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Program Format

This program is on haitus contact Dan Trifone for more information.

The Professional Certificate in Emergency Leadership and Community Resilience is designed for determined, forward-looking persons either already working in the field of emergency management or who wish to enter this growing field. Students from public, private, and non-profit sectors will benefit from their experience in the program.

Course and Certificate Information

We offer six courses a year, two per term during Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters. Coursework can be completed in less than one year, or can be completed over a longer period of time. Students who enroll in both courses offered each of three consecutive terms will have the additional benefit of moving through the program as a cohort. 

Students who successfully complete all 6 courses will receive a Professional Certificate in Emergency Leadership and Community Resilience from the Center for Public Service, acknowledging the student’s accomplishment. Courses will appear individually on the student's transcript.

The format for the courses combines in-person and online learning, so that students experience the unique value of meeting in-person with faculty and other students, while also benefitting from the flexibility of online learning. For each course, students will have a total of 32 hours of contact time—16 hours in person at the beginning of the quarter and 16 hours in person at the end of the quarter. Students will also interact with their colleagues and instructor asynchronously through the on-line distance platform between in-person sessions.

Class Structure

  • Students meet in-person (e.g., 8 hours on both Friday and Saturday, or 8 hours on both Sunday and Monday, depending on which course they are taking) during the first week of the quarter. 
  • Students interact asynchronously as their schedule permits, via the university’s online learning platform.
  • Finally, students meet again in person (e.g., 8 hours on both Friday and Saturday, or 8 hours on both Sunday and Monday, depending on which course they are taking) during the final week of the quarter.

Students may enroll with the intent of completing all 6 courses, or with the intent of completing a subset of courses of greatest interest to them.

Credit Options

Students may take courses for undergraduate or graduate credit (3 credits each), or as non-credit professional development. The differences in these options will be reflected in the requirements for each course. Students may use undergraduate credits in partial fulfillment of the General Elective requirements for any bachelor's degree at Portland State University (students who complete all six courses will receive the Professional Certificate in addition to their degree). Graduate credits will be applicable to any relevant degree at Portland State University, pending departmental acceptance of the credits (students will need to confer with their department(s) of choice). Courses taken as non-credit professional development will not appear on a student's transcript; however, non-credit courses can be applied towards the Professional Certificate.


Students who declare their intent to earn the Professional Certificate have the opportunity to be mentored by a seasoned professional who has volunteered to provide individual student support throughout the program. Mentors will provide students with guidance and assistance based on their real-world experience. A mentor serves as a trusted person with extensive knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience—and who has interest and willingness to support a student in his or her efforts to succeed.

Capstone Exercise

Students who declare their intent to earn the Professional Certificate also have the opportunity to complete a Capstone Exercise that consolidates their learning. The exercise has three components. First, throughout their coursework, students will build a portfolio illustrating their practical and academic experience. Second, students will participate in an emergency management or homeland security training exercise. Finally, students will prepare a manuscript and submit it for publication in a professional journal. In preparing the manuscript, students are expected to hone their technical and analytical skills and to draw upon the experiences and information gained across the entire curriculum. Students have considerable latitude in the selection of a particular exercise, and are encouraged to select an exercise with immediate relevance to their own professional interest.

Applying for the International Association of Emergency Managers’ (IAEM) Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) Certification

The International Association of Emergency Managers is a non-profit, educational organization with members who represent many sectors of the emergency management and homeland security field. The IAEM offers two desired and sought-after certification programs intended to document that an individual has met established education, training, and experience criteria relevant to emergency management: Associate Emergency Manager and Certified Emergency Manager. Portland State University’s Professional Certificate in Emergency Leadership and Community REsilience advances students’ preparation for applying for either of these two certifications, as our program is aligned with IAEM core academics and expectations.

  • More information about the International Association of Emergency Managers is available here.
  • More information about the IAEM Certified Emergency Manager program is available here.
  • See how this program can help you earn the IAEM Certificate in Emergency Management here.