STANDARD LICENSE; PLEASE SEE ADDITIONAL ASSET FOR FULL LICENSE TERMS.

Mode of Study

Part-time, Full-time

Duration

1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Start date

September 2023

Overview

This course offers an exciting opportunity to learn about environmental and manmade hazards, vulnerability and risk, planning and logistics, disaster response and crisis management. You’ll develop your skills as a confident, professional emergency planner and responder, able to manage people and situations in the field.

Uniquely to Portsmouth, students take part in SIMEX – the UK’s largest annual international disaster response simulation exercise – for responders and agencies to practise and learn from disaster response.

Earth systems and environmental sciences at the University of Portsmouth is ranked 4th of all post-1992 universities for research quality

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

Read more about our amazing earth systems and environmental sciences research 

You'll graduate with the skills you need for a successful career in the emergency planning and disaster management and response, either in the governmental or non-governmental sectors, anywhere in the world. You'll also get transferable skills in project planning, data analysis and communication, putting you in a strong position to pursue a career in other industries.
Scholarships for international students

The School of Environment, Geography and Geosciences offers a limited number of scholarships for international postgraduate students

Find out more about funding your studies

Eligibility

This course accepts UK, EU, and international students.

Course highlights

  • Learn new skills including disaster management techniques, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing for mapping, social surveying methods, approaches to risk analysis, and the design of emergency management training exercises
  • Be supported by expert staff and practitioners who are active in the field, with extensive industrial and consultancy experience working for government agencies, businesses and NGOs
  • Have the opportunity to complete a work placement with an emergency planning, crisis management or disaster response organisation and complete a final project based on your experience
  • Take part in field training with UK and international emergency services, the military and NGOs, building your skills in emergency management, disaster response and safety issues within hazardous environments
  • Gain transferable skills such as project planning, data analysis, report writing, team work, presentation and communication
  • Hear from experts with organisations such as the Red Cross, NHS, local authorities, the Environment Agency, the Met Office, the armed forces, Oil Spill Response, NGOs, humanitarian and United Nations agencies
  • Careers our graduates have progressed into include emergency management and response for 'blue light' services (police, ambulance, coast guard, fire and rescue), city and county council contingency planning, the oil industry, and as risk management and continuity specialists in business

MSc Crisis and Disaster Management – Dr Carmen Solana

Dr Carmen Solana, course leader for MSc Crisis and Disaster Management, talks about the benefits of studying the course at the University of Portsmouth.

Dr Carmen Solana: We thought it would be great to provide a course that will give tools to the students to be able to deal with all these problems that the world is showing.

We really want to give hands-on experience to the students and to do that we have two practical courses. One called the Heat Course and the Simex - Simulation Exercise. We coordinate with the key regional bodies, so for example, with Search and Rescue from the Fire Service, the Police, Ambulance, to produce this simulation in which the students have to respond to an emergency. This is the biggest in Europe.

We have had earthquakes and floods and we mix it with humanitarian situations. We use our drama students and they're really very realistic. It will train them for the future in reality. The University of Portsmouth offers this unique variety of experts, of practitioners, of academics, of even the students that contribute to the course. Because of that, it is a real special course. We're unique in that. 

What you'll study

Full-time

On this course, you'll study four core modules and one optional module.

Core

Additional content

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Critically assess the results of computer-based methods of survey and analyses, as well as simulations, and be aware of the limitations of such techniques.
  • Discuss which techniques are most appropriate for disaster management at various stages of the Disaster Cycle.
  • Select and apply appropriate methods for various types of fieldwork (for example, hazard mapping and vulnerability assessments, use of GPS and GIS to map features).
  • Discuss the key features of the UK contingency planning and emergency response system, relative to the UN approach to disaster management.

Explore this module

Additional content
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Critically review the various types of hazard (natural, technological and social).
  • Critically discuss concepts of vulnerability, both physical and socio-economic, and risk.
  • Critically review the various types of disaster, citing examples of disaster management.
  • Appraise and develop mitigation strategies for various disaster scenarios.

Explore this module

Additional content
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Analyse and evaluate the role of emergency planning, both in the UK and internationally.
  • Critically review aspects of organisation and economics relevant to disaster risk reduction.
  • Analyse and discuss the logistics involved with disaster management.
  • Identify the key features required for effective emergency management of major incidents.

