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Core Units

Developing Policies & Plans

You will be introduced to the importance of sound disaster management plans and frameworks. Internationally, many nations still do not have developed disaster management plans, and this unit has been developed over several years and in multiple countries to assist national governments and their agencies to address this vital issue. The principles of this unit underpin each of the subsequent units.

Management of Communication & Learning

Teaches you how to communicate learning in effective and attractive ways; gaining the interest of audiences, drawing upon experience and knowledge, winning audience cooperation for greater integrated activities and creating participatory exercises to help turn lessons identified into lessons learned.


An opportunity to study a subject in-depth, demonstrating your understanding of it. The dissertation is the conclusion of your learning experience, where you'll carry out a research project. You will use appropriate research methodology to collect and analyse data and present your findings. Your dissertation will be 15,000 words, and you'll be taught about research methods.

Optional Units

Management of Manmade Disasters & Security Threats

This unit focusses on the nature and types of human instigated hazards, including those on land, air and sea, alongside such issues as crowd safety and industrial accidents. Taking a case study approach, you will evaluate the lessons learned from recent reports and complete a strategic level multi-hazard planning and response exercise as part of a group.

Management of Natural Hazards

You will examine the complexities of natural hazards including floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, droughts and the impact of climate change. You will learn to evaluate the management issues and challenges associated with such hazards, and how these can be applied to major incident management, risk reduction and recovery and national planning.

Humanitarian Operations & External Assistance

Introduces you to the challenges that arise when external assistance is offered to, or received by another country. Using a set of scenarios, students explore the issues as a deployed team offering external assistance to a country faced with a number of hazards. The unit concludes by then applying those lessons identified to the home national plan.

Management of Wider Stakeholders

You will develop an understanding of the unique needs and critical resources of different sectors and consider the management issues associated with integrating the private sector into a national disaster management framework including risk reduction, response and recovery.

Public Health Preparedness, Resilience & Response

Throughout this unit you will examine public health resilience and response strategies, within the context of disaster management. Looking at current national and international best practice drawn from a combination of academic and professional practitioner approaches to healthcare resilience, you will learn methods for establishing effective healthcare emergency preparedness, resilience and response systems.

Foreign Policy Analysis & Crisis Management

This unit focusses on the concepts and theories of foreign policy analysis relevant to disaster management. You will consider the diplomatic dimensions of international disaster and crisis management and evaluate key issues and challenges shaping the formulation and implementation of foreign policy in relation to crises and disasters.

Disaster Management for Business Professionals

You will gain a detailed appreciation of the concepts, theories, challenges and practices of the private sector when preparing for, responding to and recovering from crises and disasters. The unit has a particular focus on how international disaster management contributes to business resilience in both theory and practice. 


The MSc in Disaster Management is designed to develop the knowledge and skills required for existing and future leaders from a broad range of organisations. Students are required to undertake the three core units on the programme plus four of the optional units. Unit details can be seen below. 

The course is available on both a Full Time (1-year) or Part Time (2-year) basis. Each unit on this course is taught via one-week of lectures and seminars delivered at Bournemouth University, followed by eight-weeks of online learning, developmental activities and assignment writing which can be conducted in your own time from anywhere in the world.  

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