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Masters Degrees (Catastrophe Model)

We have 2 Masters Degrees (Catastrophe Model)

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This MSc provides a broad introduction to geohazards, together with advanced courses in seismology, volcanology, hydrogeological hazards and meteorology. Read more

This MSc provides a broad introduction to geohazards, together with advanced courses in seismology, volcanology, hydrogeological hazards and meteorology. A key goal is to provide an essential grounding in quantitative modelling that can be widely applied to several fields, from pure research to the commercial sector.

About this degree

The programme provides an introduction to the spectrum and impact of geophysical hazards, and a focus on quantitative models for hazard forecasting and assessment. Selected case studies illustrate how these models are essential for improving decision-making during emergencies, for raising the awareness of vulnerable populations, and for evaluating and implementing mitigation strategies.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of six core modules (120 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).

Core modules

  • Geological and Geotechnical Hazards
  • Meteorological Hazards
  • Research Methods
  • Earthquake Seismology and Earthquake Hazard
  • Physical Volcanology and Volcanic Hazard
  • Meteorological, Climate and Hydrogeological Hazard

Optional modules

There are no optional modules for this programme.

Dissertation/report

All students undertake an independent research project in geophysical hazards, which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, directed reading and practical exercises. There are excellent opportunities for field investigations in the UK and abroad. Assessment is through unseen written examinations, practical problem-solving exercises and essays. The independent research report is assessed through the dissertation and an oral presentation.

Fieldwork

Field sites for field trips are normally in Italy. The department pays for accommodation and transport in the field. Students pay to get to the field and subsistence.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Geophysical Hazards MSc

Careers

On graduation from this programme about one-third of students have followed careers in global insurance and re-insurance and another third have pursued research with a PhD in hazard-related studies. The remaining third have developed careers in a wide range of sectors, from non-governmental organisations, through teaching, to the fields of emergency planning and environmental management.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Aggregate and Catastrophe Modeller, Advent
  • Catastrophe Analyst, Talbot Underwriting
  • Graduate Trainee Reinsurance Broker, Aon
  • Catastrophe Model Analyst, Aon Benfield
  • Policy Adviser, Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Employability

The MSc in Geophysical Hazards will provide essential training for careers in hazard assessment and risk evaluation, including: industry, from engineering to insurance; academic research; civil protection agencies and government organisations; and NGOs related to aid and development. 

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL Earth Sciences is engaged in world-class research into the processes at work on and within the Earth and planets.

Graduate students benefit from our lively and welcoming environment and world-class facilities. The department hosts UCL Hazard Centre, Europe's leading multidisciplinary hazard research centre, and engages in extensive collaborative work with the Royal Institution and the Natural History Museum.

This MSc aims to include a short field trip to locations that illustrate the impact of natural hazards. Previous trips have included the Neapolitan volcanic district, the Italian Alps and the Po Delta, and the Cádiz region in south-western Spain.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Earth Sciences

92% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.



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This course focuses on the physical processes that generate natural hazards through an advanced understanding of geological and environmental processes. Read more

Why take this course?

This course focuses on the physical processes that generate natural hazards through an advanced understanding of geological and environmental processes.

You will be fully trained by internationally recognised experts in hazard identification, terrain evaluation techniques as well as hazard modelling and risk assessment techniques. Providing you with the essential skills to monitor, warn and help control the consequences of natural hazards.

What opportunities might it lead to?

This course is accredited by the Geological Society of London. It offers advanced professional and scientific training providing an accelerated route for you to attain Chartered Status, such as Chartered Geologist (CGeol) and Chartered Scientist (CSci) on graduation.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

Aid organisations
Environmental organisations
Offshore work
Civil sector roles
Mining
Insurance companies

Module Details

You can opt to take this course in full-time or part-time mode.

The course is divided into two parts. The first part comprises the lecture, workshop, practical and field work elements of the course, followed by a five-month independent research project. The course is a mixture of taught units and research project covering topics including site investigation, hazard modelling and mapping, soil mechanics and rock mechanics, contaminated land, flooding and slope stability.

