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MSc/PGDip/PGCert Global Crisis Conflict and Disaster Management

Course Description

Course Description

The number, intensity, and impact of crises, emergencies, conflicts and disasters are increasing. During the past ten years alone, an estimated 1.5 billion people were affected by some form of disaster, complex or conflict-related event.

This exciting, timely, dynamic and innovative multidisciplinary postgraduate taught programme examines the role of global (i.e. national, regional and international) law, policy and practice across the spectrum of possible crises, conflicts (e.g. civil, international, post-conflict peace-building, terrorism), ‘man-made’ (e.g. pollution, contamination) and ‘natural’ (e.g. earthquakes, cyclones, tsunamis, health pandemics, wildfires) disasters. It considers the complete disaster cycle of prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. The programme reflects current and changing global priorities such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-30; progressing the outputs of the UN Climate Change Conference 2015; UN Sustainable Development Goals 2015; and the World Humanitarian Summit 2016.

The overarching aim is to equip students with many of the substantive, professional, practical, and personal transferable skills and knowledge necessary to operate effectively in inherently multidisciplinary crisis, conflict and/or disaster environment(s).

What will you study?

It is possible to take an LLM or MSc pathway. Both are framed around the global architecture of crisis, conflict and disaster management with embedded multidisciplinary. The key distinction is that an LLM route takes more optional law modules, whereas optional modules for the MSc are more multidisciplinary in nature.

Overarching themes and questions include: the relationship between different legal regimes; what role law does and should have in responding to crisis, conflict, or disaster situations; the relationship between law and other non-legal disciplines; sustainability; resilience; disaster risk reduction; and disaster management. The programme further considers the development of new legal norms, such as international disaster law and disaster risk reduction law. Much of the teaching is research-led around these and other important and current global issues.

It is anticipated that participating schools will include: Law; Agriculture, Policy and Development; Politics, Economics and International Relations; Archaeology, Geography, and Environmental Science. There will be input from other disciplinary perspectives too, together with practitioners drawn from across the conflict, humanitarian and disasters sectors.

Planned Law modules include:

• Global Architecture of Crisis, Conflict and Disaster Management
• Human Rights Law, Policy, and Practice
• Disaster Management
• Hazard, Risk, Vulnerability and Resilience
• Public International Law
• International Refugee Law
• International Law and the Regulation of Armed Conflict
• International Criminal Justice and Post-Conflict Peace-building
• Climate Change Disasters
• Technologies and Weaponry
• Research project
• Professional placement

Non-law modules are expected to span such topics as:

• Development (e.g. foundational concepts, food security, gender)
• Political (e.g. contemporary diplomacy, conflict in the Middle East, terrorism)
• Economic (e.g. macro/micro-economics for developing countries, economics of public/social policy, climate change and economics)
• Preparing for Floods

Practical training opportunities

A series of non-assessed, employability orientated practical training events, inside and outside the classroom, will take place throughout the programmes. Such training opportunities are aimed at consolidating and applying substantive knowledge learnt as well as developing transferrable professional and personal skills. This will include the opportunity to undertake a fantastic and unique practical ‘fragile/hostile environment training’ package delivered by external professional trainers. (Subject to payment of an additional fee, and a minimum number of students wishing to take this element).

What career can you have?

The programme is expected to appeal especially to Law and non-Law graduates who are early to mid-career professionals working in roles dealing with different types of crises, conflicts and/or disasters, particularly governmental, intergovernmental, private/corporate, civil society/non-governmental who wish to broaden and deepen their existing areas of expertise. It will be suitable too for recent graduates, those on career breaks, and career changers.

The future employability of programme graduates is expected to be excellent. More generally, the skills gained by undertaking a postgraduate Law degree are in great demand from both legal and non-legal employers. As with any postgraduate taught Law programme, completion of the various entry points will be an asset for students seeking employment in international courts and tribunals, United Nations agencies, legal practice and advocacy in the international law field, international NGOs, the public service (in the areas of foreign relations, international development, etc.), law reform agencies, the media (journalism and broadcasting), and academia (with further postgraduate study). Due to its multidisciplinary nature, the MSc will be equally relevant for non-legal careers across the crisis, conflicts and disaster management sectors.

Furthermore, graduates of this programme will be uniquely positioned and clearly distinguishable to prospective employers. In addition to acquiring knowledge of key principles and topics associated with a Master’s degree in crisis, conflict and/or disaster management issues, graduates of this programme will also develop unique understanding of cutting edge law and policy (e.g. international disaster/disaster risk reduction law), become more multidisciplinary conversant and therefore better equipped to work in inherently multidisciplinary environments, and acquire professional, personal and practical transferable skills.


The University of Reading, School of Law is a leading UK Law School with a world class reputation. The Law School has a dynamic and international learning environment, our teaching is supported by first class research, with renowned experts across the main fields of national, European and international law. We provide active career development and co-curricular opportunities including a series of guest lectures by visiting practitioners and academics. We offer state-of-the-art learning facilities and resources, great pastoral support and a thriving student community.

Further information is available by visiting- http://www.reading.ac.uk/ready-to-study/study/subject-area/law-pg.aspx

Additional Information

Students will be eligible for a 10% fees discount if they are currently employed by a recognised NGO, have left such NGO employment within 6 calendar months prior to enrolment on the programme, or will commence employment with such an NGO within 3 calendar months of graduating from the programme. It will be necessary to produce appropriate documentary evidence of NGO employment to qualify for this discount. This discount is not applicable to externally provided training such as the fragile/hostile environment training.

Visit the MSc/PGDip/PGCert Global Crisis Conflict and Disaster Management page on the University of Reading website for more details!

Entry Requirements

You are normally required to have a good undergraduate Honours degree (or equivalent from a university outside the UK). If you have other qualifications and a number of years' relevant work experience then you also be eligible to apply. Standard requirement is a 2:1 or higher in an undergraduate degree. However, our participants come with a variety of relevant legal and non-legal experience and all applicants are considered on individual merit.

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