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Two students review charts on a desk. Jefferson graduates emerge with the skills to create preparedness plans and to respond to disasters throughout the world, wrote.

Real-World Experience Propels Disaster Management and Medicine Program

Students enrolled in the University’s disaster management and medicine program complete a minimum of 100 hours of experiential learning, a defining factor that propelled to name it one of the best online master’s in emergency management programs in the nation.

For example, students have conducted hazard vulnerability assessments at the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg, studied emergency management at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency with a weather-related tabletop exercise and participated in a hazardous materials decontamination exercise with Hershey Medical Center.

“This blending of academics and in-person engagement with organizations and response activities makes a difference,” says Dr. Jean Bail, disaster management and medicine program director. “This development of skills and networks provides amazing opportunities.”

During her hazmat training, alumna Cristina Pareja M’18 found the decontamination drills especially beneficial, she says. “It helped me to clarify concepts and to understand how emergency management works in real life. It was truly an enriching and knowledge-filled experience.”

Pareja served as a case manager at Prevention Point, an organization that works to end overdose deaths in Philadelphia. She recently left the country to return home to Ecuador to use her skills, knowledge and interest in community preparedness.

Program graduates have landed jobs in the government, hospitals and nonprofit organizations, as well as public health, Dr. Bail says.

Student success weighed heavily in’s methodology, along with academic quality and affordability. For the rankings, analyzed every online master’s program in emergency management in the United States and consulted industry experts, hiring managers, current students and alumni.

“Graduates emerge from this program with the skills to create preparedness plans and to respond to both natural and man-made disasters throughout the world,” they wrote of Jefferson.