UCL Mathematical & Physical Sciences


Space Risk and Disaster Reduction MSc

Uniting emergency response, disaster risk reduction and space technology this programme is designed to prepare students to work in the fields of satellite technology and disaster response. Students will explore the management of risk and disaster losses from a range of perspectives, focusing on emerging risks posed to modern technology by space weather and the monitoring of hazards on Earth from outer space.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2019

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 15 October 2018
Close: 26 July 2019

Tuition fees (2019/20)

UK/EU: £10,150 (FT)
Overseas: £24,250 (FT)

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 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:

About this degree

Students will learn about a wide variety of natural hazards, how to prepare and plan for emergencies and disasters and how to respond.  Students will also learn practical aspects of designing, building and operating satellites and spacecraft including the challenges and risks posed by the environment of outer space.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of six core modules (90 credits), two optional modules (30 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits).

Compulsory modules

  • Integrating Science into Risk and Disaster Reduction
  • Emergency and Crisis Management
  • Research Appraisal and Proposal
  • The Variable Sun: Space Weather Risks
  • Space Science, Environment and Satellite Missions
  • Space Systems Engineering

Optional modules

Students choose two 15-credit optional modules from the following:

  • Decision and Risk Statistics
  • Emergency and Crisis Planning
  • Global Monitoring and Security
  • Mechanical Design of Spacecraft
  • Natural and Anthropogenic Hazards and Vulnerability
  • Risk and Disaster Research Tools
  • Space-Based Communication Systems
  • Space Instrumentation and Applications
  • Spacecraft Design - Electronic Sub-systems

Optional modules are subject to availability of places.


All students undertake an independent project culminating in a report of between 10,000 and 12,000 words.

Teaching and learning

Teaching is delivered by lectures, seminars and interactive problem sessions. Assessment is by examination, poster, presentation and written essay coursework.


Optional, UK-based field trips are available. Travel and accommodation costs will be covered by IRDR, students will need to pay for their meals.
Previous field visits have included: the Thames Barrier and disaster management; Cambridge flood hazard; a disaster scenario  exercise with NGO Rescue Global; the Blacknest Seismological Observatory; the Met Office; Southwest England for  integrated group projects covering hazard mapping, hazard modelling, vulnerability assessment, and critical  infrastructure assessment, with Hinkley Point nuclear power station as an example.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.


The UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction has scholarships available for this programme. See IRDR Masters Programmes - and look for the "Funding" section of that page.

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

Brown Family Bursary

Now closed for 2019/20
£15,000 (1 year)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

IRDR Masters Scholarships

Deadline is 29 April 2019
Varies (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 aims to prepare students for careers in space research, space and defence industries as well as most industries with risk management requirements.

Why study this degree at UCL?

Our students benefit from direct access to key government and business drivers in the field of space weather, with invited seminars and research projects supported by the UK Met Office, EDF, Atkins and other institutions interested in the hazards of space. 

The natural hazard of space weather is a "new" hazard which has only recently been identified as a significant risk to human society. As the first generation of researchers, practitioners and engineers in this field, students will be at the forefront of major new issues in an expanding sector of the economy. As disaster response comes to rely on more advanced technology aid, relief and disaster response agencies require experts trained in the technological infrastructure to innovate, explain, operate and understand the limitations of these novel systems and the help they can provide before, during and after disasters.

The programme will also provide students with advanced training in many transferable skills, such as computor programming, technical writing, oral and written presentation, the use of engineering design tools and graphic visualisation software.

Department: Space & Climate Physics

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.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £75 for online applications and £100 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

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
26 July 2019

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).

Contact information

Page last modified on 20 May 2019 by UCL Student Recruitment Marketing