Course overview

With the rise of social media, the threat of cyber-attacks, the emergence of pandemics and the impact of climate change on natural disasters, there has never been a more pressing time for organisations to establish effective crisis and disaster management strategies and to deploy the appropriate skills to handle them.

From product recalls and industrial actions to accidents, natural disasters and pandemics, organisations need the ability to act appropriately and communicate effectively under pressure when it matters most, which includes strategic planning, critical decision-making and effective communication.

Aston University is home to the Aston Crisis Management Centre, where academic members have engaged in international projects related to evacuation, crisis management, emergency services and logistics in disasters. The academic staff leverage their experience and expertise from various projects to deliver relevant knowledge on topics that will be valuable for your future career. In addition, our connections with crisis and humanitarian organisations inform the design and support the delivery of our modules.

Dr Komal Aryal Taiwan disaster response

"While landing in Taiwan for a holiday, a typhoon struck. I immediately applied my crisis management skills to help coordinate humanitarian aid for the affected mountain tribes. It has provided me a great opportunity to transfer Aston University’s crisis and disaster management knowledge to a real crisis and disaster situation to help mountain tribe communities in Taiwan."

Read more

Dr Komal Aryal
MSc Crisis and Disaster Management
Programme Director

Why Crisis and Disaster Management at Aston University?

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Practical insights
Benefit from the expertise and research from the Aston Crisis Management Centre
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Recognised for quality
Aston Business School is proud to be among 1% of business schools worldwide with triple accreditation
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Real live projects
Gain consultancy skills with live project work, real clients and global impact
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Gain the advantage
Get ahead of the competition with the Aston Global Advantage professional development module
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Excellent prospects
Aston University was named runner-up in the University of the Year for Graduate Employment Award (Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide, 2024)
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Global top 100
Aston University was ranked among the top 100 universities worldwide (Masters in Management; QS World University Rankings, 2024)

Course description

MSc Crisis and Disaster Management

The MSc Crisis and Disaster Management programme teaches management of crises and disasters, impact analysis and case studies, offering a specialised focus in either humanitarian or business crisis management in the second semester.

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What we will provide
First-class teaching in the UK’s second-largest city, delivered by a diverse array of staff who will inspire and excite you. You will benefit from applied learning, research-informed teaching and constructive assessment.

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What you will provide
It is important you learn how to adapt a growth mindset to your studies – understanding that intelligence and success come from applying yourself, a willingness to learn and an ambition and drive to excel.

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What skills we teach
The MSc Crisis and Disaster Management programme will equip you with vital consultancy skills, such as teamworking, interpreting data and presenting results. You will learn from real-world scenarios through partnerships with consultancies and non-government organisations, gaining insights into food supply chain resilience, climate change adaptation and efficient resource management in emergencies.

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Career prospects
A postgraduate qualification in this subject prepares you for many different careers within the field. Graduates from this programme may seek careers in academia, business, government and non-profit organisations. They often work in areas such as emergency planning, disaster response, crisis communication and risk management, both in the UK and overseas.

How you will learn

Our MSc Crisis and Disaster Management programme offers a dynamic mix of lectures and practical learning. You will engage in practical seminars and workshops, using simulation software to explore decision-making in crisis scenarios and analysing real cases to understand complex crisis environments and devise solutions for businesses and humanitarian groups.

We understand the importance of gaining real-life practical experience; this is why we regularly have emergency services such as the West Midlands Fire Service and West Midlands Ambulance Service come and share their insights with students. Aston University's virtual learning environment supports your journey, providing resources like lecture slides, e-books and online journals.

In the Aston Global Advantage module, you will enhance your employability and global citizenship through experiential learning and reflective practice. Dedicated employability support, skill-building workshops and diverse learning streams will prepare you for both academic and professional success.

At the start of your course, you will be allocated a personal tutor who can offer individual study advice and guidance. You will also benefit from access to the University Library's extensive collection of over 25,000 books and electronic journals.

