Disaster Management

School: School of Government
International Development Department

Modular value: 20 credits

Module Convenor: Moustafa Osman, Founder Director of Osman Consulting Ltd - Disaster Management Experts

Aim of the Module

The aim of the module is to provide disaster management knowledge and skills to enhance students' understanding of good (and bad) disaster preparedness and response and their reasons for them.

This module introduces participants to the main principles of disaster management, with a focus on disaster response in the developing world. The course will promote the sharing of relevant technical skills and knowledge and will equip participants with adequate analytical skills through developing key understanding of disaster management procedures, assessment methods, humanitarian principles and values, working with military during emergencies, working with refugees and IDPs, and adhering to agreed international standards.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module you will be able:

  • Understand and critically evaluate the nature of emergency situations and what is involved
  • Be familiar with the key concepts and terminology commonly used in disaster management
  • Understand the main principles and values of humanitarian work
  • Understand and critically evaluate the international humanitarian system and how it works 
  • Be familiar with and critically evaluate the roles and responsibilities of the main international humanitarian actors
  • Understand and be able to use the Sphere Standards and the Humanitarian Charter in their work
  • Understand the different legal status and needs of refugees and internal displaced people
  • Explore and critically evaluate different approaches, in order to distil ‘best practice’ in terms of possible response/s to different kind of emergencies

Teaching and learning approach

The teaching methodology will encourage participants to think creatively and will utilise contemporary adult learning methodologies including: interactive lectures, group work, classroom exercises, activities, work sheet, mapping, discussion, presentations, case studies, video show, games and brain-storming.

Topics covered include:

  • Introduction to disaster management (including role of government)
  • Humanitarian principles and values
  • International humanitarian law
  • Humanitarian standards (1), introduction to Sphere
  • Humanitarian standards (2), humanitarian charter
  • Assessment/role of the media in humanitarian response
  • Role of the military in humanitarian response
  • Humanitarian protection
  • Refugees and displacement


Essay: All MSc and Graduate Diploma students will be expected to submit an essay (3,000 word assignment), worth 50% of the total mark.

Group Assignment: Every student will be expected to work in a group of around three, to develop an emergency response plan (ERP) covering one sector of the main lifesaving services during emergencies such as food and nutrition, water and sanitation, shelter, or health services. The ERP should be delivered in a presentation format to a group representing the donor community (groups and sectors to be agreed in week 4). They should expect to be asked critical questions and enquiries by fellow students and module convenor, representing the donors.

Related courses:

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.