Degrees & Curriculum

“I learned so much more than I thought I would. The information was useful – I was never bored in class.”

–Andrea Marie Hughbanks, class of 2013

Degrees Available

The HSEM program offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees to meet students' needs.

Bachelor of Emergency Management (BEM)

The bachelor of emergency management program focuses on developing skills to lead and manage individuals and organizations in an increasingly complex environment. The program builds upon an individual's technical capabilities derived from education, training and experience in fire, law enforcement, military or other related fields. This technical expertise is then combined with a curriculum of business administration, emergency management and homeland security instruction.

This degree is built specifically to meet the needs of those who provide administrative oversight, supervisory control, leadership or management roles within the fields of fire, law, emergency medical services, and security (to include other related fields) at the local, state, federal and international levels.

Three different concentration options are available for the BEM degree. For each concentration, students must take two specific courses (six credits total) as part of their degree requirements.

Emergency Management
HSEM F405 – Introduction to Emergency Management Exercise Design
HSEM F407 – Comparative Emergency Management

Fire Administration
HSEM F439 – Supervising Emergency Services
HSEM F440 – Advanced Principles of Fire Service Administration

Homeland Security
HSEM F406 – Comparative Homeland Security
HSEM F408 – Homeland Defense and Security

Review the BEM degree requirements for more details.

Read the HSEM class descriptions.

You can also review the HSEM BEM Degree Map for a road map of which classes to take in which semester. View the correct map for your academic path: 2013/2014 Catalog or 2014/2015 Catalog. The 2015/2016 Catalog Degree Map will be available soon.


Master of Security and Disaster Management (MSDM)

The mission of the online Master of Security and Disaster Management (MSDM) program is to provide both aspiring and existing homeland security and emergency management practitioners the education needed to lead and manage at the operational to strategic levels within their chosen career field. 

Leveraging the education provided within the bachelor of emergency management (BEM) degree, the master’s degree requires an extended level of synthesis and integration of the critical thinking and analysis skills required for managers and leaders in the homeland security and emergency management enterprise. The program builds upon the experience and education of those within this highly interdisciplinary enterprise, providing a relevant graduate level education focusing on the operational to strategic requirements of our collective public safety.

The MSDM degree will be officially added to the UAF catalog in the online addendum to the 2015-16 catalog. However, you can start working toward your degree now! Contact Anita Hughes at for help on getting started.

Degree Requirements

1) Students without a background in HSEM will be required to take HSEM F301, Principles of Emergency Management & Homeland Security. This course will not count toward the MSDM program. In addition, students without a UAF BEM degree will be required to take HSEM F412 prior to HSEM F605, Community Planning. In this case, F412 may be counted as an elective in the MSDM program.

2) All MSDM students must complete the following HSEM courses (all 3-credit courses):
- HSEM F601 - Legal Aspects of Homeland Security & Emergency Management
- HSEM F603 - Disaster Management Policy
- HSEM F605 - Community Planning in Emergency Management
- HSEM F607 - Vulnerability and Protection
- HSEM F609 - Human Security
- HSEM F632 - Project Management
- HSEM F665 - Strategic Collaboration

3) MSDM students must complete 6 credits from the following (all 3-credit courses):
- HSEM F613 - International Disaster Management
- HSEM F692 - MSDM Seminar (may be repeated when topic changes)
- Any 400-level HSEM course not previously taken as an undergraduate

4) Up to 6 graduate level credits may be transferred from: The National Fire Academy, FBI National Academy or Command and General Staff College or similar approved ACE graduate credit. These may substitute for 6 credits from (3) above.

5) All students must complete the following course:
- HSEM F690 - Security and Disaster Management Capstone (3 credits)

6) Total credits for for the MSDM degree: 30


Additional Degree Options

HSEM also offers the following undergraduate Minors: 1) Emergency Management and 2) Military Security Studies. Finally, HSEM offes an Occupational Endorsement in Emergency Management.


Learning at UAF

As a student taking classes on campus, you’ll have the chance to experience the adventure of Alaska first hand. Take advantage of the around-the-clock summer sunlight to go hiking at 11pm. Enjoy a hot cup of coffee after walking to class at -41°F. Alaska offers experiences that can’t be duplicated anywhere else.

UAF is one of the few universities with an on-campus fire station staffed by student employees. For military and veterans, you’ll be close to not one, but two military bases: Ft. Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base. As a student in the Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) program, you will have opportunities to learn outside the classroom – attend events and workshops to hone your business skills and refine your emergency services knowledge by working with emergency managers and participating in field exercises.

Learning Online

Through the UAF Center for eLearning & Distance Education, you can earn your degree online while still benefiting from experienced HSEM faculty. Interactive and multi-media classes are taught through interfaces such as Blackboard and AdobeConnect. These classes are recorded and put online for you to watch on your own time. The ability to provide a synchronous and an asynchronous interaction with our distance students creates a very flexible learning environment no matter where you are in the world.  Watch videos, read current events, and discuss topics with your fellow classmates, all in a way that fits best into your schedule.

Shared Experience

In both the online and on-campus classrooms, the HSEM program hosts a student body with diverse experience. A typical class melds the know-how of students seasoned in their respective fields with the fresh thinking of high school graduates. This shared experience lends itself to a deeper and more relevant classroom environment.

Start Your Degree

Be prepared for a career in:

  • Emergency Management
  • Business Continuity
  • Disaster Response Coordination
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Fire Departments
  • Homeland Security
  • International Disaster Response
  • Law Enforcement
  • Local, State, and Federal Government
  • Military
  • Program Coordinators
  • Risk Management

Get your career on track today. Apply to UAF and start registering for classes.


The Center for the Study of Security, Hazards, Response and Preparedness

The Center for the Study of Security, Hazards, Response and Preparedness (C-SSHRP) sits within the School of Management (Homeland Security and Emergency Management Program) and in partnership with College of Natural Science and Mathematics (CNSM), Geophysical Institute (GI) and the International Arctic Research Center (IARC).

Learn more...

Back to Top