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Risk and Disaster Reduction - MRes/PGCert

Course Description

Risk and disaster reduction, particularly within the contexts of dealing with uncertainty and increasing resilience, are high on local, national and international agendas. The Risk and Disaster Reduction MRes is a research-intensive programme, which aims to meet the rapidly growing need for experts trained to analyse and provide solutions to complex issues relating to risk and disasters.

Degree information

Students will learn about and explore the characterisation, quantification, management and reduction of risk and disasters, and their associated impacts, from a diverse range of scientific, technical, socio-economic, political, environmental, ethical and cultural perspectives. They will acquire advanced levels of knowledge of empirical, theoretical and practical aspects of risk and disaster reduction, and will gain research experience and the ability to effectively communicate research findings through the independent research project.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of two skills modules (30 credits), three optional modules (45 credits) and an independent research project (105 credits). A Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits) is offered. See separate entry for further details.

Skills modules
-Risk and Disaster Reduction Research Tools
-Research Appraisal and Proposal

Optional modules - students choose three of the following modules:
-Integrating Science into Risk and Disaster Reduction
-Natural and Anthropegenic Hazards and Vulnerability
-Emergency and Crisis Planning
-Emergency and Crisis Management

All students undertake a substantial research project of 15,000 to 20,000 words, which culminates in an independent research report and oral presentation.

Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, directed reading, practical problem-solving exercises and a real-time disaster scenario event, with an emphasis on hands-on learning and tutorial-style dialogue between students and lecturers. Assessment is through coursework, examination, essays, project reports, oral and poster presentations, and the research dissertation.

There are a number of UK-based day fieldtrips as part of the programme. These look at the multiple facets of disaster risk including the physical hazard, vulnerability of structures and communities, and mitigation measures and management.

There is also a NGO-led disaster scenario exercise.


This programme provides excellent training towards careers in research, research communication, public policy, (re)insurance, catastrophe modelling, finance, risk management, international development, humanitarian assistance, engineering, and many other fields. It supports the career development of professionals already working in risk and disaster reduction, as well as those who intend to go into this field.

The IRDR careers and opportunities forum for students has been attended by insurance companies, catastrophe modelling firms, NGOs, academic institutions, local government and head hunters in the field of risk and disaster reduction. Students have found opportunities through contacts made and positions advertised during this event.

Examples of previous graduate students' employment within the field of risk and disaster reduction include working for an international economic consultancy based in London in the area of micro-finance, working as a consultant in disaster risk for a key player in the London insurance market and working for Rescue Global, a NGO based in London. A number of MSc students have also participated in internship programmes with Rescue Global.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction (IRDR) leads and co-ordinates multidisciplinary research, knowledge exchange and advanced teaching in risk and disaster reduction across UCL. UCL is uniquely well placed to lead research and teaching in this field; in addition to at least 70 academics across 12 departments and seven faculties involved in world-class research, the IRDR has established links with NGOs, industry and government departments based in and around London.

Teaching and project supervision will be provided by active researchers, practitioners and policy-makers, all of whom are leaders in their respective fields.

Visit the Risk and Disaster Reduction - MRes/PGCert page on the University College London website for more details!

All Available Videos:

Student Profiles

Brown Family Bursary - No. of awards TBC

Selection criteria:
The bursary will be awarded based on financial need only as determined by the Student Funding Office.Value, Benefits and Duration:
- The value of the bursary is £15,000. The payment is to be applied to tuition fees in the first instance, with any remainder being paid to the successful applicant towards maintenance in termly instalments.
- The bursary is tenable for one year only.
- The bursary may not be held alongside other tuition fee only awards.

Value of Scholarship(s)



- prospective full-time UK Master's students who are undertaking a one-year programme of study in the Faculties of the Built Environment, Engineering Sciences or Mathematical & Physical Sciences (BEAMS) in 2015/16
- currently holding a first-class Bachelor's degree; and
- in financial need.

Application Procedure

See http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/scholarships/graduate/UK-EU-Master/uclalumniandfriends

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Normally a minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard is required.

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