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The MSc Hazard and Disaster Management course is unique in balancing the development of academic knowledge with the development of your technical/vocational skills, interpersonal skills, management expertise, field preparation, and your experiences. It will equip you for a wide range of careers related to disaster risk management for environmental and other hazards.

The Hazard and Disaster Management Masters provides a balanced study of environmental hazards and disaster management, pre-event mitigation, disaster risk reduction, emergency planning, multi-agency disaster response, and disaster relief, along with the development of technical and interpersonal skills. It will enable you to critically assess the effectiveness of existing disaster risk management techniques, in order to evaluate good practice and apply it to new situations. The course is enriched with experiences for you and includes external project work, a two-week summer school, an overseas residential field course and provides the opportunity for additional extended field or work placements.

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
  • Management of Coastal and Hydrological Hazards - 20 credits
  • Management of Geophysical and Technological Hazards - 20 credits
  • Personal Preparedness for Disasters - 20 credits
  • Disaster Risk Management - 20 credits
  • Planning for Disasters and Civil Contingencies - 20 credits
  • Remote Sensing for Environmental Management - 20 credits
  • Masters Research Project - 40 credits
  • Work Based Learning Project (optional)


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.


The programme is entirely assessed through coursework. The coursework elements will include a wide range of different assessment methods, not all of which are traditional. These may include the production of emergency or resilience plans; written field, laboratory and technical reports; numerical and modelling examples; geographical information systems analyses; other computer literacy elements; oral and/or poster presentations for a variety of audiences, including seminars; investigative library exercises, mini-reviews, and essays; employment-related reflective reports; and a final thesis.

Field Trips

The fieldwork provides unforgettable educational and social experiences in a variety of different locations. The annual Disaster Summer School either takes place in Finland or in the UK. The residential field course takes place in either Italy or Greece. In addition, other opportunities for field work will also take place within the region of South Wales. Please note: the exact locations of all overseas field trips may vary each year and are based on the area’s suitability for academic study and the overall cost of the trip.


The MSc Hazard and Disaster Management programme will enhance employability by developing experience: in emergency planning and in the co-ordination of multi-agency response to critical incidents by working with emergency planning practitioners/tutors from Local Authority Emergency Planning Units; in a wide range of core competencies necessary in civil contingency and managerial positions, and in humanitarian work; through real project experience in emergency planning or community resilience development; and through optional extended placements in the UK and overseas. Graduates will be able to: understand the dynamics of disasters; assess hazards, risks, vulnerability and capacity; reduce and manage risk; review, implement and evaluate appropriate disaster reduction programmes for mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery; produce emergency and resilience plans; consider the challenges and effectiveness of disaster relief work; and apply Geographical Information System (GIS) based technical skills. The course is also suitable for professionals who wish to update their skills or develop careers in these areas.

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





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