Disasters, Adaptation & Development

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MA/MSc

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Part Time, Full Time

| Admissions status: Open
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.

KEY BENEFITS
  • Unrivalled location allows access to an international hub for research and practitioners in international development and disaster risk reduction.
  • Professional internship provides career development.
  • Regular seminars and high-quality student body enable learning beyond formal contact time.
  • Opportunities for placement with international organizations for conduct of overseas MA dissertation research. 
KEY FACTS
Student destinations
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.
Programme leader/s
Professor Mark Pelling (mark.pelling@kcl.ac.uk)
Awarding Institution
King's College London
Credit value (UK/ECTS equivalent)
UK 180/ECTS 90
Duration
One year FT, two years PT, September to September.
Location
Strand Campus
Year of entry 2014
Offered by
School of Social Science and Public Policy
Department of Geography
Closing date
Early application to this programme is recommended. Applications received before 1 July 2014 are more likely to be successful. Although, if places are still available, we may consider applications later than this date.
Intake
20 FT/PT approximately.
Fees
PT Home: £TBC
PT Overseas: £TBC
FT Home: £8,250 (2014)
FT Overseas: £16,500 (2014)
CONTACTS
Contact information
Centre for Arts & Sciences Admissions (CASA)
Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 1977; overseas +44 (0)20 7848 1977
Email Website

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.

DESCRIPTION
The programnme 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 specialties 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.

STRUCTURE OVERVIEW
Core programme content
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)
  • 7SSG5149 Disasters and Development (20 credits)


Compulsory module (MSc pathway: 20 credits):

  • 7SSG5150 Advanced Quantitative and Spatial Methods in Human Geography (20 credits)


Indicative non-core content
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)
  • 7SSG5104 Water Resources and Water Policy (20 credits)
  • 7SSG5107 Environment, Livelihoods and Development in the ‘South’ (20 credits)
  • 7SSG5109 Environmental GIS (20 credits)
  • 7SSG5119 Risk Governance (20 credits)
  • 7SSG5153 Critical Geographies of Terrorism (20 credits)
  • 7SSG5168 Community, Vulnerability and Disaster Risk (20 credits) (Prerequisite: 7SSG5149 Disasters and Development, either through taking the module fully or through auditing)
  • 7SSG5208 Understanding Climate Change in Society (20 credits)


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.

Please note that the above programme structure is subject to formal approval.



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.

MODULES
More information on typical programme modules.
NB it cannot be guaranteed that all modules are offered in any particular academic year.

Module code: 7SSG5149
Credit level: 7
Credit value: 20
Semester:  Semester 1 (autumn) 

This module aims to provide students with training in critical social science with which to examine the causes of natural disaster associated with climate change and other extreme events and the ways in which natural disaster risk and recovery are managed. The module exposes students to vulnerability and capacity assessment methodologies, and management approaches including community based risk management. There is a particular, but not exclusive focus on Africa, Asia and Latin America. Theoretically the module draws from the political ecology of disaster and hazardscapes work.

Note that the list of Geography modules offered, as well as the term(s) in which they are offered, may still change from the above.
Module code: 7SSG5002
Credit level: 7
Credit value: 20
Semester:  Semester 1 (autumn) 

This module enables students to derive a greater understanding of the relationship between methodology and method and the related notions of epistemology and ontology. The module is a mix of lectures and tutorials and enables students to develop skills in the appropriate use and application of quantitative and qualitative methods, which will have been worked through in tutorial sessions. The module lays the conceptual groundwork for the design of the dissertation and enables students to appreciate the connections between epistemology and the students particular programme of study.

Note that the list of Geography modules offered, as well as the term(s) in which they are offered, may still change from the above.

Module code: 7SSG5168
Credit level: 7
Credit value: 20
Semester:  Semester 2 (spring) 

This module aims to enable students to understand the social construction of vulnerability to natural hazards at the micro level; appreciate the theoretical and empirical links between the reduction of disaster risk at micro level and issues of development at the local and international scale; facilitate understanding by students of the linkages between household and individual vulnerability and livelihoods in the local and macro economy; develop a critical awareness of the role of development failures in local patterns of human vulnerability and disaster risk and encourage critical reflection on the management of disasters through humanitarian action and disaster risk reduction approaches, especially the linkages between scales.

Note that the list of Geography modules offered, as well as the term(s) in which they are offered, may still change from the above.
Module code: 7SSG5153
Credit level: 7
Credit value: 20
Semester:  Semester 2 (spring) 

The aim of this module is to provide students with an appreciation of the theoretical and empirical links between geographical theories and insights and the phenomena of terrorism; facilitiate understanding by students of the spatiality of the phenomena of terrorism and geographical perspectives on understanding the root causes of terrorism; enable students to develop a critical awareness of the role of spatial organisation, spatial strategies of power and spatial discourses in influencing the pattern of terrorism by state and non-state actors and encourage critical reflection on counter terrorism approaches and how might strategic interventions at the discursive and policy level, help reduce vulnerability to terrorist acts in addition to confronting the root cause of terrorism.

Note that the list of Geography modules offered, as well as the term(s) in which they are offered, may still change from the above.
Module code: 7SSG5107
Credit level: 7
Credit value: 20
Semester:  Semester 1 (autumn) 
Assessment:  coursework 

This module starts with a focus on meanings, approaches, and debates resolving around sustainable livelihoods and development from various perspectives. Thematic exemplars will involve in-depth coverage of current issues, such as fair trade, agrarian change, and natural resources management. There will also be focus on discourses of participation and community in development as it pertains to macro- and micro-level implications. This will be linked to broader debates about gendered livelihoods and gender-development debates. The module will involve in-class discussions, based on assigned readings that students are expected to read, as well as documentary analyses linked to the practical coursework assessment.

