Disaster Risk and Resilience PGCert

Study level: Postgraduate
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Studied on campus or 100% online, disaster management has been taught at Coventry for over 20 years. Recently reviewed and revised through consultation with the sector, this postgraduate course is designed to provide you with the essential high-level knowledge and skills needed to demonstrate your credibility in the sector.

Year of entry



Coventry University (Coventry)
100% online study

Study mode



1 year full-time
2 years part-time

Course code

On campus - EECT018
Online - EECT141

Start date

September 2024
January 2025
May 2025

Course overview

Our goal is to advance your skills in evaluating risks, vulnerabilities and capacity in complex socio-economic and political situations. Sector-appropriate module content and assignments provide you with opportunities to evaluate current policy and practice and make recommendations for improvement in humanitarian response, community participatory approaches, accountability and organisational change.

  • There will be opportunities to take part in simulated disaster response scenarios in our immersive Simulation Centre4.
  • Upon successful completion of the course, you should understand the concepts, theories, policy and practice within the areas of risk, humanitarian practice, development, disaster risk reduction, and climate change adaptation so that you are better able to evaluate the activities of NGOs, government organisations, multilateral agencies and institutions and drive necessary transformation.
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Joint Top Modern University for Career Prospects

Guardian University Guide 2021 and 2022

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5 QS Stars for Teaching and Facilities

QS Stars University Ratings

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Top 10 UK Student City (Coventry)

QS Best Student Cities Index 2024

Why you should study this course

  • Coventry University was the first UK university to establish courses in disaster management and emergency planning over 20 years ago (Hulse & Moseley 1998) and is still a leading provider of Higher Education courses and Consultancy services in emergency and disaster management capabilities. We have more than 25 years of alumni who sit in senior positions in organisational resilience across the world.
  • Upon successful completion of the course, you should have an understanding of concepts, theories policy and practice within the areas of risk, humanitarian practice, development, disaster risk reduction, and climate change adaptation so that you are better able to evaluate the activities of NGOs, government organisations, multilateral agencies and institutions.
  • There is dedicated support available for those who are new to Higher Education, or returning after a long break, with the Centre for Academic Writing’s programme of online and in person tutorials available to all students.

What you'll study

Further develop your knowledge of relevant policy sectors - disaster risk, resilience, adaptation and sustainability, evaluate and apply humanitarian and human rights, principles and law. Develop organisational preparedness and coordination capacity for humanitarian response to regions likely to experience acute disaster impacts or rapid deteriorations in stability. Design, develop, implement and manage appropriate disaster risk interventions, undertake effective monitoring and evaluation for accountability and learning. Develop a portfolio of skills and knowledge for working effectively with communities to develop resilience and ensure sustainable programmes.

All modules are offered on a rolling basis, at least once every eight months, ensuring they can be approached flexibly and fitted around the demands of full-time employment. Full-time study is one year and part-time study is normally up to two years. All modules on this course are mandatory.


  • Provides you with an understanding of the concepts and interrelationship between the concepts of disaster risk, resilience, adaptation, development and sustainability from the perspective of historical and current international events, strategy and policy drivers. An understanding of the disaster-development continuum is critical to those working or intending to work in international development, disaster risk reduction (DRR) and emergency practice in increasingly complex environments.

    The module takes an enquiring approach to theories and their impact on the field of practice at a programme, agency, country and global scale. It will demand a thorough and critical exploration and evaluation of the aims, areas of activity and programmes of NGOs, multilateral agencies and institutions. Thus, upon completion of this module, the student will be able to recognise the inseparable link between sustainability, development, DRR, resilience and humanitarian practice.


  • This module equips you with an understanding of the contemporary theoretical perspectives of humanitarian action and management approaches to disaster preparedness and humanitarian response. It aims to provide you with an understanding of the organisational architecture, drivers and standards in humanitarian response as well as current challenges and changes for organisations operating in the humanitarian response sector.


  • Despite the recent popularity and frequent use of the community resilience concept in emergency and disaster management research and policy programmes, there is a confusing range of theoretical interpretations and an equally broad range of operational interpretations. This module aims to provide you with a high-level conceptual understanding of resilience and its relationship with preparedness and recovery activities done by and on behalf of communities.

