Emergency Planning and Management, B.S.
Adult Professional Studies

As the only major in EPM in this region, Immaculata’s emergency planning and management bachelor’s degree-completion program is recognized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Available 100% Online


You see the headlines every day… environmental disaster, terrorism, natural disasters, pandemics, who will lead the nation? Who will answer the call and lead the charge? Emergency managers. The Bachelor of Science in emergency planning and management prepares you to plan for, manage, and respond to today’s increasingly complex disasters.

The curriculum in the emergency management and management program helps teach you practical skills that can make you an asset to organizations planning for emergencies. You’ll use data from real crises in assignments and projects and practice making executive-level decisions, so you can apply what you’re learning to the field of crisis management right away.

Career Opportunities

The median annual wage for emergency management directors was $74,420 in May 2018.

Employment of emergency management directors is projected to grow 5 percent from 2018 to 2028, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The importance of preparing for and minimizing the risks from emergencies will help sustain demand and employment for these workers.

The B.S. in emergency planning and management will prepare you to establish or grow your career in a variety of industries and settings that focus on emergency rescue and response including: homeland security, hospitals, municipal emergency management, county emergency management, safety management, intelligence analysis, private security, airports, state and local law enforcement, federal law enforcement, customs investigators, special agents, military service and border security and patrol.

Credit for Prior Learning

You may obtain college credit for learning through life experience. Military training and education, technical and professional programs, and testing through exams such as CLEP or DANTES (Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support) are acceptable ways of earning college credits for prior learning. Each student’s experiences are handled on a case-by-case basis.

Course Preview

Principles of Emergency Management

This course provides the scope, objectives, and principles of emergency management; preparedness, including prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery strategies as well as roles of federal, state and local emergency management agencies, and private agencies. Learners will also be able to explain how various emergency management services work together in a system of resources and capabilities.

Risk Analysis & Threat Assessment

This course prepares emergency response managers to conduct a comprehensive, capabilities-based threat and risk assessment for terrorism/all-hazards incidents under the National Response Framework and National Preparedness Guidelines. Learners will identify shortfalls, perform gap analysis and develop a needs assessment to fill shortfalls/gaps identified within the preparedness cycle.

Human Dimension Communications Planning of Disaster Management

This course prepares emergency managers to consider the human dimensions of disaster, and to operate effectively with the public and media concerning a variety of threats to community wellbeing. Students will understand and learn to develop strategies for community-based planning ,communicating and negotiating with the public, and managing conflict.

Emergency Management Systems

Examination of the emergency management practices used during an emergency situation by responders, particularly the structure and responsibilities of the Incident Command System (IC S), the management of facilities and resource identification. National Incident Management System (NIMS) principles are also discussed and applied.

Legal Aspects Emergency management

An overview of the major legal and liability issues in emergency management. The focus is on the legal environment within which emergency managers operate, including their roles in rule-making, policy administration, contract law and their potential personal legal liability for discretionary actions.


The culminating academic experience for the learners, drawing on the foundational information from earlier courses in law, budgeting research, technology, threat assessment and risk analysis and business continuity in the production of a comprehensive emergency management plan that meets state and federal standards.

View Full Curriculum

Completion of 126 credits
A cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above on a 4.0 scale

LIBERAL ARTS CORE — 36 CREDITS (15 fulfilled by major)

  • Composition (Writing) (3 credits satisfied by ENG 242) – 6 credits
  • Natural & Physical World (Lab Science) – 3 credits
  • Quantitative Reasoning (Mathematics) (3 credits satisfied by ORBH 325) – 3 credits
  • Human Creativity (Art, Literature, Music) – 3 credits
  • Social Consciousness (Sociology, Psychology, Economics) – 3 credits
  • Historical Consciousness (History) – 3 credits
  • Global Society (Foreign Language/Culture) (3 credits satisfied by CCS 341) – 3 credits
  • Pursuit of Faith (Religion, Theology) (3 credits satisfied by THE 381 or THE335) – 6 credits
  • Pursuit of Wisdom (Philosophy) (3 credits satisfied by PHI 384) – 6 credits


  • BUS 366 Leadership Dynamics – 3 credits
  • BUSL 378 Team Leadership and Coaching – 3 credits
  • EPM 301 Principles of Emergency Planning & Management – 3 credits
  • EPM 303 Emergency Management Systems – 3 credits
  • EPM 315 Legal Aspects of Emergency Management – 3 credits
  • EPM 310 Risk Analysis and Threat Assessment – 3 credits
  • EPM 312 Public Sector Accounting & Finance – 3 credits
  • EPM 350 Human Dimensions: Communications Planning & Disaster Management – 3 credits
  • EPM 390 Capstone: Emergency Planning and Project Management – 3 credits
  • HRM 311 Human Resource Management – 3 credits
  • ORBH 315 Capstone Proposal Design – 3 credits
  • ORBH 325 Research and Analysis Using Statistics – 3 credits
  • POL 354 Government Structures for Crisis Management – 3 credits
  • ENG 242 Writing for Applied Research – 3 credits
  • PHI 384 Organizational Ethics – 3 credits
  • THE 335 Christian Faith in Action – 3 credits
  • CCS 341 Cultural Modes of Expression – 3 credits

