Fire and Emergency Response Management

Contact Us

Dr. Sam Larson
Program Coordinator
Fire & Emergency Response Management (FERM)

Please note the FERM program is currently undergoing revisions as part of the UWO Academic  Restructuring process. We appreciate your patience and will respond to your requests at our earliest convenience during this time. 


Calling All Current FERM Students:
Scholarships Available!

Next cycle begins September 2024

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Candice E. Tylke Memorial Scholarship

The Candice E. Tylke Memorial Scholarship was established in 2008 in memory of Candice E. Tylke, a UW Oshkosh alumna who graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology in 1994.

Tylke was a veteran firefighter and paramedic in Beloit, Wis., and had experience as a flight paramedic as well. She was the first female firefighter graduate from Madison Area Technical College and continued to be a positive example for all throughout her life. She was a long-time member of the International Association of Fire Fighters and the International Association of Flight Paramedics. She died July 26, 2008 at the age of 42.

As part of a generous contribution from Candice Tylke, opportunities are available for women interested in fire science careers at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

Students can apply for this scholarship using the UW Oshkosh Academic Works scholarship application form. In the search bar, search for “Candice Tylke” and then click on the scholarship link.


  • Applicants must be admitted to the Bachelor of Applied Studies Fire and Emergency Response Management program at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, and they must be enrolled in six credits per semester at the time they receive the award. Those applicants with prior experience in the fire science/paramedic service will be given preference.
  • First priority will be given to female applicants; second priority will be given to fire science graduates of the Madison Area Technical College; and third priority employees of Beloit, Wisconsin or St. Francis, Wisconsin Fire Departments.
  • Applicants will submit a personal narrative of 500 words describing why they are qualified for the award, including leadership and community service to their communities/departments, a description of financial need and their career goals.


  • Applications are accepted through the Academic Works scholarship website. Just search for “Candice Tylke” in the search bar, and click on the scholarship link in the search results.
  • Selection will be completed by the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Division of Online and Continuing Education

The Award

  • The scholarship will be $1,500, with $750 credited to the recipient’s tuition obligation incurred at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh for each of the next two semesters.
  • Recipients must be enrolled in at least six credits per semester at the time they receive the award.
  • Recipients are eligible to reapply for the award for a maximum of $3,000.
  • Students will apply during the spring semester, with award payout beginning in the subsequent fall semester. The award is split between fall and spring. (i.e. apply in fall 2023, awarded spring 2024 and fall 2024).

More Information

If you would like more information on the scholarship, or if you have questions, please contact the FERM Program Coordinator
Sam Larson at

More About Candice E. Tylke

Having a paper route that required her to get up around 4 a.m. in junior high school, Tylke was always determined to succeed at whatever she set her mind to.

“Candice never saw an obstacle in her vision to reach her goals,” said Tylke’s close cousin, Mary Ellis. “Despite firefighting being a predominately male profession, it never stopped her and she felt that if she proved herself, she would be considered an equal.”

“Candice wanted to experience the benefits of a smaller campus and it was important to her to give back to the college that she really felt part of,” said Ellis.

When asked about Tylke being an inspiration to others, Ellis said, “She felt women could achieve anything they put their minds and hearts to. If she were here today, she would tell other young women to pursue their dreams and support others doing the same.”

Shipp Scholarship

The International Safety Equipment Association awards a $2,500 annual Daniel K. Shipp Scholarship (DKS) that is available soon!

If you’re interested, download an application, review the required information and the selection criteria or got to the ISEA website and click from the links below in the “Scholarship Resources” section.

Learn more about the scholarship!

Stand Out in a Crowded Job Market

The National  Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates there were 1,041,200 firefighters in the US in 2020. Of the total number firefighters, 364,300  (35%) were career firefighters and 676, 900 (65%)  were volunteer firefighters. In 2020, 89,600 firefighters were female (9%).

