Risk and disaster reduction, particularly within the contexts of dealing with uncertainty and increasing resilience, are high on local, national and international agendas. 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.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2021/22)
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: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees. Fees for flexible, modular study are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session.
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.
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: Good
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.
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
Students will learn about and explore the characterisation, quantification, management and reduction of risk, disasters, and their associated impacts, from 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.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of five compulsory modules (75 credits), three optional modules (to the combined value of 45 credits) and an independent research project (60 credits).
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.
Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MSc in Risk, Disaster and Resilience. Upon successful completion of 120 credits, you will be awarded a PG Dip in Risk, Disaster and Resilience.
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.
All five compulsory taught modules must be taken.
- Integrating Science into Risk and Disaster Reduction
- Natural and Anthropogenic Hazards and Vulnerability
- Fundamentals of Emergency and Crisis Planning and Management
- Data Analysis and Interpretation
- Practice and Appraisal of Research
- Advanced emergency and crisis planning and management
- Risk, Disaster and Resilience MSc Independent Project (IRDR)
Choose three options (to the combined value of 45 credits, noting that most modules are worth 15 credits) from a list which may include the following:
- Conflict, Humanitarianism and Disaster Risk Reduction
- Catastrophe Risk Modelling
- Digital Public Health: Epidemics and Emergencies in the era of Big Data
- Gender, Disaster and Conflict
- Business Continuity Management and Organisational Resilience
- Risk, Power and Uncertainty*
- Disaster Risk Reduction in Cities*
- Science Policy in an Era of Risk and Uncertainty*
- Mastering Entrepreneurship**
- Strategic Project Management**
- Influence and Negotiations**
- Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice**
- Social Network Analysis**
*These modules are taught by departments outside the IRDR. Modules marked with ** form part of the Management pathway and are run by the UCL School of Management. Places may be limited and subject to timetabling restrictions.
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.
A selection of UK-based field trips are available. Travel and accommodation costs 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.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, field trips may be run virtually on a case-by-case basis.
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. Assessment is by independent and group oral presentations, written examination, coursework essays, and the independent project. Practical applications of critical and creative problem-solving will be encouraged and assessed throughout.
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 £13.50. 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.
The UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction (IRDR) offers a number of fee-reduction scholarships for UK and International students. Current and past students have received Chevening and Commonwealth Scholarships to attend the course. Please see the IRDR masters website.
Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.
- Applications for this scholarship are now closed for 2021/22
- Full fees, flights, stipend, and other allowances (1 year)
- Based on both academic merit and financial need
- Deadline: 5pm (BST), Thursday 21 April 2021
- £10,000 (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.
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 runs a careers and opportunities fair for students, which is attended by insurance companies, catastrophe modelling firms, NGOs, academic institutions, policy and local government bodies, and head hunters in the field of risk and disaster reduction. Several students have found opportunities through contacts made and positions advertised during this event.
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.
Why study this degree at UCL?
The UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction (IRDR), where teaching for this programme is based, leads and co-ordinates multidisciplinary research, knowledge exchange and advanced teaching in risk and disaster reduction across UCL.
UCL is uniquely well placed to lead research and teaching in this field; in addition to at least 70 academics across 12 departments and seven faculties involved in world-class research, the IRDR has established links with non-governmental organisations, industry and government departments based in and around London.
Teaching and project supervision will be provided by active researchers, practitioners and policy-makers, all of whom are leaders in their respective fields.
Department: Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction
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.
This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.
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: ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.
Who can apply?
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.
- All applicants
- 31 May 2021
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 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.
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