Disaster and Emergency Management BSc (Hons)

Study level: Undergraduate
Students using the interactive screen in the simulation centre

As the world faces an increasing number of natural and anthropogenic disasters as well as complex emergencies such as climate change, food insecurity and conflict, the need for effective disaster risk reduction and management has become a global challenge.

Course option

Year of entry


Coventry University (Coventry)

Study mode



3 years full-time
4 years full-time (study abroad or work placement)
6 years part-time

UCAS codes


Start date

September 2024

Course overview

This course is aimed at those with little or no experience of the sector but with a strong vocation to work to improve the capacity and capability of those at risk and supporting organisations.

Our annual intake makes for healthy class sizes. 

  • Disaster and emergency management professionals play a critical role in lessening the impact of human, technological and environmental catastrophes. Professionals work with numerous partners to quickly and accurately assess situations and communities affected, advising on all aspects of response and recovery, as well as future prevention or management strategies.
  • Multidisciplinary in nature, this course draws on aspects of technology, physical science, engineering, sociology and human geography. We also place considerable emphasis on the acquisition of practical skills – from table-top or virtual emergency response scenarios, to laboratory exercises and field-based management of disaster, both in the UK (with Outreach Rescue) and overseas through two mandatory international field trip modules2. See fees and funding section for more details.
  • This course is designed to equip you with the necessary knowledge to identify, critically analyse, assess, respond to and recover from a growing range of crisis, emergency and disaster situations and to operate confidently in practitioner, policy and management sectors. 
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Why you should study this course

We work collaboratively with agencies across a variety of sectors to develop exciting practical emergency and disaster simulation exercises in our unique Simulation Centre4, and our classrooms. These exercises and other interactive sessions form a major part of the teaching and learning on this programme, with sessions running in every year of the course in this manner. 

  • The course also includes guest lectures, site visits and field trip practical activities in the UK and internationally allowing students to witness disaster risks and reduction measures in a range of contexts from a variety of organisations who are undertaking this work in the field2.
  • Have an opportunity to participate in or design an emergency exercise in the University’s Simulation Centre4.
  • Participate in interactive classroom sessions which may include visiting guest speakers from industry, table-top exercises etc2.
  • Undertake fieldwork to better understand the risks and challenges faced by communities and disaster and emergency responders in the face of a range of natural and anthropogenic risk situations2.
  • Be supported by a scheduled series of academic personal tutorials.
  • Be supported to develop your employability and self-marketing skills.

What you'll study

In your first year, you will be introduced to the key terms, models and frameworks in disaster and emergency management and planning, reviewing established practice and academic literature. 


  • We live in complex, challenging and energising times. The world faces significant and unprecedented challenges. At the same time efforts are being made to meet these challenges from major global initiatives such as the Sustainable Development Goals, The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to grassroots movements such as Extinction Rebellion and Black Lives Matter. This module introduces the world today, how we got here, and where we may be going. It asks you to consider your place in the world, how the issues of the present and past shape and impact you and your future, and the role you may play in it all.


  • This module aims to provide a critical overview of the nature of academic research and help you to evaluate current research in your subject area. You will have opportunities to develop and demonstrate a range of key scientific, social science, technical and mathematical/statistical skills to address simple research questions and you will present your research findings in multiple forms. This module will give you the confidence to plan and design simple research projects, implement a variety of academic research techniques, and allow you to develop and demonstrate your digital literacy.


  • This module considers the fundamentals of disaster and emergency management in both research and practice. Using a variety of case studies from the UK and abroad, key terminology such as hazard, risk and vulnerability will be introduced within a range of contexts, showing how each of these elements contribute to the creation of disasters and emergencies. The module will also introduce key legislation and guidance for emergency and disaster management in the UK and other countries such as the USA, Philippines, or New Zealand. The module will also discuss how social, economic, and political contexts shape disasters, their management and response to them.


  • This module aims to equip you with sector-specific fundamentals relating to Emergencies and Humanitarianism. You will delve into theory, principles, practices, and frameworks associated with specialised professions. You will also explore the contexts within which disaster preparedness, response and recovery are undertaken. The module will also consider contemporary threats and challenges which emergency systems must be prepared to respond. The module provides an opportunity for you to discuss and review a range of approaches within the sector and the extent to which these align to best practice, considering principles, standard operation procedures and codes of conduct associated with the sector.


