Graduate Certificate Program in Public Health Preparedness and Disaster Response



Program Overview

The Graduate Certificate Program in Public Health Preparedness and Disaster Response was founded in 2003 as a response to the growing threats to the public's health. Today, it stands out as one of the few programs in the nation with a focus on preparedness, featuring an all-hazards approach to preparedness and hands-on educational experiences.

Since its inception, 51 students have graduated from the Graduate Certificate Program. Graduates have used their training to obtain important preparedness and response positions at city, county, state, and national levels, such as:

  • University Hospitals Case Medical Center - Director
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Epidemic Intelligence Service Office - Prevention Specialist
  • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania - Senior Assistant Counsel
  • STAT MedEvac - Associate Medical Director
  • Virginia Department of Health - Bioterrorism Coordinator
  • Bucks County Department of Health - Public Health Preparedness Planner
  • Pennsylvania Department of Health - Emergency Preparedness Coordinator
  • Allegheny County Health Department - Vector Control Specialist


The Certificate Program is not currently admitting new students. If you wish to enroll in any of the Certificate Program courses during this period, you will receive full credit toward the Certificate at such time as the program is re-activated. If you would like to discuss your  your interest in the program, please feel free to contact the Program Director, Maggie Potter at


The Certificate Program and individual courses are open to graduate students, senior undergraduates (with permission), and professionals who enroll in the Graduate School of Public Health.

A minimum of 15 credits is required to complete the Certificate Program. Course requirements are as follows:

  • Credits of four required courses:
    • Fall Courses
      Risk Communications (BCHS 2572)
      Introduction to Public Health Emergency Preparedness (BCHS 2579)
    • Spring Courses
      Policy and Decision-Making for Public Health Emergencies and Bioterrorism (HPM 2003/EOH 2513)
      Environmental Health and Occupational Health Preparedness (EOH 2515)

      View Required Course Descriptions
  • Elective credits (See Electives Course List)

Students must complete coursework within five years and maintain 3.0 GPA or higher.

Students may transfer credits earned from required courses taken before enrollment into the certificate program. Non-degree students in the certificate program may be eligible to transfer credits from the certificate program to the degree program.