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Gain the advantage

Our flagship professional development module provides a range of opportunities to apply your learning and increase your employability.

What you will learn

Our MSc Crisis and Disaster Management programme equips you with critical insights into managing disasters and crises across different contexts. You will gain a blend of research knowledge and practical skills, enhancing your ability to contribute effectively to organisations dealing with these challenges.

In the taught stage, you will develop analytical, communication and IT skills essential for disaster and crisis management. You will learn to analyse complex situations, suggest appropriate responses and work within ethical and regulatory constraints. This phase fosters independent learning and teamwork, preparing you to make informed, socially responsible decisions in high-stress disaster and crisis scenarios.

In the dissertation phase, you will complete a research project on a crisis or disaster management topic of your choice, showcasing your ability to conduct independent research with a clear consideration of ethics, theory and methods.

This course offers an Exchange Partnership Second Degree Pathway, meaning you can spend an additional year at one of our international partner institutions. If successful, you will graduate with two masters degrees.

Exchange Partnership Second Degree Pathway

Peta-Gaye Rockwood MSc Crisis and Disaster Management

Influence and impact

One of the reasons Peta-Gaye chose Aston University was her desire to be “part of a school that had a strong influence on policy and a significant impact on the global agenda”.

Postgraduate courses

Learn business, do business

Our classroom goes beyond traditional lectures, focusing instead on real-life projects and hands-on experiences.

Course objectives

  1. Develops your critical knowledge of the management of disasters and crisis in different contexts.
  2. Provides you with the research, knowledge and skills to investigate issues in the field of crisis and disaster management.
  3. Equips you with a broad range of analytical, communication and IT skills to contribute to organisations dealing with disasters and crisis.
  4. Develops your capabilities to support decision-making in the case of disasters and crisis.
  5. Develops independent learners with transferable intellectual and study skills who can manage risks and react in disaster and crisis situations in a socially responsible manner.

Modules

Modules and learning outcomes

Taught stage modules

In the taught stage you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
An Introduction to Crisis Management
Through the analysis of real-world examples, this module introduces you to crisis management theory. You’ll critically examine the life-cycle of crisis and management theory, so that you are equipped with the knowledge and foresight to understand how a crisis unfolds and to take steps to resolve or mitigate a crisis at each stage of the crisis life cycle.
15
Crisis Management and Decision-making
This module introduces you to the practical application of decision-making within chaotic and urgent circumstances. We critically examine the stages of the crisis life-cycle and align them with an appropriate decision-making method, such that you will be equipped with the tools to take appropriate action to resolve or mitigate a crisis at each stage of the crisis life cycle.
15
Ethics in a Crisis
This module provides background, context and structure to ethical decision making in crisis situations in order to test whether specific response and recovery operations are fair and just.
15
Crisis Technology and Analytics
The aim of this module is to provide you with a broader and deeper understanding of the growing role of technology and analytics stemming from the heterogeneous digital data streams in crisis management. The module will examine the advantages, limitations and barriers to adoption of technological solution in the domain using relevant theories which will be supplemented with real-life case-studies.
15
Simulation for Managerial Decision Making 
This module aims to combine the challenge of learning the theory of simulation modelling with collecting data in an external organisation using simulation modelling software and group work to meet a deadline for the presentation of results. This skillset is useful as simulation is used in many organisations and consultancy units to provide descriptive predictive and prescriptive analytics.
15
The Aston Global Advantage
The Aston Global Advantage is our professional development programme that runs throughout all MSc programmes at Aston Business School. Focusing on professional development and employability, this integrated module gives you the opportunity to identify, develop and apply the key transferrable skills you will gain throughout the year.
15
Ethics in Academic Practice
This module provides an introduction to the Academic Offence framework. By completing the resources you will understand the key principles underpinning the submission of academic assignments. These principles can then be applied to the rest of the modules studied at the university.
0
Total90

