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From avalanches to wildfires to pandemics, natural and humanitarian disasters have the potential to affect us all. If you’re currently working in or are looking for a career change to emergency management and response planning, this certificate program will help you prepare for ground, frontline, and managerial leadership in the field.

By taking this certificate, you will gain skills in mid- to high-level managerial competencies and planning as well as management and reporting practices relevant to the field. Upon completion, you will be able to advance or change your career by becoming an emergency, risk, and continuity management professional. A number of graduates of this program are now managers and directors of emergency and response planning management oversight in corporations, companies, universities, international non-profit organizations, as well as federal, provincial and municipal governments.

Approved by Emergency Management Ontario

Emergency Management Ontario (EMO) and the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM), both under the auspices of the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services, have designated the Certificate in Disaster and Emergency Management as an approved educational provider.

What Will You Learn?

  • Lead, interact, and work within the context of emergency management settings and within the law during disasters and emergencies.
  • Operationalize emergency management organizational mechanisms to accomplish goals.
  • Use international methodologies for measuring, describing, and assessing emergency management activities, concepts, policies, missions, operations, and goals.
  • Assess threats and realities and plan for first and second responders, emergency managers, and their organizations.
  • Engage in practical emergency management scenarios with follow-up reporting, including authoring brief disaster recovery and contingency plans, among others.

The Certificate in Disaster and Emergency Management is an excellent complement to the skills you may already possess as a professional.

Who Should Take This Certificate?

This program is designed for individuals who are seeking the knowledge and skills relevant to work, and advance their careers, in the field of disaster and emergency management.

You may be interested if you are or wish to become a professional in:

  • emergency services
  • first or second response
  • emergency response
  • healthcare
  • law enforcement
  • fire protection
  • emergency and disaster management for corporations and NGOs

Recommended Course Sequence

Courses are offered year-round, in the Fall, Winter, and Spring/Summer terms. You are required to complete six, career-oriented courses to earn the certificate. You may adjust your course load as you prefer. 

This is a part-time, online certificate program offering you the flexibility to learn at your own pace. If you take the first three online courses of your choice in Term 1 and the final three courses in Term 2, you will be done with your certificate by the end of Term 2.

You can complete the full certificate online in two terms using the following sequence:
CSCI 230 - Emergency Management Practice
CSCI 232 - Incident and Operations Management
CSCI 243 - Continuity and Risk Management
CSCI 234 - Analysis of Critical Incidents
CSCI 241 - Planning for Emergency Management
CKDM 160 - Emerging Issues

Courses are updated every year for currency. Please note for the Fall term, 2020 the only elective course offered online is CSCI 230.

Who Teaches the Courses?

Our instructors are expert practitioners and highly skilled academics in the private, public, and non-profit sectors. 

For more information, visit our Instructor Profile Directory to read instructor bios.

Industry and Careers

Analysts with highly developed skills in disaster and emergency management are required by:

  • businesses and other for-profit enterprises
  • NGOs
  • emergency services
  • humanitarian agencies
  • disaster mitigation and recovery operations
  • community development organizations
  • public sector

These specialists provide on the ground, frontline, managerial leadership in preparation for, during, and after disasters and emergencies.

Graduates of this program are now directors of disaster and emergency management providing risk and continuity management planning and execution in corporations, mid-sized companies, universities, and provincial and municipal governments.

Certificate Requirements

  • 5 required courses
  • 1 electives
  • Cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 1.67+

Admission Criteria


  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent
    • With 6 Grade 12 U or M credits


  • Mature student status

Recommended Course Sequence

Courses are offered year-round, in the Fall, Winter, and Spring/Summer terms. You are required to complete six courses to earn the certificate.

You may adjust your course load as you see fit. Some students are comfortable taking three courses per term, while others extend the amount of time it takes them to complete the certificate.
You can complete the full certificate in two terms using the following sequence:

Term 1:
CSCI 230 - Emergency Management Practices
CSCI 234 - Analysis of Critical Incidents
CSCI 232 - Incident and Operations Management

Term 2:
CSCI 243 - Continuity and Risk Management
CKDM 160 - Emerging Issues
CSCI 241 - Planning for Emergency Management

You can also complete the entire certificate in just a single term by taking all six courses online at once or in-class in the Emergency Management and Response Planning Fast Track.

Professional Development

Professional Development Award: Survival in Urban Disasters and Emergencies requires completion of any three of the following courses: CSCI 230, CSCI 232, CSCI 234, and/or CSCI 243.

Fast Track Option

Fast-track your Certificate in Emergency Management and Response Planning.

The Emergency Management and Response Planning Fast Track is an intensive program that offers you the chance to complete all six courses required to earn the certificate in a single term. The fast track is available online every term and in-class in the Spring/Summer term.

For more information, contact Anne-Marie Brinsmead, Program Director, at a2brinsm@ryerson.ca.

Awards and Financial Aid


Frequently Asked Questions

Does this certificate program have professional recognition?

Yes. Emergency Management Ontario (EMO) and the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM), both under the auspices of the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, have designated The Chang School as an approved educational provider.

How much does the program cost?

Registration for the certificate program is free. The cost of each course is calculated individually, and this program has six required courses. Check the course pages for details on fees.

Do course fees change if you are an international student?

Yes, if the course is degree-credit. International students pay two and a half (2.5) times the regular student tuition fee for degree-credit courses. The degree credit courses in this certificate are CSCI 230, CSCI 232, CSCI 234, CSCI 241, and CSCI 243.

How long does it take to complete the certificate?

Many of our students graduate within four to eight months by completing all course requirements in one or two terms. You may choose how quickly you want to complete all the required courses.

Can I take more than one course per term and still hold my full-time job?

It is possible to take more than one to three courses per term and still hold your full-time job. However, we recommend you organize your schedule to suit your needs.

Can I substitute a course from another certificate and have it apply to my certificate requirements?

No. This certificate program does not allow course substitutions or transfers.

What prerequisites or professional experiences are recommended for this certificate?

Contact ce@ryerson.ca for further clarification about certificate program requirements.

Are any courses available for substitution or transfer credit?

No. All courses in this certificate must be taken at The Chang School and are not eligible for course substitution or transfer credit application.

Which textbooks will I have to purchase for this certificate?

Textbook requirements vary by year. You will receive your textbook information on the Course Outline in the first week of class. Please do not buy any textbooks before class begins.

Contact Us

You may reach our certificate advisor at ce@ryerson.ca.

When you email the advisor, provide date and time options that you will be available to meet by phone. The advisor will reply and confirm one of the times.

Additional Details