University of Hawaiʻi — West Oʻahu

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.


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. Salaries for trained, mid-level professionals in emergency management and related fields can range from $50,000 - $80,000 a year.


PUBA 411 Emergency Management and Disaster Preparedness
This course examines emergency management, planning, and response techniques. Emphasis is placed on effective training and coordination of medical facility personnel, public and non-profit agencies, and the military to deal with a variety of man-made and natural events.

PUBA 461 Social Dimensions of Disaster
This course is an overview of empirical versus theoretical approaches; human behavior in disaster, myths and reality; group disaster behavior; community social systems and disaster; cultures, demographics and disaster behavior distinctions; and model building in sociological disaster research.

PUBA 462 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuation
This course is intended for novices in business continuity and disaster recovery planning. Topics include business continuity planning; recovery of information and communication system; the purpose, goals, and objectives of plan development; and initial response to catastrophic events.

PUBA 463 Disaster Recovery and Hazard Mitigation
This course addresses household, organizational, and community recovery from disasters, discussed in the context of mitigation activities to reduce vulnerability to disasters. Recovery policies, processes, and outcomes are examined at the local, state, and federal levels. Issues related to local adoption of mitigation measures are considered. The course addresses chemical properties of hazardous materials and wastes; legal requirements for their handling, storage, transportation, and disposal; methods of protecting employees, facilities, and the community.

PUBA 464 Terrorism and Emergency Management
This course will identify domestic and international terrorist organizations; analyze their objectives and tactics; and examine the law enforcement and military response. Topics will include: biological, chemical, and nuclear terrorism; cyber-terrorism; and an assessment of the level of preparedness within the U.S.


Students in the Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Management program have completed internships or obtained jobs at a number of local and government agencies including:

  • U.S. Naval Criminal Investigation Service
  • O‘ahu Civil Defense Agency
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection


Dr. Ross Prizzia, Professor
(808) 689-2365