Risk and Disaster Reduction MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

Reducing the impact of disasters globally and humanitarian crises presents a huge challenge that requires co-ordinated and collaborative action. This programme is designed for PhD students who wish to improve humanity's understanding of risk and to overcome the scientific, engineering, technical, social, health and political barriers to increasing resilience to disasters.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
3 calendar years
4 calendar years
Programme starts
Research degrees may start at any time of the year, but typically start in September.
Applications accepted
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

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.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 1

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

Students learn how to conduct original, cross-disciplinary and international scientific research with significant, positive societal impact within an intellectually and globally diverse student body. There is a focus on multi-disciplinary research methods in the laboratory, on site, talking to people, analysing documents, conceptual analysis, and others depending on the nature of the research – and employing theoretical, statistical, modelling, social survey and desk-based techniques. Students' skills in research, teaching, public engagement, communications, consultancy, and knowledge exchange are emphasised.

Who this course is for

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. Students earning their PhD from IRDR find jobs across sectors, including academia, government, the private sector, and the non-profit sector.

What this course will give you

In addition to world-class research facilities and information resources, PhD students will gain skills essential to employment, such as teaching, proposal writing, media and public engagement, organising events, and oral and written communications. IRDR holds an annual PhD Student Forum, Spring Academy, and conferences. The PhD offers research training alongside learning opportunities in all these other areas.

The foundation of your career

IRDR PhD graduates have gained employment in a wide variety of positions in London and around the world both within and outside of academia. The institute's extensive links and established credibility with the private sector, the non-profit sector, government, international organisations and academia provides graduates with a high-level network for winning positions, along with the skills and qualifications to apply for advertised posts and fellowships.


An IRDR PhD provides excellent networks and training for careers in research, research communication, public policy, (re)insurance, catastrophe modelling, risk management, international development, humanitarian assistance, engineering and many other fields. We run an annual IRDR Careers and Opportunities Fair for students and recent graduates to seek advice regarding employment, which is attended by a range of recruiters, from the financial sector to the public sector to disaster prevention and response organisations.


Networking occurs throughout the year, not just through the array of IRDR events, but also through the opportunities on offer at UCL, London's Global University.

Teaching and learning

Research areas and structure

This MPhil/PhD programme, based in UCL's Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction (IRDR), offers a unique opportunity to focus on a research topic of interest while learning from other disciplines across the social sciences, physical sciences, engineering, health and medicine, arts and humanities. Leading international researchers in all aspects of risk and disaster are part of IRDR, and there are many opportunities to collaborate with internationally renowned scientists around UCL, in industry, government and non-profit organisations with whom we have close links. Further details of our research areas and academic expertise can be found at www.ucl.ac.uk/rdr


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £5,860 £2,930
Tuition fees (2023/24) £29,000 £14,500

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

There are no programme-specific costs.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Next steps

Please note that decisions whether to offer a place on our PhD programme are made primarily by the academic staff member who will take on the role of primary supervisor. They will make this decision on the basis of your project proposal, personal statement, other sections of your application including academic record and references, and their availability to supervise. It is therefore important that your application identifies your proposed supervisor and includes well-prepared project proposal and personal statement sections. Applications are accepted at any time with start dates throughout the year, but typically start in September. Many scholarships have specific deadlines.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2023-2024

Year of entry: 2022-2023

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.