Graduate Certificate in Emergency Management and Homeland Security

Graduate Certificate in Emergency Management and Homeland Security


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The Graduate Certificate in Emergency Management and Homeland Security at George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government addresses policy, planning, security, organizational, and management issues in the field of emergency preparedness and homeland security. Course selections are structured to enhance the capabilities of diverse federal, state, local, and volunteer agencies, and the public and private sectors to minimize the impact of disasters on the American public with an emphasis on how the various elements work together in emergencies to save lives and protect property. Electives are designed to address public management issues across the four major phases of emergency management – planning, response, recovery and mitigation.


  • Completion Requirements: 5 courses (15 credits) listed below
  • Duration: 1 to 1.5 years on average
  • Semester of Entry: fall and spring

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Notice:
Mason has moved to virtual instruction for its on-campus programs for the spring 2020 semester. Faculty and staff who normally work on-campus are teleworking and are fully available to support students. Visit Mason's Coronavirus Information page for more information, including affected dates and frequently asked questions. For questions as a prospective student, please don't hesitate to contact the Schar School Office of Graduate Admissions at

Certificate Program Requirements

REQUIRED COURSES (3 courses | 9 credits)

Students are required to take the following three courses:

PUAD 502 – Administration in Public and Nonprofit Organizations
Graduate introduction to field of public administration. Focuses on structure, functions, and processes of executive branch agencies of national, state, and local governments. Emphasizes nonprofit organizations as co-actors with government in policy-making/policy implementation nexus.

PUAD 630 – Emergency Planning and Preparedness
Provides an understanding of the issues associated in developing plans and policies to prepare for disasters, both natural and man made. Overview of nature of challenges posed by different kinds of disasters; discussion of regulatory requirements, sample plans, equipment requirements, collateral and mutual aid support agreements, and methods for testing and updating plans.

PUAD 637 – Managing Homeland Security
Focuses on the Department of Homeland Security and will cover the statutory law that provides the foundation for the department, the resources appropriated to the department, the determination of strategy and priorities, the development of operational capacity, and other challenges associated with top-level (secretarial) management of the department and its principal bureaus.

ELECTIVE COURSES (2 courses | 6 credits)

Select two elective courses of your choosing. Courses vary semester to semester, but past elective courses available to students have included:

*Students choose electives in the emergency management and homeland security area. A list of relevant electives is available under the concentration in emergency management and homeland security in the MPA (master of public administration) entry of the catalog.


Earn your master's degree faster by starting with a certificate program. Students can apply up to 12 credits from a certificate program toward a Schar School master's degree upon acceptance into a master's program. Upon completion of this certificate, many students go on to pursue the Schar School's Master's in International Security and Master's in Public Administration degree programs, among others.


Have questions about this certificate program? Contact the Admissions Office.