MSW-MSEM Dual Degree

MSW-MSEM Dual Degree Program

Master of Social Work & Master of Science in Emergency Management

This dual program allows students in the MSW and MSEM programs to pursue a dual graduate degree.  Students will need to apply and be admitted to both programs in order to pursue this dual degree.

Important Note:

The dual degree is flexible and allows students to begin and/or finish one of the programs before enrolling in the other. Students may also choose to enroll in both the MSW and MSEM program and complete them simultaneously. 

Application Process

  • If you are interested in applying to the joint MSW/MSEM Program, you must be admitted for both programs; however, only one application and fee will be required. On the application, please select Social Work (MSW)/Emergency Management (MS) Dual Degree as your primary program of interest
  • Please be sure that your essay addresses your interest in the MSW and MSEM programs and how the two programs will help you to address your educational and long-term career goals in the areas of emergency management and social work.
  • Only one set of 3 recommendation letters will be required.
  • Please be sure to check each program's application deadline since each program has different deadlines.
  • For additional information and specific questions please contact the program coordinator -Dr. Laura Granruth at 

Objectives and Outcomes

The MSEM/MSW dual program will:

  • Provide an understanding of the social nature of natural hazards and disasters.
  • Give students knowledge of the social factors affecting disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.
  • Reveal unfounded myths about human behavior in disasters.
  • Understand the nature and impacts of hazards and disasters around the world and the unequal social consequences stemming from disasters.
  • Provide an awareness of opportunities for policy adjustments and applications of research findings.
  • Highlight social work values and ethics in examining the consequences of disasters as related to race, ethnicity, national origin, class, gender, physical or mental disability, mental illness and age.

Students will be able to:

  • Understand the worldwide distribution of hazards and disasters and know the similarities and differences between the different types of disasters
  • Identify the needs of special populations in each phase of emergency management
  • Organize communities to effectively respond to disasters through planning and implementation of services
  • Apply social work and emergency management skills to improve community policy and practice
  • Increase and apply knowledge of evidence based hazard and disaster management strategies at individual, local, organizational, regional, national and international levels.

Dual Program Requirements:

Students seeking a dual degree have to apply and be formally admitted to both programs. Students may apply to the second program at any time during the completion of their first program. Students seeking the dual degree must complete the field practicum component with a focus in emergency management. The field practicum is a capstone experience in which knowledge and skills gained through the academic programs of study are applied and integrated within a field experience.  The field practicum will serve to strengthen the connection of the two disciplines in the dual program, and establish a practical context for the potential opportunities provided for the student through the dual degree. Students will be provided with a field practicum manual which will include the requirements of the practicum experience.   Students must complete SOWK 607 (may complete EMGT 607 in place of SOWK 607 with the permission of the MSEM and MSW program coordinators). Students also have the option of taking either EMGT 618 or SOWK 619. Taking SOWK 19 in place of 618 does not count as a social elective as it is part of required 24 unique credits needed for a second degree.

In the cases where a student decides not to complete the MSW degree requirements, they will be required to complete the full requirements of the MSEM program in order to obtain the MSEM degree and not just the specific courses listed above.


For a print out version of the MSW-MSEM course schedule click here 

Required MSEM Course Descriptions:

*Students seeking a joint degree in MSW-MSEM will need to complete the full curriculum in the MSW program and the following eight courses in the MSEM program.

EMGT 601: Principles & Practices of Emergency Management (three credits)

History and perspectives of the field, hazards concepts and taxonomies, all-hazards approach, phases of emergency management, risk assessment, risk communication, emergency management functions, sustainable development, best practices, the EOC, the disaster plan, CEM, IAEM, forging intra- and inter-government relationships. Prereq: Program admission.

EMGT 603: Technical & Professional Writing for Emergency Management (three credits)

The emergency management professional is engaged in an ever increasing workload involving reporting, budget preparation; grant applications, and communicating with the public. This course is designed to enhance the necessary skills for the emergency manager to successfully negotiate the increased demands of the profession. Prereq: Program admission.

EMGT 605: Social Dimensions of Disaster (three credits)

An overview of the findings of disaster sociology, including, but not limited to, an examination of the social science definition of disaster, the disaster mythology, the impact of the media, organizational challenges during disaster, creating and maintaining a disaster resilient community, national and international disaster researchers and the research literature. Prereq: EM 601 or permission of the instructor and MSEM director.

EMGT 614: Natural Hazards Primer (three credits)

Natural Science examination of natural or environmental hazards and their associated risks, the overview will possibly include hazards such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods. Prereq: EM 601 or permission of the instructor and MSEM director.

EMGT 616: Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction & Homeland Security (three credits)

A sociological exploration of what terrorism is why it occurs, prudent approaches to reducing the incidence of terrorism, and failed approaches; the origins and functions of homeland security, the necessity of maintaining an all-hazards approach and issues surrounding the placement of FEMA within the Department of Homeland Security. WMD history, an overview of the basic known biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear materials likely to be used as weapons; approaches to inoculation and treatment before and after exposure. Prereq: EM 601 or permission of the instructor and MSEM director.

EMGT 617: Emergency Management Issues in Communication & Mass Media (three credits)

How the media is an integral part of an effective disaster plan, how the media is problematic during disaster response, the value of a trained public information officer within organizations, key issues in risk communication and best practices. Prereq: EM 601 or permission of the instructor and MSEM director.

EMGT 618: Humanitarian Responses to International Disasters (three credits)

International organizations, challenges and experiences they commonly encounter in mitigating and responding to disaster events; considers if a global economy, global village will help or hinder future efforts.  Prereq: EM 601 or permission of the instructor and MSEM director.

EMGT 619: Emergency Management Planning (three credits)

An in-depth analysis of planning methodologies and constructs as well as pitfalls and limiting factors in the development and execution of emergency management plans at the strategic, operational and tactical levels.  Origins of emergency management planning, applicable policies and legislation, historical incident review and analysis, contemporary and emerging planning doctrine, and advanced planning concepts. Pre-requisites: EMGT 601.