Emergency Management and Community Resilience Non-Degree Professional Certificate Program

Emergency management and community resilience

About the Program

Recent events have illustrated how an emergency can unexpectedly and significantly disrupt organizations and communities. Resilient communities have the capacity to plan, mitigate, and respond when a crisis strikes. Portland State University’s professional certificate in Emergency Management and Community Resilience teaches foundational skills for business, community, and government leaders, operational managers, communication professionals, and community leaders to develop the skills needed to plan for and respond to emergencies with more awareness, effectiveness, and resilience.

In this fully online program, participants learn essential principles, methods, and tools for preparing, mitigating, responding, and recovering from a disaster, as well as factors that influence community preparedness, response and resilience. This program effectively integrates core concepts with real-world experience and recent case studies to illustrate how students can understand risks, identify vulnerable populations, maintain business continuity, communicate strategically, and plan for disaster preparedness and response. Participants collaborate with peers to solve practical problems and apply knowledge and skills to complex situations. Expert faculty combine instruction, activities, and an applied project to prepare participants to advance emergency management within their organizations and build resilience in their communities. 

Upon successful completion of the program, participants will receive a professional certificate and a digital credential.

Certificate Snapshot

Program delivered in a virtual format with live instructor & student interaction

Once per year (Spring)


7 weeks, 1 live session online each Friday

Full certificate cost: $1,195

The program will next be offered in Spring 2022; class schedule available soon.  

Spring 2021 class schedule:  
Live sessions on April 9, 16, 23 & 30, and May 7, 14, & 21, 2021 (12:30 - 4:30 pm PT each day).


Courses may qualify for a discount. Please visit our CEPE Discount page for more information. 

Emergency Management and Community Resilience icon

Remember, when disaster strikes, the time to prepare has passed.

- Steven Cyros

Who Should Attend

Professionals in any industry who are seeking to support their organization or community in preparing, managing, or responding to emergency situations. This program is of particular relevance to business, government, and community leaders, operations managers, communications professionals, and anyone interested in building the capacity of their organization to plan for and respond to a disaster.

What You’ll Learn

Upon completion of this program, students will have gained the knowledge to:

  • Identify and understand elements of risk, knowledge, and uncertainty
  • Evaluate social inequality, vulnerability, and racial justice in the context of emergency management and community resilience
  • Understand the potential impacts of natural, technological, and complex disasters including climate change
  • Learn about social memory, community, and cultural capital as elements of resilience
  • Explore concepts of resilience and strategies for enhancing resilience within an organization and the community
  • Acquire tools and methods for individual and organizational preparedness in the event of an emergency

The certificate consists of the following modules:

Culture, Vulnerability, and Disaster Resilience 
Understand the difference between a hazard and a disaster. Learn the disaster risk management cycle as a framework to apply this and subsequent modules of the program. Explore different types of vulnerability related to different disasters, as well as underlying social inequalities. Examine the concept of resilience and learn what makes a person, family, or community more or less resilient. Consider key cultural factors that influence disaster experiences. 

Learning from Experience: Japan's Earthquake and Tsunami Crisis
This session focuses on examining emergency/disaster management, disaster preparedness, and community redevelopment and resilience using the case study of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan’s Tohoku region in March 2011. Program participants will learn how government officials, business owners, and members from local NGO/NPOs responded to this disaster, and Japan’s recovery efforts. Emphasis will be placed on what can be learned from Japan’s experiences, and how to apply the lessons learned from efforts toward emergency management and community resilience. 

Disaster Planning for Resiliency
Learn the foundations of disaster preparedness and mitigation. Consider different approaches to planning in anticipation of calamitous events and assess organizational and community assets.  Identify key players and strategies for developing the "soft infrastructure" of pre-disaster planning to better prepare for potential future emergencies. Class activities will enable participants to develop a process for creating a list of key players and a SWOT analysis for their organization/community.

Business and Supply Chain Continuity Planning 
For organizations to survive and prosper, they need resilience capabilities and strong relationships with other organizations in their supply chain. These capabilities and relationships allow them to cope with risks in the environment. In this session, we’ll focus on how your organizations can better identify, mitigate, and respond to risks and will apply tools and techniques that can help you develop a more resilient organization and supply chain.

Crisis and Strategic Communication
Building on what you have learned about pre-disaster planning, learn how to assess the positions and values of your stakeholders. With a lens of engaging the public, learn how to develop audience analysis and segmentation strategies. Learn skills for how to establish credibility and expertise when communicating with stakeholders. Draft clear messages and message templates that adapt to the needs of audiences and present them back to the class.