MSc International Disaster Management

Year of entry: 2024


Degree awarded
Master of Science (MSc)
1 year
Entry requirements

An upper Second Class Honours Degree or equivalent in a relevant degree in any discipline from a recognised university or its equivalent. Students who do not clearly meet the academic requirements may be considered based on relevant professional experience.

Full entry requirements

How to apply
Apply online

Course options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning

Course overview

  • Develop skills and knowledge to critically analyse and apply key concepts in disaster management theory, research, policy and application, such as vulnerability, resilience, governance, disaster risk reduction and sustainable development.
  • Learn from an interdisciplinary team, drawing on ideas and methods in geography, history, politics, development studies, the arts and medicine.
  • Develop knowledge and critical thinking skills to help prepare for a career in disaster management.
  • This is a first and foremost an academic programme focussed on developing critical thinking and research skills. For those more interested in developing applied disaster management skills as a matter of priority, we advise that you seek other opportunities.
Disaster Management at The University of Manchester

Open days

We are pleased to be able to offer individual virtual drop-in sessions with course director Dr Amanda Mccorkindale. This will be your chance to talk about the course content, teaching methods and application process. You can see the available times and reserve a space here: MA HCRI Drop-In Sessions .

Find out what it's like to study at Manchester by visiting us on one of our open days .


For entry in the academic year beginning September 2024, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MSc (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £13,500
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £27,500
  • MSc (part-time)
    UK students (per annum): £6,750
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £13,750

Further information for EU students can be found on our dedicated EU page.

The fees quoted above will be fully inclusive for the course tuition, administration and computational costs during your studies.

All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review and incremental rises per annum are also likely over the duration of courses lasting more than a year for UK/EU students (fees are typically fixed for International students, for the course duration at the year of entry). For general fees information please visit: postgraduate fees . Always contact the department if you are unsure which fee applies to your qualification award and method of attendance.

Self-funded international applicants for this course will be required to pay a deposit of £1000 towards their tuition fees before a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) is issued. This deposit will only be refunded if immigration permission is refused. We will notify you about how and when to make this payment.

Policy on additional costs

All students should normally be able to complete their programme of study without incurring additional study costs over and above the tuition fee for that programme. Any unavoidable additional compulsory costs totalling more than 1% of the annual home undergraduate fee per annum, regardless of whether the programme in question is undergraduate or postgraduate taught, will be made clear to you at the point of application. Further information can be found in the University's Policy on additional costs incurred by students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes (PDF document, 91KB).


Each year the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures offer several School Awards and Subject-Specific Bursaries (the values of which are usually set at Home fees level), open to both Home and international students.

The deadline for these is early February each year. Details of all funding opportunities, including deadlines, eligibility and how to apply, can be found on the School's funding page where you can also find details of the Government Postgraduate Loan Scheme.

See also the University's postgraduate funding database to learn if you are eligible for any other funding opportunities, including the:

HCRI special bursary each year HCRI offers a themed bursary (set at the value of Home fees) open to postgraduate students.

Manchester Alumni Bursary offers a £3,000 reduction in tuition fees to University of Manchester alumni who achieved a 1st within the last three years and are progressing to a postgraduate taught master's course.

Manchester Master's Bursary is a University-wide scheme that offers 100 bursaries worth £3,000 in funding for students from underrepresented groups.

Equity and Merit Scholarship offers a full-time scholarship for academically excellent students from Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania.

Postgraduate 1+3 funding is available from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for students to pursue postgraduate study through a master's (one year) leading into a PhD (three years). It requires a project proposal as part of the application.

Contact details

School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Contact name
PG Taught Admissions

See: About us

Courses in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of courses in related subject areas.

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

An upper Second Class Honours Degree or equivalent in a relevant degree in any discipline from a recognised university or its equivalent. Students who do not clearly meet the academic requirements may be considered based on relevant professional experience.

English language

An overall grade of 6.5 in IELTS with 6.5 in writing and no less than 6.0 in all skills is required or 93+ in the TOEFL iBT with a minimum writing score of 22 with no skill below 20.

If you have obtained a different qualification, please check our  English language requirements  to ensure that it is accepted and equivalent to the above requirements.

This is an academically rigorous course that requires a high level of English language proficiency. Students with lower levels of language proficiency have a lower success rate. Before investing time and money in this programme, ensure that your language skills are adequate. If you have any doubts, we advise that you email the MSc IDM Pathway Lead ( )  

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Other international entry requirements

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries. For these and general requirements including English language see entry requirements from your country .

Application and selection

How to apply

Advice to applicants

As there is a high demand for our courses we operate a staged admissions process with selection deadlines throughout the year. Due to the competition for places and high quality of applications that we receive, we give preference to students from high ranking institutions and with grades above our minimum entry requirements.

