Master of Public Administration

Disaster and Emergency Management Concentration

The Master of Public Administration degree with a concentration in Disaster & Emergency Management provides graduates with a unique understanding of the elements that comprise a global perspective as it relates to disasters and the management of growing international risks.  The concentration is based on the social theories surrounding risk, mitigation, and prevention of disasters and their impact.  It prepares professionals for careers in all levels of government emergency management organizations, public safety organizations, private sector risk management positions, and non-governmental service organizations.

Key concepts explored in this program are community and individual vulnerability, local and regional sustainability and resiliency, social risk identification, and mitigation strategies. Legal constraints and implications are explored as it pertains to government structures responsible for the safety of citizens across the globe. 

Graduates have secured numerous positions in the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, Department of Defense, American Red Cross and various local, county, and state emergency management offices.  Additional information regarding employment and salary trends in the fields of public affairs, public administration, and public policy can be found at the following Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration website:

The Area Coordinator is Dr. Melanie Smith.  Dr. Smith received her PhD in Public Safety Leadership with a concentration in Emergency Management from Capella University.  Prior to coming to Park University, Dr. Smith was an emergency management specialist in Sarpy County, Nebraska, registered nurse and hospital nursing supervisor, and firefighter/paramedic.  Dr. Smith has extensive experience in hospital preparedness, disaster exercise design, and emergency response.  She can be reached at

The Civic Leader is Jeffrey Grote.  He holds a Master’s Degree in Disaster and Emergency Management and has served for over 28 years responding to local and state disasters as a Deputy Chief of the Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department.  He has earned the Executive Fire Officer designation from the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland.  FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security provide the oversight of the 4 year program.  He can be contacted at


MPA CURRICULUM (2016-2017 Catalog) Hours
Core Courses 18 cr.
PA 501* Public Affairs Concepts and Theory (16 weeks) 3 cr.
PA 502* Public Affairs Methodology (16 weeks) 3 cr.
PA 508 Research and Analysis 3 cr.
PA 509 Leadership Development and Organizations 3 cr.
PA 600 Ethical Foundations of Authority and Responsibility 3 cr.
PA 602* Seminar in Public Affairs (16 weeks) 3 cr.
Theory Courses 9 cr.
PA 551* Principles of Disaster and Emergency Management (16 weeks) 3 cr.
PA 552* Public Policy and Disaster (16 weeks) 3 cr.
PA 553* Disaster and Society    (16 weeks) 3 cr.
Theory/Practice Integration Courses (6 cr.) 6 cr.
PA 557 Continuity of Operations in Public and Private Sectors 2 - 3 cr.
PA 558 Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources in Disaster and Emergency Management 2 - 3 cr.
PA 559 Global Comparative Emergency Management 2 - 3 cr.
PA 582 Disaster, Disease, and Public Health 2 - 3 cr.
PA 588 Current Issues in Homeland Security 2 - 3 cr.
PA 589 Theorectical Principles of Terrorism 2 - 3 cr.
TOTAL 36 cr.

*16 week courses

Students are encouraged to take PA 501 and PA 508 before enrolling in other courses. PA 501 and PA 508 provide a foundation for understanding the field of public affairs and academic skills needed in MPA coursework.