Crisis and Disaster Management MSc 2021

This course will prepare you to understand decision-making approaches and develop the necessary skills to prepare for and manage crisis and disaster specialising either in business crisis or in humanitarian operations.

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type

Full-time

Course format

Duration

1 year

UCAS code(s)

N/A

Start date

Overview
Explore Crisis and Disaster Management MSc at Aston University

Jonathan Hemus, Managing Director of crisis management consultancy Insignia explains what crisis management involves and why it is vital for businesses.

Course outline and modules

Aston University is home to the Aston CRISIS Centre. Academic members of the Centre have worked on European projects related to evacuation, crisis management, emergency services and logistics in disasters. The academic staff have used the experience and expertise acquired in different projects to deliver relevant knowledge on the topics useful for your future career. In addition, our links to crisis and humanitarian organisations inform the design and support the delivery of our modules.

With the rise of social media, the threat of cyber-attacks, appearance of pandemics e.g. Covid-19, 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 recall and industrial action, to accidents and natural disasters and pandemics, organisations need the ability to do and say the right things under pressure when it matters most, including strategic plans, critical decision making and effective communications.

Our Crisis and Disaster Management MSc will give you a solid understanding of the core approaches to manage crises and disasters (such as Covid-19 and other similar ones) and of the wider impact on stakeholders, including the implications of mismanaged situations through relevant case studies, discussions and exercises. In the second semester you will also advance your knowledge in either the humanitarian stream or business crisis stream, helping you to progress your learning and career path in the area that interests you most. 

How will my skills develop?

A good crisis manager has a wide range of skills, from being able to create crisis management plans, including testing them and putting processes and resources in place, to implementing the plans. In addition, during a crisis, they need to be able to influence senior leadership teams and provide sound, compelling advice, using strong communication skills to get their point across as well as being able to make analytical, objective decisions under pressure.

On this course, not only will you learn about the theoretical aspect of the crisis lifecycle and the role that ethics and technology play, you’ll also develop your research skills to help you examine the strengths and weaknesses of the methods and the techniques used. You’ll develop your skillset around simulation modelling, data collection, group work and predictive and prescriptive analytics, as well as presentation skills.

You’ll study The Aston Global Advantage module which focuses on professional development and employability, helping you to apply the key skills that you will gain throughout the year.

Practical experience

We focus on the practical application of crisis and disaster management, so you’ll discover what methods, techniques and tools can be used to solve specific problems.

Through lectures and seminars, you will gain experience on using simulation modelling software, gathering, interpreting and presenting results, as well as different techniques for decision-making in a chaotic environment. You’ll also undertake a Business Project/Dissertation applying everything that you have learnt in an applied way.

Many roles in crisis and disaster management are based in consultancies, so we will develop your skills to help you excel in a consultancy environment too, from working in teams, and interpreting findings to presenting results.  We have partnerships with crisis management consultancy Insignia and with other non-government organisations. These companies contribute to the delivery of modules, in specific, practical sessions based around real-world cases.

You’ll also learn from leading academics who have carried out detailed research in this field from research in food supply chain resilience to climatic change, design of humanitarian supply chains, enhancement of resilience in refugee settings, analysis of social media in disasters, impact of disruptive technologies on crisis and disaster management, resource management during emergencies, among others.

You’ll also have the opportunity to study abroad with one of our international partners, undertake an internship placement in the UK or overseas or get involved in a global business challenge simulation.

How will this course help my career?

Because crisis and disasters are becoming more frequent there is a growing demand within organisations for crisis management, humanitarian operations management, risk management, continuity management as well as consultancies looking for this expertise.

This course is designed to enhance your employability. As well as being developed with industry experts through our advisory board, we also ensure you gain exposure to opportunities throughout your studies. In your third term you’ll have the choice of studying abroad or pursuing an internship.

Recent placements have been secured in a variety of business sectors, both in the UK and internationally. You’ll also have the unique opportunity to support start-up businesses and local SMEs with real-life business projects through our Aston Business Clinic. Find out more here.

The course concludes with a Business Project or Dissertation, giving you the opportunity to analyse a business problem and practically apply the knowledge and skills developed during the course to outline your recommendations. This will also help to show prospective employers how you are able to impact their business.

This course offers an opportunity to study a second degree at one of our international partner institutions once you have completed your year at Aston. Find out more here.

Modules

Core modules

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.

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.

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.

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.

Applied Research

This module will look at the research methods used in this area of study and work practice. You’ll examine the strengths and weaknesses of methods and techniques used to collect and analyse information. You’ll be guided through the stages of the research process to ensure information is valid and reliable.

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.

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. 

Business Project or Dissertation

The Business Project/Dissertation is a chance for you to 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.

Optional modules

Note: 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.

Non-state actors and human rights in crisis management

The aim of this module is to map and examine the role of non-state actors (companies and NGOs), in shaping the strategic and operating environment of humanitarian crisis and complex emergencies. To use concepts and principles of international human rights norms to critically evaluate some key issues that arise in relation to crisis management. 

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.

Global risk and resilience management

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. 

Advance tools and techniques for crisis Management

Note – This programme has two streams:

  • *Humanitarian stream – Includes the modules “Humanitarian Supply Chain Management” and “Non-state Actors, Human Rights and Crisis Management”
  • *Business Crises stream - Include the modules “Advances in Crisis Management” and “Global Risk and resilience management”.

These optional modules will be selected by students and will take place at Teaching Period 2.

 

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements

One of the following:

  • A good UK honours degree (minimum lower second class)
  • Equivalent overseas degree recognised by Aston University

As well as:

  • Two professional references – at least one must be from an academic referee
  • An official academic transcript of your university grades to date
  • A completed application form.

