Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance Certificate

The Department of Urban and Regional Planning’s Program on Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance grows out of our commitment to a multidisciplinary approach to planning education which recognizes the important contributions to planning that can be made by the social and natural sciences and by the architectural, public health, social work, and civil engineering professions and emphasizes extensive community involvement.

The DMHA certificate is a 15 credit plus 1 credit (capstone) certificate that provides an academic course of study aimed at building disaster risk reduction competence and professionalism. Combining existing courses across campus that provide disciplinary perspectives on hazards, disasters and risk reduction with focused coursework and seminars in core areas of disaster management and humanitarian assistance results in a rigorous and productive graduate level curriculum. Students graduating with recognized skills in disaster risk reduction will find career opportunities in the public and private sectors, from the local to the international arenas.

For more information, please email us at uhdmha@hawaii.edu.


The DMHA Certificate requires completion of 2 core courses, 3 electives, and a 1-credit capstone course (16 credits). The five core courses (3 credits each) to select from include:

  • PLAN 473/PLAN 673 Geographic Information Systems for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance
  • PLAN 670 Interdisciplinary Seminar in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance
  • PLAN 671 Disaster Management: Understanding the Nature of Hazards
  • PLAN 672 Humanitarian Assistance: Principles, Practices and Politics
  • PLAN 752 CAPSTONE

Pre-approved Elective Courses

  • PLAN 414 Building Community Resilience
  • PLAN 625 Climate Change, Energy and Food Security in the Asia/Pacific Region
  • PLAN 628 Urban Environmental Problems
  • PLAN 661 Collaboration Between Sectors
  • PLAN 721 Homeland Security: Terrorism

View full course descriptions and class availability.

National Disaster Preparedness Training Center

The mission of the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center (NDPTC) is to develop and deliver disaster preparedness training to governmental, private, and non-profit entities, incorporating urban planning with an emphasis on community preparedness and at risk populations. For information on the training center, please visit the website at https://ndptc.hawaii.edu/.

Health Emergencies in Large Populations (HELP)

The HELP Course is a three week intensive graduate level training course, taught in conjunction with the Medical Division of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Through the facilitation of the Center for Excellence, the HELP Course has been taught for ten consecutive years at the East-West Center located on the University of Hawaii at Manoa Campus in Honolulu, Hawaii. The HELP Course was created by the International Committee of the Red Cross with the participation of the University of Geneva and the World Health Organization to meet the public health needs of health professionals working in emergency situations. For more information about the course, please visit the website at H.E.L.P Course. Find more information about this course related to Health Emergencies in Large Populations.

The Asia Pacific Initiative

A collaboration between ten education and research institutions in the Asia Pacific region. Graduate students and working professionals interested in disaster management and humanitarian assistance issues have the opportunity to learn from a diverse faculty from throughout the region as well as distinguished guest lecturers from regional and international organizations.

Application to the Graduate Certificate Program in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance proceeds through two channels. Some materials are submitted directly to the Graduate Division, which reviews all graduate study applications and sends those meeting basic criteria to the appropriate academic units. Once the Department of Urban and Regional Planning receives the official documents from the Graduate Division, it supplements them with additional information provided by the applicant. When the application file is complete, the Department’s Admissions Committee reviews the application.

For more detail on the application process, please visit the Graduate Admission Office website.

For a list of application forms and deadlines, please refer to UHM’s Graduate Division page for the Department of Urban and Regional Planning.

Prospective Students

Please reference the Graduate Admissions Application General Information and Instructions for more detailed information, especially if you are an international student, as you will need visa documents (I-20 form for F1 student visa).

Application Procedures

To apply for admission, submit the following materials directly to the Graduate Division:

  1. Application
  2. One official copy of transcript(s)
  3. If a non-native English-speaking applicant, an official report of the TOEFL or IELTS Academic scores

Send to:
Graduate Student Services
Spalding 354
2540 Maile Way
Honolulu, HI 96822

The following are to be submitted directly to the Department of Urban and Regional Planning. Items 1 and 2 should be submitted by the applicant and item 3 by the references:

  1. Completed DMHA Admissions Assessment Form
  2. Completed Express Information Form
  3. Two letters of reference from persons well-acquainted with the applicant’s academic work and/or professional experience.

Send to:
Department of Urban and Regional Planning
2424 Maile Way, Saunders Hall 107
Honolulu, HI 96822

Application Deadline

The deadline for receipt of application materials is July 1 for admission in the following fall semester and December 1 for admission in the following spring semester.

Official notification of admission or denial is issued by the Graduate Division, not by the Department.