Reducing the impacts of future disasters requires a comprehensive understanding of disaster risk in all its dimensions including vulnerability, capacity, exposure, hazard characteristics and the environment. Understanding how to measure and communicate disaster risk is a core principle for both global disaster risk reduction. Through all phases of disaster management, GIS provides tools and methods to examine and anticipate hazards and risks, protect lifelines, and enhance resilience, while helping to illustrate complex information to improve decision making. Risk analysis provides the factual basis for hazard mitigation planning and disaster risk reduction activities.
In this course, students will learn fundamental concepts, tools, and methodologies for applied GIS analysis and visualization of hazards, risks, and vulnerabilities. The first half of the course provides a hand-on tutorial of ArcGIS Pro, a powerful and industry-leading software for geospatial analysis. Students will benefit from lab assignments and project-based exercises, coupled with readings. The course integrates perspectives from contemporary literature in the physical and social sciences to identify and describe risk, vulnerability, and disaster resilience with empirical data and real-world examples. Students will apply their understanding of course concepts and methods in a semester- long, iterative final project in which they develop a GIS data and analysis to support practical, evidence-based decision-making for emergency and disaster management.
Course #: MPDM-710-01
Dates: Aug 25 – Dec 17, 2021
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 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.
Over the past few decades the humanitarian sector has gone through an extensive transformation. The world in which we operate has changed dramatically as well, which will be central to future changes. From a sub-sector of disaster relief to a billion-dollar humanitarian assistance industry, the work has grown and now crosses many sectors and influences international agendas and geopolitics.
One of the reasons for growth is that our understanding of needs and assistance has grown and become more nuanced. More effective techniques for identifying, preventing, responding to and recovering from crises are available. Unfortunately, as capabilities have expanded, so have the needs of affected populations. Yet the funding to address these needs and prevent future crises is becoming more limited. Innovation and more efficient systems will help but cannot fill the existing gap. Nor can incremental program changes address the challenges that are anticipated to impact our world. Revising best practices is not enough, further transformation is needed.
This class will challenge students to examine the ways in which the work environment is changing and what this means for international humanitarian action, with a special focus on disasters. It is not an operational instruction course, but rather a survey class to introduce students to a broad range of issues and research. Students will gain an understanding of the current humanitarian system and its limitations in addressing crises. Students will explore a cross-section of disaster management systems in other countries, the impacts of conflict and climate, the United States’ Government’s changing role, and a range of topical challenges that face leaders at multiple levels.
Course #: MPDM-660-01
Dates: Aug 25 – Dec 17, 2021
Natural Hazards & Disasters
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 investigates the role of public health and emergency management professionals in planning for and responding to public health (PH) emergencies. Topics covered include: public health law, public health preparedness and response, pandemics/outbreak detection and response, the impact of natural and manmade disasters on community health, disaster epidemiology (post-disaster disease spread) and the psychosocial impact of disasters.
This course also provides perspectives on managing PH emergencies in the developing and “Third” world as well as “First World” environments. Case studies of recent events will be explored as well as analysis of historical public health crises such as Katrina, SARS, H1N1, COVID 19, and major earthquakes/tsunamis. Cases will highlight the challenges that complex disasters have on the health of communities and how these health issues further complicate emergency management efforts.
Course #: MPDM-720-01
Dates: Aug 25 – Dec 17, 2021
Quantitative & Qualitative Methods in Emergency Management
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 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.
This course introduces the students to the emergency management aspects of a terrorist attack. A range of scenarios will be examined, including the challenges associated with chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive hazards. Students will look at the planning challenges from preparedness through to recovery, with comparative analysis to natural disasters to determine the different requirements. Particular focus will be given to real world examples where possible. Terrorism & WMD requires students to examine the elements of a coordinated, multi-jurisdictional, multi-discipline response. When planning against such high impact-low probability scenarios students will explore horizon scanning for threats and countermeasures, risk communication and the use of ICT to support planning and decision making.