Prepare for the worst by mastering the best disaster and emergency preparation and mitigation strategies. Learn about project planning, risk management, community resiliency and sustainable recovery.
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November 20, 2023
As disaster and emergency management professionals know, disasters happen in relation to the world itself.
This 12-month interdisciplinary diploma looks at disaster and emergency management in an integrated, holistic way.
You'll learn how the environment, society, economics and politics all have an impact on how disasters unfold. You'll study how to plan for and mitigate disasters and emergencies, and to promote sustainable recovery when disaster strikes. And you'll look at ways to support communities at risk of disaster, increasing resilience.
This program is meant for disaster and emergency management professionals, and those who aspire to work in this growing field.
You can build from here
A two-year Master of Arts in Disaster and Emergency Management is also offered. You can apply to switch to a two-year MA while in your diploma program. Your credits will be transferred and you will receive the Master's level degree instead of the diploma.
Once you have completed this program, you'll have skills like critical thinking, communication and an understanding of best practices to work in sectors like international development, disaster management and mitigation, emergency response and international NGOs.
This program is delivered through a blend of online learning and an on-campus residency.
Online courses consist of assigned readings, synchronous or asynchronous lectures, interactive discussions, and individual and team assignments.
You’re expected to meet deadlines and contribute meaningfully to your class. Your contributions are a big part of everyone’s learning.
You’ll take one online course at a time for a period of nine weeks, with a two-week break in between. Each online course requires approximately 20 hours of work per week.
You'll start your program with a non-credit, but required, course about academic integrity.
This blended program has one two-week residency.
Residencies are intensive and immersive. Many students say this time together is the highlight of their program.
During your residency, you can expect to:
- attend classes full time (e.g., Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
- complete homework and individual and team assignments outside of class hours
- take part in extracurricular activities
Facilitation, Coordination and Decision Making in Multi-Stakeholder Environments
- Four-year (or comparable) undergraduate degree in a relevant and related field*, with a minimum GPA of 'B+' (3.33/4.33), from a recognized post-secondary institution
* Relevant and related fields are defined by each program based on disciplinary and/or professional practices. Applicants are required to address how they consider their academic education to be relevant and related to their desired program of study within the personal statement questions.
- Applicants who meet the degree requirement, but not the GPA requirement, will be required to have a minimum 5 years of relevant* professional experience.
- Applicants without an undergraduate degree will normally require 10 years of work experience, with a minimum of two years of relevant* professional experience in a leadership or management position**, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
- All flexible admission applicants will be required to take "Academic Writing and Critical Thinking" and obtain a minimum B+ (77%).
* Each program, based on disciplinary and/or professional practices, defines what is considered relevant professional experience. Applicants are required to address how/why they consider their respective supervisory (and overall work experience) to be relevant and related to their desired program of study within the personal statement questions.
** Experience in a leadership or management position is considered on the basis of a holistic review of career progression, which demonstrates increasing competency and/or responsibility. This can include, but is not limited to, supervisory functions, signing responsibilities, contributions to organisational change and/or implementation of organisational vision and mission. Applicants are required to address how they consider their work experience to meet these requirements within the personal statement
English language requirements
- If English is not your primary language, please review our English language requirements.
All applications to this program require submission of the following information and supporting documents before your file can be assessed for admission:
In order to apply online, you will be required to create a log-in account using your email address. You will be required to list all credit courses and/or programs you have completed or are currently enrolled in. An application fee will be required. If your application fees are being paid by a third party, review sponsored student information. Once submitted, you may check the status of your application at any time.
Applicants are responsible for arranging for the submission of official transcripts from ALL post-secondary (higher education) institutions currently or previously attended, for all credit courses and/or programs. Transcripts are not required for non-credit programs or courses, though some programs may require proof of professional certifications or designations.
Transcripts are considered official only if submitted directly by the Registrar or other recognized authority of the providing institution in the institution's original, sealed envelope. If the envelope has been opened, the transcripts are no longer official and new (official) transcripts will be required to complete your application.
