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 Certificate of Community Preparedness and Disaster Management (CPDM) Frequently Asked Questions


How long is the program?
We expect our students to complete the CPDM program in 3 semesters – Spring, Fall and Spring. This is roughly one year and a half.


How many hours a week do the courses take?
A typical module consists of 6 – 8 PowerPoint presentations, 5 – 8 journal articles (There are NO textbooks), and (2) 3-5 page research papers to produce. We have tried to design a course that is challenging but sensitive to the time constraints of the working professional.


What kind of computer and Internet access do I need to participate in the program?

Enrolling students should have access to a personal computer with a high-speed Internet connection (T1, cable, or DSL service).

Windows-based PCs are preferred, as technical support from our department is more readily available for these machines and they work most reliably with our current applications and with the University’s on-campus wireless service. Laptops with a minimum 13-inch screen size are recommended over tablets. Our online classes frequently feature slide presentations and screen sharing of specific applications, which can be difficult or impossible to see well on small screens.

Machines with Windows 10 operating systems should have the Microsoft Edge and Mozilla Firefox Internet browsers installed. Machines still using Windows 7 should have Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers installed. Apple machines should have Firefox and Safari browsers installed. Chrome and other browsers are not recommended for use with our current applications.

Students looking to purchase a new machine can do so via the Carolina Computing Initiative. There are a number of advantages to doing so, including a 4-year warranty, insurance and enhanced campus support. CCI computers also come pre-loaded with basic software needed for the program. See Why Buy CCI? for more information.

Examples of laptops currently available for purchase via the UNC Tech Shop are found here. (Please note that we do not recommend the Lenovo Yoga for use in our programs due to issues with its camera while in tablet configuration).

If purchasing a CCI laptop is not practical, technical specifications for other suitable machines can be found here under the ‘Minimum Laptop Specifications for Third Year Students’ heading. CCI sells Lenovo brand Windows-based laptops and Apple laptops. Other brands of Windows-based laptops available from alternate vendors include Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft Surface.

The University’s on-campus wireless service is called Eduroam. Due to the proliferation of wireless devices (laptops, tablets, phones), the best way to find out if a device will work with our wireless system is to visit the Connecting to the UNC Wireless Network page and select the Eduroam link there. You will find detailed information on a variety of devices.


Do I have to already be in the disaster management field to take the program?
Having experience in disaster related disciplines will enhance your program capability, but, the program is also designed around introducing new career seekers to the discipline and bringing them up to speed quickly. This combination of students enhances the learning environment with an excellent blend of new and tried experiences.


Do I have to submit a residency form (NC students) every semester?
No, as long as you remain a continuing student. For more information please refer to the Admissions page.


Can I get financial aid?
Financial aid is not available through the University to students in certificate programs, who are considered by the University to be part-time.

Many agencies (NC Emergency Management, U.S. military, etc) will reimburse for the cost of tuition. We suggest you check with your employer first, and then check out other funding options.

Feel free to check out the following website for information regarding scholarships and loans:

The College Foundation of North Carolina

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Is there required on-campus time?
Yes, you are required to be on-campus twice during the length of the certificate program. You will be required to attend an orientation at the beginning of the program. You will also be required to visit campus upon completion of the program for wrap-up and graduation.

Orientation consists of a Friday/Saturday visit. It is the first weekend after New Year’s for the January cohort. You may want to arrange to arrive on Thursday evening as the Friday session is all day, typically from 8-5. We conclude with a banquet on Saturday evening and you may schedule your flight for anytime on Sunday.


Do I need to have a bachelor’s degree?
No. A bachelor’s degree is NOT required for admission to the certificate program. This certificate is designed for working professionals with considerable experience, who may not have had the opportunity to get much schooling. All 9 credit hours may be used towards a bachelor’s degree OR towards a master’s degree, at the discretion of the degree program.


Do I need to take the GRE?
No. The GRE is NOT required for admission to the certificate program.


Don’t see an answer to your question? Contact:

Kim Sieler, Assistant Registrar
DrPH, Executive Master’s and Certificate Programs
919-966-7364
krsieler@email.unc.edu

Mailing Address
Department of Health Policy and Management
School of Public Health
CB# 7411, 120 Rosenau Hall
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7411

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