The U.S. Fire Administration 2023 reports 762 registered fire departments in Wisconsin (registration is voluntary). In the state of Wisconsin, 79% of the fire departments are volunteer, 13.6% are mostly volunteer, 1.6% are mostly career and 5.9% of fire departments are career. This means that 92.6% of the registered fire departments in Wisconsin are a volunteer or mostly volunteer.

FERM Bachelor’s Degree Renews Accreditation with IFSAC

The UW Oshkosh Bachelor of Applied Studies in Fire and Emergency Response Management (FERM) recently renewed its accreditation from the Degree Assembly Board of Governors of the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC). The duration of this accreditation is five years.

MPA with FEAM Emphasis Receives Initial Accreditation from IFSAC

The UW Oshkosh Master of Public Administration (MPA) program with a Fire and Emergency Administration and Management (FEAM) emphasis received accreditation from the Degree Assembly Board of Governors of the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) for the first time. The accreditation is in place for five years.

Earn your Degree in About Two Years

Full-time students with 60 or more transferable credits can complete the FERM degree in as little as two years.
Depending on your educational background and preferred schedule, it may take more time.

One of our advisors will be happy to review your previous coursework and prepare a personalized planner that will help you understand how your associate degree will transfer and what coursework you will need to complete to earn your FERM degree.

Mission Statement

The Bachelor of Applied Studies in Fire and Emergency Response Management combines academic excellence with applied aspects of the fire and emergency response management industry. It integrates theory, research and practical application that develops and increases the student’s leadership, management and administrative skills.

Note this degree does not qualify you as a firefighter or provide you with EMS certification but prepares you academically.


Program Outcomes

Program outcomes supported by the FERM curriculum and course instruction are:

  • Demonstrate knowledge, competencies and values in leadership, public service management, professional ethics, critical thinking, strategic planning, decision making, communication and diversity issues.
  • Embrace lifelong learning as a critical capacity in career, community and individual pursuits.
  • Explain the professional role of a fire and emergency response manager.
  • Relate theoretical concepts of leadership to fire and emergency response management.
  • Relate legal, ethical, moral, political and regulatory standards to public service management.
  • Examine theoretical concepts of natural science as they relate to technical aspects of fire and emergency practice.
  • Recognize the role of systematic planning in the problem-solving process.
  • Critically examine the professional literature and apply it to fire and emergency response management.
  • Apply knowledge of diverse perspectives to fire and emergency practice and public service.

FERM Strategic Plan > >

FERM Advisory Committee > >

FERM Graduation and Retention Rates > >

FERM Employability Survey > >



 Visit our Admissions page for more information on how to apply to the University.

UW Oshkosh’s online Fire and Emergency Response Management (FERM) program prepares students to manage complex public health and safety organizations.

The first program of its kind in Wisconsin and developed by fire chiefs, it is designed for individuals who are working in fire safety and emergency response professions.

Focus on developing advanced skills in leadership and communication, your FERM degree builds upon your professional and educational experience. Coursework includes fiscal management, emergency planning, administrative law, and management of emergency services.

There are two primary ways to qualify for admission into the Fire and Emergency Response Management program:

For Applicants with an Applied Associate Degree

  • Student must have an approved, regional-accredited associate degree in a related field.



For Experienced Professionals without an Applied Associate Degree

Applicants may apply for admission to the FERM program with documentation of the following credentials:

  • Firefighter 1 and 2 or NEMT Basic, Advanced, IV Tech; or technical diploma and National Registry.
  • Three years of full-time experience (career, paid-on-on call, or volunteer).
  • Two letters of recommendation (one from applicant’s immediate supervisor and one from a colleague) that can be emailed from the workplace.


Within the FERM major, students have the option of choosing between two emphases:

  • Emergency Management
    This emphasis is for the student interested in becoming a city/county emergency manger or working on the state, regional or federal level to assist in disaster preparation, mitigation and recovery.
  • Fire Services Management
    This emphasis is for the student who is interested in moving up in rank or becoming the executive fire chief of a fire service organization.


