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Crisis and Disaster Management BS

The Crisis & Disaster Management program at UCM began in 2001 to fill an important niche in the safety curriculum at the university.  You might think the program was developed in response to the events of September 11, 2001 – but courses had been offered for years.  Various CDM courses were ultimately finalized into a degree program that moved through the lengthy curriculum process and accepted its first official degree seekers in August 2001.    

Unfortunately, disasters (and the failure to plan for and respond effectively to them) have occurred throughout recorded history.  Some were natural, such as the Great San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and the Heat Waves of 1980, 1988, and 1995, but many were a result of human activity, such as the Johnstown Flood (dam breach) of 1889, the Texas City Freighter explosion of 1947, and the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989.  COVID-19 is but one in a long line of public health emergencies, such as the smallpox epidemic in 1775, the Cholera epidemic of 1849, and the Yellow Fever outbreak in 1878.  Prior to 2001 events such as these highlighted the need for well-trained emergency management personnel.  Outrage over the terrorist attacks of 2001 and the handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 spurred this demand.


The Crisis & Disaster Management program at UCM is nearly identical today as it was in 2001 – not because we believe in the status quo and stagnation, but because the curriculum was carefully crafted with input from professionals.  Some had worked these high-profile disasters, but others contributed their expertise in smaller scale settings, such as private companies, humanitarian agencies, or local departments of health.  Industry leaders like these form the core of our faculty pool and will be in the classroom with you. 

As emergency management has evolved into a profession, certain curriculum pieces (ethics and diversity) have grown in importance.  From the beginning, the CDM program at UCM has emphasized ethical behavior in all courses.  Treatment of victims, handling of equipment and donations, and response decision making are all discussed.   UCM has partnered with Gallaudet University to develop an innovative collaboration focused on diversity.   UCM students share rural and Midwestern perspectives, while GU students share barriers to emergency response for special populations, such as the deaf and those with mobility issues - working together to ensure everyone in our community is safe.

 We cannot stop all emergencies and disasters, but our mission is to provide students with an interdisciplinary, hands on course of study that will guide you to a career that makes communities more resilient and stable.

Is Crisis & Disaster Management right for you?

Consider the job descriptions and career pathways below to see if a career in CDM is the right choice.

Courses offered within the Crisis and Disaster Management B.S. program are designed for:

  • Public safety personnel - emergency management, fire, police, EMS, and dispatchers
  • Institutional emergency planners - schools, hospitals, and facilities
  • Community service providers - Red Cross, relief organizations, and disaster recovery
  • Industrial emergency responders - fire, rescue, and hazardous materials
  • Business continuity planners - banking, corporations, insurance, and manufacturing

Career Pathways - Emergency Management

What does a career in Emergency Management look like?  Check out these descriptions, minimum requirements, and necessary skills to see entry level, mid-career, and executive expectations.

2 Columns

Column 1

Column 2

·         Intern

·         Emergency Services Educator

·         Director-Emergency Management Agency

·         Homeland Security Specialist

·         Emergency Management Coordinator

·         Property Claims Adjuster

·         Emergency Planner

·         Community Disaster Educator

·         Emergency Services Resource Coordinator

·         Emergency Management Supervisor

Career Pathways - Emergency Services Management

What does a career in Emergency Services Management look like?  Check out these descriptions, minimum requirements, and necessary skills to see entry level, mid-career, and executive expectations.

Emergency Services Educator

Emergency Management Supervisor

Director-Emergency Management Agency

Career Pathways - Business Continuity

What does a career in Business Continuity look like?  Check out these descriptions, minimum requirements, and necessary skills to see entry level, mid-career, and executive expectations.


Business Continuity Planner

Director of Business Continuity Planning

Career Pathways - Environmental Hazards

What does a career in Environmental Hazards look like?  Check out these descriptions, minimum requirements, and necessary skills to see entry level, mid-career, and executive expectations.


Emergency Services Resource Coordinator

Work, Health, & Safety Specialist

Environmental & Health Coordinator


About the Program

Choices to fit you

Earn your Bachelor's degree or a stand alone certificate.  All CDM core courses are offered face to face at the Warrensburg campus and 100% online so you can complete your degree on your terms.  All focus areas are offered 100% online and the Emergency Management and Emergency Services Management certificates/areas are offered face to face, as well.

  • Check out the Program of Study on the left to see a list of required courses and details about each of the four focus areas/certificates:

    These four Certificates can be earned independently or as part of the Bachelor of Science degree.  Be sure to declare your certificate so it appears on your transcript and diploma! (ask your Success Advisor for assistance)

    • *NEW* Public Health Disaster Management Area beginning Fall 2021 (click Program of Study on the left to get all the details)

Earn more than just a degree

Crisis & Disaster Management students leave UCM with a bachelor's degree plus:

  • Begin or continue your career related training:

The FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Association) Emergency Management Institute (EMI) provides free, Independent Study Courses.  EMI serves as the national focal point for the development and delivery of emergency management training to enhance the capabilities of State, local, and Tribal government officials; volunteer organizations; FEMA’s disaster workforce; other Federal agencies; and the public and private sectors to minimize the impact of disasters and emergencies on the American public.

You will graduate with numerous FEMA IS credentials, including:

  • IS 42 Social Media in Emergency Management
  • IS 100 Introduction to the Incident Command System
  • IS 120 Introduction to Exercises
  • IS 247 Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) for Alert Originators
  • IS 700 Introduction to the National Incident Management System (NIMS)
  • IS 922 Applications of GIS for Emergency Management

You will earn additional credentials depending upon the focus area you choose.

  • Earn Credit for Professional Certification:

UCM has MOU agreements with the Johnson County Ambulance District to offer EMS and Paramedic Training as part of the bachelor's degree.   These courses are part of the Public Health Disaster Management Area.

Earn free elective credit for Firefighter I & II Training obtained elsewhere.

  • Harmon Professional Edge:

The Harmon Professional Edge program helps students fill the gap between college and career. In this program, you will gain skills through hands-on experiences that will set you up for success in the professional world. By combining curricular and co-curricular engaged learning experiences, you will graduate better prepared for the workforce and have a competitive edge against the competition.



Get Started Today!

  • Your Success Advisor is your best resource for planning your academic future.  All Advisors can be reached at 660-543-4721. 
Alex Kent                                                  Last names A - G
Julie Carman                                Last names H - O
Kerri Lopp                 Last names P - Z
Natalie Peirce                 Senior/Lead Advisor
  • Look over the Crisis & Disaster Management 2021 Student Handbook for more information.  If you need a copy of the handbook, contact your Success Advisor or Lynn Urban (

CDM Student Handbook


Course Rotations and Calendars 

  • Check the Calendar of Courses to see when all classes will be offered - core and certificate, both face to face and online.


Information on Completing the Practicum:

  • 150 hours of service learning (not necessarily an internship)
  • Required
  • Contact the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies Internship Coordinator, Derrick Gill ( 660-543-8432) for an application and more information.
  • A copy of the CDM Internship Manual can be found on the "Page for CDM Majors" Blackboard under "Internships."  You can also contact Mr. Gill or Dr. Urban ( for a copy of the manual or to add you to the Bb group.




The Crisis and Disaster Management courses are taught by 16 part-time and two full-time faculty members. The full-time faculty mentor students on professional development, networking, and career building.  Other duties include maintaining the university support services, such as recruitment, academic advisement, and collaboration with other departments on campus. The part-time faculty, often referred to as adjunct faculty, are immersed in the real world issues facing emergency management professionals and represent a wide range of academic disciplines and professional affiliations. 

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