Crisis and Disaster Management
Planning, logistics, response and resilience
Why take this course?
This innovative course will provide you with a robust understanding of hazards, vulnerability and the risk of disaster. In conjunction with this you will develop a practical awareness of the different aspects involved in emergency management such as planning, logistics and response. This, plus other topics on the course, will ensure you gain the ability to contribute towards improving the resilience of governments, organisations and companies in the face of crisis or disaster.
What will I experience?
On this course you can:
- Be taught by experts, who have extensive industrial and consultancy experience and strong research portfolios
- 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 specialist area of geological hazards consultancy and management, both in the UK and overseas.
Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:
- aid organisations
- environmental organisations
- offshore work
- civil sector roles
- insurance companies
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 full-time students: £5,000, part-time students: £1,670 in year 1 and £3,330 plus inflation in year 2
International full-time students: £11,900, part-time students: £3,970 in year 1 and £7,930 plus inflation in year 2
*Please note that all fees are subject to annual increase.
+44 (0)23 9284 5550
- School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
- Programme specification
Structure & Teaching
You can opt to take this course in full-time or part-time mode.
The course is divided into three parts. The first two deal with the taught units of the course – covering the key conceptual, institutional and applied bases of the subject. The third focuses on your dissertation.
Here are the units you will study:
Disasters: Hazard, Vulnerability and Risk – This unit examines the following aspects of disasters:
- geological, meteorological, biological and technological hazards
- assessments of vulnerable/exposed features and risk of disaster
- rapid-onset and slow-onset (chronic) disasters
- impacts of climate change, disaster risk reduction and ways of improving resilience, particularly at community level
Logistics and Financial Planning for Disasters – This unit explores:
- the logistics of emergency planning and disaster management (preparedness, response, recovery, as well as the economics of disaster (local, national and international)
- financial management of risk
- catastrophe modelling
- insurance and reinsurance
A wide range of case studies are used, notably from the UK, USA, Turkey and Caribbean states.
Disaster Management Techniques and Study Visits: On this unit you will examine techniques for disaster risk assessment, emergency planning and disaster crisis response. Training is given in technologies such as remote sensing, GPS and GIS. Study visits are made to organisations involved in disaster management, from oil spills through to humanitarian aid or major search and rescue deployments.
Crisis Management and Governance: This unit focuses on organisational resilience and crisis planning, alongside procedures for crisis preparation and training, as well as risk identification frameworks. It also examines the value of effective corporate governance, internal controls and accountability. Subjects include the influence on risk planning of stakeholder analysis and management effectiveness.
Independent Research Project: On this double-unit you will have training in research techniques and critical analysis skills, including quantitative and qualitative approaches. The Research Project enables you to demonstrate to potential employers your skills in project planning and management, data collection and analysis, cumulating in the preparation of a 12,000-word illustrated report.
Teaching and Assessment
The course provides a balanced structure of lectures, seminars, activity-based practicals and study visits. You will generally be taught in small classes, providing an informal, friendly and supportive atmosphere for your studies.
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:
- preparation of web pages
- poster and oral presentations
- project reports
- literature reviews
- book chapters
Dr Richard Teeuw
Earth and Environmental Sciences
The course is a mixture of taught units and a research project, covering hazard, vulnerability and risk assessments, amongst other topics. Most of my 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 are an important component of our course. They will enable you to take your practical skills out into the field. This may include training in recording fieldwork data, interpretation of aerial photographs and satellite images, geomorphological surveys, mapping of hazard zones (for flooding, landslides and coastal erosion), vulnerability mapping and disaster risk assessment.
Specialist Software and Equipment
You will have access to an array of field equipment, including high precision GPS mapping and slope survey kits, as well as Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and image processing software (ArcGIS, ERDAS Imagine, ER Mapper, ENVI). All of 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 Brunei Darussalam, Costa Rica, Tenerife, Turkey, Dominica and the British Virgin Islands.
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.
Careers & Opportunities
The vocational nature of this course means that you will largely find jobs in organisations involved with emergency planning, risk management, insurance and re-insurance, civil defence and disaster relief.
This course will provide you with a variety of transferable skills such as project planning, literature and data reviewing, report writing, along with the more general skills of presentation, communication and so on. It also has strong research and analytical components, ideal if you wish to pursue further research to PhD level.
We aim to provide you with as much support as possible in finding employment through close industrial contacts, careers events, recruitment fairs and individual advice.
One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degrees students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service – Purple Door – 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.
Online application form
Apply direct using our online form
Your application will be received by the University's Admissions Team before being transferred to individual departments for consideration and processing.
Our Postgraduate Information Days for 2013 have now finished, however our academic tutors are still happy to meet potential postgraduate and part-time students. You can find department contact details in the key facts box on this page.
Department specific events aimed at postgraduate and part-time students are listed below:
- Portsmouth Business School postgraduate and part-time open evenings
Tuesday 9 July, Wednesday 4 September
Staff from our international Office regularly attend overseas exhibitions to find out more about these and our visits to your region see our International Office exhibitions page.
Fees and Funding
Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.