Students can choose between two separate FERM certificates:

Enroll today in one of these five-course/15 credit online certificate programs. Focus on the top leadership and management topics for the fire and EMS industry.

The certificate option is ideal for those not interested in earning a bachelor’s degree, or those who already hold a bachelor’s degree but still seek a new credential in Emergency Management or Fire Service Management.


Fire and Emergency Response Management at UW Oshkosh is the only International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC)-accredited master’s/bachelor’s degree program in the state of Wisconsin.




FERM coursework is aligned with Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) standards that establish an organization of post-secondary institutions to promote higher education and to enhance the recognition of the fire and emergency services as a profession to reduce loss of life and property from fire and other hazards.

100 Percent Online and Accelerated

The Fire and Emergency Response Management program is offered completely online! Most courses are delivered in accelerated, seven-week sessions, which offer additional flexibility for students working full time. Courses are delivered through the online learning environment, Canvas.

Students interact with their professors and classmates through online discussion, class lectures, and a drop box for assignments. There are no required scheduled meeting times, but there are deadlines and due dates for projects, assignments and discussions.

Transfer Credits

You can transfer in an eligible associate degree or military credits.

Individual experiences can be evaluated on a case-by-case basis for acceptance, please contact an advisor for additional information.

Get a free transfer credit evaluation!


Our tuition rate helps simplify the budgeting for your degree. Please visit Student Financial Services for tuition and fee amounts.

Fees are subject to change each year. This cost does not include the cost of textbooks and materials. Courses taken outside of your degree requirements may have additional fees.

Financial aid is available for students who qualify. Contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information.

We also welcome Veteran’s benefits and employer reimbursement.

Search and apply for scholarships managed by UW Oshkosh colleges and departments by using Academic Works.

Veteran Friendly

Visit the UW Oshkosh Veteran’s Resource Center for more information about military benefits.



The online FERM program consists of general education courses and FERM core courses. Coursework will help students gain a better understanding of what it means to be a leader in today’s marketplace.

Browse FERM Courses

FERM 335  – Fire and Emergency Services Leadership

Course Description:  This course designed to be a progressive primer for students who want more knowledge about fire and emergency services administration. The course demonstrates the importance of the following skills, necessary to manage and lead a fire and emergency department through the challenges and changes of the 21st century: Persuasion and influence, accountable budgeting, anticipation of challenges and the need for change, and using specific management tools for analyzing and solving problems. A central part of the course focuses on how the leadership of a fire and emergency services department develops internal and external cooperation to create a coordinated approach to achieving the department’s mission.

FERM 362 or Public Administration 362 – Public Personnel Management

Course Description: Personnel concepts and techniques in public organization, staffing, career systems, affirmative action, public unionism, compensation, fringe benefits, motivation, evaluation, supervisor-supervisee relations, etc. Traditional, behavioral and reform approaches in personnel administration. Prerequisite: Public Affairs 221 or Criminal Justice 212 or consent of the instructor.

Public Administration 369 – Economy and Government

Course Description: This course is an introduction to public budgeting systems and principles and practices of local government budgeting.  The emphasis is on budget formulation, design, techniques and evaluation.  The primary goal is get students comfortable with examining and creating public budgets and financial statements.  This will be done by examining the political context surrounding public budgeting, exploring different accounting methodologies, budget design, and financial management.


Liberal Studies 463 – Budgeting for Program Managers

Course Description:  This course examines how to prepare and manage a budget plan for a municipal fire and EMS department, with an emphasis on resource management. Resource management emphasizes using a department’s resources in the most efficient way possible. These resources include tangible goods and equipment, financial resources, and labor resources.

Public Administration 307  – Administrative Law and Procedure

Course Description: This course examines the legal aspects of the fire service and political and social impacts of legal issues. This course includes a review of the American legal system, an in depth coverage of legal and political issues involving employment and personnel matters, administrative and operational matters, planning and code enforcement, and legislative and political processes with regard to the fire service.. Prerequisite: Public Affairs 221 or Criminal Justice 212 or consent of instructor.

