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Masters Degrees (Geological Hazard)

We have 9 Masters Degrees (Geological Hazard)

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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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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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Volcanoes threaten millions worldwide and improved hazard mitigation is a high priority. Our well-established MSc allows you to study alongside leading volcanologists in one of the largest groups of environmental scientists in the UK. Read more

Volcanoes threaten millions worldwide and improved hazard mitigation is a high priority. Our well-established MSc allows you to study alongside leading volcanologists in one of the largest groups of environmental scientists in the UK.

This MSc is ideal preparation for PhD research or work in the environment sector, and is suitable for students with a wide range of first degrees including Geography, Geology, Environmental Science and Physics.

As well as gaining a strong theoretical grounding, you will spend time in the laboratory and in the field, including field trips to study volcanic rocks in the nearby Lake District and a highly popular field module on Mount Etna.

You will study six taught modules which include core modules on volcanic and other geological hazards and optional modules which provide broader learning and practical skills in areas of particular benefit to aspiring volcanologists. Modules are taught by world experts from Lancaster Environment Centre and our partner institutions.

You will join our active volcanology group and conduct an independent dissertation research project under supervision from an internationally recognized researcher, taking advantage of our well-equipped experimental and geochemical laboratories. Within our group there are additional opportunities to participate in seminars, workshops and discussions.



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Climate change, increasing urbanization and mounting exposure to natural hazards are imposing growing pressure on insurers and reinsurers to seek ways of limiting exposure. Read more

Climate change, increasing urbanization and mounting exposure to natural hazards are imposing growing pressure on insurers and reinsurers to seek ways of limiting exposure. This programme offers students a better understanding of natural hazards and the means by which their impacts on the market can be mitigated or avoided.

About this degree

Strong emphasis is placed on developing an improved understanding of natural hazards – the nature of available data, the conclusions we can draw from them, limitations and relevant cutting-edge research. Content focuses on hazards of most interest to the market, most notably windstorm, flood and earthquake, but also addresses geotechnical issues such as dam and reservoir safety, radioactive waste and energy resource issues.

Students undertake modules to the value of 60 credits.

The programme consists of two taught core modules (40 credits) and an independent research project (20 credits).

Core modules

  • Geological and Geotechnical Hazards
  • Meteorological Hazards

Optional modules

There are no optional modules for this programme.

Research project/report

All students undertake an independent project, which culminates in an 8,000-word dissertation and an oral presentation.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through lectures, seminars, discussions, directed reading, and problem-solving exercises. Student performance is assessed through a combination of examination and coursework in the form of essays, reports and exercises. The independent project is assessed through an 8,000-word report and an oral presentation.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Natural Hazards for Insurers PG Cert

Funding

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Careers

This programme is accredited by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), the premier professional organisation for those working in the insurance and financial services industry.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Assistant Underwriter, Atrium Underwriters
  • Catastrophe Risk Specialist, Canopius
  • Pipeline Engineer, Petromap Ltd
  • Property Underwriter, Ascot Underwriting
  • Senior Castastrophe Risk Analyst, Canopius

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?

Top hazard scientists at UCL and other leading academic institutions have worked with the under 35s reinsurance group and market professionals, to develop this flexible programme.

Students benefit from our welcoming environment and world-class facilities, which include the UCL Hazard Centre, Europe's leading multidisciplinary hazard research centre.

The programme is staffed by academics from UCL and partner universities,

the British Geological Survey and industry and market practitioners.



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Increasing urbanization, growing wealth concentration, climate change and environmental degradation are rapidly raising exposure to natural hazards in the developed and developing world. Read more

Increasing urbanization, growing wealth concentration, climate change and environmental degradation are rapidly raising exposure to natural hazards in the developed and developing world. Growing numbers of stakeholders are thus seeking ways of reducing the risk from natural hazards. UCL's Natural Hazards PG Cert offers students a better understanding of natural hazards and the means by which their impacts on people, communities and business can be mitigated and managed.

About this degree

A strong emphasis is placed on developing an improved understanding of

natural hazards and the processes that drive them. The latest research is

used to evaluate the nature of available data, the conclusions we can draw

from them and their limitations. The content focuses on the most destructive and costliest hazards, notably windstorms, floods and earthquakes, but also addresses geotechnical topics such as dam and reservoir safety and radioactive waste management. The programme provides students with intellectual and practical tools for making more informed decisions in their professional capacities.

Students undertake modules to the value of 60 credits.

The programme consists of two taught core modules (40 credits) and an independent research project (20 credits).

Core modules

  • Geological and Geotechnical Hazards
  • Meteorological Hazards

Optional modules

There are no optional modules for this programme.

Research project/report

All students undertake an independent project, which culminates in an 8,000-word independent report and an oral presentation.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through lectures, seminars, discussions, directed reading, and problem-solving exercises. Student performance is assessed through a combination of examination and coursework in the form of essays, reports and exercises. The independent project is assessed through an 8,000-word report and an oral presentation.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Natural Hazards PG Cert

Funding

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Careers

This programme is accredited by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), the premier professional organisation for those working in the insurance and financial services industry.

Why study this degree at UCL?

Top hazard scientists at UCL and other leading academic institutions have worked with professionals in the business and NGO arenas to develop a flexible programme that accommodates the demands of a full-time professional career.

The programme is staffed by academics from UCL and other universities, the British Geological Survey and partners from the business sector.

The programme is part-time and taught in three blocks over a period of ten months. The total programme length is 600 hours, of which 140 hours is contact time with tutors, which takes the form of lectures, seminars and discussions. The remaining study time is made up of directed reading, essay writing, problem-solving exercises and the preparation of an independent project report.