Please ensure you submit all supporting documentation with your application before the application deadline to avoid a delay in processing.

Applications for 2024 entry:

Stage 1: Application received by 8th December 2023 ; Application update by 22nd February 2025

Stage 2: Application received by 3rd March 2024 ; Application update by 25th April 2024

Stage 3: Application received by 5th May 2024 ; Application update by 8th June 2024

Stage 4: Application received by 1st July 2024 ; Application update by 25th July 2024

Whilst we aim to give you a decision on your application by the deadline date, in some instances due to the competition for places and the volume of applications received, it may be necessary to roll your application forward to the next deadline date.

Applications received after our final selection deadline will be considered at our discretion if places are still available.

Please note: All places are subject to availability and if you apply at one of the later stages, some courses may already be reaching capacity or be closed to further applications. We, therefore, recommend that you apply early in the cycle to avoid disappointment.

How your application is considered

Applications are mainly considered on the basis of an assessment of past and predicted academic achievements, the academic reference(s) and any other supplementary evidence that supports the application.

We therefore strongly recommend you include a personal statement (no more than 500 words) that demonstrates your understanding of the subject and your motivation for wanting to study the programme.

If your academic background is not directly related to the programme, you should supply an academic-standard writing sample on a subject related to the programme.

If English is not your native language, then you should provide an academic-standard writing sample in English directly related to the subject.

For the specific requirements of each programme in the School, please visit our Applying page.

Skills, knowledge, abilities, interests

Students who do not clearly meet the academic requirements may be considered based on relevant professional experience. Applicants who fall into this category should contact .

Overseas (non-UK) applicants

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries that equate to a UK 2.2. For these and general requirements including English language see entry requirements from your country .

If English is not your first language, please provide us with evidence of an overall grade of 6.5 in IELTS or 93+ in the iTOEFL with a minimum writing score of 23.

The other language tests we accept can be found here:

Exceptions to needing a language test (if English is NOT your first language) are:

  • if you have successfully completed an academic qualification deemed by UK NARIC as equivalent to at least a UK Bachelors Degree or higher from one of the following countries:
Antigua & Barbuda; Australia; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Dominica; Grenada; Guyana; Ireland; Jamaica; New Zealand; St Kitts and Nevis; St Lucia; St Vincent and the Grenadines; Trinidad and Tobago; UK; USA.

Course details

Course description

All countries face a wide range of hazards that have the potential to result in catastrophic societal impacts.

Despite actions taken by local emergency management professionals, international trends show that the economic and social impact of disaster is increasing around the world.

This is especially true in lower-income contexts, where large-scale disasters can result in enormous loss of life as well as considerable economic damage.

The MSc in International Disaster Management is aimed at students interested in critically analysing key concepts in disaster management theory, research, policy and application, including vulnerability, governance, disaster risk reduction, and enhancing resilience to disasters through prevention, preparedness, response and recovery efforts.

Students undertake interdisciplinary study at HCRI, focusing on the critical analysis of current trends in academic research and policies, particularly those related to international disaster risk reduction, sustainable development, and humanitarian action tools commonly used by disaster risk reduction professionals.

Students engage with a core curriculum that brings together the spheres of disaster risk reduction, sustainable development and humanitarian action.

HCRI's interdisciplinary team of researchers support critical exploration of disaster resilience, prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery, equipping students to work professionally in disaster risk reduction and sustainable development.

The MSc in International Disaster Management is unique as it incorporates units and lecturers from a wide variety of disciplines, including business and management, systems thinking, geography, history, politics, development studies, the arts and medicine.

This course is suitable for developing initial capacity in disaster risk reduction and/or supporting continuing education for disaster risk reduction professionals.


The course gave me an understanding into the driver of humanitarian crises

The course felt like the right fit and the logical next step to work in disaster relief. It gave me a good theoretical grounding in the material and gave me an understanding into the driver of humanitarian crises. It has helped lead to my current role as Senior Regional Analyst - Americas, where I monitor and geolocate security threats in the region.

