergency and disaster management with this 61-credit-hour degree program. You’ll develop the skills and knowledge needed to secure full-time employment in emergency management roles at local, state and federal levels. This program will prepare you for a job as emergency manager specialist, emergency services manager, emergency management planner, emergency operations director, environmental compliance planner or emergency disaster coordinator.

Take classes in emergency management, ideologies of terrorism, hazardous materials, incident management systems, social dimensions of disaster, hazard analysis and mitigation, international disaster management and more. You’ll get hands-on experience training in Harper College’s on-site lab, which enables you to walk through realistic emergency scenarios, use communication equipment and practice working in different roles within a chain of command.

AAS degree program requirements

This 61 credit-hour program is intended to meet the needs of men and women in emergency management roles at the local, state and federal levels in order to advance in the emergency management career field. Opportunities for graduates include Emergency Manager Specialist, Emergency Services Manager, Emergency Management Planner, Emergency Operations Director, Environmental Compliance Planner, and Emergency Disaster Coordinator.

F = Fall only course S = Spring only course U = Summer only course


A grade of C or better in all EMG courses is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
EMG 101  F   3 Program Requirement

Description: Provides a foundation overview of emergency management. Students will examine the need for emergency management, processes and elements involved in disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

EMG 253  F   3 Program Requirement

Description: Examines the various analytical approaches to the study of terrorism. Students will be exposed to the ideologies and composition of known terrorist groups, review terrorist tactics and examine police and governmental responses to reduce or eliminate the incidence of terrorism.

ENG 101 3 Communications

Description: Emphasizes the writing of expository prose. Introduction to the critical reading of nonfiction prose. IAI C1 900

Prerequisite: ENG 100 with a grade of C or better. Other placement options. ENG_Placement_Grid.pdf ESL students need one of the following options: ESL 073 and ESL 074 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 086 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 099 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 with required writing placement test score; or ESL 074 with required reading placement test score.

FIS 132 3 Program Requirement

Description: Reviews basic chemistry, storage, handling, laws, standards and fire fighting practices pertaining to hazardous materials. Emphasis on identification, labeling, handling, firefighting, and mitigation of hazardous materials emergencies. Students who wish to satisfy the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshall Certificate Requirements must successfully complete this course as well as the required practical skills evaluation prior to taking the state examination by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (A.H.J.).

Mathematics1 3 Mathematics


A grade of C or better in all EMG courses is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
EMG 103  S   3 Program Requirement

Description: Presents differences in personal values and interpersonal influence styles, and to apply situational leadership behaviors in emergency management. The course content reinforces existing management skills required for building an emergency management system.

EMG 107  S   3 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces students to the Emergency Management System and elements involved which include incident command, unified command, and incident action planning. Emergency management systems which will be examined will include the Incident Command System (ICS) and the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Managing post incident critiques and evaluations also will be explored.

EMG 155  S   3 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces students to the various aspects of sociology and recovery from disasters. Topics will include aspects of a disaster such as behavioral and organizational responses to disasters as well as the impact of the media. Students will study the concept of building a disaster-resistant community. This course will also cover topics related to terrorism such as a terrorist sociological analysis, the dimension of terrorism.

Prerequisite: EMG 101 with a grade of C or better.

PSY 101 3 Social and Behavioral Science

Description: Investigates human and animal behavior with emphasis on the scientific nature of contemporary and classic psychological investigation. Emphasizes psychological theories, principles, and research applications. Introduces the divisions of the American Psychological Association. References biological processes, sensation, perception, learning, memory, thinking, emotional life, mental disorders, intelligence, aptitude, personality, development, daily life and everyday problems. IAI S6 900

SPE 101 3 Communications

Description: Theory and practice of oral communications. Development of poise, confidence and skill in speech organization and delivery. Emphasis on frequent speaking, development of standards of criticism and selection and organization of material. IAI C2 900


A grade of C or better in all EMG courses is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
EMG 150  F   3 Program Requirement

Description: Provides students with the necessary skills and knowledge in public information, education, community relations, communications and involved elements including writing, public speaking, and understanding the media. The course content will also introduce concepts of volunteer program utilization and maintenance.

EMG 153  F   3 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces students to various means of hazard analysis used to prioritize response activities, allocate resources, and specifically request other resources to save and sustain lives. Students will examine the need for mitigation programs and discuss the appropriate methods to implement various mitigation programs.

Prerequisite: EMG 101 with a grade of C or better.

EMG 201  F   3 Program Requirement

Description: Examines globally how disasters are on the increase, impacting communities and nations with grave social and economic consequences. Studies the international response to disasters which is convoluted, at times chaotic, and always complex. Students will learn about shifting socio-economic situations, unplanned urbanization, environmental degradation, climate variability and change, geological hazards, and the struggle for scarce natural resources. Because disasters increasingly impact the global economy and the sustainable development of developing countries, the student will learn how to apply international emergency disaster management.

Prerequisite: EMG 101 with a grade of C or better.

Humanities+ 3 Humanities
Natural Science2 3 Natural Science


A grade of C or better in all EMG courses is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
EMG 299 1 Program Requirement

Description: Provides practical emergency management experience in a supervised professional setting focused on the integration of theory and practice. Actual experience in various phases of emergency management will be provided through mutually agreed upon cooperative projects with government and industry.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in EMG 205, EMG 251 and EMG 253 with grades of C or better.

Electives3 12 Program Requirement
FIS 260 3 Program Requirement

Description: Provides a foundation of knowledge and understanding of safety as applied to emergency services. Examines the need for safety in the everyday performance of all aspects of their jobs and gain an understanding of the essential elements needed to reduce accidents and injuries.

1 - Students must take at least three credit hours in a mathematics course at the level of MTH 080 or above, or MGT 150 (Business Math).

+ - Students need to choose a course to meet this requirement that also fulfills the World Cultures and Diversity graduation requirement. See full list of AAS General Education Electives.

2 - See full list of AAS General Education Electives.

3 - Select at least 12 credit hours from the following courses: EMG 131, EMG 151(F), EMG 205(S), EMG 231, EMG 251(S), FIS 121, FIS 230(F), FIS 250(S), FIS 270(S).

Program learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this program will be able to:

  • Evaluate and analyze simple and complex, natural and man-made disasters.
  • Collaborate with other officials in order to prepare and analyze damage assessment following a disaster incident.
  • Conduct surveys to determine the types of emergency-related needs in local disaster planning.
  • Coordinate disaster response or crisis management activities, such as ordering evacuations and open shelters.
  • Direct emergency response teams and provide on-site investigations.
  • Develop and perform tests and evaluations of emergency management plans in accordance with state and federal regulations.
  • Administer public emergency recovery programs.
  • Design and administer emergency/disaster training programs to the general public.
  • Understand federal, state, county and local regulations and details that affect emergency response and disaster control.
  • Inspect facilities and equipment, such as emergency response centers and communications equipment for readiness.
  • Effectively communicate within and outside the organization, in both written and oral formats.

Related programs

Students interested in emergency and disaster management may also be interested in:


Next steps

For more information about emergency management training at Harper, contact Admission Outreach at 847.925.6700, or submit a request information form. You can also apply online.