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BSc International Disaster Management & Humanitarian Response / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course description

Catriona Spence

Disasters are so prominent in the media at the moment. I can study issues that are happening presently - one of my assignments was on the Grenfell fire.

I feel as if my work and the research done by the department is very important. If you're interested in making the world a better place, then take this great opportunity.

Catriona Spence / BSc International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response

As demand grows around a strategic global response to the ever-changing and increasing risks, shocks and conflicts arising from natural and anthropogenic hazards, it is increasingly important that we build an understanding of the root causes of vulnerability to disasters and conflicts as a pathway to addressing such contemporary international problems..

The International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response programme is a multidisciplinary course designed to enhance collaboration amongst natural and social sciences, medicine and the arts.  This programme seeks to bridge the divide between development, disaster risk management, peace and conflict studies.

As a student you will explore these contemporary issues and challenges - both globally and locally in the UK. Through the course you can expect to build research expertise, practical knowledge and management skills in disaster preparedness, response and recovery in order to reduce negative impacts on health, social, economic and environmental spheres. You will also focus learning on the causes and consequences of conflict as well as conflict resolution and peacebuilding - again from an international and local perspective.

You will find this multidisciplinary programme unique as you will be taught by an interdisciplinary team of lecturers. This includes anthropologists, geographers, political scientists, historians and development scholars. As such, your learning will be truly interdisciplinary and allow you to understand disaster management, humanitarianism and peace building from a multi-disciplinary perspective and  an integrated approach to the field. You will also have the opportunity to take optional modules in disciplines such as Geography, Politics, Theology, Languages, and Anthropology.  This will provide you with wide options to choose from whilst having a grounding in peace and conflict studies, humanitarianism and disaster management. Flexible Honours may allow you to study an additional arts, languages or cultures subject.

Language options

We recognise there is great demand from employers in the humanitarian sector for languages. Therefore, up to a third of your degree can be made up of studying languages, such as French, Arabic, German, or Russian.


  1. Provide a critical insight into destabilising events and develop an understanding and appreciation of disaster risk reduction, humanitarian response and peace and conflict studies.
  2. Develop knowledge and understating of key issues which inform the debates on disaster risk management, humanitarian response and peace and conflict studies.
  3. Develop practical expertise in risk and vulnerability analyses, disaster preparedness and response and the integration of development and humanitarian action.
  4. Foster an informed attitude on ethical issues related to humanitarianism and peace building, including international actions taken by governments, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations in response to disasters of both natural and human origins.
  5. Develop strategic research methodologies and techniques, including data gathering, collation, analysis and dissemination of results in disaster risk management and humanitarian action contexts.

Special features

Field work

This programme will include field study overseas (at additional cost) where you will look at concepts such as preparedness and response, recovery, migration, and conflict in relation to a specific hazard, vulnerabilities and disasters.

Work placements

Work placements with humanitarian organisations will allow you to gain valuable professional experience.

Research dissertation

Your third year dissertation allows you to make the focus of your final semester at University truly your own and relevant to your personal interests and prospective career.

Teaching and learning

Teaching takes place in a variety of formats, including lectures, seminars, small group tutorials and virtual web-based seminars. We'll encourage you to undertake independent research at every level of the course.

Seminars provide opportunities to develop research and presentation skills including researching sources, planning, public speaking and the use of audio-visual media. You'll explore lecture themes in more detail via individual and group readings and presentations.

In your second year, you'll have the opportunity to work directly with local/regional humanitarian organisations through a 10-day Professional Experience Project. This real-world project, typically proposed by the external organisation, will offer you the chance to explore humanitarianism in action - providing insight and valuable professional experience from organisations such as Rethink Rebuild Society, Women Asylum Seekers Together (WAST) and Mines Advisory Group (MAG). You'll also develop key transferrable skills required in a workplace.

Your learning will be supplemented by field study - either here in the UK or overseas - where you'll learn how your knowledge of disaster management and humanitarian response might be applied in the context of real-life hazards and vulnerabilities.

Coursework and assessment

Assessment varies from course unit to course unit, but we aim to offer a good balance of formal examinations, essays and project work.

The culmination of your studies will be a dissertation, allowing you to focus on a specific area of interest and to apply the knowledge you've gained throughout your university study. By tailoring your research topic to meet your career objectives and personal interests, you can make your final semester here truly your own.

Course content for year 1

Course units for year 1

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
Introduction to Humanitarianism HCRI10202 20 Mandatory
Key Concepts in International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response HCRI11021 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Disaster Management HCRI11032 20 Mandatory
Disaster Management and humanitarian response in Scholarship and Practice HCRI11071 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Conflict Analysis HCRI10002 20 Optional
Institutions and Governance HCRI11081 20 Optional

Course content for year 2

Course units for year 2

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
Everyday Peace Building and Security HCRI20001 20 Mandatory
Disasters and Development HCRI20012 20 Mandatory
Rethinking Crisis HCRI20022 20 Mandatory
Emergency Humanitarian Assistance HCRI20211 20 Mandatory
Children in war and displacement in the 20th and 21st centuries HCRI20031 20 Optional
Professional Experience Project HCRI20222 20 Optional

Course content for year 3

Course units for year 3

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 and Research Methods HCRI30000 40 Mandatory
Introduction to Global Health HCRI30021 20 Optional
War, Migration and Health HCRI30032 20 Optional
Practical Approaches to Researching Disasters and Conflict HCRI30112 20 Optional
Geographic Information Systems and Disasters HCRI30212 20 Optional
Systemic Approaches to Disaster Management HCRI30221 20 Optional
Living Interventions HCRI30411 20 Optional
Building Nations: nations, nationalism and post-conflict reconstruction HCRI30622 20 Optional

Scholarships and bursaries

We offer five International Excellence Scholarships of £3,000 each per year for high performing international undergraduate students. Scholarships are renewed for each year of full-time study at the University, up to a maximum of three years, and are subject to sustained academic performance. For more information about eligibility criteria and how to apply visit:

Disability support

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