 

International students
  • An official academic transcript, with an official English translation, of your university grades to date.
  • Students whose native language is not English will also need to satisfy our English language requirements. Pre-sessional English language programmes are available for good applicants whose English qualification falls just short of these requirements.
  • Postgraduate masters students enrolling to Aston Business School with a 5.5 in one of the four IELTS sections will be required to engage with English language tuition as part of our professional development programme, The Aston Global Advantage. There will be no extra cost to the student.
  • For students who do not meet our minimum academic and English language requirements for this course, we offer an alternative pathway to an Aston Master’s with Kaplan International College, London.
  • For more information about qualifications, view our Aston in your country webpage.
Extensive work experience

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.

 

 

Learning, teaching and assessment

Our Crisis and Disaster Management MSc is taught through a mix of lectures and various applied seminars, where you will develop your skills. Practical sessions include the use of simulation software and different techniques for decision-making in chaotic environments. 

Seminars will also cover the analysis of real cases to understand the environment surrounding crisis and disasters, to allow you to reflect on the complexity of these environments and potential solutions for businesses and humanitarian organisations. Additionally, workshops and discussions about the implications of these situations and the importance of different stakeholders will be covered.

You’ll be supported by our virtual learning environment at Aston, which has a wealth of resources to help you such as lecture slides, access to e-books and online journals, as well as video recordings of your teaching sessions. Your lecturers will also be on hand to offer one-to-one support throughout the course.

Assessment

There’s a variety of assessment methods, including project reports, exams, coursework, poster preparations, and group work. The broad range of assessments will help you to develop the right skillset to contribute to businesses and humanitarian organisations.

 

Student experience and employability

Overseas opportunities

We benefit from an extensive network of partner institutions, including some of the highest ranked business schools in Europe, such as Kedge Business School in France. Your options are not just limited within Europe, we also have partnerships with universities worldwide, from Australia to China and USA to Singapore.

You’ll be pleased to know that all of our overseas study programmes are all tuition-free and you’ll study and be assessed in English.

Placements

We believe that a work placement taken as part of your masters programme can be hugely beneficial to your career prospects. It will enhance your CV and can give you a competitive advantage when applying for graduate roles.

As part of this course you’ll have the opportunity to undertake a work placement. Choose a company of your choice, in the UK or overseas, and spend from one month to 12 months gaining valuable work experience. You’ll apply what you’ve learnt on a daily basis and develop a deeper understanding of your subject area.

Our students have been successful in gaining work placements in a wide variety of business sectors, both in the UK and internationally. You’ll also have the unique opportunity to support start-up businesses and a local SMEs with real-life business projects through our Aston Business Clinic. You can work to solve strategic problems and make a real positive impact to growing businesses.

Our award-winning careers team will be on hand to help you find work placements and graduate positions. The team are also available to assist you with your CV and interview technique.

Trips and visits

Your lecturers will arrange for a number of guest speakers to visit and deliver the course content. This will give you the chance to learn from crisis and disaster management professionals. You’ll gain an insight into how different companies operate and the challenges faced in this area of business.

A large number of graduate employers visit campus during the year. There’s careers fairs, networking events and much more. You’ll have the chance to discover a wide range of graduate opportunities and speak with companies to see where’s the best place for you to start your career. 

Fees and scholarships

Fees

UK students (2021/22): £10,900

International/EU students (2021/22): £19,250

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 Home students.

Further information can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/news/student-support-in-england

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. Find out more about our scholarships here.

Career prospects

A postgraduate qualification in this subject prepares you for many different careers within the field. 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 roles that graduates from this programme would take are: Crisis Management Consultants, Emergency Planning Officers, Planning Officers, Emergency Planners, International Humanitarian Coordinator, Disaster Risk Reduction Analyst, Deployable Emergency Response Managers. As an example, mid-to-senior Crisis Management Consultants’ salaries can be around £50k-70k.

International students

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

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new immigration route which will enable international students to remain in the UK for two years after they have completed their studies to find work. The new post-study work visa will apply to international students starting undergraduate and postgraduate courses from 2020. Click here for more information on post-work visas.

 

Frequently asked questions

Why study Crisis and Disaster Management at Aston University?

You’ll 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’ll 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, it will 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 have to 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 roles that graduates from this programme would take are: Crisis Management Consultants, Emergency Planning Officers, Planning Officers, Emergency Planners, International Humanitarian Coordinator, Disaster Risk Reduction Analyst, Deployable Emergency Response Managers. As an example, mid-to-senior Crisis Management Consultants’ salaries can be around £50k-70k.

Why choose to study with Aston Business School?

Aston Business School is part of an elite group of business schools thanks to our triple accreditation from AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA. We can help to enhance your career prospects, boost your earning potential and set you on the path to a successful, and rewarding career. 

Aston University hosts the Aston CRISIS Centre. Academic members of the Centre have delivered European projects related to evacuation, crisis management, emergency services and logistics in disasters. These academics will use the experience and expertise acquired in different projects to deliver relevant knowledge on the topic useful for your future career. We have links to crisis and humanitarian organisations that inform the design and support the delivery of our modules.

Aston University is renowned for its excellence in teaching and research and the employability of our graduates. At Aston Business School we are committed to innovative approaches to teaching and education. We are dedicated to providing students with a competitive advantage in the jobs market by delivering the knowledge students need to pursue the many career tracks available to them with a background in international business. Teaching on the course is informed by our world-class scholars and provides you with a deep understanding and skills for conducting business on a global scale. At Aston University, we aim to prepare students for the real world challenges. There are plenty of opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience and apply their knowledge in real-life situations by engaging in live projects and internships. 

 

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