Explore this module

Additional content
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Design and plan the different aspects of an advanced research project, including academic aspects, time management, ethical approval and risk assessment.
  • Implement an advanced research project that is based on the systematic collation, synthesis and analysis of primary or secondary data acquired by the student, in a particular aspect of crisis or disaster management.
  • Systematically analyse primary or secondary data using new skills and knowledge and use this new information to critically evaluate a clearly defined research hypothesis.
  • Undertake advanced analysis to generate new understandings and critically discuss these results in relation to identified limitations and within the context of previous published research.
  • Report scientific results through different media including a thesis report written to a specified word limit using publication quality diagrams and figures, and an oral presentation to summarise research findings in a conference environment within a specified time limit.

Explore this module

Optional

Additional content
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Critically evaluate the causes of humanitarian emergencies.
  • Demonstrate informed knowledge and skills of leadership, communications, and ability to analyse and consolidate information.
  • Discuss humanitarian action and the guiding humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and operational independence.
  • Competently communicate the principles of humanitarian action and the operational environment in which humanitarian actors can operate unhindered and unthreatened.
  • Reflect objectively on International Humanitarian Law and the individual and operational support available when managing or working in humanitarian program.
  • Critically review the roles of a variety of humanitarian actors and enablers and the barriers of working together through the humanitarian program cycle.

Explore this module

Additional content
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of what constitutes a crisis and how crisis management differs from risk management in terms of planning, response and resourcing.
  • Critically evaluate the relationship between business continuity and crisis management, and review and assess training and preparedness for crises, understanding the organisational importance of each of these functions.
  • Critically evaluate both the theoretical constructs and contextual applications thereby enabling crisis management, business continuity and control risk assessment of an organisational framework.
  • Appraise the development of organisational strategies to reduce the risk of disruption and be able to enhance and develop appropriate strategies for organisations.

Explore this module

Part-time

In the first year of this course, you'll study two core modules and one optional module.

Core

Additional content
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Critically review the various types of hazard (natural, technological and social).
  • Critically discuss concepts of vulnerability, both physical and socio-economic, and risk.
  • Critically review the various types of disaster, citing examples of disaster management.
  • Appraise and develop mitigation strategies for various disaster scenarios.

Explore this module

Additional content

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Critically assess the results of computer-based methods of survey and analyses, as well as simulations, and be aware of the limitations of such techniques.
  • Discuss which techniques are most appropriate for disaster management at various stages of the Disaster Cycle.
  • Select and apply appropriate methods for various types of fieldwork (for example, hazard mapping and vulnerability assessments, use of GPS and GIS to map features).
  • Discuss the key features of the UK contingency planning and emergency response system, relative to the UN approach to disaster management.

Explore this module

Optional

Additional content
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of what constitutes a crisis and how crisis management differs from risk management in terms of planning, response and resourcing.
  • Critically evaluate the relationship between business continuity and crisis management, and review and assess training and preparedness for crises, understanding the organisational importance of each of these functions.
  • Critically evaluate both the theoretical constructs and contextual applications thereby enabling crisis management, business continuity and control risk assessment of an organisational framework.
  • Appraise the development of organisational strategies to reduce the risk of disruption and be able to enhance and develop appropriate strategies for organisations.

Explore this module

Additional content
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Critically evaluate the causes of humanitarian emergencies.
  • Demonstrate informed knowledge and skills of leadership, communications, and ability to analyse and consolidate information.
  • Discuss humanitarian action and the guiding humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and operational independence.
  • Competently communicate the principles of humanitarian action and the operational environment in which humanitarian actors can operate unhindered and unthreatened.
  • Reflect objectively on International Humanitarian Law and the individual and operational support available when managing or working in humanitarian program.
  • Critically review the roles of a variety of humanitarian actors and enablers and the barriers of working together through the humanitarian program cycle.

Explore this module

In the second year of this course, all modules are core

Core

Additional content
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Analyse and evaluate the role of emergency planning, both in the UK and internationally.
  • Critically review aspects of organisation and economics relevant to disaster risk reduction.
  • Analyse and discuss the logistics involved with disaster management.
  • Identify the key features required for effective emergency management of major incidents.

Explore this module

Additional content
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Design and plan the different aspects of an advanced research project, including academic aspects, time management, ethical approval and risk assessment.
  • Implement an advanced research project that is based on the systematic collation, synthesis and analysis of primary or secondary data acquired by the student, in a particular aspect of crisis or disaster management.
  • Systematically analyse primary or secondary data using new skills and knowledge and use this new information to critically evaluate a clearly defined research hypothesis.
  • Undertake advanced analysis to generate new understandings and critically discuss these results in relation to identified limitations and within the context of previous published research.
  • Report scientific results through different media including a thesis report written to a specified word limit using publication quality diagrams and figures, and an oral presentation to summarise research findings in a conference environment within a specified time limit.

Explore this module

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, course content is revised and regularly reviewed.  This may result in changes being made in order to reflect developments in research, learning from practice and changes in policy at both national and local levels.

