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Graduate Opportunities


Graduate training has been an integral component of the Disaster Research Center’s mission since the Center’s inception over fifty years ago. At the graduate level, DRC faculty oversee theses and dissertations, teach classes, and advise students in their home departments and in the interdisciplinary Disaster Science and Management degree program. 

For those students interested in graduate studies with a focus on disasters, there are several options available at the University of Delaware.

Disaster Science and Management

DISA Ph.D. Students Flavio Lopes Ribeiro (now an Alumni) and Diego Otegui at the 43rd Annual Natural Hazards Workshop, 2018.

DISA Ph.D. Students Flavio Lopes Ribeiro (now an Alumni) and Diego Otegui at the 43rd Annual Natural Hazards Workshop, 2018.


The M.S. in Disaster Science and Management and Ph.D. in Disaster Science and Management programs approach disasters from an interdisciplinary point of view. The programs emphasize theories, research methodologies, and policies related to emergency preparedness, mitigation, management, and response. For the MS, two options are offered – a non-thesis MS and an MS with a thesis. The non-thesis MS is considered to be a terminal degree. Students interested in research or continuing for a Ph.D. should consider the thesis option​.

Civil Engineering

John Lin, Ph.D. CEE with DRC core faculty Dr. Sue McNeil at Graduation 2018

John Lin, Ph.D. CEE with DRC core faculty Dr. Sue McNeil at Graduation 2018

MCE, Civil Infrastructure Systems

The Master of Civil Engineering (MCE)​ degree is awarded only to individuals who, upon admission, have an undergraduate degree in engineering, preferably in civil or environmental engineering. The student pursuing the MCE degree may choose a traditional thesis program or a non-thesis option. The disaster-related concentration for MCE is Civil Infrastructure Systems.​

Ph.D., Civil Infrastructure Systems

A disaster-related Ph.D. in Civil Engineering is offered in the Civil Infrastructure Systems field. Ph.D. students work with their advisor to develop a program of study that provides appropriate breadth and depth. See the Ph.D. in Civil Engineering for the general academic requirements.​​


DRC Directors Tricia Wachtendorf and James Kendra with SOCI/CJ Ph.D. student Virginia Berndt and DISA Ph.D. candidate Carolina Velasquez at NEEDS 2019 in Uppsala, Sweden.

DRC Directors Tricia Wachtendorf and James Kendra with SOCI/CJ Ph.D. student Virginia Berndt and DISA Ph.D. candidate Carolina Velasquez at NEEDS 2019 in Uppsala, Sweden.

MA Sociology & Ph.D. Sociology 

Comprehensive Examination in Disasters and Environment

The Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice offers a Masters of Arts and a Doctor of Philosophy degree program in both sociology and criminology. The primary focus of the program is the preparation of members of the next generation of sociologists and criminologists by emphasizing systematic training in theory and research methodology as well as teaching. These advanced education degrees are intended for persons interested in careers in academia, public service, or private enterprise. MA students can choose courses and a thesis topic related to the broader disaster sociology field. Ph.D. students choose two areas of specialization from such areas as Disasters & Environment, Medical Sociology, Gender, Race, Methods, Theory, Deviance, and Criminology.​ For additional information, visit UD Department of Sociology & Criminal Justice.​

Public Administration

​Indian ​Ocean Tusnami, 2005

MPA, Emergency Management​

The Emergency Management specialization of the Master of Public Administration degree program prepares students to serve as disaster professionals supporting governments, communities and public organizations in the preparation, response, recovery, and mitigation of disaster situations. This specialization prepares students for career options that intertwine disaster preparedness planning with agency management and operations. It may also be a good choice for those contemplating careers in the fields of public safety or disaster research.​​​

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