  • The aim of the module is to provide you with an insight into and an understanding of the concept of project management and cost management. This will include an introduction to project structure and stakeholders, managing different kinds of projects, project cost appraisal and innovation in projects. The knowledge in these topics will help you to develop an understanding of the process used in your respective fields and industries and how your actions can impact on the overall cost of a project and to promote inclusivity, sustainability and foster innovation.


  • This module offers you a practical examination of how the United Nation's (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be implemented and furthered within the Built and Natural Environment. The module will introduce you to how individuals, communities and businesses within the Built and Natural Environment could be responding to the UN SDGs and helping to transform the world through their impact.

    The module identifies how the SDGs impact your course discipline by exploring the 17 SDGs and focusing on the delivery and implementation of a student-led project that encompasses the most applicable SDG or a combination of SDGs to your specific academic discipline.


In Year two, you will develop more advanced knowledge and skills to do with risk and preparedness, sustainable environments in society, and urban design for resilient communities, amongst others.


  • The aim of this module is to further develop your research methods and skills for geography, energy and disaster management students, specifically focussing on the skills and understanding necessary to undertake a final year research project. The module is designed to challenge you to think critically, independently and work as part of a team. You will develop key research and practical fieldwork skills necessary for collecting and analysing quantitative and qualitative data. We will explain the components of a good project and provide opportunities to practise the required skills. In addition, the residential field trip2 will provide further opportunities to gain experience of research and fieldwork methods and techniques. The module will support you in making an informed decision about the proposed topic of their final year project.


  • Modern society has faced a growing number of complex and interconnected challenges, from climate change, natural hazards, wars, to a range of anthropogenic industrial, economic and environmental threats. This module attempts to address the causes and perceptions of risk and the notion of risk appetite and acceptability of risk. It also covers theoretical principles of risk management, including risk assessment methods and tools. In addition, you will learn to analyse the statutory duties, and statutory and non-statutory guidance relevant to emergencies and planning approaches. You will apply knowledge acquired so you can review and improve approaches to integrated arrangements for dealing with emergencies.


  • In this module, you will examine business continuity and crisis management practices, principles, and terminologies. You will explore leading industry practice and research on how to manage security threats to digital and physical assets. The practical sessions will help you to review and appreciate traditional and emerging challenges within the scope of complex adaptive systems and growing research into systems and complexity modelling challenges. Key guidance, standards and legislative requirements from respected international sources will help guide and hone the knowledge and skills required.


  • The aim of the module is to facilitate your understanding of theories and approaches to training and exercising in the context of UK emergency management. The module aims to teach you how to critically assess and evaluate generic principles of training and apply them to training needs for emergency management in the UK. In addition, approaches to exercising emergency response and recovery plans will be evaluated. You will be given the opportunity to observe, participate in and develop your own emergency management training events and exercises.


  • The aim of this module is to introduce you to the relationship between the built environment and the dynamics of communities. It will engage you to think critically about place, space and community from a historical, ethical, economical and design perspective. The module will explore the processes of physical developments in settlements of various sizes, with a particular focus on urbanisation and urban development nationally and internationally. The module familiarises you with the most influential theories of urban design in relation to architecture, geography, and sociology and develops your ability to conceptualise, practice and critically evaluate the design of urban sites for sustainable and resilient communities.


  • In this module, you will undertake a critical analysis of a specified location and associated project that has been influenced by the United Nation's (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Your analysis of the project will explore the impact, success or failure alongside possible solutions that will be fundamental to the positive future development of the location. You will research, appraise, critique, develop and then communicate to a wider audience the impact and implementation of the identified SDGs for the location/ project. The focus of the review will be linked to your academic discipline within the Built and Natural Environment and draw upon prior learning from your previous cognate knowledge.


There’s no better way to find out what you love doing than trying it out for yourself, which is why a work placement2 can often be beneficial. Work placements usually occur between your second and final year of study. They’re a great way to help you explore your potential career path and gain valuable work experience, whilst developing transferable skills for the future. 

If you choose to do a work placement year, you will pay a reduced tuition fee3 of £1,250. For more information, please go to the fees and funding section. During this time you will receive guidance from your employer or partner institution, along with your assigned academic mentor who will ensure you have the support you need to complete your placement.


  • This module2 provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon and gain experience for an approved placement undertaken during your programme. A placement should usually be at least 26 weeks or equivalent; however, each placement will be considered on its own merits, having regard to the ability to achieve the learning outcomes.


