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Disaster Management for Environmental Hazards (MSc)

Course Description

Disasters are complex events with multifaceted causes and hence disaster management needs comprehensive, multidisciplinary training to deal with both complexity and change. Major shifts have occurred in the way in which disasters are considered, resulting from an increasing awareness of problems internationally along with an identified need for solutions. The importance of disaster risk reduction has continued to grow both within governmental and non-governmental organisations.

This Masters course is a unique programme which will provide a balanced study of environmental hazards and disaster management, pre-event mitigation, disaster risk reduction and disaster relief, along with the development of technical and interpersonal skills. It will enable you to critically assess the effectiveness of the implementation of existing techniques, in order to evaluate good practice and apply it to new situations.

The standard Master’s tuition fees apply. However, additional costs will include the Summer School fees (currently about £1000) and the costs for any optional overseas residential fieldwork. Students may be eligible for bursaries from the University for £1500 or £2000 though conditions apply.

See the website http://courses.southwales.ac.uk/courses/800-msc-disaster-management-for-environmental-hazards

What you will study

The course will develop knowledge, technical skills, interpersonal and management skills, and expertise. 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, 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.

You will develop interpersonal skills for effective team-working, group leadership, and organisational management including the assessment of priorities, allocation of resources and co-ordination of activities through simulation experience. This range of interpersonal skills and humanitarian core competencies will enhance your employability after graduation.

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

You will study the following modules:
- Principles and Concepts in Disasters
- Management of Coastal and Hydrological Hazards
- Management of Geological and Technological Hazards
- Personal Preparedness for Disasters
- Professional Development for Disasters

Plus two of the following optional modules:
- ArcGIS Principles and Practice
- Remote Sensing
- Work Based Learning
- Professional Practice in Disasters

You will also complete a Masters Dissertation Project. The literature review work and project plans will be completed before your work placements. The Master’s dissertation will be undertaken after the placement has been completed. Preparation for the Master’s project or dissertation will commence in the Spring term.

Learning and teaching methods

The 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.

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.
- 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.

Work Experience and Employment Prospects

A range of study pathways are provided depending on career intentions after graduation. Options involving work, field or disaster placements are desirable for employers and will be the preferred option for students on the course. Placement settings could include:
- NGOs working on disaster risk reduction projects or disaster relief;
- Civil protection or planning authorities
- Specialist environmental consultancies
- UK or overseas research projects.

The initial arrangement of work and field placements will begin early in the course and the work/field placement will normally be expected to begin within the following Summer term. Preparation for the Master’s project or dissertation will commence in the Spring term, with literature review work and project plans to be completed before placements take place. The Master’s dissertation will be undertaken after the placement has been completed.

Assessment methods

Field trips:
Fieldwork provides unforgettable educational and social experiences, bringing to life the theory and concepts of the lecture theatre. South Wales is a fantastic study location on the edge of rural and urban environments.

Cardiff, Wales’ capital city, the Brecon Beacons National Park and the Glamorgan Heritage Coast are all close to the University. They provide exceptional fieldwork locations that can be explored in a day. We make full use of these locations across our earth and environment courses to cover the practical aspects of our modules.

Please note: the exact locations of all overseas field trips may vary each year and is based on the area’s suitability for academic study and the overall cost of the trip.

Important Information

Please be aware of the physical demands of this course which has modules with significant fieldwork elements. If you therefore have a disability which is likely to be affected by these physical demands, please get in touch with the course leader Dr Anthony Harris, as soon as possible. We will then investigate the reasonable adjustments that we can make to ensure your Health and Safety. Please note that if any Health & Safety aspects cannot be overcome, we may not be able to offer you a place on the course of your choice.

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

Entry Requirements

A minimum 2:2 BSc (Hons) degree in either Geography, Geology, Earth Science, Environmental Science, Development Studies, or a related subject, or an equivalent international qualification. Other applicants will be considered on an individual basis. EU applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS score of 6.5.

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