Risk and disaster reduction, particularly within the contexts of dealing with uncertainty and increasing resilience, are high on local, national and international agendas. Academic study can underpin much needed professionalisation and application of evidence and research-based theory to this area. This MSc programme aims to meet the growing need for experts trained to analyse and provide solutions to complex risk and disaster resilience issues.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2018/19)
- £10,140 (FT) £5,120 (PT)
- £23,070 (FT) £10,740 (PT)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.
Normally a minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Relevant discipline is any science including social sciences, or any humanities subject.
English language requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Good
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
About this degree
Students will learn about and explore the characterisation, quantification, management and reduction of risk, disasters, and their associated impacts, from a broad range of scientific, technical, socio-economic, political, environmental, ethical and cultural perspectives. Through this multidisciplinary approach, students gain expertise in analysing complex challenges, enabling them to become future leaders who drive policy change and innovation.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of six core modules (90 credits), two optional modules (to the combined value of 30 credits) and an independent research project (60 credits).
A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits, six core modules and two optional modules, but no independent project), full-time nine months, part-time two years, is also offered.
All 6 core modules must be taken.
- Integrating Science into Risk and Disaster Reduction
- Natural and Anthropogenic Hazards and Vulnerability
- Emergency and Crisis Planning
- Emergency and Crisis Management
- Risk and Disaster Reduction Research Tools
- Research Proposal and Appraisal
Choose two options (to the combined value of 30 credits) from a list which may include the following:
- Conflict, Humanitarianism and Disaster Risk Reduction
- Post Disaster Recovery
- Adapting Cities to Climate Change
- Disaster Risk Reduction in Cities
- Earthquake Seismology and Earthquake Hazards
- Decision and Risk (Statistics)
- Risk and Contingency Planning (Security and Crime Science)
- Risk Power and Uncertainty (Anthropology)
- The Variable Sun: Space Weather and You
- Climate Risks to Hydro-Ecological Systems
- Perspectives on Terrorism (Security and Crime Science)
All students undertake an independent research project of 10,000-12,000 words which culminates in a research project and poster presentation.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, directed reading and practical problem-solving exercises and a real-time disaster scenario event, with an emphasis on hands-on learning and tutorial-style dialogue between students and lecturers. Assessment is by independent and group oral presentations, written examination, coursework essays, and the independent project. Practical applications of critical and creative problem-solving will be encouraged and assessed throughout.
A series of one-day UK-based field trips are available.
Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.
- £15,000 (1 year)
- Based on both academic merit and financial need
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
This programme provides excellent training towards careers in fields including research, public policy, business continuity, (re)insurance, catastrophe modelling, finance, risk management, international development, emergency services, consultancy, and humanitarian assistance. The IRDR runs a careers and opportunities fair for students, which is attended by insurance companies, catastrophe modelling firms, NGOs, academic institutions, policy and local government bodies, and head hunters in the field of risk and disaster reduction. Several students have found opportunities through contacts made and positions advertised during this event.
Top career destinations for this degree
- Disaster Management Administrator, Plan International
- Project Officer, University of Hong Kong
Whether you wish to start a new career in risk and disaster reduction or you already have experience in this sector, we are here to support you. With an MSc in Risk, Disaster and Resilience, you will have excellent academic credibility coupled with practical and analytical skills.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012–2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
Why study this degree at UCL?
The UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction (IRDR), where teaching for this programme is based, leads and co-ordinates multidisciplinary research, knowledge exchange and advanced teaching in risk and disaster reduction across UCL.
UCL is uniquely well placed to lead research and teaching in this field; in addition to at least 70 academics across 12 departments and seven faculties involved in world-class research, the IRDR has established links with non-governmental organisations, industry and government departments based in and around London.
Teaching and project supervision will be provided by active researchers, practitioners and policy-makers, all of whom are leaders in their respective fields.
Department: Earth Sciences
Student / staff numbers
› 58 staff
including 25 postdocs
› 58 taught students
› 68 research students
Staff/student numbers information correct as of 1 August 2017.
Research Excellence Framework (REF)
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Earth Sciences
92% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
Application and next steps
Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.
Who can apply?
The programme aims to train the next generation of innovative, creative and objectively critical researchers, thinkers, practitioners and decision-makers in risk and disaster resilience.
- All applicants
- 27 July 2018
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now
What are we looking for?
When we assess your application we would like to learn:
- why you want to study Risk, Disaster and Resilience at graduate level
- why you want to study Risk, Disaster and Resilience at UCL
- what particularly attracts you to this programme
- how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this programme
- where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.