  • This module2 provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon and gain experience for an approved international study/work placement undertaken during your programme. A work/study placement should usually be at least 26 weeks or equivalent; however, each placement will be considered on its own merits, having regard to the ability to achieve the learning outcomes.


In Year three, you will develop more advanced knowledge and skills to do with ethics, governance and resilience, building resilient communities, and formulating, evaluating and reshaping professional practice, amongst others. 


  • This module aims to evaluate the chronological development of our understanding and use of the terms community, resilience, recovery and reconstruction and relate them to concepts and practice in disaster and emergency management. You will evaluate relevant models and theories associated with ‘community’ and participatory practice and their importance in disaster preparedness and recovery planning. You will also assess case studies from contrasting global contexts with a view to identifying good practice in recovery and reconstruction.


  • Our world is changing rapidly, and the future is uncertain. This is a time of disruption: disruption to global climate, disruption to established systems, disruptive technology. This module considers where we are now and what the future could bring. You will explore questions such as: How do we navigate uncertain times to develop sustainable and fair ways of doing things and implement appropriate longer-term plans? What are the emerging solutions to age-old problems, and what else could be around the corner?

    We will focus on varied and emerging means of meeting and predicting the challenges of the future. For example: What is the role of social enterprise in meeting humanitarian and development challenges both in the UK and globally? What are the techniques for predicting and then planning future actions to address complex, evolving and interconnected issues? How can you change the world?


  • The module aims to equip you with the capacity to understand, evaluate and analyse key concepts and debates regarding governance systems associated with emergencies and humanitarian response. You will acquire the necessary knowledge and skills for policy formulation and development to be able to critically assess issues relating to systems for emergency preparedness and humanitarian response in a range of contexts; the UK, middle-income, and developing countries. The module prepares you to acquire a range of analytical skills necessary for policy formulation, decision-making, Inter-agency cooperation and coordination and to familiarise yourself with macro factors that have been instrumental in shaping practice, and direction(s) of travel for disaster organisations(agencies).


  • This module aims to help you gain a theoretical and conceptual understanding of the way crises and disasters happen, and of the patterns of behaviour and communication that emerge in response to them. You will be able to contextualise crisis and/or disaster and their causation in terms of economic, technological, managerial, cultural, social and political consequences. The module further aims to develop your appreciation and understanding of the complex arrangements needed to manage disasters and emergencies both nationally and internationally.


  • The aim of this module is to enable you to develop your research skills by conducting primary or secondary research focused on a specific problem of relevance to your discipline. You would use different methods and research skills, gained over previous years of study, to effectively communicate research novelties and ideas to the academic and non-academic communities. It will enable you to understand the importance of correct and critical analysis of all the factors involved in a problem and develop your initiative as you pursue and execute the investigation, demonstrating originality and creativity.


  • This module aims to introduce you to critical thought and methods as applied in an overseas field location2. The module will extend your fieldwork skills and your grasp of contemporary methodologies and techniques. Emphasis in the classroom, and the field, is placed on experiential learning whilst also ensuring the continuation of transferable field and academic skills development. Experiences and skills that will be developed include undertaking research in the field; making observations, collecting and collating data; critically debating previous research, taking responsibility for one’s own learning though individual- and teamwork and formulating hazard and risk assessments for fieldwork.


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

We host expert guest speakers (subject to availability) from industry who talk about their experience and current issues in disaster preparedness and response, humanitarian actions, sustainable development and more2.

We encourage you to join one of our student societies, such as the International Disaster Concern Society (membership fees applicable), which may provide further opportunities to gain real experience of working in the humanitarian sector2. In the past, the Society has organised trips to Tanzania, and to large-scale emergency exercises, as well as organising additional guest speakers. Please note that these activities and any associated additional costs are student-led and independent of the Disaster and Emergency Management course.

This course can be offered on a 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. Request further information about part-time study.

Teaching contact hours

We understand that everyone learns differently, so each of our courses will consist of structured teaching sessions, which can include:

  • On campus lectures, seminars and workshops
  • Group work
  • Self-directed learning
  • Work placement opportunities

The number of contact hours may vary from semester to semester, however, on average, it is likely to be around 14-15 contact hours per week in the first and second year dropping to around 11 contact hours per week in the final year as you become a more independent learner.

In addition, you will be expected to undertake approximately 30-35 hours of self-directed study per week depending on the demands of individual modules. This self-directed learning allows you to use your research skills, consolidate your knowledge or undertake collaborative group work.

