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New Master’s Program in Emergency Management First in CT

Release Date:
2/8/2012 12:00 AM

Feb. 8, 2012

Emergency Management, Fire Science, Features A "controlled burn" at UNH Fire Awareness Week 2011

WEST HAVEN, CONN.  – Tornados. Earthquake. Hurricane. Freak snow storms. 

Connecticut has faced all of them just in the last year alone. This year, experts are predicting more of the same.

To help the state to be better prepared to deal with these types of disasters, the University of New Haven will begin offering a new master’s degree program in emergency management next fall to train public and private officials in this critical field.

The UNH master’s degree program will be the only one in Connecticut and only the second in New England. It will be one of 35 programs in the nation, although both the field and academic training for it are growing.

“This program will make a difference to the state of Connecticut.  We have had a number of emergencies in the last year – tornados, an earthquake, a hurricane and a devastating snow storm -- and if we’ve learned anything at all, it is that managing these emergencies well makes a huge difference to our citizens,” says Wayne Sandford, a lecturer in fire sciences and former homeland security commissioner for the state of Connecticut.

The program will prepare students to deal with public emergencies of all kinds, including natural disasters. In 2011, the United States had a dozen weather disasters that caused at least $1 billion in damages, the largest number of disasters of that magnitude in more than 30 years of federal government tracking.

“Graduating students will find an amazing variety of employment sites for emergency managers,” Sandford, also a former fire chief, says.  “The job market for emergency managers is expanding at a healthy rate.  The field is emerging as an autonomous profession and offers much promise to students who obtain degrees in the field.”

The program, accepting applications now,  requires students to complete 36 credits of course work – 24 credits of required work and 12 credits of electives in criminal justice or health care management,  information security administration, national security administration or technology, public administration or public safety management.

The program is needed because the problems faced by communities have become more complex and natural disasters have become more frequent.

“Life has gotten more complicated,” Sandford says. “New technologies and the unfamiliar vulnerabilities and threats they bring are a challenge and the aging infrastructure we have in this country makes emergency managers more important than ever.  In addition, population growth along the coasts has grown by 50 percent in the nation and those people are often in harm’s way.”

The program is expected to appeal to many who will enter it as a second or third career, Sandford says. While many workers currently in the field do not have professional emergency management training, however, that is changing rapidly.

“Emergency management inherently is a field that bridges the gap between theory and practice and between classroom and real world," Sandford says.

The UNH program grew out of a certificate program in emergency management the university offers. Demand for professionals, however, warranted the expansion.  The Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-22 edition estimates that there are 12,800 people employed as emergency managers in the United States and that employment growth through 2018 will be “much faster than average.”

The program is part of the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, which offers a 50 percent tuition discount to active police officers and fire fighters who are accepted into and enroll in a graduate program offered in the Lee College including master’s degrees in criminal justice, fire science, forensic science, emergency management and national security and public safety.

More information about the programs is available online at

Students who wish to apply should contact or 203-932-7440.

The University of New Haven is a private, top-tier comprehensive institution recognized as a national leader in experiential education. Founded in 1920 on the campus of Yale University in cooperation with Northeastern University, UNH moved to its current West Haven campus in 1960. The University provides its students with a unique combination of a solid liberal arts education and real-world, hands-on career and research opportunities. UNH enrolls approximately 6,400, including nearly 1,800 graduate students and more than 4,600 undergraduates – the majority of whom reside in University housing. Through its College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, Tagliatela College of Engineering, and University College, UNH offers 75 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. UNH students have access to more than 50 study abroad programs worldwide and its student athletes compete in 16 varsity sports in the NCAA Division II’s highly competitive Northeast-10 Conference.