Academic Programme

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MRes Risk and Disaster Reduction




Risk and disaster reduction, particularly within the contexts of dealing with uncertainty and increasing resilience, are high on local, national and international agendas. The Risk and Disaster Reduction MRes is a research-intensive programme, which aims to meet the rapidly growing need for experts trained to analyse and provide solutions to complex issues relating to risk and disasters.

Subject areas

Students will learn about and explore the characterisation, quantification, management and reduction of risk and disasters, and their associated impacts, from a diverse range of scientific, technical, socio-economic, political, environmental, ethical and cultural perspectives. They will acquire advanced levels of knowledge of empirical, theoretical and practical aspects of risk and disaster reduction, and will gain research experience and the ability to effectively communicate research findings through the independent research project.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of two compulsory taught core modules (15 credits each), two taught skills modules (15 credits each), one programme-specific optional module (15 credits) and a substantial independent research project (105 credits). 

Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MRes in Risk and Disaster Reduction.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Compulsory modules

The compulsory modules consist of two taught core modules and two taught skills modules.

  • Emergency and Crisis Management
  • Integrating Science into Risk and Disaster Reduction
  • Data Analysis and Interpretation
  • Practice and Appraisal of Research

Optional modules

Students choose one of the following modules:

  • Conflict Humanitarianism and Disaster Risk Reduction
  • Natural and Anthropogenic Hazards and Vulnerability
  • Emergency and Crisis Planning
  • The Variable Sun: Space Weather and You
  • Catastrophe Risk Modelling
  • Digital Health: Epidemics and Emergencies in the Era of Big Data
  • Risk Analysis For Disaster Science
  • Gender, Disaster and Conflict
  • Business Continuity Management and Organisational Resilience


All students undertake a substantial research project of 15,000 to 20,000 words, which culminates in an independent research report and oral presentation.


Optional, UK-based field trips are available. Travel and accommodation costs will be covered by IRDR, students will need to pay for their meals.

Previous field visits have included: the Thames Barrier and disaster management; Cambridge flood hazard; a disaster scenario exercise with NGO Rescue Global; the Blacknest Seismological Observatory; the Met Office; Southwest England for integrated group projects covering hazard mapping, hazard modelling, vulnerability assessment, and critical infrastructure assessment, with Hinkley Point nuclear power station as an example.

Admission Requirement

Entry requirements

Normally a minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard is required. Relevant discipline is any science including social sciences or any humanities subject.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

Further information can be found on the English language requirements page.



Geographical coverage



Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years

Application procedure


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

Who can apply?

The programme aims to train the next generation of innovative, creative and objectively critical researchers, thinkers, practitioners and decision-makers in risk and disaster reduction. The programme may be completed as a standalone MRes, or it may be used as training towards subsequent completion of a PhD.

For more information see here.

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • Why you want to study Risk and Disaster Reduction at the graduate level;
  • Why you want to study Risk and Disaster Reduction MRes;
  • What particularly attracts you to this programme;
  • How your academic background meets the demands of this challenging programme;
  • Where you would like to go professionally with this MRes.

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to elaborate on your reasons for applying to this programme and how your interests match what the programme will deliver.


For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to the applicant's nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Tuition & cost

£10,550 (FT)
£5,255 (PT)

£23,630 (FT)
£11,830 (PT)

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website.

Additional costs

Students are responsible for their subsistence on all fieldwork and for travel costs within London. For the one day trips, students can bring a packed lunch or expect to pay £5 to £10. For longer trips, we expect subsistence costs to be £30 to £40 per day. Travel within London is likely to be covered in travel cards students obtain for travelling to UCL. A single day travel card is £12.70.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to the estimated cost of essential expenditure.

Deadline for application

28 Aug 2020


Dr Rosanna Smith at

Last updated

08 Jun 2020

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  • Type University programme
  • Level Masters
  • Location(s) United Kingdom (London, Bloomsbury)
  • Language English

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