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Graduate Program


Graduate Program Director: Dr.Richard Bissell
Graduate Program Coordinator: Renee Decker


Modern emergency health service 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, EHS 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’s program is designed to address these needs.


The UMBC Emergency Health Services 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 three track curriculum is designed to provide graduate level training and education to health care providers, researchers, educators, policy makers and administrators.


Three tracks are available to the graduate emergency health services major: 1) Administration, Planning and Policy; 2) Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology, and; 3) Education. Each track begins with a mandatory core of (4) courses, followed by track specific courses.

The Administration, Planning and Policy track provides all of its courses from within our department through distance education (completely online) or through on-campus/hybrid courses. These courses focus on the skills and knowledge necessary to exercise leadership within the EHS field. Elective courses are available from the departments of Policy Sciences, Sociology, and Nursing, but are not available online.

The Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology track is designed for those interested in the public health side of emergency health services, including such areas of work as injury prevention, health policy, and disaster and refugee health services. PLEASE NOTE** Some in on-campus/hybrid courses may be required within this track.

The Education track is designed for clinicians who want to learn modern principles behind education, including curriculum design and validation, instructional system development, and education program management. This track is a cooperative effort with the UMBC Department of Education. Courses are available through distance education (completely online) or through on-campus/hybrid courses.

The Emergency Management Post-Baccalaureate Certificate provides a 5-course (minimum) option for those interested in emergency management, with two recommended courses of optional study available. This certificate can be obtained as a stand-alone option, or as part of the MS degree. Under the guidance of the program advisor, combinations of these tracks may be possible. Courses are available through distance education (completely online) or through on-campus/hybrid courses.


The EHS 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 EHS, 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 faculty, resources, and projects 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 intern in these organizations. Our proximity to Washington D.C. enhances access to national agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Department of Health and Human Services. Maryland is often looked to as a leader in emergency medical services; our Graduate Program is one of the resources enhancing this reputation.


Regular admission criteria for the Graduate School are required for all prospective degree-seeking Emergency Health Services graduate students. You must have an undergraduate grade point average of at least a 3.0. If your grade point average is under 3.2, you will be required to take the Graduate Record Examination. Completion of another post-graduate degree with a GPA of at least 3.0 is an acceptable substitute. Applicants for whom English is not a native language must have a score of at least 550 on the written Test of English as a Foreign Language, or 80 on the internet-based test (iBT) version. Consult the UMBC Graduate School Catalogue for further requirements and deadlines. Those wishing to “test the waters” or to enroll in one or two courses without degree candidacy may register as Non-Degree Students. Consult with a departmental advisor for more information. Applications are available through the graduate school as listed above.


Master’s level EHS programs require a minimum of 30 hours of credit which must be completed within five years from the date of initial enrollment. With continuous enrollment each semester, most students complete the degree in about two years. A three year time frame will be typical for many part-time students, although earlier completion is possible.


Students in the EHS undergraduate program who meet specific qualifications may opt for a combined BS/MS degree. Application for this program is made during your Junior year of undergraduate study and must be approved by both the Graduate Program Director and the Advisor for your undergraduate degree track. Under optimal conditions, this program can be completed in five (5) years.


EHS Graduate Program Alumni Careers and Positions after Graduation  (PDF-2016Nov)