Two new emergency management degrees were approved today by UCF’s Board of Trustees, establishing the first public university in Florida to offer both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in emergency management. Coincidentally, the approval came a day after U.S. News and World Report ranked UCF’s emergency management and homeland security programs at No. 6 in the nation.

Claire Knox, director of the program and an associate professor in the School of Public Administration, said the curriculum creates an opportunity for students to transition seamlessly between the undergraduate and graduate programs.

Undergraduate students also have an option of a Emergency Management, Bachelor of Arts or Emergency Management, Bachelor of Science.

The graduate degree, which includes crisis management, becomes the first emergency-management master’s in the State University System to be offered fully online.

A degree in emergency management can lead to a career in the public, private or nonprofit sector. The federal Bureau of Labor projects an 8 percent increase in emergency-management jobs between 2012 and 2022, and forecasts strong growth in all the sectors.

Emergency management directors and staff are trained to respond to manmade and natural disasters and to minimize damage. Additionally, they must mitigate the risk of disasters by preparing communities before emergencies occur.

The new curriculum, which will begin this fall, will emphasize core competencies of emergency management as well as the fundamentals of a career in public service. Students pursuing either degree will be required to complete an internship and a capstone course.

The School of Public Administration also offers a minor in emergency management and homeland security and an 18-credit hour graduate certificate.

Only 11 percent of all universities in the nation, including the University of Central Florida, have a “hot” emergency-operations center, meaning the EOC is activated and ready to go at all times.