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Coventry University’s Disaster Management and Resilience MSc could develop your existing skills to help you manage risk, mitigate/prepare and respond to disasters, food insecurity and conflict.

If you are interested in careers focused on disaster intervention or are a current practitioner seeking to update your knowledge in disaster management, humanitarian assistance, capacity building and disaster risk reduction, this specialist master’s course encompasses up-to-date thinking in disaster theory, management policy, strategy and practice.

Disaster management has been taught at Coventry for over 20 years and this postgraduate course covers the advanced research skills, knowledge and management expertise needed to deal effectively with future disasters, encouraging you to adopt a strategic and holistic perspective. It aims to develop your expertise and capacity to identify, analyse, interpret and manage risk and disaster issues successfully, focusing on less economically developed contexts across the world, focusing on sustainable solutions and building community resilience.

Course information

This programme is designed to provide you with the opportunity to develop knowledge and practical skills needed to identify, critically analyse, assess and successfully manage increasingly complex disasters, operating confidently in policy development, strategy implementation and response management.

The overall aim is for you to be able to contribute to the strengthening of community, professional, organisational, national and international capacity to deal with complex multifactorial disasters in the future, developing strategies which could increase the resilience to risks and threats to both economies and societies.

Upon successful completion of the course, you should gain a solid understanding of the key theories within the areas of humanitarian practice, development, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, so that you should be able to better evaluate the activities of NGOs, government organisations, multilateral agencies and institutions and undertake risk and vulnerability assessments at an appropriate level of seniority, including important developments in the field of humanitarian relief and operations.

This course will explore your knowledge of the legal and political framework of international humanitarian and disaster risk reduction sectors, taking account of the social, ethical and environmental contexts of disaster management. You will also be required to carry out an independent piece of research of your choosing, intended to enable you to develop skills in personal organisation, research and critical thinking, as well as advancing your knowledge in the subject area.

Why choose this course?

The world in recent years has witnessed a steady rise in the social and economic cost of weather-related and geological natural hazards turning into disasters. More significantly, as the in-country capacity of many nations is developed to deal with disasters, international agencies are left to deal with the most complex and protracted emergencies resulting in food insecurity, famine and conflict in case study locations such as Yemen in Africa.

Increasingly, an integrated global disaster response is called for, spanning multiple agencies and often many nations and governments. Responding agencies and their staff are facing new levels of complexity when trying to deal effectively with the management of large-scale, cross-country disasters.

This master’s course aims to reflect the growing need for disaster managers to have practical solutions and be responsive and innovative in identifying, assessing and managing risks, hazards, emergencies and disasters. Broadly-based, it covers a range of relevant topics within the interdisciplinary field of disaster management. Focusing on the theoretical, policy and operational aspects of disaster management, we aim to use international case studies, guest speakers and workshops to illustrate how applied and theoretical knowledge complement each other.

How you'll be taught

The programme can be studied full-time over one year or part-time over three years for home/EU students. You can start in September, January or May.

Modules are offered in the form of 4.5 day 'intensive' blocks of teaching and learning, which is ideal if you are already working within the profession, live some distance from Coventry or both.

Please note that if you are an international ‘Tier 4’ student, you will be required to take the course on a full-time basis and must, in addition to the one week of ‘face-to-face’ teaching, attend classroom sessions for study skills in the intervening weeks in order to fulfil UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requirements. For more information, visit our page on Tier 4 compliance.

In addition, you will be supported in the development of the skills needed to be successful in postgraduate study and assessment through a series of seminars (online for part-time students), developed specifically to assist those who have been away from academic study for some time, to help you transition effectively into a postgraduate course. A dissertation tutor will assist you in developing your research project focus and research methodology. Many of our students travel internationally to undertake field work*, and you can apply to receive financial support (reviewed on a case by case basis and subject to ethical clearance of the research project and visa requirements) more information here

*International/UK field trips may be subject to additional costs, competitive application, availability and meeting required visa requirements.

Career prospects

The course aims to enable you to develop your skills in problem-solving, teamwork and leadership, project management and communication, all of which are qualities employers demand.

Our part-time students are often sponsored by their employers and some of our previous graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations, including, governments, NGOs and private sector organisations.

We strive to produce graduates who can make difficult decisions whilst being culturally sensitive, ethical and compassionate, the capabilities required by international relief and development organisations, private sector consultancies, national government, local authorities and United Nations agencies operating around the world.

Our faculty’s employability and placements unit EEC Futures, which won the ‘Best Placement Service in the UK’ award at the National Undergraduate Employability Awards in 2015 and 2016, will help you in finding work experience while you study and employment on graduation.


Visit the Disaster Management and Resilience - MSc page on the Coventry University website for more details!

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