This MSc provides a broad introduction to geohazards, together with advanced courses in seismology, volcanology, hydrogeological hazards and meteorology. A key goal is to provide an essential grounding in quantitative modelling that can be widely applied to several fields, from pure research to the commercial sector.
Covid-19 programme updates
Due to COVID-19, there may have been updates to this programme for the 2020 academic year. Where there has been an update, these are indicated with a red alert and a link which will provide further information.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic the structure and delivery of this programme is currently under review, we advise that you contact the programme lead named in the contact box for more information before you apply.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2020/21)
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.
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.
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: Standard
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
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
The programme provides an introduction to the spectrum and impact of geophysical hazards, and a focus on quantitative models for hazard forecasting and assessment. Selected case studies illustrate how these models are essential for improving decision-making during emergencies, for raising the awareness of vulnerable populations, and for evaluating and implementing mitigation strategies.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of six core modules (120 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).
Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MSc in Geophysical Hazards.
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.
- Geological and Geotechnical Hazards (Foundation)
- Meteorological Hazards (Foundation)
- Research and Skills Methods
- Earthquake Hazard
- Physical Volcanology and Volcanic Hazard
- Meteorological and Hydrogeological Hazard
There are no optional modules for this programme.
All students undertake an independent research project in geophysical hazards, which culminates in a dissertation of 12,000 words.
The programme includes a mandatory field trip. Field sites are commonly in Italy. 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.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, directed reading and practical exercises. There are excellent opportunities for field investigations in the UK and abroad. Assessment is through unseen written examinations, practical problem-solving exercises and essays. The independent research report is assessed through the dissertation and an oral presentation.
One third of a student's time is spent in lectures and the remainder in independent study.
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 £300-£400 for travel between home and field, essential subsistence, and incidental equipment (e.g., notebooks). Specialist clothing is not required.
The UK day-trip is estimated to cost £20-£30 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.
UCL offers a selection of scholarships for supporting postgraduate studies.
Please refer to the UCL Scholarships website for further informaion.
Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.
- This scheme is now closed for 2020/21
- £15,000 (1 year)
- Based on both academic merit and financial need
- Applications for this scholarship are now closed for 2020/21
- Full fees, flights, stipend, and other allowances (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.
On graduation from this programme about one-third of students have followed careers in global insurance and re-insurance and another third have pursued research with a PhD in hazard-related studies. The remaining third have developed careers in a wide range of sectors, from non-governmental organisations, through teaching, to the fields of emergency planning and environmental management.
The MSc in Geophysical Hazards will provide essential training for careers in hazard assessment and risk evaluation, including: industry, from engineering to insurance; academic research; civil protection agencies and government organisations; and NGOs related to aid and development.
Why study this degree at UCL?
UCL Earth Sciences is engaged in world-class research into the processes at work on and within the Earth and planets.
Graduate students benefit from our lively and welcoming environment and world-class facilities. The department hosts the UCL Hazard Centre, Europe's leading multidisciplinary hazard research centre, and engages in extensive collaborative work with the Royal Institution and the Natural History Museum.
This MSc includes a short field trip to locations that illustrate the impact of natural hazards. Previous trips have included the Neapolitan volcanic district, the Italian Alps and the Po Delta, and the Cádiz region in south-western Spain.
Department: Earth Sciences
What our students and staff say
"London is an amazing, world-leading research and knowledge hub. At UCL students have the opportunity to work in one of the world's leading centres on natural hazards and disaster risk reduction, which has a very strong focus on education, training and knowledge exchange, rather than just pure research."
Dr Stephen EdwardsGeophysical Hazards MSc
UCL Hazard Centre
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 £80 for online applications and £105 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.
Who can apply?
The programme will be particularly attractive to those seeking or advancing a career in hazard or risk science - including hazard and risk management, environmental monitoring, emergency planning, and catastrophe-related finance - and to academics and professionals considering a career move into the hazard and risk science field.
- All applicants
- 11 August 2020
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 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.
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