UTRGV offers new master’s degree in disaster studies

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UTRGV offers new master’s degree in disaster studies

UTRGV Associate Professor William Donner discusses Geographic Information Systems with graduate research assistants Bianca Lopez and Karen Rodriguez. Donner, the sociology program coordinator, along with Walter Diaz, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, oversaw development of the new Master of Arts in Disaster Studies program at UTRGV. (UTRGV photo by Paul Chouy)
UTRGV Associate Professor William Donner discusses Geographic Information Systems with graduate research assistants Bianca Lopez and Karen Rodriguez. Donner, the sociology program coordinator, along with Walter Diaz, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, oversaw development of the new Master of Arts in Disaster Studies program at UTRGV. (UTRGV photo by Paul Chouy)

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is accepting applications for its new Master of Arts in Disaster Studies program, a 36-hour program with both thesis and non-thesis options that provides students with formal training in a transdisciplinary and multicultural approach to the study and management of disasters.

“Graduates will acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to manage the human dimensions, like warning response and intergovernmental coordination, as well as the physical dimensions, such as flood surge engineering, of common hazards like severe weather, major floods and chemical accidents,” said William Donner, sociology program coordinator who, along with Walter Diaz, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, oversaw development of this master’s program.

The new program will be offered in the fall on both the Edinburg and Brownsville campuses and online. The curriculum includes social and natural sciences, government and public administration, humanities and Geographic Information Systems. Students also will take core courses in research methods and statistics.

Donner and Diaz said there currently is a high demand for emergency management practitioners at the state and local levels and, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, there will be a projected 20 percent growth in disaster/emergency management employment opportunities through 2020.

“Graduates from the program can fill a wide range of career opportunities as emergency management specialists, homeland security officers, hospital emergency preparedness administrators, public health planners, communication officers and emergency response technicians,” Donner said. “If you are planning to do teaching and research, there is a thesis option in which you focus more on scholarship. It is a very flexible degree program.”

Degree requirements to enter the program are a B.A. or B.S. in any major. GRE and TOEFL exam results are required. The deadline to apply is July 1.

For more information on the program, Edinburg students may contact Donner at William.donner@utrgv.edu. Brownsville students may contact Dawid Wladlyka, lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, at dawid.wladyka@utrgv.edu.

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