Vincent Fevrier / Senior Regional Analyst - Americas
On completion of the course, students demonstrate a critical understanding of the following.
  1. Key issues and debates related to the theory and application of disaster risk reduction. Students will demonstrate familiarity with different theoretical approaches, practical problems and an appreciation of the diversity of polices at international and national levels, including the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Sustainable Development Goals.
  2. The range of environmental, health and social science topics which influence disaster risk reduction and management (including geographical, political, historical, anthropological understandings). Students will be familiar with the methodological underpinnings of these disciplines.
  3. The analytical and policy literature concerning the related issues of disaster risk reduction including environmental studies, emergency management, the role and perspectives of the state, multilateral and bilateral agencies, international and domestic NGOs and other civil institutions.
  4. An understanding of common approaches to disaster risk reduction, including an awareness of the problems and critiques associated with disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery in both high- and low-income countries.
  5. The development of a range of intellectual and professional skills through both independent and group-based work.
  6. A detailed understanding of a specific conceptual and/or policy-related area of disaster risk reduction along with implications and limitations of research findings on this subject, and of how to produce an original piece of academic research in the form of a dissertation.

Special features

Study at HCRI 

The Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI) at the University of Manchester is inspired by the need to conduct rigorous research and to support both undergraduate and postgraduate training on the impact and outcomes of contemporary and historical crises.

Established in 2008 by Dr Rony Brauman, Professor Bertrand Taithe and Professor Tony Redmond, HCRI is recognised as a leading international research institute focusing on the study of humanitarianism, conflict response and peacebuilding.

Our work is driven by a desire to inform and support policymakers and practitioners, to optimise joint working between partner organisations and to foster increased understanding and debate within the field.

Bringing together the disciplines of medicine and the humanities, including International Relations and Political Science, to achieve these goals, HCRI facilitates improvement in crisis response on a global scale while providing a centre of excellence for with the study of emergency, conflict and peace.

We embrace this opportunity to develop a scholarly and professional agenda for humanitarians and peacebuilders around the world.

Find out more about HCRI on our website .

Teaching and learning

Students learn through face-to-face teaching at The University of Manchester. This will be supported by lectures, discussion boards and other eLearning elements, in line with government and university COVID guidance.

Coursework and assessment

Graduation requires completion of 180 credits. A total of 120 credits of unit coursework are required for students to progress to the dissertation project.

A passing dissertation results in the final 60 credits needed for MSc completion.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Dissertation HCRI60000 60 Mandatory
Disaster Management - Theory and Application HCRI60141 15 Mandatory
Research and Evaluation Methods HCRI60170 15 Mandatory
Disaster Politics HCRI60261 15 Mandatory
Urban Resilience HCRI60021 15 Optional
Humanitarianism and Conflict Response: Inquiries HCRI60031 15 Optional
GIS and Disasters: A Critical Introduction HCRI60071 15 Optional
Armed Groups and Humanitarian Aid HCRI60162 15 Optional
Climate Change, Resilience and Environmental Justice HCRI60412 15 Optional
Young People in Conflicts and Displacement (20-21 Centuries) HCRI60511 15 Optional
Vital Mobilities: Delivering Healthcare in a Changing Climate HCRI61302 15 Optional
Citizen Participation in Disasters HCRI63322 15 Optional
Humanitarianism and Genocide HCRI63332 15 Optional
Understanding Environmental Hazards HCRI64402 15 Optional
Conflict Analysis MGDI60451 15 Optional
Climate, Environment and Development MGDI60552 15 Optional
Migration, Mobility and Displacement in the Contemporary World MGDI60731 15 Optional
Key Issues in Environment and Development MGDI60801 15 Optional
Characteristics and Skills of Development Practice MGDI71992 15 Optional
Global Governance POLI70422 15 Optional
Democracy: Theory & Practice POLI70872 15 Optional
Peace and Social Agency, Security and Intervention: Theories and Practices POLI70991 15 Optional
Fundamentals of Epidemiology POPH60991 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 23 course units

What our students say

You can read blog posts by and profiles of HCRI students on the Manchester Calling blog.


This course is developed in close co-operation with the Faculty's eLearning team, which will offer ongoing support.

Students benefit from a range of cultural assets and study facilities on campus and beyond, including one of the largest university libraries in the country.

Find out more on the Facilities page.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email:


Career opportunities

The MSc in International Disaster Management first and foremost provides students with a grounding in critical disaster studies a skill set for which humanitarian organisations express an ongoing need. 

Knowledge and critical thinking skills gained on the course have prepared graduates for national and international careers in emergency management and planning, programme management, consultancy, data migration, defence primary healthcare, and research.

Organisations our graduates have worked for include:

  • NGOs such as German Red Cross, International Committee of the Red Cross (IFRC), Refugee Council, Shelter, Oxfam, and Age UK Manchester;
  • Security and Defence/Intelligence Fusion;
  • National Health Service;
  • Local and Central Government/Civil service.

Read more about our graduate career destinations .

Find out more on the careers and employability page and see where some of our graduates are now working on the alumni page. 

The University has its own dedicated Careers Service that is available to students while studying and for two years after graduation. At Manchester, there are a number of opportunities to boost your employability .