    Through analysis of UK and international case studies, you will evaluate determinants of resilience and the role of professionals and communities in preparedness, recovery and resilience. Methods for engagement with community groups and the role of public service providers/NGOs will be critically assessed. Issues pertaining to sustainable approaches and monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of resilience interventions will be emphasised.


  • This module reviews good governance approaches to mainstreaming effective and sustainable disaster interventions and reviews the links between international policy and local projects. Thereafter the module focuses on analyse of traditional emerging approaches to disaster interventions in order to evaluate opportunities and good practice perspectives for Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL).

    Case studies from response and DRR context will be used in order to bring together an understanding of the importance of undertaking an integrated approach where MEAL activities and results are shared between disaster phases, projects, programme and agencies to maximise learning benefits, impact of interventions, resilience and sustainability.


  • These online sessions will assist and prepare you in the transition to postgraduate education by developing your academic skills, to improve and enhance your personal effectiveness as a learner. It is particularly useful if you are new to Higher Education or have been away from study for some time. We will look at areas such as critical reading, academic writing and referencing skills.


We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.

How you'll learn

Modules can be studied 100% on-campus, 100% online or as a blend of both. However you choose to study with us, all of our modules are designed to provide both the depth and rigour required for development, reflection and networking in this sector. Delivery is supported by our innovative online social learning platforms, allowing you to undertake substantial parts of your study at home whether you are studying on campus or online, where you can revisit content and find additional materials. You also have access to our library's electronic resources 24/7, including thousands of books, ejournals and newspapers.

Study on campus

Teaching and learning methods may include:

  • Seminars and discussion
  • Practical sessions and workshops
  • Simulation exercises
  • Study visits2

Explore our campus

Study 100% online

You will have timetabled classes, online tutorials, and seminars, with all your learning activities available on-demand so that you can learn at the best time and location for you. We record all sessions and provide alternative work for those who cannot attend in person.

This course can be studied on a full-time or part-time basis. Whilst we would like to give you all the information about our part-time offering here, it is tailored for each course each year depending on the number of part-time applicants. Therefore, the part-time teaching arrangements vary. Please request information about studying this course part-time.

How online learning works

Teaching contact hours

Each module typically includes about 30 hours of contact time. Associated guided reading and activities, alongside the expected self-guided study and coursework completion, means you should expect to spend around 150 hours on each 15-credit module.

The contact hours may be made up of a combination of face-to-face teaching, individual and group tutorials, and online classes and tutorials.

As an innovative and enterprising institution, the university may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the university may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.

Since COVID-19, we have delivered our courses in a variety of forms, in line with public authority guidance, decisions, or orders and we will continue to adapt our delivery as appropriate. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


Assessment for all modules is by 100% coursework.

This course is assessed using a variety of sector-appropriate methods which vary depending upon the module. All written assignments are submitted online and presentations can be recorded. Assessment methods include reports, proposals and business cases, presentations and posters. There are no exams.

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.

International experience opportunities

This course focuses on emergency management within a global context, drawing on case studies and the experience of agencies working in the UK, Europe, US, Canada and Australia.

International and UK students (dependant on the intake of students each year) take classes together, participating in discussion-based seminars and workshops, so all students can benefit from the personal experiences of other students, as well as staff who are typically from other parts of the world.

Entry requirements

Typical offer for 2024/25 entry.

A 2:2 undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline. Applicants with a lower class of degree and/or professional experience only will be individually considered and will usually be interviewed prior to being offered a place on the course.

We recognise a breadth of qualifications, speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

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Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

You can view our full list of country specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.

Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.

Some international students may require an ATAS certificate to study this course. For further information see our ATAS certificates page.

Typical entry requirements

A 2:2 undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline. Applicants with a lower class of degree and/or professional experience only will be individually considered and will usually be interviewed prior to being offered a place on the course.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall, with no component lower than 5.5

If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.

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Fees and funding

2024/25 tuition fees.

Student Full-time Part-time
UK £3,733   Request fee information
International £6,200   Not available

For advice and guidance on tuition fees3 and student loans visit our Postgraduate Finance page and see the university's Tuition Fee and Refund Terms and Conditions.

