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MSc Disaster Management

  • Delivery:

We are one of the leading providers of Disaster Management training and education both in the UK and overseas.  

This MSc in Disaster Management seeks to recognise both the extent and diversity of the numerous areas of expertise and activity that comprise what is commonly described as disaster management.  

Our aim is to develop the knowledge and skills required for existing and future leaders from a broad range of organisations (such as government agencies, national and international industries, emergency, military and medical services, academia, small to medium sized industries, faith based and local community organisations and media).

Your studies will include risk reduction and resilience strategies including mitigating hazards and reducing vulnerability and you will also examine integrated planning between relevant civilian and military organisations as well as community groups. You will learn how to develop major incident management systems that respond to, and help recover from, a range of disasters when they occur.

You will examine the roles and responsibilities of external agencies involved in disaster management and develop your personal communication and simulation skills to exploit and implement lessons identified from previous disaster events.

In a world in which both public and private sectors are increasingly aware of the risks to their reputation and business survival when disaster strikes, your studies will prepare you to be able to promote disaster management planning within wider security and sustainable development strategies in such a way that they are fully integrated, practised and exercised.

Key information

Next start date:

September 2018, September 2019


Bournemouth University


5 years maximum, part-time

Required subjects:

All subjects considered

Entry requirements:

A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:2 in any subject, or equivalent. If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS 6.0 (Academic) or above. For more information see our full entry requirements

Course details

Each taught unit is delivered via one week of block teaching at Bournemouth University. This is followed by eight weeks of online developmental work and assignment submission that students can complete from anywhere in the world.

Core units

  • Developing Policies and Plans: You will be introduced to the importance of sound disaster management plans and frameworks. Internationally, many nations still do not have developed disaster management plans, and this unit has been developed over several years and in multiple countries to assist national governments and their agencies to address this vital issue. The principles of this unit underpin each of the subsequent units.
  • Management of Communications and Learning: Teaches you how to communicate learning in effective and attractive ways; gaining the interest of audiences, drawing upon audience experience and knowledge, winning audience cooperation for greater integrated activities, and creating relevant participatory exercises from academic and practical-based literature to help turn lessons identified into lessons learned.
  • Dissertation: An opportunity to study a subject in-depth, showing your understanding of it. The dissertation is the conclusion of your learning experience, where you'll carry out a research project. You'll use appropriate research methodology to collect and analyse data and present your findings. Your dissertation will be 15,000 words, and you'll be taught about research methods.

Option units (choose four)

  • Management of Technological, Social & Intentional Disasters: This unit focusses on the nature and types of man-made (human instigated) hazards, including those on land, air and sea alongside such issues as crowd safety and industrial accidents. Taking a case study approach, you will evaluate the lessons learned from recent reports and complete a strategic level multi-hazard planning and response exercise as part of a group.
  • Management of Natural Disasters: You will examine the complexities of natural hazards which could affect your country. You will learn to evaluate the management issues associated with such hazards, and how these can be applied to major incident management, risk reduction and recovery and national planning.
  • Management of Wider Stakeholders – Travel and Tourism: You will develop an understanding of the unique needs and critical resources of the Travel and Tourism sectors and consider the management issues associated with integrating Travel and Tourism into a national disaster management framework including risk reduction, response and recovery.
  • Management of External Assistance: Introduces you to the challenges that arise when external assistance is offered to, or received by another country. Using a developing set of scenarios, students explore the issues as a deployed team offering external assistance to a country faced with a number of natural hazards. The unit concludes by then applying those lessons identified to the home national plan.
  • Public Health Resilience & Response: Throughout this unit you will examine public health resilience and response strategies, within the context of disaster management. Looking at current national and international best practice drawn from a combination of academic and professional practitioner approaches to healthcare resilience, you will learn methods for establishing effective healthcare emergency preparedness, resilience and response systems.
  • Foreign Policy Analysis & Crisis Management: This unit focusses on the concepts and theories of foreign policy analysis relevant to disaster management. You will consider the diplomatic dimensions of international disaster and crisis management and evaluate key issues and challenges shaping the formulation and implementation of foreign policy in relation to crises and disasters.
  • Disaster Management for Business Professionals: You will gain a detailed appreciation of the concepts, theories, challenges and practices of the private sector when preparing for, responding to and recovering from crises and disasters. The unit has a particular focus on how international disaster management contributes to business resilience in both theory and practice. 

