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Hazards & Disaster Management Masters (MSc)

Mode Duration Start date
Full time 1 year September 2017
Part time 2 years September 2017

Choose Kingston's Hazards and Disaster Management MSc

This course focuses on both the scientific knowledge of hazards and modern strategies of emergency planning. Its interdisciplinary approach combines traditional classroom and field-based teaching and learning techniques with modern ICT-based learning support. A strong emphasis is placed on research-led teaching, student-centred learning and team-based activities, all of which develop the necessary skills required by practitioners in the field of hazard and disaster management.

  • This course is ideal if you want to start or advance a career in hazard or risk management, environmental monitoring, emergency planning or catastrophe-related mitigation.
  • Small student numbers allow us to modify the emphasis of the course content from year to year to cater to individual needs.
  • Our unique approach to focusing on both the scientific knowledge of hazards and modern strategies of emergency planning make graduates of this course highly employable.
  • The independent research project gives you the chance to specialise further by studying an area of interest in greater depth and gain valuable research skills. Our students often find this an excellent selling point when looking for a job or promotion.
  • We have strong links with industry and practitioners in the emergency and disaster management field, including Search And Rescue Assistance In Disasters (SARAID), RNLI, Tearfund, Community Resilience and Surrey County Council Emergency Planning Unit.


Written examinations, coursework (incorporating scenario-based hazard management exercises, ICT-based and paper-based practical exercises, role-play exercises, oral presentations, field reports, essays).

Fieldwork is an essential part of the Hazard and Disaster Management MSc. You will undertake a supervised week-long visit to a European field destination affected by multi-hazards (usually to Tenerife in June). You will conduct hazard, risk and vulnerability assessment of the area and evaluate existing hazard management strategies by the regional/local authorities. Find out more...

Course structure

You will study the underpinning scientific principles of both natural hazards (eg hurricanes, storms and tornadoes, flooding, landslides, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis and radon gas emissions) and human-induced disasters (eg terrorism, explosions and oil tanker accidents).

You will also cover modern disaster management strategies and planning techniques for the mitigation (eg structural measures and education), preparation (eg early warning), response (eg search and rescue) and recovery (eg insurance) phases.

You will also undertake active research in one or more of your chosen hazard areas.

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list.


  • This module builds upon prior knowledge of the physical science underpinning tectonic, geomorphic and atmospheric hazards. Scientific techniques for hazard monitoring and assessment are introduced and exemplified using a case study and problem-based learning approach. The crucial issue of effectively communicating risk to the public is introduced and the relationship between hazards and people is examined in a global context and from a human geography perspective.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Explain the occurrence and development of key geophysical hazards, with specific reference to tectonic hazards (earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis) and radon gas emission.
    • Evaluate the use of geoscientific monitoring techniques in the management of tectonic hazards, including interpretation of field and desk-based datasets.
    • Discuss the data needed to make informed assessments of the nature and possible impacts of any specific natural hazard (atmospheric and geomorphological), and the uncertainties and potential consequences associated with insufficient or unobtainable data/information.
    • Evaluate the potential effectiveness of engineering or construction design strategies (including technology-based warning systems) for minimising the potential impacts from different types of severe weather hazard and mass movement.
    • Explain how factors such as poverty, gender, age, ethnicity and geographic location affect societies' ability to deal with hazards and demonstrate how factors relate to specific hazards.
    • Discuss strategies for mitigation, relief and rehabilitation of hazards and critically evaluate readings to contribute to seminar discussions.
  • This module examines the various phases of disaster management: prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. This module also explores in details the fundamental concepts of managing risk of environmental hazards. A variety of management approaches for natural and human-induced hazards in both developing and developed countries are introduced.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Describe and discuss the components of disaster management – namely, preparedness, prevention, response and recovery.
    • Identify the range of risk management options.
    • Evaluate the effectiveness of insurance in managing risk of environmental hazards.
    • Various calculation methods of hazard risk in business application.
    • Assess the range of management options available to the disaster manager such as land planning, early warning system, public awareness and education.
    • Identify and discuss the issues that complicate disaster management in practice such as gender, education, religion and politics.
  • Thismodule aims to ensure a broad and basic knowledge of GIS theory and applications to both modeling anthropogenic and natural hazardous phenomena and the use of geospatial and communication technologies for emergency response. Emergency planning, hazard mitigation and geospatial approaches to search and rescue are explored. The techniques and technology of search and rescue, which have strong parallels with models of transportation, satellite data, spatial algorithms, communications technology and the use and communication of geographic information all play important roles in this module.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Understand concepts underpinning GIS and remote sensing, and relate them to hazards applications, making effective use of key datasets and tools.
    • Evaluate GIS and geographic analysis techniques for determining risk.
    • Develop an understanding of geospatial techniques for emergency planning and search and rescue.
    • Be familiar with communications systems for emergency response and hazards mitigation.
    • Discuss the current state of the art in Hazard modeling using GIS.
    • Be capable of identifying the appropriate techniques, acquiring appropriate data and undertaking various approaches (eg mixed methods) to modeling hazardous conditions with a GIS.
  • This module provides basic skills in research methods and techniques, including geographical information system (GIS) for data storage, manipulation and display. It initially develops GIS skills by introducing GIS concepts, sources for geographical information and outlines basic spatial concepts. Subsequently the module encompasses the theoretical underpinnings to research methods and techniques, including sampling schemes, measurements, quality control issues, and data collection, manipulation and analysis. This together with practical elements of designing research proposals and data testing enables the necessary skills for carrying out independent research work.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Evaluate the use of GIS in the capture, storage and handling, manipulation and analysis of geographical information.
    • Critically discuss what a GIS is and develop an understanding of its relevance to key application areas.
    • Apply the latest developments in geographical database technology to geographical database case studies.
    • Synthesise the literature on a specific topic and identify key researchable issues relating to the literature review.
    • With respect to one researchable issue, develop aims and objectives and relevant research methodologies for a specific research project to enable them to meet their aims and objectives.
    • Manipulate data using a computer and select, execute and interpret results of appropriate data analytical methods.
  • This module provides experience of planning, designing and executing a sustained piece of independent research. It involves formulating a testable hypothesis; designing a programme of data collection to test it; critically evaluating and interpreting your own data in the light of current research; and summarising and reviewing in a clear and professional manner.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Plan, design and execute a sustained piece of independent research.
    • Formulate a testable hypothesis and design a programme of data collection aimed at testing it.
    • Demonstrate enhanced and improved data collection skills.
    • Critically evaluate and interpret their own data in the light of current research.
    • Summarise and critically review their own work in a clear and concise manner.
    • Engage in full professional and academic communication with their peers.

You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

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This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

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This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps
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Avoiding annual typhoon catastrophes

Norman CheungRead an article on typhoon disaster management written by course director, Norman Cheung.

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