Online Master's in Emergency & Disaster Management

Online Course Schedule for Summer 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.

Note: Core requirement for the MPS-EDM degree. Minimum grade required is "B" to continue eligibility toward graduation. Student must be in their final semester and must have completed a minimum of 24 credits in order to register.

  • Course #: MPDM-900-140
  • CRN: 16488
  • Instructor: Barnhart, S.
  • Dates: May 24 – Aug 15, 2021



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.

  • Course #: MPDM-630-140
  • CRN: 18230
  • Instructor: Wood, E.
  • Dates: May 24 – Aug 15, 2021

MPDM-700-140   Canceled

Hazard Economics

This course provides a comprehensive overview of the multi-scalar and multi-dimensional economic aspects of natural and anthropogenic hazards. The course explores hazard economics prior, during, and after a disaster in both the US and across the globe. Topics of discussion include hazard-specific economic impacts and losses, insurance and policies related to risk, the moral hazards of disaster relief, business continuity, critical infrastructure, climate change, and more. Students will gain an understanding of hazard economics through case studies, peer reviewed and non-peer reviewed literature, discussions with their peers, and research centered around an economic aspect within the emergency and disaster management field.

  • Course #: MPDM-700-140
  • CRN: 17074
  • Instructor: Sanders, M.
  • Dates: May 24 – Aug 15, 2021


Hazard Mitigation Planning

Hazard mitigation is vital in enhancing community resilience and sustainability by reducing the risks from natural and anthropogenic hazards. This course explores the theories and concepts of hazard mitigation, with particular attention paid to planning and the planning process employed to develop hazard mitigation plans. Students will become familiar with the legal and policy frameworks around hazard mitigation, the plan documents themselves, and the importance of critically evaluating plans in order to identify opportunities and constraints in implementing mitigation. Coincident with case studies and readings, students will apply their knowledge through online discussions, evaluating hazard mitigation plans, and developing a mock mitigation plan.

Note: This course runs online.

  • Course #: MPDM-690-140
  • CRN: 16485
  • Instructor: Copic, K.
  • Dates: May 24 – Aug 15, 2021


International Humanitarian Disasters

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-660-140
  • CRN: 16551
  • Instructor: Chestnutt, R.
  • Dates: May 24 – Aug 15, 2021


Public Health & Emergency Management

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-720-140
  • CRN: 18233
  • Instructor: Hertelendy, A.
  • Dates: May 24 – Aug 15, 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.

  • Course #: MPDM-680-140
  • CRN: 18223
  • Instructor: Massaro, V.
  • Dates: May 24 – Aug 15, 2021


Socio-Cultural Dimensions

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.

  • Course #: MPDM-670-140
  • CRN: 18231
  • Instructor: Harvin, D.
  • Dates: May 24 – Aug 15, 2021