Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration

Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Management


The study of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management provides students with a broad range of administrative skills and knowledge that are ideally suited to meet the critical needs of emergency management administrators. At UH West O‘ahu, students may pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration with a concentration in disaster preparedness & emergency management or a certificate in Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Management. All courses meet the national standards as established by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Higher Education Project. Courses for the bachelor’s degree and certificate are offered through in-class and distance learning instruction.

The disaster preparedness and emergency management concentration is the only upper division disaster management program in the State of Hawaiʻi.

Learn more about the disaster preparedness and emergency management program at UH West O‘ahu in Ka Puna O Kalo‘i.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates with a concentration in disaster preparedness and emergency management from UH West Oʻahu will be able to:

  • Demonstrate effective communications skills.
  • Demonstrate quantitative, technological and analytical skills necessary for problem solving.
  • Identify international/global/local issues affecting the disaster preparedness organizations.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in understanding the central concepts of disaster preparedness and emergency management and policy.
  • Exhibit knowledge of ethical/legal responsibilities of organizations in disaster preparedness and emergency management administration.

Internships / Practicums

The certificate and degree programs in Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (DPEM) meet the challenges and changes in the student demographics and workforce in the 21st century. This is reflected in the DPEM Certificate program. Continued success of senior practicums and experiential partnerships with Federal, Hawaiʻi State, Honolulu City and County, and other non-profit agencies has allowed students to transition into jobs with these agencies. More than 20 Hawaiʻi-based, disaster-related government agencies employ DPEM graduates and current students which include the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, Hawai‘i State Dept. of Defense, Civil Defense Division, Dept. of Emergency Management of the City and County of Honolulu, PACOM at Camp Smith, University of Hawai‘i System, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Hazard Mitigation, Pacific Area Office, U.S. Naval Criminal Investigation Service, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Careers and Earning Potential

Graduates of the Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Management program will be prepared with essential skills and knowledge for careers in disaster and emergency management, as well as graduate programs in emergency management, program planning, public safety and security administration. Those already employed in the field will develop management, legal and behavioral skills for more effective job performance and career advancement.

Projections by FEMA support the increased need for disaster and emergency managers in Hawai‘i, especially in seaport and airport security and natural disasters. According to HSTODAY, the most comprehensive publication and directory on government employment, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is expected to become the largest government employer with the greatest need for trained professionals with expertise in areas of public policy, emergency management, criminal justice, public safety and homeland security. Rewarding employment prospects are growing for trained, mid-level emergency managers and professionals in related fields; in particular, according to the US Department of Labor (May, 2016), emergency management directors earn a mean annual salary exceeding $78,000 US (with a 75th percentile of over $99,000).

For more information on careers and earning potential, visit the Hawaiʻi Career Explorer website.