ELECTIVES — 54 credits
TOTAL — 126 credits

Emergency Planning and Management Advisory Board

Immaculata’s Emergency Planning and Management program advisory board utilizes the expertise of its members to provide strategic advice that helps guide the development and administration of the program. Our board offers valuable guidance to help ensure that our program offerings fulfill the needs of the profession. Our advisors volunteered to work pro bono because they recognize the benefits of our bachelor’s degree for emerging leaders in emergency management. Their advice is non-binding and they bear no legal responsibilities with the institution.

Board Members

Robert P. French
Major General (Retired), U.S. Army

Former Director of PEMA, PA Emergency Management Agency

The culminating point of Major General (Ret.) Robert P. French’s long service to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was his service as director of the Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and simultaneously as the governor’s Homeland Security Advisor from 2007 to 2011. He also served in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard from 1972 through 2009, retiring at the rank of major general.

General French served in a variety of key positions while in the Headquarters State Area Command, including director of personnel, chief of staff for the Headquarters State Area Command, Joint Force Headquarters deputy commander, and assistant adjutant general. During his service, one of his primary responsibilities was to ensure that guard units were ready for emergency services throughout the Commonwealth.

General French earned his baccalaureate degree in education from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College. He also earned several related government and military certificates in leadership, logistics, and management.

Throughout his career, he has received numerous meritorious and service awards, including the Distinguished Service Medal, the Pennsylvania Distinguished Service Medal and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.

General French remains involved in a number of professional and civic organizations. He continues his service to the nation as a civilian aide to the secretary of the army.

Dennis Dougherty 
Director of the Department of Campus Safety and Protection, Immaculata University

Dennis Dougherty manages the daily operations of campus safety, directs security at large-scale campus events and is responsible for the institution’s emergency management and planning efforts. He coordinates the University’s annual tabletop exercises and is a member of the exercise planning team with facilitators from the Chester County Department of Emergency Services.

Prior to coming to Immaculata University, Dougherty was employed by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Regional Task Force where he served as the task force’s law enforcement liaison and coordinated the purchase of emergency response equipment for first responders in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties. He worked closely with city and county emergency management representatives to ensure compliance with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency’s (PEMA) guidelines and with the Department of Homeland Security’s Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grant requirements.

Dougherty served with the Pennsylvania State Police for 26 years, retiring at the rank of captain. For nine years, he was the officer in charge of a state police station in Chester County, managing the daily operations of 60 state troopers and support staff. As a station commander, Dougherty collaborated with schools, community groups, and emergency response agencies in incident response and crisis management. During his career with the state police, he managed the department’s criminal intelligence section, instructed at the State Police Academy, supervised a criminal investigation unit, and investigated the distribution/sale of illegal drugs.

Dougherty received a Bachelor of Science in administration of justice from Shippensburg University and a master’s degree in business administration for Drexel University. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy law enforcement executive program and the Pennsylvania State University police executive development program.

In addition to extensive law enforcement training, he has completed several FEMA training courses including multi-hazard planning for higher education (L363).

Heather Morgan
Training and Exercise Coordinator, Montgomery County Department of Public Safety

Heather Morgan is responsible for the design, development, and implementation of a variety of training exercises and whole community disaster drills which are designed to test the capabiities and capacities of the Department and emergency stakeholders in Montgomery County.

Morgan has worked for the Chester County Department of Emergency Services (CCDES) and the Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency as their finance and grants coordinator. As the Training and Exercise Coodinator for CCDES, she managed PEMA certifications for county and municipal staff, provided trainings for emergency management stakeholders, and designed and conducted exercises for the department and community. In Oklahoma, she was involved in addressing tornado outbreaks including the 2013 Moore, Oklahoma tornado.

In addition to working for the county, Morgan serves as the finance and administration manager for Team Rubicon region 3. She has also conducted wildfire and animal evacuation research and co-authored the teacher’s manual for the textbook Social Vulnerabilities to Disaster.

Morgan earned her Bachelor of Science in meteorology and a master’s degree in emergency management from Millersville University in Lancaster, PA. She is also a graduate of FEMA’s Basic Leadership Academy and master exercise practitioner program.

Ray Devine: Emergency Planning via the Airwaves

“The classes definitely helped prepare me for what I need to be prepared for in the field,” Devine says. He acknowledges that he gained insight on active shooter scenarios and how to manage emergency situations.

EPM Program Enhances Police Lieutenant’s Knowledge

“From day one, I’ve always felt welcome to be here,” he says. Although he does not have many excuses to come to campus because he takes classes online, he appreciates the warm, peaceful feeling of the campus environment.

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