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Course content

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 are interested in enhancing resilience to disasters through prevention, preparedness, response and recovery from disaster events.

Within the HCRI, this will take place through multidisciplinary study focusing on the critical analysis of current trends in academic research and policies, particularly those related to international disaster risk reduction, sustainable development, 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, and humanitarian action. The interdisciplinary team of researchers at the HCRI will also support the critical exploration of disaster resilience, prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery in order to equip students to work professionally in the fields of disaster risk reduction and sustainable development.

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 develop 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. Please contact Dr Billy Haworth (  ) for details

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.

Course unit details

All core modules are convened by existing HCRI staff. A small number of elective modules will be taught from the School of Environment and Development, the School of Social Sciences and the School of Nursing.

Course units may include:

  • Introduction to disaster management
  • Risk management
  • Research & evaluation methods
  • Reconstruction and development
  • Emergency humanitarian assistance
  • Water sanitation planning & policy in the developing world
  • Global health
  • Fundamentals of epidemiology
  • History of humanitarian aid
  • Climate change, poverty and disaster management

Course units may vary from year to year.

Course collaborators

A selection of elective modules are being offered from the School on Environment and Development.


Appropriate facilities will be verified through the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures. The course has been developed in close co-operation with the Faculty's e-learning team which will offer on-going support for the programme.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: 

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





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