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Disaster Management and Sustainable Development MSc

Module GE0175 - Disaster Man. & Sust. Dev/ment. Work Placement

(20.00 Credits)


The module focuses on critical vocational skills and experience for employment in the disaster management and sustainable development field of practice.

This will involve gaining experience in background research and project formulation, logistics required for project development, and evaluation of work in progress or that has already been carried out by practitioners.

It will provide experience through contact with practitioners of disaster management and/or sustainable development.

The module is assessed by the production of a Project Proposal, the Project itself, and a reflective report on the placement.

The module will improve the prospects of students in gaining work, in forming work relationships with disaster management and sustainable development organisations. The students will produce work which is of substantive value to the employers as well as enhancing professional development for themselves.


As the nature of the placement will determine the literature needed and used by the student, it is not realistic to provide a reading list classified as consisting of key or supplementary texts. The list below illustrates the range of sources which a student might typically be expected to consult.

Extensive use of the Internet, in particular the Web sites of international development and relief institutions, NGOs, and governments.

Substantial use of development and disaster relief project reports and evaluations.

Practical guides that are used by development and relief practitioners and some use of standard texts on management systems.

Save the Children. (1996) Toolkits: A Practical Guide to Assessment, Monitoring, Review and Evaluation, Save the Children, London.

Warren, D.M. et al (1995) The Cultural Dimensions of Development, Intermediate Technology Publications, London.

Pratt, B. and Boyden, J. (1990) The Field Director's Handbook: An Oxfam Manual for Development Workers, OUP, Oxford.

Oxfam. (1995) The Oxfam Handbook of Development and Relief, Oxfam, Oxford.

Fink, A. The Survey Kit. (Nine Volumes), Sage Publications, London.

OECD. (1999) Guidance for Evaluating Humanitarian Assistance in Complex Emergencies, OECD, Paris.

OECD. (2000) Donor Support for Institutional Capacity Building in Environment: Lessons Learnt, OECD, Paris.

ILO. (1998) Project Management and the Environment, ILO, Geneva


As graduate independent learners, students on this module will take some responsibility for shaping the syllabus to their needs and to the requirements and conditions of the workplace.

Given this premise it would be expected that students will address a range of the following topics during their placement.

Exploration of the various careers available to post-graduates of Disaster Management and Sustainable Development.

Examination of the working environment and identification of appropriate application of subject knowledge, including selection of research skills and techniques.

Work placement policy and programme development.

Work placement consisting of not less than 96 hours time with organisation.

Project appraisal, Terms of Reference and project evaluations.

Negotiating with funding agencies.

Delivery of project presentation.

Self-evaluation, development of CV.

Job applications and/or research permission applications.


The aims of this module are to provide students with the opportunity to:

1. Build on the knowledge and skills that they have gained from the disaster management and sustainable development programme.

2. Critically reflect on their own strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and needs in developing further expertise in the disaster management and sustainable development field.

3. Improve their prospects of employment in disaster management and/or sustainable development through contact with practitioners.

4. Develop skills of analysis and evaluation, including the risks and assumption associated with project implementation, through disaster management and sustainable development practice.


Learning outcomes will be specific to the nature of the placement. However, indicative learning outcomes are that students should be able to:

* Demonstrate the use and application of subject knowledge to the working environment including selecting appropriate research skills and techniques.(Placement submission)

* Manage their own working strategy for carrying out the work placement and completing written work within agreed time scales to prior agreed specifications. (Placement evaluation report)

* Identify and evaluate the connections between work activities of the placement and the wider context of the disaster management and sustainable development field. (Placement Proposal, Placement Submission , Placement evaluation report)

* Critically analyse and reflect on their own role, and other stakeholder roles in disaster management and sustainable development. (Placement evaluation report)

* Evaluate ethical dimensions of disaster management and sustainable development projects. (Placement evaluation report)

* Draft proposals for their future role in disaster management and sustainable development practice and/or for higher research degrees.(Placement evaluation report)


GE230 Subject Exploration: Disaster and Development
GE234 Sustainable Development
GE235 Emergency Preparedness and Response


GE230 Subject Exploration: Disaster and Development
GE234 Sustainable Development
GE245 Emergency Preparedness and Response




There are two timetabled sessions, one at the outset, in which students will cover issues of assessment, health and safety at work, and a range of other issues which may include employers' requirements and expectations, the nature and quality of tasks and projects which may be undertaken during the placement, and time management.

The second taught session, typically convened during weeks eight - ten, will assess progress so far as well as identifying any problems and difficulties which may have arisen, and discussing strategies for their resolution.

At this session the final form and structure of the main assessment will be discussed and decided, with the input of the tutor to determine mode of presentation, length, and whether the assessment will be group or individual.

Additional individual support and advice will be available to students by negotiation with the module tutor.

The assessment has three components - the Placement Proposal Proforma, the Work Placement Submission, and the Work Placement Self-evaluative report.

The proposal is completed using a template in which the student develops a proposal describing and justifying the nature of the work to be undertaken during the placement period.Typically this would be 1000 words long.This is submitted at the end of week 2, and is worth 10%.

The Work placement Submission is on a topic and in a format agreed by the student with the Placement Tutor. The substantive content of the report will also be acceptable to the placement organisation. The report will be expected to
· build on knowledge and skills acquired from the Disaster Management and Sustainable Development programme in the working environment;

· demonstrate the students' employability in this field and the benefit obtained by professional contact with practitioners;

· address ethical and logistical issues in an informed and appropriate manner as well as to show an appropriate level of academic content and method. (65%)

Placement submissions in the past have been submitted for assessment in a wide variety of formats, eg an exhibition of installations on the theme of refugee women's thoughts of home, portfolios of photographs, maps and a flood warning leaflet for the Environment Agency, as well as more conventional written reports. The variety of formats in which students may make their submission is an important strength of the module. For this reason it is seen as inappropriate to set a word length for the report. The format and style of the submission is agreed in formative discussion between tutors and students, thus ensuring that realistic assessment and evaluation of the student's work is feasible, with particular reference to process as well as product.

The third element is the self-evaluative report which is required to be reflective rather than narrative or descriptive.

It will reflect upon the following:

The main aims, purpose and mission of the placement organisation;
The congruence of the students' work with these aims;
Ethical dimensions of disaster management and sustainable development raised and focused by the placement;
Benefits derived from the placement and its influence on students' thinking about their future

The report is to be submitted within two weeks of the placement's completion, has a suggested word length of 1500 words, and is worth 25% of the module mark.



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