Risk, Disaster and Resilience MSc

London, Bloomsbury

Risk and disaster reduction are high on local, national and international agendas. Governments, businesses and third sector organisations must deal with uncertainty and increase resilience. Academic study can underpin much needed professionalisation and application of evidence and research-based theory to this area. This MSc programme aims to meet the growing need for experts trained to analyse and provide solutions to complex risk and disaster resilience issues.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
All applicants: 16 Oct 2023 – 05 Apr 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

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. Relevant discipline is any science including social sciences, or any humanities subject.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

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

Students will learn about and explore the characterisation, quantification, management and reduction of risk, disasters, and their associated impacts. They will take a broad range of scientific, technical, socio-economic, political, environmental, ethical and cultural perspectives. Through this multidisciplinary approach, students gain expertise in analysing complex challenges, enabling them to become future leaders who drive policy change and innovation. 

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.

What this course will give you

The UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction (IRDR) leads and co-ordinates multidisciplinary research, knowledge exchange and advanced teaching in risk and disaster reduction across UCL.

The foundation of your career

Whether you wish to start a new career in risk and disaster reduction or you already have experience in this sector, we are here to support you. With an MSc in Risk, Disaster and Resilience, you will have excellent academic credibility coupled with practical and analytical skills.


This programme provides excellent training towards careers in fields including research, public policy, business continuity, (re)insurance, catastrophe modelling, finance, risk management, international development, emergency services, consultancy, and humanitarian assistance.

The IRDR provides dedicated provides dedicated careers support support for students including networking events often including networking events often attended by insurance companies, catastrophe modelling firms, NGOs, academic institutions and recruiters in the field of risk and disaster reduction.


Staff in the department have extensive professional networks and are able to connect students with colleagues in the sector. The IRDR offers a programme of events, which usually have a networking element, and students are encouraged to both attend and organise their own. The dedicated departmental student society also offers networking opportunities for its members.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, directed reading and practical problem-solving exercises and a real-time disaster scenario event, with an emphasis on hands-on learning and tutorial-style dialogue between students and lecturers.

Student can also follow a management pathway by selecting specific management modules. For details, contact the department.

Assessment is by independent and group oral presentations, written examinations, coursework essays, and an independent project. Practical applications of critical and creative problem-solving will be encouraged and assessed throughout.

All students undertake an independent research project of 10,000-12,000 words which culminates in a research project and poster presentation. Projects may be field, theory or modelling based and can be conducted in collaboration with external industry or NGO partners. The dissertation has a value of 60 credits.

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.

A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits, six compulsory modules and two optional modules, but no independent project), full-time nine months, part-time two years, is also offered.


The programme consists of six compulsory modules (90 credits), two optional modules (to the combined value of 30 credits) and an independent research project (60 credits).

It is expected that a full-time student will study all these modules over the course of one academic year.

Part-time students must study between one and three compulsory modules in Year 1, the remaining one or two in Year 2. Optional module can be taken in either year. There is a recommended order in which to take modules and other requirements. Please contact the department if you would like to study this option and require more information.

This programme can be studied flexibly over a maximum of five years, with students generally attending lectures and seminars on-site at UCL. Study is undertaken on a module-by-module basis, with students accumulating credit by selecting which module(s) to complete in any given year. For more information, including the recommended order in which to take modules, please contact the department.

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 Risk, Disaster and Resilience. Upon successful completion of 120 credits, you will be awarded a PG Dip in Risk, Disaster and Resilience. Upon successful completion of 60 credits, you will be awarded a PG Cert in Risk, Disaster and Resilience.


A selection of UK-based field trips is available. Travel and accommodation costs for field trips outside London will be covered by IRDR; students will need to pay for their meals. Previous field trips have included the Thames Barrier and disaster management, Cambridge flood hazard and exposure, a disaster scenario exercise with an NGO partner, and Southwest England for integrated group projects including hazard mapping, vulnerability assessment and critical infrastructure assessment. Field trips may be subject to change.


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 and Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction (morning)

Join one of our online sessions to learn more about our range of Master's programmes, how our programmes are taught, and what it's like to study at UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction. In these online sessions, you'll have the opportunity to hear from academic staff teaching the course and ask any questions you might have in a live Q&A.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction (afternoon)

Join one of our online sessions to learn more about our range of Master's programmes, how our programmes are taught, and what it's like to study at UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction. In these online sessions, you'll have the opportunity to hear from academic staff teaching the course and ask any questions you might have in a live Q&A.

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) £28,100 £14,050

Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.

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

Students are responsible for their subsistence on all fieldwork and for travel costs within London. For the one-day trips, students can bring a packed lunch or expect to pay £5 to £10. For longer trips, we expect subsistence costs to be £30 per day. Travel within London is likely to be covered in travel cards students obtain for travelling to UCL. A single day travel card is around £15. All other travel and fees will be paid for or reimbursed by the Institute.

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

The UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction (IRDR) often offers a number of scholarships or stipends for students. Please see the IRDR Master's web page for current availability.

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 Risk, Disaster and Resilience at graduate level
  • why you want to study Risk, Disaster and Resilience at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

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

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.