FERM 337  – Conflict Resolution for Emergency Services

Course Description: Designed to introduce learners to the study of ADR, or Alternative dispute resolution, this course explores the resolution of conflict through negation, mediation and arbitration. A variety of approached for resolving conflict will be examined, from the adjudicative (arbitration, private or special judging, neutral fact-finding) to the evaluative (peer, lay, judicial, and expert evaluation) to the meditative. Emphasis is given to the meditative process and its usefulness in the Fire and Emergency service industry.


FERM 338  – Mentoring for Emergency Management Personnel

Course Description: This course will examine the principles and techniques of effective mentoring, the mentor as a change agent within the Fire and Emergency services and the impact mentoring programs have in organizational settings. Students will examine and critically analyze their own mentoring experiences, the content of existing programs, and propose recommendations on how to develop or enhance a mentoring culture within the Fire and Emergency services.

FERM 436 – Applied Research in Emergency Management

Course Description: This course examines the basic principles of research and methodology for analyzing current fire related research. The course also provides a framework for conducting and evaluating independent research in the following areas such as: fire dynamics, firefighter health and safety, fire test standards and codes, fire safety, risk analysis and loss control, fire service applied research and new trends in fire related research.

Liberal Studies 209 – Critical Thinking & Writing

Course Description:   Introduces the concept related to self-directed, lifelong learning with a focus on various types of thinking and writing skills through exposure to a broad range of academic subjects. Students will be introduced to the principles and processes involved in developing a learning portfolio, which will be required in their Capstone course. Prerequisite: WBIS 188, English 101, or department consent; only open to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Liberal Studies or Bachelor of Applied Studies.

Liberal Studies 230 – Introduction to Leadership

Course Description:  This course will introduce students to a variety of theories and issues involved with leadership, including power and influence, vision, values and ethics,; effecting changed through teams and coalition; and the importance of embracing diversity. Examples will be drawn from a broad range of contexts, including organizations, education, politics, and communities. Prerequisite: concurrent or prior enrollment in Liberal Studies 209 or department consent.

Public Administration 221 – Introduction to Public Administration

Historical role of administration in government; techniques and problems of executive leadership, finance, personnel, planning and control

Fire Service Management emphasis requirements: This emphasis is for the student who is interested in moving up in rank or becoming the executive fire chief of a fire service organization.

FERM 351 – Occupational Safety and Health in Emergency Services

Course Description: This course will provide the student with the basic understanding of occupational safety and health in the workplace, as it relates to emergency services.  Topics covered include historical perspectives, setting up safety and health programs and looking at risk management as a tool for reducing injuries and line of duty deaths. Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to take the NFPA Pro-Board Certification exams for the Incident Safety Officer and Health and Safety Officer, administered by the Fire Department Safety Officer’s Association.

FERM 401 – Fire Prevention Organization and Risk Management

Course Description: The theoretical framework for the understanding of the ethical, sociological, organizational, political and legal components of community risk reduction and a methodology for development of a comprehensive plan will be discussed.  This course will also examine the factors that shape fire risk and tools for fire reduction.

FERM 402  – Community Risk Reduction for Fire and Emergency Services

Course Description: This course provides a theoretical framework for the understanding of the ethical, sociological, organizational, political, and legal components of community risk reduction, and a methodology for the development of a comprehensive community risk reduction plan.

FERM 408  – Management of Emergency Medical Services

Course Description: Personnel, resource management, and quality improvement techniques are some of the major components of this course.  Emphasis is placed on the role of the professional fire and emergency manager as coordinator and member of the profession. Upon completion of this course, the students will be able to enhance the quality and overall effectiveness of their EMS operation through the use of management techniques.

Communication 318 – Intercultural Communication 

Course Description:  An examination of cultural influences on human interaction in a variety of contexts. Theoretical and practical aspects of intercultural communicate are explored.