UK's largest disaster simulation exercise takes place in Hampshire

Each year, students from the University of Portsmouth take part in the UK's largest disaster simulation to test both national and international emergency response.

Read more about the event

Careers and opportunities

When you graduate, you'll have the knowledge and practical skills needed for a career in the emergency planning, crisis management or disaster response sectors anywhere in the world. The research and analytical components of the course, will support you in applying research positions, for example at PhD level.

Graduates of this course have gone into areas such as:

  • Humanitarian agencies and NGOs
  • Emergency management
  • Emergency logistics and contingency planning
  • Flood management
  • Military-civilian emergency liaisons
  • (Re)insurance and risk management
  • Utility companies
  • Civil defence
  • Disaster relief
  • Epidemiology

Graduates of this course have gone onto roles such as:

  • Built environment lecturer
  • Auditor
  • Technical adviser
  • Emergency planning and resilience officer
  • Business resistence executive
  • Catastrophe analyst
  • Civil contingencies officer
  • Emergency planning and resilience officer
  • Policy and international engagement advisor
  • Technical adviser

Career outcomes shown are sourced from the latest available graduate outcome surveys. The data shows career outcomes at 15 months after graduation.

9 reasons to do a Master's

Career planning

During your course you'll have expert career support from your tutors and our Careers and Employability Centre – which you can access for up to 5 years after you graduate.

Female student standing at careers and employability help desk

Career support

You'll benefit from:

  • Networking events
  • Applied projects with employers
  • 1-to-1 appointments
  • CV and cover letter advice
  • Interview preparation and practice
  • Workshops to enhance your employability skills
  • Recruitment events including the Student and Graduate Opportunities Fair
  • Support starting your own business

Learn more about your career support

Placements and industry connections

You'll get the 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. This will be beneficial to your studies, but it’s also a great way to gain valuable work experience.

Many students have undertaken their research project abroad, in destinations including the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Montserrat, Sierra Leone, Tenerife, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and the USA – we can help you make these connections and plan your placements.

Throughout the course, you'll have opportunities to listen to guest speakers from organisations such as:

  • the Police
  • the Red Cross
  • NHS
  • local authorities and councils
  • the Environment Agency
  • Applied Resilience
  • Oil Spill Response
  • International Red Cross
  • Save the Children
  • the United Nations

How you'll spend your time

We recognise that you'll probably be juggling more demands when you do your Master's degree, as you may be working or you may have family responsibilities.

We'll give you as much indication here as we can of how much time you'll need to be on campus and how many hours you can expect to spend in self-directed study, but please note that these indications are always subject to change. You should receive your full timetable several weeks before you start with us.

It is our expectation that all international students will join us here on campus in Portsmouth.

Course structure

This Master's in Crisis and Disaster Management is taught in 'blocks', slightly differently from our standard campus-based courses.

In-person, on-campus teaching takes place over 3 intensive days per month (8 hours per day, Tuesday-Thursday). You'll also be set assignments and you'll undertake online learning and independent study as part of the course.

This intensive form of study can often be easier to fit around your work and other life commitments.

Full-time

  • You'll attend 3 intensive days of 'block teaching' per month
  • We recommend that you allocate 2 full days per week to independent study

Part-time

  • In year 1, you'll attend 3 intensive days of teaching per month over 6 months
  • In year 2, you'll attend 2 blocks of 3 intensive days of teaching and 1 hour per week of online research methods tutorials over 12 weeks
  • We recommend that you allocate 1 full day per week to independent study 

Teaching

Master's study is deeper and more specialised than an undergraduate degree. This means you'll focus on something that really matters to you and your career as you work closely with academics committed to the subject.

You'll spend more time in independent study and research than you did for your undergraduate degree, but the majority of your teaching time will be in-person and face-to-face.

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • practical sessions
  • simulation exercises

Assessment

You'll be assessed through:

  • 3,000 word illustrated reports
  • poster and oral presentations
  • literature reviews and research proposals
  • individual research project
  • peer reviews
  • critical assessments

Teaching staff

These are some of the expert staff who'll teach you on this course:

Maria Del Carmen Solana Portrait

Dr Carmen Solana

Reader in Volcanology and Risk Communications

Carmen.Solana@port.ac.uk

PhD Supervisor

Read more
User profile default icon

Ms Naomi Morris

Teaching Fellow

naomi.morris@port.ac.uk

PhD Supervisor

Read more

Term dates

September start

The Master's academic year runs from September to the following September. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter. Over the summer you'll be writing your project/dissertation.

See key dates

Graduation Class of 2021

Joining us as an international student

You'll feel at home in our international community and our diverse city. You'll be joining over 5,000 international students from more than 150 countries who are studying with us.

