UCL Institute for Risk & Disaster Reduction


MSc Space Risk and Disaster Reduction

In an increasingly technological and globally connected world, risks to space-based communications systems and critical infrastructure are emerging threats to national security and businesses. 

In a programme that unites emergency response, disaster risk reduction and space technology, you will learn about satellite technology, mission design, hazards and vulnerabilities unique to outer space, disaster response, and the monitoring of hazards on Earth from outer space.

The newly identified risk of space weather is ranked the fourth highest risk to the UK and is in a similarly high position on the USA risk register. Taught by Department of Space and Climate Physics and Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, Earth Sciences offer world leading, unique taught and research postgraduate programmes uniting the disciplines of risk assessment, disaster response, space technology and space physics. Through this we will train a new generation of innovative and creative researchers, thinkers, practitioners and decision-makers in the exciting new field of risk and disaster reduction from outer space. 

The programme aims to allow students to learn about and explore the characterisation, quantification, management and reduction of risk and disaster losses from a diverse range of perspectives, with a focus on the new and emerging risks posed to modern technology by space weather and the possible uses of outer space to monitor hazards on the Earth. Teaching and project supervision will be provided by active researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers who are leaders in their respective fields.

See the full Space Risk and Disaster Reduction Program Brochure for more details.

Master Details

Director: Dr Robert Wicks

Students will acquire advanced levels of knowledge of empirical, theoretical and practical aspects of risk and disaster reduction, as well as a technical background in satellite design, operations and the hazards and vulnerabilities unique to outer space. The emphasis in the taught component of the programme is on hands-on learning and tutorial-style dialogue between students and lecturers. Students will also undertake a research project in order to acquire research experience and the ability to effectively communicate research findings to end-user groups. Transferable skills will be gained through presentations of project results in the form of reports, posters, research talks and public/policy engagement. 

Students will also have the opportunity for direct access to key government and business drivers in the field of space weather, including seminars and research projects supported by the UK Met Office, EDF, Atkins and other institutions actively interested in the hazards of space. 

The programme provides excellent training for careers in research, research communication (including knowledge exchange), public policy, (re)insurance, catastrophe modelling, finance, international development, humanitarian assistance, risk management engineering, satellite operations, satellite and space technology, space weather monitoring and response, space science, and many other fields.

Two IRDR core taught modules (15 credits each):

One compulsory taught skills module (15 credits):

Three programme-specific core modules (15 credits each):

Two optional taught modules (15 credits each): 

Please note spaces on optional models are restricted so students' preferred choices may not be possible.

* These modules may require some prerequisites. Please contact the module tutors for details. 

Independent Project (60 credits):

Key Information

Programme starts

September 2018

Modes and duration
Full time: 1 year
Tuition Fees (2018/19)
£9,290 (FT) £4,615 (PT)
£23,070 (FT) £11,310 (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.

Optional qualifications: This degree is also available as a PG Certificate 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.

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?

Candidates should have an undergraduate degree in a science or engineering subject (BSc, MSci, BEng, MEng) with a  2:1 or higher (or foreign equivalent).  Applicants with a different degree, or with no degree but with professional experience, will be considered on a case-by-case basis.  An appropriate level of English is required.

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 for a Master's degree in Space Risk and Disaster Reduction
  • why you want to enter a programme of study at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme, how have you heard of it and what do you want to get from it
  • how your academic and professional background meets the entry requirements and the demands of this programme, considering the topics that are taught in it
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree, i.e. which kind of career you intend to pursue

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, and how prepared you are to face the challenges it poses (e.g. large project component, individual and in a team, and taught advanced topics).

Degree last modified on 14 November 2017 at 15:03 by UCL Student Recruitment Marketing.

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