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MSc International Disaster Management

Course Description

International disaster events have resulted in an enormous amount of economic losses as well as substantial loss of life. The recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the Indian Ocean tsunami illustrate how these events can affect both industrialised and developing countries. Effective Disaster Management does not focus solely on the response to hazardous events; rather it takes into account appropriate preparatory actions including organisational resilience, public preparedness and mitigation strategies.

The course is designed for participants who want to develop both theoretical and practical management skills in preparation, response and recovery from natural and man-made disasters. The core curriculum combines the development of practical analysis skills to support emergency management policies with an understanding of ethical issues in global humanitarian actions. This results in a course that is suitable as a way to develop initial skills in disaster management or support continuing education for disaster management professionals.

Course aims

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 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.

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 content for year 1

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.

Visit the MSc International Disaster Management 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

An Upper 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.

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