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Disaster Management and Sustainable Development MSc

Image: Disaster Management and Sustainable Development COURSE INFORMATION (2014 ENTRY)

One year full-time, with the option to continue the research dissertation into second year

Engineering and Environment
Ellison Building, Newcastle City Campus

This stimulating and dynamic MSc course will permit you to register for an MSc or Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) in Disaster Management and Sustainable Development.

The course focuses on disaster management and sustainable development including frameworks and skills for addressing contemporary hazards, disasters and complex emergencies, in both post-development and majority world contexts.

During the course, you will develop knowledge and analytical skills related to disaster risk reduction, emergency planning, evaluation in the humanitarian sector, early warning, response systems and sustainability. You will also have the opportunity to pursue specialisms in physical and mental health in disaster management; development and Integrated Emergency Management; and community wellbeing.

Placements are offered, giving you the opportunity to get work experience in your chosen field and many of our students are placed with UK emergency planning bodies, the UN system and humanitarian sector.

The MSc course is supported by the Disaster and Development Network (DDN) which is based at Northumbria University.  The DDN facilitates internships over the summer and you may wish to use this to work on your dissertation topic in collaboration with a particular organisation. Some of our students recently have been working in Darfur and Sri Lanka while others have been to the:

  • Centre for Disaster Preparedness, Philippines UNDP, UNOCHA, UNHCR
  • Disaster Mitigation Institute, India
  • National Society for Earthquake Technology, Nepal
  • Office of Emergency Services Commission, Melbourne, Australia
  • UNISDR, Geneva
  • Development Workshop in Vietnam.

The course is normally one year long but an extra year is allowed to complete the research dissertation project.

In the first semester, you will take three core modules which are taught in block form of four weeks each. In the second semester, if you are taking the Postgraduate Diploma or full MSc Masters Course, you will take the core Research Methods module and will be able to choose two option modules.

If you are a Masters student, you will take the Masters dissertation module and complete a 20,000 word dissertation, usually over the summer months, for submission normally in the September following enrolment.


Many students have been successful in gaining employment in UK emergency planning posts in addition to jobs in the following areas:

  • UN system
  • Environment Agency for England and Wales
  • Local, national and international NGOs (e.g. Médecins Sans Frontières; Norwegian People’s Aid).

A number of students are already employed in the sector and complete the MSc for career development reasons (e.g. WHO; World Vision; UK Emergency Planning).


Course Facilities
You will be able to take advantage of our high standard facilities with modern lecture theatres, laboratories and IT suites, well stocked with specialised equipment and software, and a map room. We keep close contact with our subject librarians and information specialists, who are available to students in terms of specialist teaching sessions and support.

Course Staff
Staff associated with this degree have an international reputation for expertise in the fields of disaster management and sustainable development. Many have ongoing involvement in research and consultancy activities associated with some of the world's leading development and relief organisations. Key areas of research interest include: climate change adaptation policy, health security, gender and disaster, evaluation of humanitarian practice, and environmental risk management.

The programme has established links to the UK emergency services and is a core element of the Disaster and Development Network (DDN) at Northumbria. You may wish to be involved with the Dealing With Disasters Conference which is organised jointly by Northumbria, Teesside and Glamorgan Universities.

Further Study
A number of our graduates have gone on to register for PhDs.


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Northumbria University has taken reasonable care to ensure that the information published is accurate at the time of publication. However, the University gives no warranty or representation as to the quality, accuracy or completeness of the information.