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Master of Disaster Risk and Resilience

This course is available


Level of Study

Master's Degree


1 year

Next start date

Expected Jul 2023


University of Canterbury


This professional master’s degree provides an introduction to this rapidly evolving interdisciplinary field.

Why study a Master of Disaster Risk and Resilience at UC?

The professional master's programme is taught by a multi-disciplinary team drawn from the Disaster Risk and Resilience Group in the University of Canterbury’s School of Earth and Environment from Lincoln University’s Department of Environmental Management and from GNS science. This partnership increases the breadth of teaching expertise, student research projects and industry practice connections.

How do I plan my degree?

The 180-point programme is made up of:

  • five compulsory courses (75 points)
  • three optional courses (45 points – selected from an approved list of 400-level (UC) and 600-level (LU) courses in which the student has specific interests)
  • plus either a 60-point dissertation (DRRE 691 completed over summer) or a third semester of coursework (60 points).

Subjects and courses

Master of Disaster Risk and Resilience (MDRR) courses draw disaster risk and resilience content from social sciences, physical sciences, planning, geospatial. Innovative teaching methods include role play disaster simulation exercises, field trips to major infrastructure assets/systems and disaster hotspots, leading guest lecturers from science, government and industry, and an internship programme.

MDRR students gain an understanding of:

  • current disaster risk and resilience research and practice fields
  • disaster risk drivers, risk communication and disaster risk reduction strategies
  • disaster resilience-building theory and practices.

Students must complete:

  • DRRE 408 GIS for Disaster Risk and Resilience (unless prior work or experience in GIS is approved by the Director of Studies)
  • DRRE 401 Introduction to Disaster Risk and Resilience
  • DRRE 402 Natural Hazard Risk Assessment
  • DRRE 403 Disaster Risk and Resilience Applications
  • ERST 604 Advanced Urban, Regional and Resource Planning (Lincoln University)
  • ERST 609 Advanced Risk and Resilience (Lincoln University)
  • either a 60-point dissertation (DRRE 691 Professional Project in Disaster Risk and Resilience) or 60 points of further coursework

Further study

The MDRR is part of a suite of postgraduate qualifications at UC at the intersection of cutting-edge physical and social sciences, exploring interactions between geophysical and human environments, with a focus on resilience and geophysical/social environmental dynamics – a growing area of expertise at UC.

Career Opportunities

MDRR graduates are in a position to choose between proceeding into funded doctoral programs, or pursuing careers in disaster reduction, risk assessment, hazard assessment and environmental management and consulting, as well as in local and regional government.

Graduates have found work in consultancies locally and internationally, in NZ Crown Research Institutes, in the Ministry for Civil Defence and Emergency Management, in regional Civil Defence and Emergency management Groups and in the private sector.

Start date: Monthly by arrangement with supervisor

Entry criteria

Every student for the Master of Disaster Risk and Resilience (MDRR), shall have:

  • a bachelor's degree which is relevant to Disaster Risk and Resilience, normally with a B Grade Point Average or higher in the final year; and
  • 15 points from STAT 100-level courses, or equivalent.

Note: This prerequisite may be waived at the discretion of the Programme Coordinator.

Applicants must also satisfy our English language entry requirements:

  • IELTS (Academic): Minimum overall score of 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in reading, writing, listening and speaking.
  • TOEFL (IBT): Minimum overall score of 90, with a minimum score of 19 in Reading, Listening and Writing.
  • PTE (Pearson Test of English - Academic): Overall score of 58 and no communicative skills score below 50.

Application deadline: At least 6 months before the planned start date.

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