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L7K309 Risk and Environmental Hazards MSc Postgraduate Taught 2012


UCAS code L7K309
Degree MSc
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 1 year (full-time)
Start Date 2012-10-01
Location Durham City
Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 1851

Course Content


This course is designed to provide critical training in core methodologies and to offer in-depth analysis in one element of contemporary risk. They are targeted at a wide range of potential students, including professionals seeking training for career advancement and those wishing to pursue research degrees. We are committed to developing new ways of understanding and managing risk, bringing together disciplines and approaches in novel ways, and increasing resilience and well-being in the face of adversity.

Teaching and assessment details

The MSc in Risk and Environmental Hazards offers new techniques and approaches to understand the spatial and temporal dimensions of hazards, the rapidly changing geographical template of hazards (e.g. in relation to climate change), and the core drivers of change in the human-environment interface (e.g. vulnerability). Despite the phenomenal technological progress of the 20th century, most people still live with the acute and chronic consequences of age-old hazards such as floods and earthquakes.

This MSc is for students who want to receive specialised scientific training in physical hazards that pose large risks to communities living throughout the world. Students on this programme can receive theoretical and practical training for understanding and quantifying temporal hazards. They learn about how hazards persist over long periods of time instead of merely as single events, but are composed of many smaller sub-events or how their effects are widespread. Students may also choose to focus on hydrological hazards such as flood events and water pollution or sea level change hazards.

Graduates from this programme will be well-suited to pursuing research degrees, consultancy and public sector work, and the needs of catastrophe modelling within the insurance and reinsurance industries.

The degree comprises 4 core modules, a dissertation and one elective module (totaling 30 credits):

  • Understanding Risk (30 credits)
  • Risk Frontiers (15 credits)
  • Fundamentals of Risk Research (15 credits)
  • Spatial and Temporal Dimensions of Hazards (30 credits)
  • Sea Level Change Hazards (30 credits)
  • Hydrological Hazards (30 credits)
  • Dissertation by Research (60 credits) (or)
  • Vocational Dissertation (60 credits).

Admissions Process

Subjects required, level and grade

Normally at least an upper second class degree (2:1).

English Language Requirements 

An average no lower than 6.5 in IELTS, with no test under 6.0 and a writing score of 7.0. If students achieve a 6.5 average but less than 7.0 in writing then they may be asked to complete a pre-sessional course in the Language Centre. A score of 600 or above in TOEFL will also be accepted, as will an equivalent qualification.

English Language requirements


Requirements and Admissions

You can apply to our postgraduate programmes via our online application process.

Fees and Funding

Fees have not been set for this academic year.


For more information on funding opportunities, visit the University's funding database.

Career Opportunities

Geography Department

For further information on career options and employability, including the results of the Destination of Leavers survey, student and employer testimonials and
details of work experience and study abroad opportunities, please visit our employability web pages.  

Open days and visits

Campus tours

Are you interested in studying at Durham University? Then why not come along to one of our Campus Tours? They run regularly at Durham City and Queen's Campus, Stockton on Wednesday afternoons. For further information, please click here.

Overseas Visit Schedule

Postgraduate Visits

Department Information

Geography Department


In the recent 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, 30% of Department research was graded as 'world-leading' (4*). This places the Department equal first in a ranking of institutions on the same criteria. Overall, the Department produced the highest volume of world leading (4*), internationally excellent (3*) and overall international quality research of any geography programme in the country. We conduct internationally recognised research on a wide range of cutting edge issues in human and physical geography, supported by major investments in infrastructure, state-of-the-art IT and laboratory facilities.

The Department has over 120 research and taught postgraduates working across the full spectrum of human and physical geography, and every postgraduate is assisted in developing a tailored portfolio of training and support.

There are 58 lecturing staff, around 30 research staff, 21 professional support staff and 32 administrative and technical staff. Affiliated with the Department are six research centres and units, including the Centre for Social Justice and Community Action, the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience (IHRR), the International Boundaries Research Unit (IBRU), International Landslide Centre, Nomis, and the Sea Level Research Unit.

Our aim is to create and sustain a world-class research and teaching environment with top class laboratories and IT facilities in a supportive and collegial  atmosphere. We organise our work through a series of research clusters and research institutes that focus upon themes of work rather than people, allowing us to transcend traditional sub-disciplinary divisions, in both human geography and physical geography.


Teaching Staff

Professor Louise Amoore, Deputy Head of Department
Dr Ben Anderson, Lecturer
Professor Peter Atkins, Professor
Dr Sarah Atkinson, Reader
Dr Andrew Baldwin, Lecturer
Professor Clare Bambra, Professor
Professor Mike Bentley, Professor
Dr Louise Bracken, Reader
Professor David R. Bridgland, Professor
Professor Harriet Bulkeley, Professor
Professor Tim Burt, Professor
Dr Patrice Carbonneau, Lecturer
Dr Jamie Casford, Lecturer
Dr Angharad Closs Stephens, Lecturer
Dr Rachel Colls, Lecturer
Dr Nicholas J. Cox, Lecturer
Professor Michael A. Crang, Professor
Professor Sarah E. Curtis, Professor
Dr Alexander Densmore, Deputy Director
Professor Danny Donoghue, Professor
Dr Christine E. Dunn, Reader
Professor Stuart Elden, Professor
Professor David J.A. Evans, Professor
Dr Niko Galiatsatos, Teaching Fellow
Professor Nicky Gregson, Professor
Dr Kathrin Hörschelmann, Senior Lecturer
Dr Richard J. Hardy, Reader
Dr Christopher Harker, Lecturer
Dr Paul Harrison, Lecturer
Dr Robert Hilton, Lecturer
Dr Rebecca Hodge, Lecturer
Professor Ray Hudson, Professor
Dr Jim Innes, Experimental Officer
Dr Matthew B. Kearnes, RCUK Research Fellow
Dr Paul Langley, Reader
Dr Ann Le Mare, Lecturer
Dr Jerry Lloyd, Senior Lecturer
Professor Antony Long, Professor
Dr Gordon MacLeod, Reader
Professor Phil Macnaghten, Professor
Dr Erin McClymont, Lecturer
Dr Cheryl McEwan, Reader
Dr Colin McFarlane, Lecturer
Professor Colm O'Cofaigh, Professor
Professor Rachel Pain, Professor
Professor Joe Painter, Head of Department
Professor Dave Petley, Professor
Dr Marcus Power, Reader
Dr Sim Reaney, RCUK Research Fellow
Professor Jonathan Rigg, Professor
Dr Dave Roberts, Senior Lecturer
Dr Nick J. Rosser, RCUK Research Fellow
Professor Ian Shennan, Professor
Professor Lynn Staeheli, Professor
Dr Chris Stokes, Reader
Dr Divya P. Tolia-Kelly, Reader
Dr Andreas Vieli, Reader
Professor John Wainwright, Professor
Dr Jeff Warburton, Reader
Dr Helen Wilson, Teaching Fellow
Dr Sarah Woodroffe, Lecturer.

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