Here are the units you will study:

Natural Hazard Processes: The topic of this unit forms the backbone of the course and give you an advanced knowledge of a broad range of geological and environmental hazards, including floods, landslides, collapsible ground, volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, hydro-meteorological and anthropogenic hazards. External speakers are used to provide insights and expertise from an industry, regulatory and research perspective.

Numerical Hazard Modelling and Simulation: This forms an important part of the course, whereby you are trained in the application of computer models to the simulation of a range of geological and environmental hazards. You will develop skills in computer programming languages and use them to develop numerical models that are then used to simulate different natural hazard scenarios.

Catastrophe Modelling: On this unit you will cover the application of natural hazard modelling to better understand the insurance sector exposure to a range of geological and environmental hazards. It includes external speakers and sessions on the application of models for this type of catastrophe modelling.

Volcanology and Seismology: You will gain an in-depth knowledge of the nature of volcanism and associated hazards and seismology, associated seismo-tectonics and earthquake hazards. This unit is underpinned by a residential field course in the Mediterranean region that examines the field expression of volcanic, seismic and other natural hazards.

Flooding and Hydrological Hazards: These are a significant global problem that affect urban environments, one that is likely to increase with climate change. This unit will give you an in-depth background to these hazards and opportunities to simulate flooding in order to model the flood hazard and calculate the risk.

Hazard and Risk Assessment: This unit gives you the chance to study the techniques that are employed once a hazard has been identified and its likely impact needs to be measured. You will have advanced training in the application of qualitative and quantitative approaches to hazard and risk assessment and their use in the study of different natural hazards.

Field Reconnaissance and Geomorphological Mapping: These techniques are integral to the course and an essential skill for any graduate wishing to work in this area of natural hazard assessment. On this unit you will have fieldwork training in hazard recognition using techniques such as geomorphological mapping and walk-over surveys, combined with interpretation of remote sensing and aerial photography imagery.

Spatial Analysis and Remote Sensing: You will learn how to acquire and interpret aerial photography and satellite imagery, and the integration and analysis of spatial datasets using GIS – all key tools for hazard specialists.

Geo-mechanical Behaviour of Earth Materials: You will train in geotechnical testing and description of soils and rocks to the British and international standards used by industry.

Landslides and Slope Instability: This unit will give you an advanced understanding of landslide systems, types of slides in soils and rocks and methods for identification and numerical analysis.

Impacts and Remediation of Natural Hazards: You will cover a growing area of study, including the impact of hazardous events on society and the environment, and potential mitigation and remediation methods that can be employed.

Independent Research Project: This provides you with an opportunity to undertake an original piece of research to academic or industrial standards, typically in collaboration with research staff in the department or external industry partners. In addition to submission of a thesis report, you also present the results of your project at the annual postgraduate conference held at the end of September.

Programme Assessment

The course provides a balanced structure of lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops. You will learn through hands-on practical sessions designed to give you the skills in laboratory, computer and field techniques. The course also includes extensive field work designed to provide field mapping and data collection skills.

Assessment is varied, aimed at developing skills relevant to a range of working environments. Here’s how we assess your work:

Poster and oral presentations
Project reports
Literature reviews
Lab reports
Essays

Student Destinations

This course provides vocational skills designed to enable you to enter this specialist environmental field. These skills include field mapping, report writing, meeting deadlines, team working, presentation skills, advanced data modelling and communication.

You will be fully equipped to gain employment in the insurance industry, government agencies and specialist geoscience companies, all of which are tasked with identifying and dealing with natural hazards. Previous destinations of our graduates have included major re-insurance companies, geological and geotechnical consultancies, local government and government agencies.

It also has strong research and analytical components, ideal if you wish to pursue further research to PhD level.

We aim to provide you with as much support as possible in finding employment through close industrial contacts, careers events, recruitment fairs and individual advice.

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