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Risk Masters Course Structure

Our Risk Masters (MA/MSc) provides a thorough grounding in theoretical and practical approaches to identifying, framing, assessing and managing risk.

The programme offers the chance to learn in one of the finest centres of geographical research in the world. It is delivered by staff at the very forefront of the discipline and also has a strong interdisciplinary orientation through close collaboration with Durham University's Institute of Hazards, Risk, and Resilience.

A hallmark of our masters programmes is a participatory and interactive approach to learning. We offer small group teaching through workshops, seminars and practicals. The Risk Masters encourages students to think broadly about the idea of risk, and to consider a multiplicity of topics from environmental hazards and disaster resilience to issues of security and environmental change. Its primary aim is to equip students with a general understanding of risk, whilst simultaneously providing specific training in elements of risk-related research.

We offer both MA and MSc programmes in the Risk Masters

MA in Risk

This MA degree programme is designed for students who wish to explore the social dimensions of risk and resilience. The Department of Geography is especially well-suited to examine these in relation to environmental hazards and security-related risk, but students are encouraged to develop their thinking in relation to any aspect of risk, including, for example, climate risk and disaster risk reduction. For students interested in security-related risk, the MA programme offers in-depth and advanced understanding on geo-political security challenges and politics, including the ways in which they are governed increasingly through the prism of risk. The course responds to the growing realisation that many risks are being created through social processes bound to questions of security, including the ways that risk techniques are emerging and being employed as a means of securing uncertain futures. Since the 9/11 attacks in New York City and the 7/7 bombings in London, governments have become more concerned with terrorist threats to security. Surveillance has become more commonplace, preventing some risks while also creating new ones never before seen in society. Learn more about the MA Geography (Risk) - L7K407

MSc in Risk

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 will receive theoretical and practical training for understanding and quantifying hazards. They will 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. Learn more about the MSc Geography (Risk) - L7K409

Explore the Risk Masters program structure and content here.

Choose Your Own Pathway

The Durham University Risk Masters offers students three different 'pathways' towards developing a diverse and practical set of skills within risk analysis and research. These informal pathways - in previous years referred to as 'thematic strands' - play an important role in defining a clear skillset of practical applicability within the professional world, while also support students in understanding the diversity learning opportunities available within their degree. These pathways are:

Environmental Hazards and Risk

This pathway provides specialised scientific training in environmental hazards that pose large risks to communities living throughout the world - such as earthquakes, flooding events, landslides and many others. Students will receive theoretical and practical training for understanding, quantifying and/or critically evaluating environmental hazards and the relationship of these with issues of vulnerability and resilience. They will learn about how environmental hazards and risks persist over long periods of time instead of merely as single events, and are made up of both natural processes as well as socio-economic dynamics. The pathway is available for both MA and MSc students. Its main modules are 'Spatial and Temporal Dimensions of Hazards' and 'Hydro-meteorological Hazards'.

Climate Risk and Society

A new pathway within the Risk Masters, developed in response to student demand and the need to support our graduates in addressing the most relevant societal challenges of today. It seeks to provide students with an advanced understanding of anthropogenic climate change as an issue that poses new risks to society, challenges and vulnerabilities. It also supports students in developing tools for apprehending, interpreting and responding to the emerging natural and socio-political threats associated to climate change. The Climate Risk and Society pathway provokes students to think critically about how evolving understandings of risk, resilience and vulnerability shape efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The pathway is available to both MA and MSc students, and its main module is 'Climate Risk and Society'.

Security and Politics

This pathway is aimed at students interested in security-related risk, offering advanced skills in the critical analysis of issues such as risk and migration, risk within geo-politics, security and terrorism. The pathway critically unpacks ideas of risk and resilience, pointing to their political implications. It evaluates the ways by which uncertainty plays a key role in the contemporary making of society, and uncovers risk not simply as a matter of management and governance but also as a political technique through which populations are governed. The pathway is available to MA students. Its main module is 'Social Dimensions of Risk and Resilience', alongside a range of modules in the fields of international relations and social policy.

Choose a dissertation by research or pursue a vocational dissertation

We offer students the choice to pursue their own research project or to understake their dissertation in collaboration with a partner organisation. Find out more here.