Crisis and Disaster Management
Planning, logistics, response and resilience
Why take this course?
Understanding about hazards, vulnerability and the risk of disaster, underpinned by a practical awareness of the planning and logistics of an emergency, are at the core of this degree. Our internationally-recognised academics, with cross-disciplinary expertise from our School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and our Business School, will ensure you gain the ability to contribute successfully in the face of a crisis.
What will I experience?
On this course you can:
- Be taught by experts with strong research proposals, who have extensive industrial and consultancy experience with government agencies, businesses and NGOs.
- Gain experience of using disaster risk reduction techniques, plus a range of other skills such as mapping using GIS, GPS and remote sensing technologies
- Opt to do a work placement with an emergency planning, crisis management or disaster response organisation
What opportunities might it lead to?
We will give you the knowledge and practical skills to ensure an interesting and rewarding career in the emergency planning, crisis management or disaster response sectors, both in the UK and overseas.
The Crisis and Disaster Management course is endorsed by the Emergency Planning College (EPC) of the UK Cabinet Office. If you have attended appropriate professional development short courses at the Cabinet Office Emergency Planning College (EPC) you may be eligible for exemption from attendance of up to two thirds of our degree programme. Accreditation of Prior Learning requires evidence of good practice in the topics of study and of applying this appropriately at your workplace. If you wish to take advantage of this offer, after enrolment on the course a personal tutor will aid you in submission of your evidence.
Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:
- contingency planning
- humanitarian aid organisations
- community resilience
- flood management
- military-civilian emergency liaison
- (re)insurance and risk management
Portsmouth is the only university I found in the UK, Canada or the USA that teaches disaster management as a solid combination of earth sciences and business.
Angela Parker, MSc Crisis and Disaster Management student 2013
- 1 year full time, 2 years part time
- A 2:2 honours degree or equivalent, preferably with relevant work experience. Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2016/17 entry: full time: £5,200 part time: £2,600 p/a*
2017/18 entry: full time: £5,200 part time: £2,600 p/a*
2016/17 entry: full time: £12,700 part time: £6,350 p/a*
2017/18 entry: full time: £13,300 part time: £6,650 p/a*
*Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.
+44 (0)23 9284 5550
- School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
- Programme specification
- Accreditations & Endorsements
Structure & Teaching
The course is a mixture of taught units and a research project, covering:
hazard, vulnerability and risk assessments; disaster risk reduction; emergency planning; crisis management; logistics and financial planning; business continuity; community resilience; humanitarian emergency response, and disaster management techniques, such as Geographical Information Systems (GIS).
The course consist of the following core units:
- Disasters: Hazard, Vulnerability and Risk
- Emergency Management and Planning
- Disaster Management Techniques and Study Visits
- Crisis Management and Governance (option)
- Humanitarian Emergency Response and Recovery (option)
- Research Project
Teaching and Assessment
You will be part of a large postgraduate community in a vibrant and friendly department. The course units are delivered as a series of three-day teaching blocks, at three to four-week intervals from October to May, with all assessment by coursework assignments. Formal classes, such as lectures and seminars, enable you to gain the relevant knowledge, which is developed further through activity-based practicals, simulation exercises and study visits. The in-class teaching is supplemented by extensive use of web-based and library learning resources.
How are you assessed?
Assessment is varied, aimed at developing skills relevant to a range of working environments. Here’s how we assess your work:
- 3000-word illustrated reports
- poster and oral presentations
- literature reviews and research proposals
- an individual Research Project
Dr Richard Teeuw
Earth and Environmental Sciences
The course is a mixture of taught units and a research project, covering aspects risk assessment, emergency management and disaster response, amongst many other topics. Most of the teaching is by lectures and seminars, enabling you to gain relevant knowledge, which is developed further through activity-based practicals and study visits. The in-class teaching is supplemented by extensive use of web-based learning resources.
Facilities & Features
Study Visits and Field Training
Study visits are an important component of our course, giving you insights into the running of major emergency management centres in southern England. The course has a strong “hands-on” component: you will be directly involved in a various emergency management situations, via training exercises, from desktop simulations to real-time field ops; working alongside professionals from the UK emergency services, the military and NGOs. The training involves recording field data, interpretation of satellite images, GIS mapping and damage assessments, management of displaced people or refugees and the production of situation reports.
Specialist Software and Equipment
You will have access to an array of field equipment, including GPS survey kits, as well as a computer lab with Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and image processing software (QGIS, ArcGIS, ERDAS Imagine). These facilities are fully supported by dedicated technical support staff and are freely available whenever you should need to use them.
You will have the unique opportunity to undertake voluntary work placements within emergency planning or disaster management organisations in the UK or overseas. In most cases these placements will form the basis of your research project. Not only will this be beneficial to your studies, but it’s also a great way to gain some valuable work experience. There are also plenty of opportunities for you to undertake your research project abroad; previous destinations include the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Montserrat, Sierra Leone, Tenerife, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and the USA.
Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.
I moved into the field of emergency planning with few relevant academic qualifications: this course will give me the extra knowledge to progress my career, allowing me to take a more strategic role within my organisation.
David Bonner, Resilience Technical Advisor, The Environment Agency
Budgeting for your studies
There may be extra costs arising from your studies which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.
Some are common costs to all courses of study. These may include the cost of study texts, reference books, photocopying and computer supplies. Others relate to specific courses and may include field trips, materials and specialist equipment.
Other costs to consider
The cost of travel or accommodation for compulsory fieldwork is included in the course fee, but you will need to pay for meals and other subsistence costs.
Compulsory project work is normally carried out in the UK, and you will be required to contribute to travel, accommodation and meals, These costs are likely to be in the region of £50 - £500 depending on the nature of the project.
You will be provided with essential safety equipment for fieldwork and site visits (hard hat and reflective jacket). If you require additional field equipment you will be required to purchase these items. Total costs will be in the region of £130.
Careers & Opportunities
The vocational nature of the course will give you transferable skills such as project planning, literature and data reviewing, field mapping, report writing, meeting deadlines, team work, presentation, communication and emergency simulation exercises. It also has strong research and analytical components, providing training for those who are interested in pursuing further research at PhD level.
You will have the opportunity to complete voluntary work placements with organisations (businesses, government departments, NGOs) in the emergency planning and disaster management sector, in the UK and overseas. Jobs are largely within the following sectors: emergency planning, crisis communication, epidemiology, risk management, insurance and re-insurance, utility companies, emergency logistics, civil defence and disaster relief.
The Crisis & Disaster Management MSc course is endorsed by the Emergency Planning College of the UK Government Cabinet Office.
One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degree students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree.
We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.
In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.
Benefits of Postgraduate Study
Regardless of whether you are seeking to build on your studies, further your career or pursue a career change, a postgraduate qualification adds to your achievement record.
- Postgraduate study may greatly improve your chances of getting that first break.
- Many graduate employers prefer the higher intellectual rigour displayed in postgraduate students.
- Recruiters for roles requiring specialist knowledge or research particularly target those with higher level qualifications.
- Postgraduate study shows you can take the challenge of in-depth study; acquiring transferable skills in team working and problem solving techniques.
- If you have a passion for a particular subject, postgraduate study can also be something undertaken as part of your own development at an appropriate time in your life.
Online application form
Apply direct using our online form
Your application will be received by the University Admissions Centre for consideration.
Postgraduate Information Days
Our Postgraduate Information Days for 2016 entry have now finished.
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Fees and Funding
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