BBA degree in disaster management

Stenden University - South Africa
South Africa
  • Duration
    Three year degree (fourth year work placement)
  • Type
    University programme
  • Level

Port Alfred


Bachelor of business administration in disaster management


Stenden decided to offer the BBA in Disaster Management after realising that relief/response and its affiliated aspects needed to be standardised and professionalised. It is an important field and its development has been in the pipeline for over a decade. Disaster Management includes all aspects of planning for and responding to disasters. It refers to the management of both the risks and the consequences of disaster.

The degree comes at a time where the amount of disasters is increasing worldwide and with climate change, this is a trend that scientists believe will escalate. Disasters impact the poor and vulnerable more, which means that it’s only a matter of time before South Africa sees an increase in climate-related disasters – making this the perfect and most important time to introduce the program at the Port Alfred Stenden campus from January 2014.

The three year (fourth year work placement) degree is accredited by the SA Council of Higher Education and the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). The innovative BBA degree is benchmarked at NQF Level 8, which is an honours level qualification.

Course structure:

The entire disaster and emergency management curriculum is infused with a strong awareness building around climate change and the effects that this will have on human populations. The link between environment and people is emphasized throughout all the modules.

There are twelve modules in total and they are divided between four modules per year over three years. Each module will be ten weeks and will incorporate work placement with the fourth year being a ten month research centred work placement.

Course delivery:

Problem Based Learning: each class contains no more than 12 people and they approach problems as a group. Problem solving is done by utilising prior knowledge and research which is collated and communicating through a group presentation.

Work Integrated Learning: Throughout the first 3 years of study, students will be placed at various organizations that deal with the entire scope of the disaster management field. In year 1 we start with operations and escalate to supervisory tasks in the second year. In year 3, students are exposed to networking, project management and general management tasks. This is done to ensure the students are prepared for the real world of work.

Research: In year 4 the student is placed in a work environment for 10 months. The key academic task of the students at this time is to do applied research in a real world setting.

Post-degree employment opportunites:

Graduates can work in government departments, NGOs, agriculture, Insurance and risk industry, manufacturing, law enforcement, emergency management, humanitarian organisations, consulting, climate and forecasting organisations, academia and research, etc. Students wanting to continue on a research/academic path can apply for further studies in disaster risk management at masters and doctoral level at the University of the Free State, North West University and Stellenbosch University.


Modules in disaster management:

  • Disaster management theory
  • Logistics management
  • Project management
  • Strategic management
  • Financial management
  • International law
  • Human resource management
  • Quality management
  • ICT (including GIS)
  • Languages (communication skills in English, French and Spanish)
  • Research methods and field research

In year 3 of the BBA students will be able to choose a specialisation in a specific area of disaster relief management. These could include:

  • Peace building and conflict resolution
  • Community building and risk/vulnerability reduction
  • Food security in Africa
  • International protocol and diplomacy
  • Climate change, severe weather, extreme events and disasters
Admission requirement

South African applicants: Students who have completed their schooling through the South African schooling system must have qualified for the National Senior Certificate and have met the minimum requirements for admission to bachelor’s degree as gazetted for admission to higher education.

International applicants: Students who have completed their studies through the Cambridge system of schooling require A-levels or AS-levels.

Students applying with HIGCSE qualifications require a minimum of 4 HIGCSE subjects and the best relevant IGCSE subjects (total of six subjects). Only level 1, 2, 3 are acceptable for HIGCSE and Grades A, B or C for IGCSE. IGCSE alone is not acceptable.

Students applying with International Baccalaureate qualifications must have completed three subjects on the higher level, level 4 on the higher grade for mathematics, and the rest of the subjects may be balanced to achieve 37 points.



Application procedure

To apply, candidates must fill out the Stenden South Africa Application Form (four pages) and submit several supporting documents:

  • Relevant documentary proof of all qualifications and experience, including the last school results received (certified copies required)
  • Passport-sized colour photograph
  • Certified copy of your Identity Document/Passport
  • Signed Undertaking Documents
  • Proof of payment of relevant application fee
  • An essay answering the following questions:
  1. Why does the Disaster Management degree appeal to you?
  2. Why do you think you would make a good manager in Disaster Relief Management?
  3. Why do you want to study at Stenden South Africa?

After a complete application has been received, candidates will have a personal or telephonic interview with at least two members of the Exam Committee. This interview will focus on:

  • The communication skills of the candidate;
  • The proficiency of the candidate in the English language;
  • The aptitude of the candidate towards the management; and
  • The motivation of the student to study at Stenden South Africa.
  • Understanding of the unique teaching technique of Problem Based Learning (PBL) is advantageous.
Tuition and cost

Tuition fee: R 87,000
Tuition fee, with accommodation: R 129,000

Fees quotes in South African Rand (ZAR)


Learn more about this academic program