Note that the list of Geography modules offered, as well as the term(s) in which they are offered, may still change from the above.
Module code: 7SSG5109
Credit level: 7
Credit value: 20
Semester:  Semester 2 (spring) 

This module enables students to capture spatial GIS data from a variety of sources, to assess and manage spatial data quality, to integrate and analyse these data within the latest business and research standard GIS environments. The module focuses particularly on the integrated use of spatial (GIS) data alongside remote sensing technologies and simulation models for better understanding and managing the natural environment. Various aspects of spatial and spatio-temporal analysis are covered and the role of GIS in supporting management decisions is emphasised. Course materials focus on the physical environment and ecological systems but include socio-economic information where necessary.

Note that the list of Geography modules offered, as well as the term(s) in which they are offered, may still change from the above.
Module code: 7SSG5070
Credit level: 7
Credit value: 20
Semester:  Full-year 

This module enables students to understand the main opportunities and constraints facing the policy-influencing capacities of environmental organisations, through the medium of an internship placement with an NGO. Students gain insights into the workings of environmental organisations and a feel for the day-to-day working practices of environmental activists. While on placement students learn how to collect/process environmental information relevant to the campaigning activities of environmental organisations, and subsequently put together a structured and coherent report reflecting on their practical experience.

Note that the list of Geography modules offered, as well as the term(s) in which they are offered, may still change from the above.
Module code: 7SSG5119
Credit level: 7
Credit value: 20
Semester:  Semester 1 (autumn) 

This module examines the governance of risks to human health and safety and the environment in a wide range of governance settings. The module develops conceptual understanding of the mechanics and dynamics of risk regulation regimes and examines a range of explanatory approaches to risk governance.

Specific aims are to:
  • Develop understanding of the variety of ways in which risks to human health and safety and the environment are governed; 
  • Develop understanding of the concept of risk regulation regimes as a tool for describing and analysing risk governance variety; 
  • Develop understanding of the range of factors that shape risk governance regimes, how they succeed and why they fail; 
  • Develop understanding of trends in the reform of risk governance regimes and the related impacts of reform.

Note that the list of Geography modules offered, as well as the term(s) in which they are offered, may still change from the above.
Module code: 7SSG5101
Credit level: 7

The module enables students to adopt a critical approach to the relationships between the environment, agricultural production and change and political ecology in southern Africa. It covers the agricultural and environmental characteristics of the southern African region, including both the small-scale and large-scale agricultural sectors, and the discourses and debates about how these should be interpreted and analysed. It provides a strong appreciation of how structural factors such as land alienation and migrancy influence contemporary agricultural performance, and the significance of indigenous knowledge and the limitations of technocratic solutions. The module also addresses critically the philosophy behind, and empirical outcomes of, CBNRM approaches in a region rich in wildlife and national parks.
Module code: 7SSG5104
Credit level: 7
Credit value: 20
Semester:  Semester 1 (autumn) 

This module provides an interdisciplinary introduction to the recent history of water resource allocation and management especially in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Priority will be given to outlining a conceptual framework identifying the relevant underlying ecological, economic and sociological principles relevant in the evaluation and management of water resources. The conceptual framework will also show the link between these underlying principles and environmental and economic policies. The roles of the institutions and technologies through which such policies can be implemented will also be analysed and exemplified.

Note that the list of Geography modules offered, as well as the term(s) in which they are offered, may still change from the above.

ACADEMIC ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
General entry advice

Minimum standard is a 2:1 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.


APPLYING TO KING'S
To apply for graduate study at King's you will need to complete our graduate online application form. Applying online makes applying easier and quicker for you, and means we can receive your application faster and more securely.
King's does not normally accept paper copies of the graduate application form as applications must be made online. However, if you are unable to access the online graduate application form, please contact the relevant admissions/School Office at King's for advice.

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. There is no set deadline.

PERSONAL STATEMENT & 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.

FUNDING
Varied including Research Councils, University of London Scholarships, departmental bursaries and career development loans. For overseas students Chevening Scholarships are available from the British Council. Overseas students can also apply for the Commonwealth Shared Scholarships Scheme (CSSS). For further information on funding, including conditions of eligibility, please consult the Postgraduate Funding Page on the Masters section of the Geography Department's website - http://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/geography/study/masters/funding.aspx


Student profiles

Disasters, Adaptation & Development MA/MSc
I decided to do my master’s in Disaster Management at King’s College for several reasons. The modules offered help me to tailor the course to meet my specific interests in the field, and the department’s lecturers and researchers are experts in the field. King’s has a very good worldwide reputation, attracting students from all over the world. I have enjoyed the many opportunities offered to attend seminars, workshops and conferences in and around London. I have been able to meet people from various academic backgrounds and been able to network with interesting people in my field of study.



My studies are supported by the Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme. Without this scholarship I would not have had the opportunity to study at King’s, and enjoy living in one of the most exciting cities in the world. London is a great city to study in and there is always something exciting happening. Once I graduate with my master’s, I will be able to return to South Africa and use the skills, knowledge and experience gained from my year at King’s to hopefully become a leader in the field of Disaster Management.

Staff profiles

Disasters, Adaptation & Development MA/MSc
Within the Department of Geography, our staff members like our students maintain an active and rigorous research agenda which is readily translated into cutting edge research driven teaching in the classroom, as well as supervision for our students.



Every year in the Department we have the privilege of welcoming some of the most diverse, talented and international student body for our programmes. My activities like those of my colleagues are not limited to research and teaching alone. I am frequently invited to consult with and to deliver lectures at various high profile think tanks in Europe, North America and South Asia. My professional linkages with the policy world, like those of my colleagues, benefit our students for research, training and job hunting.