Programme Specification

Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.

Download the programme specification for MSc Disaster Management.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the programme specification, the information is liable to change to take advantage of exciting new approaches to teaching and learning as well as developments in industry. If you have been unable to locate the programme specification for the course you are interested in, it will be available as soon as the latest version is ready. Alternatively please contact us for assistance.

Full entry requirements

The normal requirements for embarking upon a postgraduate taught degree are:

  • A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:2 in any subject or equivalent.

If you lack the formal academic qualifications needed to enter a postgraduate or post-experience degree, there are several alternative routes to follow - some based on experience. Contact the Future Students Enquiry Team for more information.

International entry requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:

  • IELTS (Academic) 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component of writing, speaking, listening and reading, or equivalent.

View further information about our English language requirements.

A number of pre-sessional English and preparatory programmes are offered through our partner institution, Bournemouth University International College, and will get you ready for study at BU at the appropriate level.

You can also find further details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our postgraduate entry requirements page.

Selection criteria

Background & Experience

For Disaster Management we are looking for applicants who:

  • Are creative and enthusiastic
  • Are able to work to tight and competing deadlines
  • Are able to work independently as well as enjoy working with other people
  • Can work with students from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds.

We expect our students to be hard working and enthusiastic, open to new ideas and prepared to work with others to achieve the high standard of industry professionals that BU is renowned for. You should have a strong interest and passion for extending your skills and knowledge, especially during the final stage of the course when you must research one topic of interest and write a dissertation on this subject.

Selection methods

This course selects candidates by looking at their applications. There are no interviews or additional selection activities and therefore we suggest that you make your application stand out from the crowd. For more information take a look at our how to apply pages.

Meet your lecturers

Our staff are actively engaged in research and professional practice in the business sector which is integrated into the teaching of this course. Find out more about some of the staff and their research activities who will be teaching on this course below.

Richard Gordon MBE, MA, FICPEM
Director BUDMC

Richard Gordon has been Director of Bournemouth University Disaster Management Centre since May 2005, having worked as Deputy Director and as a disaster management consultant for the centre for eight years. Richard has provided disaster management consultancy, project management and training to government ministries, national security forces, media, industry, emergency services and non-governmental organisations. His work covers the full spectrum of disaster management including integrated planning, command and control systems, risk assessment, early warning, community based risk reduction, and communication and situational awareness. Richard has designed, coordinated and delivered disaster management projects in the Middle East, West Africa, South and East Asia, Eastern Europe and the United States.

Professor Lee Miles BA, MIS, PhD

Lee joined the Bournemouth University Disaster Management Centre in 2015. Lee’s research and training expertise lies in International Crisis and Disaster Management, Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) and European Union Crisis Management. His research examines the role of political and policy entrepreneurs in shaping foreign policy management, regional crisis diplomacy and emergency responses to crises and disasters in the age of resilience. He is, in particular, developing concepts of ‘entrepreneurial resilience’ in international crisis and disaster management.

Dr Henry Bang BSc, MSc, MSc, PhD
Research Fellow BUDMC

Dr Bang is the Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Bournemouth University Disaster Management Centre (BUDMC). Henry is an international disaster management specialist with notable expertise in International Disaster Management, risk/vulnerability assessment and modelling. Henry’s research interests are interdisciplinary and intimately associated with disaster risk management in government, society and business. Recently, his research scope has broadened to include other natural and socio-natural hazards.

Additional information

Faculty of Management

Faculty of Management

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Disaster Management Centre

Discover how we work with governments, international aid agencies and multi-national businesses to better prepare them to deal with disaster situations.
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