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University of London International Programmes Featured Masters Courses

International Disaster Management - MSc

Course Description

All countries face a wide range of hazards, both natural and man-made, that have the potential to result in catastrophic damage. Despite actions taken by local emergency management professionals, international trends show that the economic and social impact of disaster has increased around the world. This is especially true in the developing world, where large-scale disasters can result in enormous loss of life as well as considerable economic damage.

The MSc in International Disaster Management is designed for participants who want to increase both theoretical and practical management skills in enhancing resilience to disasters through prevention, preparedness, response and recovery from natural and man-made disaster events. Within the HCRI, this will take place through multidisciplinary study focusing on the critical analysis of current trends in global policies, particularly those related to international disaster risk reduction, sustainable development, climate change adaptation and humanitarian action tools commonly used by disaster risk reduction professionals. To this end, the core curriculum brings together the realms of disaster risk reduction, sustainable development, climate change adaptation and humanitarian action. The interdisciplinary team of researchers at the HCRI will also support academic study through practical applications of theory to disaster resilience, prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

In this way, the MSc in International Disaster Management is unique as it incorporates a wide variety of available course units from history, politics, development studies, the arts and medicine. This results in a course that is suitable as a way to development initial skills in disaster risk reduction or support continuing education for disaster risk reduction professionals.


On completion of the course, you should be able to show a critical understanding of:
1. Key issues and debates related to the theory and practices of disaster risk reduction. Students will show familiarity with different theoretical approaches, practical problems and an appreciation of the diversity of polices at international and national levels, including the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, Sustainable Development Goals, 21 st Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP21) and the outcomes of the World Humanitarian Summit.
2. The range of environmental, health and social science topics which influence disaster risk reduction and management (including political, historical, anthropological understandings). Students will become familiar with the methodological and normative underpinnings of these disciplines.
3. The analytical and policy literature concerning the related issues of disaster risk reduction including environmental/geological studies, emergency management structures and institutions, the role and perspectives of the state, multilateral and bilateral agencies, international and domestic NGO's and other civil institutions.
4. An understanding of common approaches to disaster risk reduction (i.e. risk matrices, disaster typologies), including an awareness of the problems and critiques associated with disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery in both industrialized and developing countries.
5. The development of a range of academic and professional/transferable skills through both independent and group-based work.
6. A detailed understanding of a specific conceptual and/or policy-related area of disaster risk reduction along with implications and limitations of research findings on this subject, and of how to produce an original piece of academic research. Delivered via a dissertation.

Special features

HCRI also offers bespoke training in International Disaster Management and Continuing Professional Development courses.

HCRI at The University of Manchester is inspired by the need to conduct rigorous research and to support postgraduate training on the impact and outcomes of contemporary and historical crises. Directed by Dr Rony Brauman (former President of MSF France, Associate Professor at L'Institut d'Études Politiques, Paris, and Director of Research at the MSF Foundation, Paris), HCRI is widely recognised as being a leading international research institute focusing on the study of humanitarianism, conflict response and peacebuilding.

Our work is driven by a desire to inform and support policy and decision makers, to optimise joint working between partner organisations, and to foster increased understanding and debate within the field. Bringing together the disciplines of medicine and the humanities (including international relations and political science) to achieve these goals, HCRI aims to facilitate improvements in crisis response on a global scale whilst providing a centre of excellence for all concerned with emergencies, conflicts and peace. In offering a range of postgraduate courses we embrace this opportunity to develop a scholarly and professional agenda for humanitarians and peacebuilders around the world.

Teaching and learning

Delivery of the course will be done through face-to-face teaching at the University of Manchester. This will be supported by streamed lectures, discussion boards and other e-learning elements.

Coursework and assessment

Graduation requirements will be the completion of 180 credits. A total of 120 credits of module coursework will be required for students to move on to dissertation writing. A passing dissertation will lead to the final 60 credits needed for MA completion.

Career opportunities

Students completing this programme may consider a wide range of career choices, including careers with:
-Civil Service (working within various government ministries, including the foreign office, international development office and local resilience forums)
-International Institutions (such as the UN Peacebuilding Commission, Department of Peacekeeping Operations and regional bodies such as the European Union, African Union, Organization of American States)
-NGO's (local and international) working on peacebuilding initiatives
-Academia/Research Institutes/Think-Tanks

Visit the International Disaster Management - MSc page on the University of Manchester website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Hans Svennevig BA (Hons) PGCE QTS QTLS

Teacher Studying MA International Disaster Management (Part Time - 2 Years)

In pursuing this MA in International Disaster Management I am developing skills that will support my transition from teaching to a role in which I play a more active role in disaster management.

As I teach Citizenship and Politics I am only able to attend university once a week, therefore when selecting the course I spent a great deal of time researching which institutes and programmes offered the best expertise and support.

My selection of the MA International Disaster Management at the Humanitarian Conflict and Response Institute was due to the specialism and variety of teaching offered coupled with the guidance received from the course Director Dr. Paul Kailiponi.

I cannot emphasise enough how positive I am about the programme. The teaching staff are exemplary in their practice and able to convey complicated theoretical perspectives through the discussion of practical applications, reflected through assessments that contribute to gaining recognised experience.


Entry Requirements

A Second Class Bachelor's degree or the overseas equivalent although each application is judged on its own merits and exceptions to this entry requirement may be made. We will consider graduates from all disciplines as the programme is interdisciplinary.

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