National Preparedness and Homeland Security Certificate

Our nation faces threats every day, from severe weather and natural disasters to crime- or terror-related emergencies. Medical professionals, law enforcement officers, and other necessary personnel must be equipped to respond swiftly.

Security professionals and first-responders are not the only ones that can benefit from national preparedness training. Businesses, educational institutions, and other facilities also must have plans in place for these situations. Increasingly, human resources, marketing, or information technology directors are charged with overseeing their organization’s emergency response and crisis communications plans.

Our certificate in national preparedness and homeland security provides students with the theory and skills they will need to aid in decision-making, from boots-on-the-ground efforts to back-end data analysis. Elective courses range in disciplines from geology to cyber security. This flexible certificate program can be a stand-alone professional development opportunity or completed in preparation for a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a national security-related field.

Applicants must have completed at least 60 credits with a grade point average of 2.0. If you are not currently enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh, you must submit official transcripts from all prior institutions with the application. 

CGS Difference

This certificate program draws on the expertise of University of Pittsburgh’s Center for National Preparedness, an interdisciplinary research institute. 

Program Expectations

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  • Develop and implement organizational risk profiles, continuity of operation plans (COOPs), business recovery plans, and other risk management activities
  • Use knowledge of federal, state, and local agency responsibilities to effectively plan and execute emergency response plans
  • Apply incident command protocols and consensus building approaches
  • Communicate effectively in a crisis, verbally and in writing, and transfer information effectively to obtain positive outcomes
  • Plan prevention and preparedness operations and measures that help communities handle efforts related to damage limitation, emergency response, and recovery

Credit Requirements

The National Preparedness and Homeland Security certificate requires eighteen credits, including twelve credits of required courses and six elective credits.

Core courses cover foundational content and procedures central to national preparedness and emergency response, in addition to analytical tools and approaches. They include a capstone experience in which students will plan, role-play, and report on a complete disaster scenario involving critical infrastructure sectors such as energy, government, transportation, health, and telecommunications. Elective courses allow students to gain further knowledge or experience relevant to their current or intended career paths in such fields as health, information security, and business continuity. All courses are 3 credits, unless otherwise noted.

Please note:

  • No course with a grade below C will be accepted for certificate credit.
  • Students must achieve a minimum grade of C (2.0) or better for all courses required for the program.
  • All four required core courses must be completed at the University of Pittsburgh to earn the certificate.
  • A maximum of six credits may be accepted from other institutions for elective courses. 

Students should consult with their advisor and/or core course faculty early in their program to identify elective courses appropriate for their career and/or academic interests.

Required courses: (12 credits)

Students must have successfully completed at least one other core course prior to registering for the capstone course. The capstone course may be taken concurrently with another core course.

Catalog Number Title Credits
NPHS 1510 Federal and International Framework for Emergency Preparedness 3
NPHS 1520 State and Local Framework for Emergency Preparedness 3
NPHS 1530 Analysis, Intelligence, and Decision Tools for Emergency Preparedness 3
NPHS 1540 Capstone Course in Emergency Preparedness 3

Elective courses: (6 credits)

The following list shows a sample of courses already approved as electives:

Catalog Number Title Credits
ADMJ 1234 Introduction to Cybercrime 3
ADMJ 1238 Cyber Security, Law, and Money Laundering 3
ADMJ 1245 Terrorism 3
ADMJ 1260 Resource Protection Planning 3
ADMJ/PUBSRV 1425 Principles of Homeland Security 3
CS 1655 Secure Data Management and Web Applications 3
CS 1675 Intro to Machine Learning 3
CS 1699 Special Topics in Computer Science: Privacy in Electronic Society 3
ECON 0150 Economic Data Analysis 3
GEOL 0820 Natural Disasters  3
INFSCI 1068 or IE 1015 Geospatial Information Systems or Geographic Information Systems  3
INFSCI 1070 Introduction to Telecommunications and Networks 3
INFSCI 1074 Computer Security 3
NPHS 1900 Internship 3
NPHS 1901 Independent Study 3
NUR 1061 Independent Study 1
PS 1503 International Organization 3
PS 1509 Conflict and War Theory 3
PS 1583 Topics in International Relations: European and Global Security 3
PUBSRV 1320 GIS in the Public Service 3

Students must meet all relevant course prerequisites. NPHS Internship and NPHS Independent Study courses may be repeated for credit with permission.

Note: With the approval of the NPHS advisor, students enrolled in the SHRS Emergency Medicine (EM) program may apply up to six (6) credits of EM courses toward the NPHS certificate electives.

Please Note: Requirements are subject to change. Check with an academic advisor before registering.

If you have further questions about the National Preparedness and Homeland Security certificate, please contact Krista Stokes, CGS Academic Advisor.