Graduate Programs

Hallway of multiple graduate students waiting for ceremony to start. Primary picture subjects - One male EDHS graduate student in black graduation robes and gold and black graduate stole (Thomas Rivalis) next to prior EDHS graduate student (Hilary Budzinski Betley) in blue fire company BDUs.
2023 EDHS graduate student Thomas Rivalis with 2022 EDHS graduate student/PUBL PhD Candidate Hilary Budzinski Betley
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Modern emergency and disaster health systems are complex entities that require the coordination of multiple service organizations in order to be effective. The common goal of this cooperative effort is to reduce death and disability resulting from acute illness and injury. The emergency health care system is the larger health care system’s method of reaching out to people experiencing unforeseen medical emergencies, assessing their needs, initiating care, and transporting them to an appropriate facility while continuing care. Emergency health care encompasses agencies ranging from local rescue squads to national and international disaster and refugee health services, and includes mobile (i.e. ambulances) and fixed resources (hospitals). Increasingly, EMS/EDHS agencies are becoming more involved in activities aimed at the prevention of injuries and sudden illness, and are exploring other public health roles. In order for this work to be effective, a high degree of management capability, combined with targeted research and education are required. Our Master of Science degree and Ph.D. Specialization within the School of Public Policy programs are designed to address these needs.


The UMBC Department of Emergency and Disaster Health Systems (EDHS) graduate study programs encompass the system components listed above. The program is primarily focused on preparing professionals for leadership roles requiring skill in planning, research, development, and organizational operations. The curriculum is designed to provide graduate level training and education to health care providers, researchers, educators, policy makers and administrators.

All Master’s Tracks receive a Master of Science degree in Emergency Health Services
Ph.D. Degrees are conferred by the School of Public Policy (Not the EDHS department)



UMBC is in the top tier of research universities nationally with one of the highest classifications given by the Carnegie Foundation: Doctoral/ Research University (Very High Research Activity, R1). The Emergency Health Services baccalaureate program began in 1980. Our goal was to produce the most comprehensively educated individuals capable of performing tasks within the broad scope of the emergency health care field as leaders, managers and providers. Our graduate program, the first in the nation for Emergency Health Services, began a year later. It remains the largest program of its type available in the United States.

Our program is unique in its proximity and interaction with other world-renown emergency medicine resources. We share connections with the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (our state EMS agency), the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Department of Emergency Medicine, and its National Study Center for Trauma and EMS. Many students have interned in these organizations. Our proximity to Washington D.C. enhances access to national agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Maryland is often looked to as a leader in emergency medical services; our Graduate Program is one of the resources enhancing this reputation.

Department of EDHS Graduate Program Alumni Careers and Positions after Graduation  (PDF)

For information on tuition costs and other financial questions, please see our Financial Assistance page.