Emergency Management emphasis requirements: This emphasis is for the student interested in becoming a city/county emergency manager or working on the state, regional or federal level to assist in disaster preparation, mitigation and recovery.

FERM 340 – Introduction to Emergency Management

Course Description: This course will provide students with an understanding of emergency management, the history and development, how past events helped to shape the discipline and thoughts about the current future direction. History has provided us with insight into our strengths and weaknesses and how we can learn from these past events, including predictive planning, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

FERM 365 or Public Administration 365  – Politics of Emergency Management

Course Description: This course will focus on the political processes, institutional structures, public policies and social phenomena associated with mitigating the likely effects of extreme events, responding to them and recovering from them. The course is intended to help emergency managers develop an understanding of how local, state, federal and intergovernmental politics affect and are affected by hazards, crises, disasters and other extreme events. Prerequisite: Public Administration 221 or Criminal Justice 212 or consent of the instructor.

FERM 366 or Public Administration 366  – Emergency Planning and Administration

Course Description: This course will introduce the concepts, theories, principles and practices of emergency planning and administration. It is intended to provide students with the analytic tools and techniques they can use in ranking risks and anticipating crises and then developing and implementing strategic preparedness programs in the public sector. The course will identify the various aspects of government and nonprofit planning for emergencies and show how these plans are tied to budgets, operational controls and public accountability. Prerequisite: Public Administration 221 or Criminal Justice 212 or consent of the instructor.

FERM 341 – Technology in Emergency Management

Course Descriptions: In this course students will learn how the coordinated application of emergency management principles and decision making are enhanced through the use of technology. Technology enables organizations involved in critical incident management to communicate in a variety of ways with each other as well as the public. Students will learn how to prioritize and purchase technology tools that can be used to protect for the community.

FERM 342 – Disaster Operations and Decision Making

Course Description: This course adapts decision-making concepts and combines them with disaster lessons learned to create a new operational paradigm. Emphasis is placed on team building, Emergency Operations Center operational systems and situational awareness. These methods are designed to be incorporated into the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command Systems (ICS) framework to enhance community response to any type of disaster.

Meet the FERM Faculty

Michel Delisle
M.S. in Organizational Development and Leadership
St. Joseph University (Philadelphia)

Anna Filipova
Doctorate in Public Administration
Western Michigan University

Paul France
Doctorate in Education Administration and Organizational Leadership
Northcentral Arizona University

Sam Larson
Ph.D. in Public Affairs
University of Colorado – Denver

Tyson Novinski
M.A. in Arts in Education, Educational Leadership
Marion College

Steven Peggs
M.S. Public Administration
University of Texas at Arlington

A Supportive Community

You will have a strong support network from day one with small classes, dedicated advisors and excellent campus resources that are available to all online students: academic advising, Polk Library and writing center.

Partnerships and Organizations

The  Division of Online and Continuing Education supports many fire and emergency related industry groups and organizations.

International Fire Service Accreditation Congress 

Offers specialized accreditation for fire and emergency-related degree programs at post-secondary higher education institutions and public fire service certifying entities


Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin

Represents 4,000 fire fighters in over 100 local communities statewide


Wisconsin State Fire Fighters Association

Represents and supports the Fire Service and Firefighters in Wisconsin


Wisconsin EMS Association

The EMS professional’s number one source for emergency medical service information in Wisconsin


Wisconsin Fire Chiefs Association

Represents and supports volunteer, combination and career chief fire officers in Wisconsin


Wisconsin State Fire Inspectors Association

Dedicated to the prevention of fire through fire inspection and public education


Wisconsin Society of Emergency Services Instructors

Formed in 1962 to serve the needs of fire instructors in Wisconsin


Public Administration

Sage Hall 3003 and 3464
Oshkosh, WI 54901



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Contact Us

Phone: (920) 424-2030
Program Coordinator:
Dr. Michael Ford |
Hours: 7:30am - 3:30pm