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Disasters are complex events with multifaceted causes and hence disaster management needs comprehensive, multidisciplinary training to deal with both complexity and change. Read more
Disasters are complex events with multifaceted causes and hence disaster management needs comprehensive, multidisciplinary training to deal with both complexity and change. Major shifts have occurred in the way in which disasters are considered, resulting from an increasing awareness of problems internationally along with an identified need for solutions. The importance of disaster risk reduction has continued to grow both within governmental and non-governmental organisations.

This Masters course is a unique programme which will provide a balanced study of environmental hazards and disaster management, pre-event mitigation, disaster risk reduction and disaster relief, along with the development of technical and interpersonal skills. It will enable you to critically assess the effectiveness of the implementation of existing techniques, in order to evaluate good practice and apply it to new situations.

The standard Master’s tuition fees apply. However, additional costs will include the Summer School fees (currently about £1000) and the costs for any optional overseas residential fieldwork. Students may be eligible for bursaries from the University for £1500 or £2000 though conditions apply.

See the website http://courses.southwales.ac.uk/courses/800-msc-disaster-management-for-environmental-hazards

What you will study

The course will develop knowledge, technical skills, interpersonal and management skills, and expertise. You will study a range of hazards using examples from the UK and other countries. This will provide you with the experience to assess risks and vulnerabilities from desk-based research, laboratory and field situations, consider hazard management and disaster risk reduction strategies, and critically review the concept of resilience along with techniques for its development.

You will consider the dynamic and multi-faceted nature of disasters and examine a range of aspects pertinent to the operational, political and socio-cultural issues involved in disaster relief, including aspects of international law. The course will ensure a sound working knowledge and experience with one of the mostly widely used GIS platforms, extensively used by many planning authorities, GOs and NGOs, and you will develop valuable skills in the acquisition and processing of spatial datasets with a wide variety of disaster management applications, along with the ability to visualise and depict spatial information.

You will develop interpersonal skills for effective team-working, group leadership, and organisational management including the assessment of priorities, allocation of resources and co-ordination of activities through simulation experience. This range of interpersonal skills and humanitarian core competencies will enhance your employability after graduation.

Opportunities for study on residential field courses will include the use of field simulations either in Finland or in the UK, and the option to examine environmental hazards and evaluate management strategies on overseas residential field courses. Currently, the field course takes place in southern Italy to examine volcanic, seismic, landslide and tsunami hazards.

You will study the following modules:
- Principles and Concepts in Disasters
- Management of Coastal and Hydrological Hazards
- Management of Geological and Technological Hazards
- Personal Preparedness for Disasters
- Professional Development for Disasters

Plus two of the following optional modules:
- ArcGIS Principles and Practice
- Remote Sensing
- Work Based Learning
- Professional Practice in Disasters

You will also complete a Masters Dissertation Project. The literature review work and project plans will be completed before your work placements. The Master’s dissertation will be undertaken after the placement has been completed. Preparation for the Master’s project or dissertation will commence in the Spring term.

Learning and teaching methods

The course is designed in a modular format and will be offered on a full and part time basis. Delivery will be mixed-mode, with a combination of traditional lectures, practicals and distance learning with supporting tutorials. For full time students, study will take place over 14 months, and for part time students, study may typically take two to three years.

Study will utilise a range of diverse learning approaches and activities to acknowledge the rich and diverse character and content of the body of knowledge that forms this Master’s degree course. It will include:
- Attending the Summer School.
- Lectures
- Seminars and tutorials.
- Completing work packages by distance learning through the Virtual Learning Environment.
- Actively participating in computer workshops and laboratory work.
- Undertaking a range of field based studies and data collection.
- Participating in group based activities and simulations.
- One-to-one interactions with academic staff.
- Fieldwork including community-based learning.
- Self-directed study.
- Optional field or work-placement.

Work Experience and Employment Prospects

A range of study pathways are provided depending on career intentions after graduation. Options involving work, field or disaster placements are desirable for employers and will be the preferred option for students on the course. Placement settings could include:
- NGOs working on disaster risk reduction projects or disaster relief;
- Civil protection or planning authorities
- Specialist environmental consultancies
- UK or overseas research projects.

The initial arrangement of work and field placements will begin early in the course and the work/field placement will normally be expected to begin within the following Summer term. Preparation for the Master’s project or dissertation will commence in the Spring term, with literature review work and project plans to be completed before placements take place. The Master’s dissertation will be undertaken after the placement has been completed.

Assessment methods

Field trips:
Fieldwork provides unforgettable educational and social experiences, bringing to life the theory and concepts of the lecture theatre. South Wales is a fantastic study location on the edge of rural and urban environments.

Cardiff, Wales’ capital city, the Brecon Beacons National Park and the Glamorgan Heritage Coast are all close to the University. They provide exceptional fieldwork locations that can be explored in a day. We make full use of these locations across our earth and environment courses to cover the practical aspects of our modules.

Please note: the exact locations of all overseas field trips may vary each year and is based on the area’s suitability for academic study and the overall cost of the trip.

Important Information

Please be aware of the physical demands of this course which has modules with significant fieldwork elements. If you therefore have a disability which is likely to be affected by these physical demands, please get in touch with the course leader Dr Anthony Harris, as soon as possible. We will then investigate the reasonable adjustments that we can make to ensure your Health and Safety. Please note that if any Health & Safety aspects cannot be overcome, we may not be able to offer you a place on the course of your choice.

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