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.


This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will vary depending upon the module.

Assessment methods can include:

  • Formal examinations
  • Phase tests
  • Essays
  • Group work
  • Presentations
  • Reports
  • Projects
  • Coursework
  • Exams
  • Individual assignments
  • Laboratories

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

Disasters and emergencies occur all over the world, as such the field as a whole is international in outlook in many ways. Even if you intend to practice in the UK, there are lessons that can be learned from consideration of international case studies and comparing them to practice in the UK. Successful completion of this course will equip you to work in a range of related careers either nationally or internationally.

International fieldwork is a key component in the second and final years of the course. These locations are regularly reviewed (Students have had the opportunity to visit various locations around Turkey)2.

Additionally, many of our students choose to take a placement in industry in between their second and final years. In recent years, students have undertaken placements in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Malta and numerous locations around the UK to name but a few2.

Entry requirements

Typical offer for 2024/25 entry.

Requirement What we're looking for
UCAS points 104
A level BCC
GCSE Five GCSEs graded 4 / C or above to include English and Mathematics
IB Diploma 29 points
Access to HE The Access to HE Diploma to include 30 Level 3 credits at Merit. Plus GCSE English and Mathematics at grade 4 / C or above.

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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Contextual offers and Fair Access Scheme

If you meet the criteria for our Fair Access Scheme, you could automatically receive a contextual offer that may be up to 24 UCAS points lower than our standard entry requirements. View the criteria for our Fair Access Scheme.

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.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.0 overall (with at least 5.5 in each component area)

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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Not got the required grades? We offer this degree with an integrated foundation year.

Fees and funding

2024/25 tuition fees.

Student Full-time Part-time
UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man £9,250 per year Request fee information
EU £9,250 per year with EU support bursary**
£19,850 per year without EU support bursary**
Not available
International £19,850 per year Not available

If you choose to do a work placement2, you should consider travel and living costs to cover this. There is also a tuition fee3 of £1,250 that will cover your academic support throughout your placement year.

For advice and guidance on tuition fees and student loans visit our Undergraduate 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. Find out what's included in your tuition costs.

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

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

Other additional costs

  • Mandatory international field trips: Typically between £200 and £400 per trip

*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.


The £50m Engineering and Computing Building and new £25m Beatrice Shilling Building are designed to support hands-on learning. Our Sir John Laing Building also houses a variety of industry-standard labs and equipment4.

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 the course, you will be able to:

  • Critically analyse a range of historical events, conceptual perspectives, models of, and factors which, influence hazard, vulnerability and risk. Apply these and related terms appropriately in various disaster, emergency and crisis related contexts.
  • Analyse the benefits and limitations of a range of approaches to risk assessment and utilise them appropriately.
  • Evaluate the benefits and challenges of implementing effective risk mitigation.
  • Critique approaches to managing residual risks via preparedness systems and emergency planning and propose good practice approaches.
  • Assess the need for organisational resilience and good governance in effective disaster, emergency and crisis management.
  • Evaluate and apply community centred frameworks for resilience, sustainability and development.
  • Have the ability to work effectively with others within the context of multidisciplinary, multiagency teams, respecting inputs from fellow professionals, beneficiaries and other stakeholders and to reflect on one's own performance and role within the team.
  • Develop and apply technical and analytical skills to develop practical solutions to challenges faced in disaster and development contexts.
  • Become an independent learner, demonstrating high level communication, ethics, research and evaluation skills.

Our blend of academic and practical study seeks to provide you with a specialist understanding of all aspects of disaster management, as well as the specific emergency planning and management skills needed to prepare you for employment in this sector.

The course aims to develop your skills in problem-solving, teamwork and leadership, project management and communication, all of which are qualities employers demand. We strive to produce graduates who can make difficult decisions whilst being culturally sensitive, ethical and compassionate, the capabilities required by international relief and development organisations, private sector consultancies, national government, local authorities and United Nations agencies operating around the world.

Where our graduates work

Recent graduates have gone on to work for the public sector – in the emergency services, the NHS, the Environment Agency, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Cabinet office, Department for International Development; high risk manufacturing, energy and aviation companies; the military; consultancy with PricewaterhouseCoopers; financial risk, insurance and banking; international disaster risk and response agencies, for example: Asian Disaster Preparedness Center, RedR India, Oxfam GB, and the Catholic Overseas Development Agency (CAFOD). 

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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