We offer a range of International scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them.

The following are additional costs not included in the tuition fees:

  • Any optional overseas field trips or visits: £400+ per trip.
  • Any costs associated with securing, attending or completing a placement (whether in the UK or abroad).

*Irish student fees

The rights of Irish residents to study in the UK are preserved under the Common Travel Area arrangement. If you are an Irish student and meet the residency criteria, you can study in England, pay the same level of tuition fees as English students and utilise the Tuition Fee Loan.

**EU Support Bursary

Following the UK's exit from the European Union, we are offering financial support to all eligible EU students who wish to study an undergraduate or a postgraduate degree with us full-time. This bursary will be used to offset the cost of your tuition fees to bring them in line with that of UK students. Students studying a degree with a foundation year with us are not eligible for the bursary.


Our aim is to offer you sector-leading facilities4.

Two students wearing lab coats using geotechnics lab facilities

Geotechnics Laboratory  

This specialist lab contains triaxial cells, direct shear box apparatus, a dimensional compression oedometer, California Bearing Ratio apparatus, soil classification equipment and Marshall test apparatus for asphalt mixes.

Three people wearing fluorescent jackets in the simulation centre

Simulation Centre

Our Simulation Centre uses an interactive screen and real-life scenarios to create a ‘virtual’ training environment. Role-play exercises are part of the course to help prepare you for situations in the workplace.

A birds eye view of students working on computers at desks in Informal study areas

Informal Study Areas

You will have access to a range of informal study areas. These include hot-desk computers, with access to specialist software you may need for studying, and bookable spaces where you can meet with academics or work in small groups.

Careers and opportunities

On successful completion of this course, you will have knowledge of:

  • Risk, its components and influencing factors, approaches to assessment, and prioritisation and organisational role in planning, managing and recovering from humanitarian crises and disasters.
  • Policy and approaches for mitigating, preparing for, managing and recovering from crises, conflict and disasters for responding agencies, organisations and affected communities.
  • Approaches to assessing complexity and interaction and developing, monitoring and evaluating resilience in processes, systems, organisations and communities at risk from known and emergent threats in a sustainable way.
  • Stakeholder analysis and multi-stakeholder engagement, communication, co-operation and governance in all aspects of policy and strategy development, implementation and management, at all scales in disaster contexts.
  • Challenges and approaches for information management, evaluating uncertainty, ambiguity and complexity in knowledge, appropriate and defensible decisions for managing complex disaster situations.
  • Issues and challenges at the forefront of research and practice in disasters and resilience.

Where our graduates work

Previous graduates have gone to work in the UK and in countries all over the world, including Denmark, Finland, Germany, Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, UAE, the United States and Canada. Some have taken up roles as international humanitarian coordinator, country officers; DRR specialists, risk analysts and deployable response managers, policy developers and analysts, public administration or pursued research and lecturing within education.

Employers of our previous graduates have included: UNICEF, UNEP, WFP, Action Centre La Faim (Toronto, Canada), the Institute for Risk Management and Climate Change (Bogota, Colombia), WWF, Danish Refugee Council, Deutsche Bahn, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai, India), United Nations Population Fund (Jakarta, Indonesia), the British and German Red Cross, The Netherlands Institute for Safety, Medecins Sans Frontieres and the Military.

Opportunities exist globally within:

  • Non-Governmental Organisations
  • Multi-lateral organisations
  • National and Local government
  • Health services and epidemiology
  • the Military
  • (Re)insurance and risk management
  • City resilience
  • Risk and resilience consultancy
  • Security and safety sector
  • Research and further study

How to apply

  • Coventry University together with Coventry University London, Coventry University Wrocław, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough, and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the University) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University.


    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or international opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be unpaid and/or subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel, public authority guidance, decisions or orders and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand any visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For UK (home) students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For international students, we may increase fees each year, but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.


    Facilities are subject to availability. Access to some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) may vary from those advertised and/or may have reduced availability or restrictions where the university is following public authority guidance, decisions or orders.

    Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. A copy of the current 2024/2025 contract is available on the website. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.

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