You will choose two of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
Humanitarian Supply Chain Management
This module aims to provide an overview of the supply chain in disaster situations. The module introduces an analysis of current considerations associated to the different dimensions of supply chain during disaster events to identify potential alternatives to enhance operations in chaotic environments. It aims to provide you with knowledge about the range of tools/techniques/methodologies needed to plan supply chain activities during disasters.
15
Advances in Crisis Management
The module immerses learners in the literature, applications and technology solutions relevant to managing different types of crises. The learning involves critical assessment of the existing solutions (theoretical, conceptual and practical) and implications and barriers to adoption (from the perspective of consumers, business and decision-makers).
15
Strategic Business Sustainability
This module aims to provide students with a high level of conceptual and practical understanding of risk management and resilience management processes and practices in the crisis and disaster management context. This module will explore current thinking on risk management strategy, culture, risk issues and risk identification techniques. It will also examine processes and practices in building business resilience for crisis and disaster management.
15
Global Risk and Resilience Management
This module aims to help students think in a holistic, integrated and interdisciplinary way about business and the physical environment. There is an examination of alternative paradigms and different approaches as to how business, strategy and leadership can be more efficiently and effectively conducted and the implications that these have on individuals, the environment and other species.
15

*Availability of any optional modules will be subject to staff availability and a minimum number of students who express an interest in studying the optional modules. 

Dissertation stage modules

In the dissertation stage you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Applied Research15
MSc Crisis and Disaster Management Research Project
You will carry out an original piece of work applying material that you have learnt in the taught element of your degree. Specific requirements will be explained relating to different degree programmes but in summary you must demonstrate both theoretical and practical knowledge of your chosen area of specialism.
45
Total60

Award of MSc Crisis and Disaster Management with specialism

If you choose both optional modules from the same stream (see below), you may choose to receive an award with specialism, as approved by the University, recorded on your degree certificate.

The following specialisms are available to MSc Crisis and Disaster Management students:

SpecialismOptional modules
Humanitarian SpecialismBoth:
BNM893 Humanitarian Supply Chain Management
BNM894 Advances in Crisis Management
Corporate SpecialismBoth:
BHM328 Strategic Business Sustainability
BNM895 Global Risk and Resilience Management

*Availability of any optional modules will be subject to staff availability and a minimum number of students who express an interest in studying the optional modules. 

Programme outcomes

On successful completion of both the taught and dissertation stage, you will be able to:

  • Recognise the complex environment surrounding crisis and disasters.
  • Analyse disaster and crisis situations and suggest suitable alternatives for an organisation.
  • Identify the different roles in crisis and disaster management and the risks involved in each disaster and crisis management context.
  • Explore the importance of ethical and regulatory constrains affecting decisions in crisis and disasters.
  • Enumerate and use different tools and techniques to support decision-making during disasters and crisis.
  • Employ IT solutions to provide support during disasters and crisis.
  • Explore and analyse suitable solutions for companies interested in managing risk.
  • Work as part of teams or independently to find solutions for organisations regarding disaster and crisis situations.

Entry requirements

One of the following:

  • 2:2 (lower second-class honours) degree or equivalent
  • Equivalent overseas degree recognised by Aston University (see international students tab below for more information)

You will also need to provide:

  • A professional reference
    • If you are a current student or recent graduate (within the last 2-3 years), we will ask for an academic reference
    • If you are currently employed and not a recent graduate, we will ask for a professional reference
  • An official academic transcript of your university grades to date
  • A completed application form.

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students on many of our postgraduate programmes. Students from over 120 countries choose to study with us every year. Based in the centre of Birmingham, Aston is not only a great place to study but also a great place to live.

Qualifications in your country

For details of equivalent qualifications in your country, use our area pages below:

English language requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification.

English language requirements

How to apply

Aston University provides a range of opportunities for international students to join our community and study on our campus. A key part of our strategy is our relationships with teaching partners, providing multiple pathways to Aston.