Learn more about international student life and how we can help you with visas, applications, arrival and settling in. 

Information for international students

Supporting your learning

Master's study is more focused on independent learning than undergraduate study, but you'll get lots of support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to postgraduate study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your Master's.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning support tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • understanding and using assignment feedback
  • managing your time and workload
  • revision and exam techniques

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK) for one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to:

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from the faculty librarian for science.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

The Maths Café offers free advice and assistance with mathematical skills in a friendly, informal environment. You can come to our daily drop-in sessions, develop your maths skills at a workshop or use our online resources.

​Course costs and funding

Tuition fees – September 2023 start

  • Full-time: £8,500
  • Part-time: £4,250 per year

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time: £8,500
  • Part-time: £4,250 per year
  • Full time: £17,900
  • Part time: £8,950 per year

University of Portsmouth graduates may receive a 20% alumni tuition fee discount

Fees are subject to annual increase. Read our tuition fees terms and conditions.

You'll be able to pay your fees in instalments. Find out how to pay your tuition fees.

Funding your studies

Find out more how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover. 

If you're a UK student, you may be eligible for a Government postgraduate loan, which you can use to help with course fees and living costs.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

Tuition fees terms and conditions

Environment, geography and geosciences scholarships

International students may be eligible for the School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences (SEGG) Scholarship.

Find out if you're eligible and how to apply

Loans, scholarships and bursaries

Browse funding such as the Government Postgraduate Loan, our scholarships for new and returning students, and subject specific loans.
Postgraduate student in workshop
Explore funding

Funding for international students

Learn more about sponsorships, scholarships and loans for students applying from outside of the UK.
Group of international students
Discover your opttions

Disability and dependent funding

Explore financial support for students who have disabilities or dependents during their studies.
16th January 2019
Postgraduate Ambassador Photoshoot
Explore funding

Additional costs

These course-related costs aren't included in the tuition fees, so you'll need to budget for them when you plan your spending. Additional costs could include:

  • Accommodation: Accommodation options and costs can be found on our accommodation pages.
  • Recommended reading: You can borrow key texts from the library and if you choose to purchase these texts they may cost up to £60 each.
  • General costs: Such as photocopying, memory sticks, printing charges, binding and specialist printing. We suggest budgeting £75 per year.
  • Final project transport or accommodation: where necessary, which related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

Read more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Entry requirements​

Eligibility

This course accepts UK, EU, and international students.

September 2023

  • A second class honours degree or equivalent, preferably with some relevant work experience in the emergency services or humanitarian sectors. Applicants with relevant professional experience and/or qualifications will also be considered.

Please get in touch if you're not sure if your undergraduate subject is relevant to this degree.

Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will also be considered, such as previous study, employment, voluntary work and training courses, including courses and qualifications you didn't complete. Learn more about our Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

If you're applying as an international student with a non-UK degree, view the equivalent entry requirements we accept for your country

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 (or equivalent) with no component score below 6.0.

You do not need an IELTS or equivalent certification if:

  • you have a UK degree
  • you have a degree from a majority English speaking country (not taught by Distance Learning)
  • you are a national of a majority English speaking country

Degrees taught solely in English from non-majority English speaking countries will be considered on a case by case basis. Find out more about our English language requirements.

If you do not meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

How to apply

Unlike undergraduate applications, which go through UCAS, applications for this Master's course are made directly to us.

There's no deadline for applications to this course. We accept applications right up until the start date in September, as long as there are places available. If you wait until September to apply, you may find that the course is full.

If you're applying as an international student, remember that you'll need to leave plenty of time to get your visa organised.

You can find more advice about applying in our Master's application checklist. International students and current students and recent graduates of the University of Portsmouth also have some different application options, which are detailed below.

Extra information for international students

If you're an international student, you can apply directly to us using the same application form as UK students.

You could also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region. To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.

If you don’t meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Standard applications

Start this course in September 2023

Apply now (Full-time) – 1 year

Apply now (Part-time) – 2 years

I'm a current Portsmouth student, or a recent Portsmouth graduate

If you're currently in your final year of study at Portsmouth, or you graduated since July 2021, you're eligible to make a fast track application. You'll have:

  • a shorter application form to complete
  • access to the 20% Alumni fee discount
  • a guaranteed conditional offer, for most Master's courses 

Learn more about fast track

After you apply

Once we receive your application, we may ask you for further information. We will then either make you an offer or suggest alternatives if your application is unsuccessful.

You'll usually get a decision within 10 working days, so you shouldn't have to wait too long. Some courses have an interview stage – we'll let you know if you need to prepare for one.

Learn more about how we assess your application.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.