This course is primarily focused on the culminating project required to graduate with the Masters of Emergency & Disaster Management degree from Georgetown University. The Capstone course is designed to guide students through the process of integrating the knowledge gained during their EDM coursework into the final requirement of their degree—the Capstone project. The class will assess a student’s ability to conduct research and apply their knowledge to a real-world problem or to a specific issue within the field.
For their Capstone project, students will utilize research skills to identify a topic that meets the approval of the EDM Faculty Director, articulate a research question, propose a thesis, utilize existing literature and arguments, select methods, collect and analyze data, draw conclusions, and make recommendations. Students will work with a dedicated advisor to develop the project, orally present the project to a review committee, present their work at a poster session at SCS, and submit their written Capstone project for final evaluation.
Although the Capstone project is largely self-directed, this course is designed to add structure to the process of completing the project. A foundation in research and methodology will be laid in the early part of the semester but as the course progresses, the student is expected to function independently. The course instructor and the Capstone Advisor will provide guidance and feedback throughout the semester. To ensure each student completes their project on time, elements of the Capstone project will be due and graded throughout the semester.
Enrollment in this course is through application and approval. A minimum final grade of “B” is required in the Capstone course in order to qualify for graduation, regardless of the student’s cumulative GPA. If a student receives a final grade below B in the Capstone course, s/he must retake the course.
The climate is changing, and humans are a main cause. The impacts of climate change will shift the frequency, intensity, duration, and spatial extent of extreme weather events we have seen in the past. However, planning efforts to adapt to climate change and build resilience are still in their early stages. The role of emergency management and disaster risk reduction is often described in the field as critical to efforts to adapt to climate change - yet few communities are successfully demonstrating what it looks like to have emergency and disaster management fully engaged in climate mitigation and preparedness.
The fundamental science behind climate change is well-established, however, uncertainties about both human behavior and downscaling to the time horizon of extreme events will never make perfect climate prediction possible. There are many aspects of resilience that can be improved despite this challenge, and climate science continues to evolve its best practices for using physical and social science to support decisions that require greater precision, including the design of infrastructure. Communities that are successfully planning for climate change are moving past debates on science to equitable engagement that facilitates knowledge sharing across the silos of planning, hazard mitigation, public works, public finance, public health, ecosystem management, and economic development. There is tremendous potential for the perspectives of emergency and disaster management to inform this dialogue and sustain learning for adaptation and resilience building, but this will require transformative approaches that bridge the traditional timescales of EDM, focused on past events, with those of planning, which acknowledge that the weather patterns of yesterday are not the weather patterns of tomorrow.
This class will challenge students to examine how emergency managers and others involved in disaster risk reduction can engage with adapting to and mitigating the consequences of climate change at the local, state, federal, and international levels. It is not an operational instruction course, but rather a survey class intended to introduce students to a broad range of issues, practical research, and the state of practice.
The Ethics course is a core course in all Georgetown SCS MPS programs. Students are introduced to ethical methodologies, principles, values, and frameworks as related to the processes of risk assessment, vulnerability assessment, and consequence prediction and management. Students study discipline- and field-specific codes of ethics within the profession. The course explores the ethical responsibilities all disaster management professionals have to themselves, organizations, the government, and the public. Students will apply an ethical decision-making framework and gain experience in decision-making surrounding ethical issues in disaster management with an all-hazards perspective including aspects of public health engagement. Discussions include ethical situations based on past and current real-world scenarios, including the uncertainty, probability, and consequences of risk assessment and communication, with topic discussions focusing on the ethical issues facing emergency managers. During their final project, students codify an individual code of ethics in relation to professional codes.
Note: Core requirement for MPS-EDM degree. Minimum grade required is "B" to continue eligibility toward graduation.
This course is for emergency and disaster management students interested in learning the many facets of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for emergency management. The unfortunate reality is that emergencies and disasters will continue to proliferate in size, scope, and intensity. More people in diverse geographical contexts will be affected by future emergencies. Given that emergencies are fundamentally spatial in nature, GIS plays a critical role in emergency management. In this course you will learn the conceptual, technological, analytical and representational capacities of GIS as as they apply to the policy and practice of emergency management.
Note that this course is not a comprehensive GIS software training course. Rather, the course has been designed to give you ideas and examples that will show you what GIS is capable of doing for emergency management. You will learn basic geographic data and software skills in order to begin using GIS for emergency management applications. This course will prepare you for further in depth course work on GIS as a standalone subject and/or the application of GIS to your specific emergency management interests.
The emergency and disaster management discipline is increasingly faced with complexity--complexity in crisis situations, politics and policy, social vulnerability and resilience, community perceptions of risk, and more. These complexities can be addressed by collecting, analyzing, and disseminating data and results, and it is important to understand the different research approaches available to researchers and knowledge practitioners. It’s also important to understand the different philosophical assumptions and interpretive foundations that frame our understanding. This course explores quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research approaches, drawing on the interdisciplinary literature that emergency and disaster management draws from. Students will conduct critical evaluations of research design and dissemination, and construct a research proposal for a topic of their choice. This course also explores the many ethical considerations taken when conducting research in the emergency and disaster management discipline.
This course explores natural hazards and the multidimensional aspects surrounding these events that result in disaster. Students will gain an understanding of the underlying physical processes behind hazards, the socioeconomic characteristics that manufacture risk and result in disproportionate impacts on communities, and potential mitigation, response, and recovery strategies. Coincident with case studies and readings on the underlying processes of hazards, the course will explore the topic of societal vulnerability and resilience. Students will learn through case studies, policy readings, and academic literature. Students will apply their knowledge by evaluating best practices and applying the theoretical frameworks covered throughout the course.
This course focuses on the many ways in which socio-cultural features of a community may impact different aspects of disaster planning, response, and recovery. Students learn to integrate these considerations into the planning process and how to incorporate considerations for vulnerable populations. This course also teaches students to recognize and plan for socio-cultural and/or geo-political sensitivities while minimizing unintended social or health consequences.
This course will provide the disaster risk management student with an advanced All-Hazards preparedness view of the complexities of emergency management and disaster response, from local, state, and international/ global perspectives. It grounds students in the historical context and rapidly changing factors impacting Global and U.S. emergency management practices, including theoretical concepts (such as risk, hazard, sustainability, resilience, disaster risk reduction, and climate change adaptation), legal structures, the risk assessment community and their skill sets and core competencies. Students understand the evolution of the emergency management system, environmental public health systems (and opportunity for integration), and public expectations, perceptions, and engagement. By the end of this course, students will demonstrate how to respond to historical and hypothetical scenarios by applying knowledge of hazards, public health considerations, community readiness, and regulations.