Geophysical Hazards MSc

London, Bloomsbury

Disasters resulting from natural hazards affect one in forty people across the world each year. All nations are at risk and the field of natural hazard and risk science is one of the fastest-growing areas of research in the Earth and Climate Sciences. Understanding how multiple hazards may intersect in space and time, and how their impacts may cascade over potentially global footprints, are critical areas of current research. Our programme offers a unique focus on hazard forecasting and assessment, incuding multi-hazards, and on how policymakers and communities can use science to increase resilience.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
1 academic year
2 academic years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Applicants who require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 28 Jun 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Applicants who do not require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 30 Aug 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

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 lower second class honours 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.

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

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 we offer comprehensive transferable skills training

This MSc includes a one week field trip to explore the impact and management of natural hazards in a multi-hazard context, and contribute to field-based monitoring activities with local partners responsible for hazard assessment.

The foundation of your career

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 other sectors including ranging from non-governmental organisations, through teaching, to the fields of emergency planning and environmental management.


Our programme provides specialist training in investigating the processes that drive natural hazards, through evaluating models of their behaviour and understanding how these models can be used to improve resilience and inform policy. You will develop transferable skills in critical analysis of qualitative and quantitative data, verbal and written reasoning, field observation, and the use of programming languages and geographical information systems.


Students have the opportunity to interact with guest lecturers from industry and advisory organisations such as the UK MET Office.

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 four-hour sessions over 10 weeks each term. The field course module involves a one-week field trip plus several taught classroom sessions.


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 compulsory field trip, which includes assessed components, that currently runs to the Azores, Portugal. The department will cover all accommodation and transport in the field. Students will need to cover travel to the field site from home, and subsistence costs. The field trip is normally held in early May.

A day-visit to a flood location near London is also included within 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 and Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £15,100 £7,550
Tuition fees (2024/25) £41,000 £20,500

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:

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-£500 for travel between home and field, essential subsistence, and incidental equipment (e.g., notebooks).

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

Funding is available for the independent research project, but may involve additional costs depending on the scope of the project. These will vary on a case-by-case basis, such as travel costs to fieldwork sites if required. Budgets will be discussed before any project is agreed and presented within the research proposal.

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

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.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

Got questions? Get in touch

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.