Emergency Services Management

Protect and Serve During Crisis Situations

In an emergency, first-responders play a vital role in diffusing potentially harmful or hazardous situations.

A Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Emergency Services Management from Union Institute & University prepares you to effectively handle a variety of dangerous situations, with a focus on emergency and disaster management, homeland security, and critical incident management. We train you to respond appropriately within federal, state, and local organizations and agencies before, during, and after emergencies or disasters strike.

Union’s online hybrid degree program is flexible and designed to fit your busy schedule. Earn your degree without putting your life on hold.

Emergency Services Management

Careers for B.S. Graduates with an Emergency Services Management Major

  • Firefighter
  • Paramedic
  • Police officer
  • US border patrol agent
  • Emergency management director
  • Fish and game warden
  • FBI agent
  • Homeland security director
  • Federal air marshal

Program Benefits

  • Police training certificates, including 12 credit hours of internship from 46 states have been evaluated for credit.
    • Arkansas – ALEATA (Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy) – 32 credits
    • California – POST (CA Basic POST – Police Training) – 32 credits
    • California – POST (CA Basic POST – Corrections Training) – 32 credits
    • Colorado – CO Basic Post – Police Training (32 hours)
    • Florida – FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement Training) – 34 credits (1998 and after graduation)
    • Kentucky – DOCJT (KY Department of Criminal Justice Training) – 32 credits
    • Ohio – OPOTA (Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy) – 32 credits
    • Pennsylvania – PA Act 120 Basic Police Training – 32 credits
    • Wisconsin – Wisconsin Department of Justice Law Enforcement Standards Board – 32 credits
  •  Fire Academy training
    • California – FFI (Fire Fighter Certificate) – 22 credits
    • Ohio
      • Emergency Medical Technician – 10 credits
      • Ohio Firefighter 1 – 6 credits
      • Ohio Firefighter 2 (includes 1) – 16 credits
      • Public Safety Inspector – 7 credits
      • Public Safety Instructor – 6 credits
      • Paramedic Technician – 50 credits
  • Associate Arts (AA) degree or Associate Science (AS) degree from a regionally accredited college or university automatically waives the general education requirements
  • Up to 30 additional semester credit hours for training beyond the academy training through UI&U’s certified learning method
  • Faculty-guided instruction by field experts
  • Fire fighter/paramedic training has also been evaluated in several states.


  • Evaluate principles of supervision and management for emergency service organizations.
  • Analyze current issues that affect first response organizations and their strategic operations.
  • Create an effective strategic plan in emergency and disaster situations.
  • Evaluate how the individual components of emergencies and disasters interplay along the entire crisis and disaster spectrum of the human experience (i.e., legal, economic, ethical, and human issues).
  • Design critical decision-making skills needed to respond appropriately to emergency and disaster situations and community resources in any crisis situation.


Students who major in Emergency Services Management may complete a generalized program or choose one of the following two concentrations within the major (12 credit hours), with specific focuses described below:

  • Criminal Justice Management (CJM) – Management, administration, contemporary issues in criminal justice management, and policies and practical interaction among local, state, and federal government agencies in emergency situations
  • Leadership (LDS) – Assessing and building leadership capacity and theory and practice of leadership, with special emphasis on leadership of change

Required Courses – Criminal Justice Management

  • CJM 303 Applied Ethics in Criminal Justice Management
  • CJM 306 Supervision in the Criminal Justice Field
  • CJM 307 Criminal Justice Management and Administration
    FOR 310 Forensic Science Management

Required Courses – Leadership

  • MGT 420 Theory and Practice of Leadership
  • LDS 330 Leadership and Community
  • LDS 410 Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

4 credit hours each unless otherwise noted.

Accelerated Degree Completion

  • Attending on-ground classes that meet face-to-face 5 times in an 8-week session or selecting distance learning options
  • Earn up to 8 credits in 8 weeks
  • Transferring credits from other regionally accredited colleges and universities
  • Requesting credit for knowledge gained outside the classroom through work or professional experience
  • Earning college credits through CLEP, DSST, prior learning assessment, and credits recommended by ACE through military training
  • Applying college credits for training through certified learning

Core Curriculum

General Education Courses

View a complete list of curriculum requirements.

Major Core Courses

The Emergency Services Management program requires a minimum of 48 credits in the major.

  • ESM 320 Critical Incident Management and Response
  • ESM 401 Fiscal Management for Emergency Services Administrations
  • ESM 403 Emergency Services Administration
  • ESM 405 Legal, Economic, and Ethical Issues in Emergency Services
  • ESM 440 Homeland Security

View core course descriptions.

*4 credit courses unless otherwise noted.


Electives come from electives in this major or any other UI&U BS distance education program, from credits transferred from another institution, from prior learning assessments and certified learning, or from other acceptable advance credit options. Students will complete at least 28 credits in major electives.

ESM Major Electives

  • ESM 321 Incident Command Systems (2 cr.)
  • ESM/PSY 402 Organizational Psychology
  • ESM 406 Social Dimensions of Disaster
  • ESM 410 Contemporary Issues in Emergency Services
  • ESM 412 Natural Disasters and Defense Planning
  • ESM 422 Emergency Services Technology
  • ESM 442 Terrorism and Extremism
  • ESM 444 Weapons of Mass Destruction: Forms and History
  • ESM 100/200/300/400 Independent Studies ( 1-4 cr. – each may be taken up to two times)
  • ESM 190/290/390/490 Special Topics ( 1-4 cr. – each may be taken up to two times)

View electives descriptions.

*4 credit hours unless otherwise noted.

Culminating Graduation Requirement

As part of course work in the major, every student will complete a Capstone Learning Experience (CGR). The CGR requirement is to be met by the following:

  • A research paper (taken in the last core course – separate credit not awarded). The major research paper must be a minimum of 10 pages in length and written in APA or MLA format including the abstract. Students are encouraged to discuss their major topic with their instructor at the start of a term.
  • In addition to the major paper, graduating students will write a reflection paper (minimum five pages in length) identifying how their knowledge gained in the ESM program is now reflected in their work experience, along with a current resume.
  • Students work with their assigned major instructor on a major research paper that reflects their knowledge base of Emergency Services Management, their ability to evaluate current information and issues, and their ability to write critically and convincingly on a chosen topic.

Relevant Certificate for Emergency Services Management

Certificate in Homeland Security

Increase your understanding of the resources and responses to terrorist threats in your communities.