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Disasters, Adaptation & Development MA/MSc



The programme takes a social development perspective and includes human vulnerability and response to natural and technological hazards and to hazards associated with climate change. It embeds training in disaster risk reduction with access to a broad range of modules that enable the student to craft a degree that can include technical specialities in GIS and remote sensing, organisational risk management, or poverty alleviation and international development.

It aims to enable students to develop the skills required to engage with both cutting-edge academic literature and policy work so that they can participate in this dynamic and contested arena. These aims are achieved by the unique combination of theoretical and practical modules that draw on the expertise of the staff and internships with participating humanitarian and development organisations.

Key benefits

  • Learning undertaken within a world leading research institute enabling cross-over of research, learning and professional advancement.

  • Professional internship provides career development.

  • Opportunities for placements with international organisations for conduct of overseas MA dissertation research.

  • Post-degree 3-6 month paid internships available.

  • Regular seminars, high-quality student body and alumni network enable learning beyond formal contact time.

  • Unrivalled location allows access to international hub for research and practitioners in international development and disaster risk reduction.


Key information

Application status Open

Duration One year FT, two years PT, September to September.

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Credit value UK 180/ECTS 90

Course intake 20 FT/PT approximately.

Course leaders Professor Mark Pelling

Course contact for further information

Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office
tel: +44 (0)20 7848 7000
fax: +44 (0)20 7848 7200

Course contact email

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy

Department Department of Geography


Entry requirements & how to apply

Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.

2:1 undergraduate degree (or international equivalent, e.g. GPA of 3.3 from a US University).

Candidates who do not achieve a 2:1 but have professional or voluntary experience will also be considered. Mature candidates will be considered favourably.

Application procedure

We run a rolling admissions system. We aim to process all complete applications within four weeks; during February and March and over holiday periods, applications may take longer to process.

Personal statement and supporting information

Please provide a personal statement that shows how your own interests are linked to the programme. In this statement please describe your academic background, your reasons for applying for this programme and what you hope to gain from it, including any relevant experience, strengths, ambitions or research interests.

Application closing date

The deadline for applications is 01 July 2016 for 2016 entry. Applications will be considered subject to the availability of places, thus we encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible. Please note that funding deadlines may be earlier.


Course detail


The Disasters, Adaptation & Development programme takes a social development perspective and includes human vulnerability and response to natural and technological hazards and to climate change. Access to a broad range of modules. Leads to careers in research and policy development on disaster risk management and development programming for adaptation.

Course purpose

The MA Disasters, Adaptation & Development aims to provide students with an in-depth and critical awareness of the politics and geographies of disaster risk reduction and its contribution to sustainable adaptation and disaster response. It is appropriate for practitioners wishing to formalise their knowledge as well as those wanting an entry qualification into research on disaster risk management and adaptation to climate change.

Course format and assessment

Specialist taught modules assessed by essay, presentation, lab work and occasionally by examination. The three-month dissertation is compulsory and can be taken overseas or in the UK.


  • You must take a minimum of 180 credits and a maximum of 190 credits as outlined below.

    Note that not all options in the “list of prescribed optional modules” or under “other optional modules” are offered every year.

    Part-time students: As part of your two-year schedule, plan to take the compulsory modules 7SSG5002 and 7SSG5149 in your first year, and the core module 7SSG5164 (Dissertation) in your second year.

    Core module (MA & MSc pathway: 60 credits):

    • 7SSG5164 Dissertation in Disasters, Adaptation and Development (60 credits) (must Take and Pass)

    Compulsory modules (MA & MSc pathway: 40 credits):

    • 7SSG5002 Practising Social Research (20 credits, T1)
    • 7SSG5149 Disasters and Development (20 credits, T1)

    Compulsory module (MSc pathway: 20 credits):

    • 7SSG5150 Advanced Quantitative
    • Spatial Methods in Human Geography (20 credits, T2)†

    Optional modules (MA pathway: 80–90 credits; MSc pathway: 60–70 credits): Students must take 80–90 credits (MA pathway) or 60–70 credits (MSc pathway) of optional modules.

    For both MA and MSc pathways, at least 20 credits must be from the “list of prescribed optional modules” given below, and the other credits may come from the “other optional modules” list.

    List of Prescribed Optional Modules Specific to this Programme:

    • 7SSG5070 Environmental Internship (20 credits, T1&2)
    • 7SSG5104 Water Resources and Water Policy (20 credits, T2)
    • 7SSG5107 Environment, Livelihoods and Development in the ‘South’ (20 credits, T1)
    • 7SSG5109 Environmental GIS (20 credits, T2)
    • 7SSG5123 Risk Communication (20 credits, T2)
    • 7SSG5153 Critical Geographies of Terrorism (20 credits, T1)
    • 7SSG5168 Community, Vulnerability and Disaster Risk (20 credits, T2)(Prerequisite: 7SSG5149 Disasters and Development [offered T1], either through taking the module fully or through auditing)
    • 7SSG5206 Water, Security and the Environment (20 credits, T1)
    • 7SSG5208 Climate Change and Culture (20 credits, T2)
    • 7SSG5210 Climate: Science and History (20 credits, T1)
    • 7SSG5213 A Practical and Theoretical Evaluation of Sustainable Development (20 credits, T2)

    Other Optional Modules Available to Students on this Programme:

    Any Level 7 (Masters) modules offered in the Geography Department, including from the list of prescribed optional modules given above. Up to 20 credits of Level 7 modules from any KCL Departments or Institutes outside of Geography.


Career prospects

Research and policy development on disaster risk management and development programming for adaptation. Destination organisations include government agencies, international and national nongovernmental organisations and academic research institutes.



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Fees and funding

Full time tuition fees - Home/EU

£9,000 p.a. (2016/17)*

Full time tuition fees - Overseas

£17,550 p.a. (2016/17)*

Part time tuition fees - Home/EU

£4,500 p.a. (2016/17)*

Part time tuition Fees - Overseas

£8,775 p.a. (2016/17)*

*This tuition fee is subject to annual increases.

When you receive an offer for this course you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit to secure your place. The deposit will be credited towards your total fee payment.

The deposit is £1,000 – Home/EU and £2,000 – Overseas (2016/17)

If you receive an offer on or before 31st March 2016, payment is due by 30th April 2016.

If you receive an offer between 1st April 2016 and 30th June 2016, payment is due within one month of receipt of the offer.

If you receive an offer between 1st July 2016 and 31st July 2016, payment is due within two weeks of receipt of the offer.

If you receive an offer on or after 1st August 2016, payment is due within one week of receipt of the offer.

Please visit our web pages on fees and funding for more information.



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