Aston’s professional work placements can improve your chance of securing a graduate job. Placements give you experience, confidence and opportunities and, as an Aston student, you’ll be better prepared for your future career. One of the great things about Aston is our focus on employability. Our close links with businesses, industries and professions make this possible.

Find out more about applying

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new Graduate Immigration Route which enables international students to remain in the UK for two years after you complete your studies to find work. This new post-study work visa applies to international students completing full-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Graduate Immigration Route

Pathway programmes

If you don’t meet our entry requirements, we have a range of pathway programmes offered by our partner, ONCAMPUS Aston, which you can complete to progress onto one of our degrees.

We recognise the value of extensive professional experience. If you do not have the academic qualifications but have extensive and relevant professional experience and a proven ability to succeed, we would welcome your application.

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications.

Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

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Speak to our Admissions Team

If you have any questions about the application process please get in touch with our postgraduate admissions team:

Email: pgadmissions@aston.ac.uk

Call: 0121 204 3200 (Please note this line is open Monday-Friday between 09:30-16:30)

Komal Aryal MSc Crisis and Disaster Management programme director

Meet your programme director

Dr Komal Aryal
Programme Director, MSc Crisis and Disaster Management

If you have any questions about the course or modules you will be studying, you can get in touch via email and I will be happy to answer your queries.

Fees and scholarships

Course fees

UK students
(2024/25)

Annual tuition fees:£12,000

International students
(2024/25)

Annual tuition fees:£23,500

More information on fees

The United Kingdom government has confirmed that European Union (EU), other European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals commencing academic courses in England from August 2021 will no longer be charged the same tuition rates as UK students.

Tuition fees for students are reviewed annually and may increase in subsequent years in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering the Programme. Any such increase shall always be in accordance with the law. When undertaking a placement year, a placement year fee applies.

Scholarships

At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs.

Assessment

The programme will be assessed through a combination of written and oral examinations, class tests, individual and group coursework, projects, presentations and practical assessments.

Career prospects

The transferable skills that our Crisis and Disaster Management programme provides mean that our graduates are successful in finding employment in a wide range of roles such as:

  • Crisis management consultant
  • Emergency planning officer
  • Planning officer
  • International humanitarian coordinator
  • Disaster risk reduction analyst
  • Deployable emergency response manager

As an example, mid-to-senior crisis management consultants’ salaries can be around £50,000-£70,000.

Rodney Garnes MSc Crisis and Disaster Management

Critical relevance

Rodney discovered Aston University while searching for disaster management programmes, as it is “becoming a more critical area in the context of the Caribbean”.

Our graduates achieve amazing things all over the world – whether it’s setting up their own businesses, landing jobs with high profile organisations, or making real differences within their communities.

Hear from our graduates

Alumni

Be part of our community

Once you have joined us at Aston University, you’ll always be part of our community, even beyond graduation.

Frequently asked questions

Why study Crisis and Disaster Management at Aston University?

You will be able to develop a solid understanding of the issues, implications, models and methods used in crisis and disaster management, as well as focus your studies in either a humanitarian or business context as you progress your studies.

You will gain a breadth of practical learning and professional experience, whether that’s providing support to live projects, undertaking an internship or study abroad opportunity. Not only does this bring your learning to life, but it will also really help you to progress to your next step once you complete the course.

What kind of career will I develop with a masters in Crisis and Disaster Management?

Crisis and disaster management is increasingly in demand not least due to the rise in crisis and natural disasters that businesses and humanitarian organisations must prepare and work through and the impact that this has on their stakeholders and wider society.

Graduates from this programme may seek careers working in academia, business, government and non-profit organisations in areas such as emergency planning, disaster response, crisis communication and risk management, both in the UK and overseas.

