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Environmental Hazards & Disaster Management BSc(Hons): What our students say

Student profiles

Don't just take our word for it – here's what students say about what it's like to study at Kingston University.

John Browning

Name: John Browning
Age: 24
Course: Environmental Hazards and Disaster Management BSc(Hons)
Level: Third year

John came to Kingston University to study a science-based course, having previously studied music at HND level.

"I previously studied for a National Diploma in Music Performance at Kingston College and then went on to the Academy of Contemporary music, where I studied a Higher National Diploma in Guitar. I then played in a punk rock band (which I still do), released a few records, toured a bit... and came home with a desire to do something else.

"I decided that I wanted to do something that could perhaps make a difference to people – I suppose in the same way that music changes one's emotions, I felt the knowledge and skills I developed on this course could help me change people's fortunes, making them safer and less at risk. I like how science can help do that.

"There have been lots of highlights during my time at Kingston!  How about spending three weeks in Australia undertaking a fieldwork-based module, training with the New South Wales Fire Brigade, becoming immersed in a raging scientific 'Megatsunami hypothesis' argument, being lectured by experts from James Cook and Macquarie University, investigating coral bleaching by snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, and seeing some amazing sights and scenery?  Or if you don't consider that a highlight, how about a week in Tenerife, similarly carrying out fieldwork, this time investigating volcanic deposits and associated hazards?

"There's been some cool things in the classroom too – we had a module called Professional Training for Emergency Managers, in which several professionals from the Police, RNLI and local authorities discussed their experiences.   

"I think my ambitions and ideas of what I want to do have changed all the way through this course. Every time we did a new module, I saw something that interested me and made me want to do that. I suppose overall I've gained a real passion for research, so I'd like to continue with that in some form – hopefully a PhD."


Christopher Lord

Name: Christopher Lord
Age: 23
Course: Environmental Hazards and Disaster Management BSc(Hons)
Level: Third year
Route to University: A-levels
Accommodation: Lives with family

"After college, I took a two-year gap in the belief that a degree wasn't the right thing for me. Working in what felt like the most irritating retail job on the planet was enough to change my mind. 

"I had always been interested in search and rescue, but I wanted to do something bigger that would help society. I fished around and by luck found this course. It seemed perfect. I liked that it gave me a BSc qualification and I had a keen interest in physical and human geography.

"Initially I  was very sceptical about going back to education as I hadn't enjoyed my A-levels, but the teaching here has been fantastic. The lecturers are superb, I can't fault any of them. Classes are clear and well constructed, there's good use of IT and you can always get help. We've also had a talk from the head of emergency planning for the Metropolitan Police. To hear from someone in the industry was extremely exciting.

"In general, the resources here are great. The online learning support system, StudySpace, is really useful. You can see all the information you need from every lecture and I have never gone into the library and not found the book I needed. 

"Coming back into education and having to do large amounts of geology was initially quite a struggle. Fortunately there are maths and chemistry mini-courses which you can do to run along side your modules. They give you the background knowledge you need and I found them a big help.

"The trip to Tenerife has been a highlight of the course. We had spent the previous year and a half learning everything from geology to atmospherics to understanding the environment. Tenerife was the point where we put it all into perspective and utilised what we had learnt.  Going into this amazing landscape, looking around and thinking, 'I understand this' was just brilliant.

"I am very energised by the subject matter and want to go out in the field, ultimately to work in the USA for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but initially I am hoping to work for an organisation such as an aid agency, the United Nations or the EU. The course has opened up possibilities and widened my horizons."


Name: Vanessa Playle
Age: 21
Course: Environmental Hazards and Disaster Management BSc(Hons)
Level: Third year
Route to University: A-levels
Accommodation: Rents privately

"Having looked through the UCAS directory, this course looked like the most exciting and interesting. At the time, Kingston was the only university to offer 'Environmental Hazards' and 'Disaster Management' as a single degree.

"The University's London location was also a deciding factor. It's useful for social activities and visiting family – you can get anywhere from London! Plus Kingston has a brilliant market and a good selection of shops, clubs and entertainment.

"The course content has been very interesting. As it's a small course, we consider ourselves a little family. The teaching has been excellent. The use of StudySpace (online learning support) is especially useful as you can concentrate more on what is being said in lectures, rather than having to write down every word.

"I also like the range of people doing the different modules. It means you hear a variety of different views on the subjects. The field trip to Tenerife was fantastic. The opportunity to visit a real volcano was excellent. It enabled us to see in real life some of what we had been learning about.

"The amount of group work, discussions and poster projects is much more than in college, as is the workload in general. At university you are expected to do your own reading, but what you are taught during lectures often makes you want to go and find out more anyway.

"On the social side, the University's fitness centre is a definite benefit to the campus. The staff are always very friendly and willing to explain the equipment.

"I have applied to do a foundation degree work placement with the Environment Agency in 'Engineering for River and Coastal Flooding' once I graduate. The course has helped me realise that I want to help people prepare for and recover from natural hazards and I am looking into becoming an aid worker in the future."


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This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

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