UCL Institute for Risk & Disaster Reduction


MSc Risk Disaster and Resilience

The disaster risk management industry needs professionalising. Academic study can underpin this professionalisation, enabling you to apply evidence and research based theory to this sector.

Through a multidisciplinary approach to risk and disaster reduction, you will gain expertise in analysing complex challenges and providing sustainable solutions and learn to become a future leader driving policy change and innovation in order to preserve lives and sustain economies which could otherwise be destroyed or damaged by disaster. 

In these multidisciplinary programmes students acquire a broad overview of different hazards and approaches to risk and disaster reduction and tools for research in this field. Students learn how this knowledge affects decision-making and the different approaches to applying and implementing this in order to achieve risk and disaster reduction. Emergency and crisis planning and management is taught, from creating business continuity plans through to developing emergency management plans and using them along with testing their efficacy and making improvements using scenarios. Optional modules allow student to focus on particular risks.

These programmes are designed to teach students about disasters from both a social and physical sciences perspective. By gaining a thorough understanding of different approaches and mindsets, students are able to adopt a more holistic approach to risk and disaster reduction whether they specialize in one discipline or have a multidisciplinary focus in order to improve resilience and decrease the negative impact of disasters.

Master Details

Director: Dr Joanna Faure Walker

This course is suitable for students who want to have a wide range of taught courses, whilst still completing a substantial independent project. The taught courses are the focus of the programme, with the project constituting one third of the programme credits. 
MSc students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits: four compulsory core taught modules (15 credits each), two compulsory taught skills modules and two optional taught modules (15 credits each), and an independent research project (60 credits).

Two IRDR Core Taught Modules:

Two Taught Skills Modules:

Two Programme-Specific Core Modules:

Two optional taught modules can be chosen from within the following subjects:

*Please note there may be restrictions on optional modules available.

The dissertation project comprises 1/3 of this course. Supervisors and resources are available for projects in a wide range of risk, disaster and resilience topics. This project culminates in a research report and poster.

*Please note the availability of particular optional modules can vary and cannot be guaranteed.

"The programme was easily tailored to individual requirements. It had core risk modules plus a wide selection of modules which allowed me to focus on humanitarianism, whilst others for example, focused on climate change or business continuity."  Adam McVie, 2014 Alumnus

Key Information

Programme starts

September 2018

Modes and duration
Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years
Flexible: up to 5 years
Tuition Fees (2018/19)
£10,140 (FT) £5,120 (PT)
£23,070 (FT) £10,740 (PT)
Application deadlines
All applicants
Open: 16 October 2017
Close: 27 July 2018

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. Fees for flexible, modular study are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session.

Optional qualifications: This degree is also available as a PG Diploma with fees set accordingly.
Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

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.

International students

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:

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.

Application deadlines
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.

Request a prospectus or register your interest and become part of the UCL community.

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