Typical career destinations for graduates of this programme include:

  • Crisis management consultant
  • Emergency planning officer
  • Planning officer
  • International humanitarian coordinator
  • Disaster risk reduction analyst
  • Deployable emergency response manager

As an example, mid-to-senior crisis management consultants’ salaries can be around £50,000-£70,000.

What is the ‘Aston Global Advantage’?

Embedded in all our masters degrees, this assessed, year-long credit-bearing module aims to develop professional and personal transferrable skills relevant to any workplace and create a bridge between the degree and the world of work.

The Aston Global Advantage

Why should I study my postgraduate degree at Aston University?

There are lots of benefits of studying a postgraduate degree at Aston University.

Watch this video from MBA student, Monique, who talks about just a few of them:

Is Birmingham a good place to study?

Our campus is based in the centre of Birmingham, the youngest major city in Europe and a great place to live, work and study.

  • Great music and entertainment with a vibrant nightlife. Bars, clubs, pubs, live music, festivals, concerts. Whatever your tastes, there's something here for everyone.
  • Fantastic food. Birmingham's diverse community means you can try anything from the famous Balti triangle, the Chinese Quarter, high street chains, halal and vegan food, and Michelin-star dining.
  • World-class shopping. The Bullring and Grand Central is a shopper's paradise. From the world's biggest Primark to luxury brands at the Mailbox.
  • Arts and culture. Museums, galleries, theatres, concerts and Birmingham's art collection is as wide as it is impressive - not to be missed.
  • Green, open spaces. One of the greenest cities in Europe, Birmingham has hundreds of publicly accessible parks and green spaces across the city.
  • Sporting action. Birmingham has some of the most exciting venues for watching or participating in sport in the UK.

Discover Birmingham

What will my timetable look like?

We understand how important it is to know your timetable in advance for planning around work, childcare, or other responsibilities. Here's some basic guidance on what to expect regarding your student timetable.

Full-time programmes
As a rough estimate, full-time postgraduate students in the College of Business and Social Sciences should expect to spend about 12-15 hours per week in lectures and on-campus seminars. This is in addition to independent study, and there may be additional guided learning activities during certain weeks. The exact distribution of these hours will vary depending on your course and module choices.
Part-time programmes
Part-time students will have fewer weekly on-campus hours compared to full-time students. This reduction is proportional to the number of modules you're enrolled in.
Timetable availability
Complete timetables are usually released shortly before the start of your programme. This timing is necessary to ensure that we accommodate all course requirements and that rooms are allocated based on the number of students likely to enrol on each programme. We aim to provide these timetables as early as possible, to assist you in your planning.

As your induction week approaches, you will be sent more information about your timetable via email, and you will be able to access your timetable by logging into MyAstonPortal. For any further queries or information regarding your timetable, you can reach out to your programme director or the Student Support team.

Online/distance learning programmes
The above information also applies to students enrolled in online/distance learning programmes. Please note that both full-time and part-time distance learning students are still required to attend scheduled synchronous learning sessions.

MyAstonPortal

What can I get involved in at Aston Business School?

At Aston Business School, you will dive into a dynamic blend of innovative learning and hands-on experiences. With our acclaimed triple-crown accreditation, we offer you academic excellence and a track record of producing successful graduates.

Located in Birmingham, the UK's vibrant second city, Aston Business School provides you with a culturally rich environment and superb connectivity. You will benefit from real-world business engagements, international study opportunities and entrepreneur support programmes like BSEEN and Pitchfest.

You can also engage in practical consultancy at the Aston Business Clinic and collaborate with global peers in events such as the Maastricht Case Competition or the Universities Business Challenge. Our partnership with The Prince’s Trust, alongside a range of student clubs including TEDx and Enactus further enriches your learning experience.

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Say Hello to students at Aston University

Hello, what would you like to ask us?

Hello! We are a team of current Aston University students from various parts of the world, studying a wide range of postgraduate subjects.

Feel free to ask us anything about studying at Aston University.

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