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Course content

What you will study

The MSc Hazard and Disaster Management course will develop knowledge, technical skills, interpersonal and management skills, and experience. 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, develop emergency plans, 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.

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


  • Principles and Concepts in Disasters - 20 credits
  • Multi-faceted causes and consequences of disasters, nature of disasters, disaster relief and international law.

  • Management of Coastal and Hydrological Hazards - 20 credits
  • Flooding and integrated flood risk management, coastal hazards and sea level rise, storms, heat wave, coastal pollution incidents, climate change and resilience.

  • Management of Geophysical and Technological Hazards - 20 credits
  • Landslides, chemical hazards and safety, industrial and pollution hazards, volcanic hazards, volcanic ash and aviation, seismic hazards, pandemics, terrorist incidents.

  • Personal Preparedness for Disasters - 20 credits
  • Personal preparedness, leadership, survival training, victim and refugee experiences, developed from the Disaster Summer School immersive simulation week.

  • Disaster Risk Management - 20 credits
  • Field survey training, vulnerability and risk analysis, disaster risk management strategies, emergency planning, resilience, information and communication, community engagement, disaster education, personal development in disaster management.
  • Planning for Disasters and Civil Contingencies - 20 credits
  • Emergency and civil contingency planning, multi-agency response coordination and training, crisis leadership strategies and styles.

  • Remote Sensing for Environmental Management - 20 credits
  • A practical introduction to the use of Remote Sensing and G.I.S. techniques and applications in environmental resource management; appropriate practical and analytical skills in data collection and manipulation of key environmental data.

  • Masters Research Project - 40 credits
  • Each student will prepare for a detailed research project, prepare a paper as if for submission for publication in a refereed academic journal and present their research to their peers.
  • Work Based Learning Project (optional)
  • Work placement opportunities are recommended as part of the course.


The Disaster Management 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.

The MSc Hazard and Disaster Management begins with a two week Summer School in August, where you will meet other students, academic tutors and visiting experts. You will:

  • Develop reflective learning skills
  • Enhance communication and team working skills in an international and multicultural setting.
  • Clarify the concepts of a disaster with experts and academic tutors.
  • Undertake a field course simulation training exercise, which focuses on survival skills
  • Reflect on experiences of victims of disaster

You will undertake a field course simulation training exercise, which will focus on survival skills. You will reflect on the experiences of victims of disasters, develop decision making through active participation and it will orientate you to the type of experiences that you may encounter in a disaster field situation.

After the summer school, lectures and self-directed learning will take place in the Autumn and Spring terms. Teaching and training will also include fieldwork within the region as well as the option for overseas residential fieldwork.

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
  • Practical and laboratory work
  • 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
  • Externally-linked activities and placements

Each week, lectures and practicals will take place. This normally involves seven to 10 hours of class contact timetabled within two days of the week. In addition, through the week you will be engaged in distance learning tutorials and activities, background reading, and working on a wide range of assessments. Some weeks will also have additional field or simulation time. For a full-time course, a minimum of 37 hours of study time per week is expected.

The course will also require attendance at a Summer School (two weeks), on another overseas residential field course (about ten days), and will also provide options for other extended field- or work-placements. UK and EU students complete the Summer School at the start of their course in August and International Students complete it at the end of their course. International students therefore begin their course in September and not August. This is to allow enough time for you to get your visa.

Visit the Hazard and Disaster Management (MSc) page on the University of South Wales website for more details!




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