The Graduate Certificate in Disaster Resilience and Risk Management (DRRM) is currently awaiting final approval and is expected to be fully available in Fall 2020.

The intended purpose of the certificate program is to provide individuals with the transdisciplinary learning that is needed to help manage disaster risks and improve society’s disaster resilience. The program is designed to cut across and unite content in science, engineering, social science, business, and public policy, among other disciplines, in order to expose students to myriad perspectives and to empower them to view disaster problems from multiple directions. As such, this certificate program will teach students the full complexity of disaster risk and resilience. We also envision that this certificate program will help students overcome discipline-specific conceptualizations, and will generate new transdisciplinary knowledge and solutions for achieving disaster resilience.

Students receiving a DRRMVT Graduate Certificate will achieve the following learning outcomes, enhancing their competitiveness for DRRM jobs in both public and private sectors, by being able to:

  • Identify the weakness of disciplinary approaches to manage disaster risk
  • Integrate research, methods, and terminologies used across disciplines in disaster resilience and risk management
  • Analyze and evaluate disaster resilience and risk management case studies at different geographic scales --structural, neighborhood, community, regional, and national
  • Communicate disaster resilience and risk management-related concepts effectively using critical vocabularies appropriate to certain audience in both written and oral modalities
  • Demonstrate collaborative skills that allow them to work effectively in multi-disciplinary teams


The DRRMVT Graduate Certificate will be open to all graduate students at Virginia Tech. Our faculty come from Business Information Technology, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Engineering Education, Geosciences, and Urban Affairs and Planning, among other departments, and we welcome students from across the university to join the conversation. In addition, the certificate will also be open to professionals, through Virginia Tech's Commonwealth Campus program, if they would like to enhance their disaster resilience and risk management credentials.

Time to Complete

All students who want to take the certificate must be enrolled as either full-time or part-time graduate students in Virginia Tech or enrolled as Virginia Tech students in the Commonwealth Campus Program.

The program is flexible in that students will be able to take courses towards the Certificate as they complete their study in their degree program, or they may do so as a Commonwealth Campus student. Completion of the curriculum below will result in a DRRMVT Graduate Certificate from the Graduate School. Students with Commonwealth Campus status are expected to complete the certificate within two consecutive academic years.

Application and Admission

The application form for the DRRMVT Graduate Certificate Program will be made available here for download once the program is officially approved by the University. Each application will be reviewed by the DRRMVT certificate program leaders before being forwarded to the graduate school for a final acceptance decision.

For applicants in part-time or full-time degree programs, the Graduate School requires the completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a GPA of 3.0 or better for admission to Certificate Status. Students pursuing a degree and a certificate simultaneously are classified within their degree program. Certificate credits may be used to meet degree requirements if they are appropriate for inclusion on the degree Plan of Study. Non-degree seeking applicants, or applicants with an undergraduate GPA <3.0 may obtain a Certificate Status with a Commonwealth Campus admission. The Graduate School opens the Commonwealth Campus status to applicants who hold an earned bachelors or higher degree from a regionally accredited U.S. university.

Curriculum Requirements and Description

Students will need to take at least twelve credit hours. All courses must be completed with a grade of B or better. Courses completed with a pass/fail or audit option do not count toward the certificate. Transfer credits are not permitted. No more than three hours can be at the 4000 level.

While the Certificate was initially formulated for natural disasters, we welcome students with interest in other types of disasters, for example in environmental disasters or public health disasters. All students are welcome to select equivalent courses to substitute for DRRM electives, but need to consult with the DRRMVT Certificate program leaders for approval. No substitutions for GRAD 5134, Principles of Disaster Risk Management are allowed. Please send course inquiries and requests for substitutions to

A brief description of each course is provided on the Graduate Courses webpage.

Core Required: 3 credits
GRAD 5134: Interdisciplinary Study: Principles of Disaster Risk Management (3H, 3C)
Core Cross-discipline Electives: 6 credits minimum
One course from the following list: (3 credits of core Technical electives)
BIT 5474: Computer-based Decision Support Systems (3H, 3C)
CEE 5594: Geological Engineering (3H, 3C)
CEE 5854G: Advanced Coastal Engineering (3H, 3C)
GEOS 6204: Simulation and Modeling in Geosciences (3H, 3C)
- or an equivalent course approved by the certificate program faculty
One course from the following list: (3 credits of core Societal electives)
UAP 5084: Collaborative Planning and Community Involvement (3H, 3C)
UAP 5214: Natural Hazards Mitigation Planning (3H, 3C)
PAPA 5354: Homeland Security, Response & Recovery (3H, 3C)
UAP 5784: Economic Development Planning Topics (3H, 3C), when the course topic is Community Resilience
- or an equivalent course approved by the certificate program faculty
Electives: 3 credits minimum
At least one course from the following list (or equivalent):
BIT 5414: Operations Management in a Global Environment (3H, 3C)
BIT 5494: International Operations and InfoTech (3H, 3C)
CEE 5080: Infrastructure Asset Mgt. (3H, 3C)
CEE 5204: GIS Applications (3H, 3C)
CEE 5464: Structural Dynamics & Earthquake Eng. (3H, 3C)
CEE 5470: Structural. Design for Seismic Load Effects (3H, 3C)
CEE 5584: Geotechnical Aspects of Earthquake Eng. (3H, 3C)
CEE 5660: Trans Risk, Reliability & Security (3H, 3C)
CEE 5734: Urban Hydrology & Storm-water Management (3H, 3C)
CEE 5844: Ocean and Coastal Wave Mechanics (3H, 3C)
CEE 5864: Coastal and Estuarine Morphodynamics (3H, 3C)
ENGE 5024: Design in Engineering Education and Practice (3H, 3C)
ENGE 5714: Topics in Engineering Education Research Methods (3H, 3C)
ENGE 6714: Topics in Engineering Education Research and Practice (3H, 3C)
GEOS 5154: Strong-Motion Seismology & Seismic Hazard Analysis (3H, 3C)
GEOS 5714G: Adv. Volcanic Processes (3H, 3C)
PAPA 5254: Homeland Security & Terrorist Threat (3H, 3C)
UAP 5134G: Adv. Land Use and Environ.: Planning and Policy (3H, 3C)
UAP 5364: NGOs and International Development (3H, 3C)
UAP 5414: Natural Resources Planning Topics (3H, 3C), when the course topic is Urban Environmental Policy, Planning, and Management in Developing and Transitional Countries
UAP 5854G: Advanced Urban Infrastructure Planning (3H, 3C)