Geophysical Hazards MSc

London, Bloomsbury

Natural disasters affect one in thirty people across the world each year. All nations are at risk and the field of natural hazards is one of the fastest-growing areas of research in the Earth and Climate Sciences. Our programme offers a unique focus on hazard forecasting and assessment and on how communities can use science to protect the vulnerable.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
1 academic year
2 academic years
Programme starts
September 2023
Applications accepted
All applicants: 17 Oct 2022 – 30 Jun 2023

Applications closed

Entry requirements

Normally a minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Applicants whose qualifications are of a lower standard may be admitted if evidence of an adequate academic background and appropriate field experience can be shown.

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

Our MSc in Geophysical Hazards investigates the processes that turn natural events into hazards, from volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and landslides to floods, tsunami and hurricanes. It provides an essential grounding for all fields of hazard study, from pure research to applications in the commercial and humanitarian sectors.

Our programme offers a unique focus on quantitative and qualitative models for hazard forecasting and assessment, and demonstrates how knowledge of the controlling processes is vital for improving decision making during emergencies, for raising awareness among vulnerable communities and for evaluating and implementing mitigation strategies.

Who this course is for

Enthusiasm in meeting new challenges to better understand how the Earth works and how new knowledge can be used to help communities vulnerable to natural hazards.

The programme will be particularly attractive to those seeking or advancing a career in natural hazards - including hazard and risk management, environmental monitoring, emergency planning, and catastrophe-related finance - and to academics and professionals considering a career move into the rewarding field of hazard and risk science.

What this course will give you

UCL Earth Sciences is engaged in world-class research into the processes at work on and within the Earth and planets.

You will benefit from our lively and welcoming atmosphere. The department hosts the UCL Hazard Centre, which delivers the latest research and knowledge on natural hazards to industry, humanitarian and development organisations, government and civil protection agencies. Our lecturers have practical experience in monitoring hazards and responding when they occur, and our skills training includes a bespoke programme from RADA, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art

This MSc includes a short field trip to locations that illustrate the impact of natural hazards.

The foundation of your career

Our programme provides specialist training in investigating the processes that drive natural hazards, in evaluating models of their behaviour and in understanding how these models can be used to protect vulnerable communities. You will develop your transferable skills in critical analysis of quantitative and qualitative information, and in presenting your results to non-specialists.


About one third of our graduates have followed careers in global insurance and reinsurance; one third have pursued research with a PhD in hazard-related studies; and one third have developed careers in sectors ranging from non-governmental organisations, through teaching, to the fields of emergency planning and environmental management.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, directed reading and practical exercises.

Assessment is primarily through coursework (problem-solving exercises and essays), which may be supported by some written examinations. The independent research report is assessed through the dissertation.

On average it is expected that a student spends 150 hours studying for each 15-credit module. This includes teaching time, private study and coursework. Modules are usually taught in weekly two-hour sessions over 10 weeks each term.


You will undertake eight taught modules and an independent research project to the total value of 180 credits. 

Our part-time programme continues for two years. You will undertake four taught modules each year and an independent research project (submitted in your second year) to the total value of 180 credits. 

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 are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Geophysical Hazards.


The programme includes a mandatory field trip, subject to international travel restrictions for COVID-19. Field sites are commonly in Europe. Previous trips have been held in Italy and Spain. Future locations may include Portugal. The department pays for accommodation and transport in the field. Students pay to get to the field and subsistence. The field trip is normally held just before or after Easter; the exact time depends on how the dates of Easter and UCL's terms fall each year.

A mandatory day-visit to a flood location near London is also included for the module on meteorological and hydrological hazards.


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

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: UCL Earth Sciences

Join our Virtual Graduate Open Event to learn more about our range of Master's programmes, how our programmes are taught, and what it's like to study at UCL Earth Sciences. In these online sessions, you'll have the opportunity to hear from academic staff and ask any questions you might have about studying at UCL.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £14,100 £7,050
Tuition fees (2023/24) £38,300 £19,150

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:

Additional costs

The cost of the European field trip depends on location and exchange rate. Based on the previous three years, it is estimated that students would need to contribute £350-£450 for travel between home and field, essential subsistence, and incidental equipment (e.g., notebooks). Robust footwear is recommended.

The UK day-trip is estimated to cost £25-£35 for travel and subsistence.

The independent research project may involve additional costs. These will vary on a case-by-case basis (e.g., students will have to cover travel costs to fieldwork sites should these be required). Limited funding is available; this will be discussed before any project is agreed.

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.

Brown Family Bursary

Deadline: 8 June 2023
Value: £15,000 (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: UK

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 £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Geophysical Hazards at graduate level
  • why you want to study Geophysical Hazards at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to Geophysical Hazards programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree; for example, are you interested in pursuing a career in research, or in applying your knowledge to the commercial or humanitarian sectors?

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.

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.

Got questions? Get in touch

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