All international transcripts or credentials are subject to an international transcript and/or credential evaluation.
The statement's purpose is to assess applicants' writing skills, as well as their interest and ability to complete the program. Your personal statement should be written as a narrative and must address each of the following questions using each question as a separate heading:
- Why do you wish to enrol in the disaster and emergency management program?
- What academic courses and/or training have you in the area of disaster and emergency management?
- What work experience have you in the area of disaster and emergency management?
- How is this program relevant to your career goals?
- What experience have you had with distance education and self-directed study?
- What special strengths would you bring to the program?
Letters of reference
Two letters of reference are required and may be provided by current or past employers, or those who have known you in an academic or volunteer setting. Although personal references are considered as part of the application, an emphasis is placed on professional and academic references.
- Academic reference: This letter should attest to your performance in the context of your current or previous studies. The letter can address such areas as your academic skills and achievements, writing, thinking and study skills, flexibility, commitment to lifelong and self-directed learning, research skills, and tenacity.
- Professional reference: This letter should attest to your current or previous performance in your professional life. The letter can address areas such as your emergency preparedness and/or disaster management experience and capabilities as well as your leadership, management teamwork, and communication skills, community service, work ethic, and ability to deal with complex, stressful situations.
- Personal character reference: A personal character reference should consist of a letter from someone who has known you for several years outside the context of your work. Please ask the writer to indicate the length of time and context in which they know you. This letter can mention attributes such as your commitment to learning, ability to work with others, communication skills, responsibility, and integrity.
- Post-secondary education: List all post-secondary education, degrees, diplomas, and certificates you have achieved.
- Work experience: Please include name of organization, position, length of service (month and year), and a brief description of duties.
- Training and professional development: List career related training and professional development programs completed with the past five years. Include the source of training, and the duration and year completed. List other training and personal development programs not already identified.
- Voluntary/unpaid work experience: List and describe any voluntary/unpaid post-secondary employment and/or community service experience. Please include name of organization, length of service and a brief description of duties.
- Professional memberships/affiliations: List memberships and positions you hold/have held in professional associations, service clubs, community/volunteer sector.
- Other relevant information: Provide any other information which you believe is relevant to your application and will be of assistance to the review committee.
- Applicants declaring permanent resident or Convention Refugee status in Canada, must submit a copy of their Permanent Resident Card (PR card) along with their application.
- Transcript evaluation fee or credential evaluation report, if submitting international transcripts.
- An official English language proficiency score report or other evidence of proficiency if English is not your primary language.
- Other information or documents as may be requested to determine your eligibility.
For information on how and where to send your supporting documents, please refer to the document submission guidelines.
Financial aid and awards
RBC Community Integrated Learning Grants
Funding for students completing a required career learning and development (CLD) work term in the community of at least 420 hours with an organization that cannot provide wages or compensation.
Up to $8,500
ACT WEST Community Foundation Fund
The ACT WEST Community Foundation helps support single mothers build better lives for themselves and their children.
up to 4 years tuition
Admiral John Charles and Mary Charles Scholarship
Awarded annually to a second year School of Humanitarian Studies student who is currently serving or retired military.
Active students (In-course)
Allan Cahoon Global Advancement and Diversity Award
Assist students in underrepresented populations who wish to promote diversity.
Active students (In-course)
Allan Cahoon Scholarship
This scholarship aims to encourage academic excellence, supporting students who excel both academically and through their leadership.
Active students (In-course)
Andrea Fallan Memorial Bursary
Provides financial assistance to a second year BCom student for exceptional leadership, community involvement, and dedication to promote a cohesive team environment.
Active students (In-course)
Asper Foundation Communications Award
Awarded to students in communications-related degree working in, or seeking to work in the communications industry.
Active students (In-course)
Assistance Program for Students with Permanent Disabilities
This program helps students with permanent disabilities pay for exceptional education-related services and adaptive equipment.
Up to $12,144/year