Disaster Risk and Resilience
The United Nations defines a disaster as a disruption of social and community function, involving so many losses and destructive impacts that affected communities and regions are unable to cope using their own resources. Global efforts to reduce the impacts of disasters over the last decade have failed to keep up with growing exposure of people and assets to natural and other hazards, which is generating new risks and a steady rise in disaster-related losses. To reverse this trend, UN member nations ratified the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in 2015.
The Sendai Framework calls for a broader, more people-centred, preventative approach to disaster risk reduction, in which communities, government and private sectors, civil society organisations, academia, and research institutions work together to build resilience and develop collaborative disaster risk reduction practices.
Learning ways to manage the risks from natural hazards is a relevant and fascinating area of study.
Aotearoa New Zealand is located on the Pacific ‘rim of fire,’ and has one of the most dynamic environments in the world. Floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, and tsunami threaten a rapidly-growing, high income economy, driving collaboration between policy, practice research, and local communities, and increasing demand for disaster risk reduction. This makes Aotearoa New Zealand an outstanding laboratory for the study of multi-hazard disaster risk and resilience.
The University of Canterbury is situated in the centre of New Zealand’s South Island, Te Tai Poutini, where the 2010-2011 Canterbury Earthquakes and the 2016 Kaikōura-Hurunui Earthquakes have had extensive and complex impacts in the central and north-east of the island. This has created considerable scope for highly integrated, cutting-edge disaster risk and resilience research.
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 Department of Geological Sciences | Te Tari Pūtaiao ā-nuku, from Lincoln University’s Department of Environmental Management, and from GNS Science | Te Pū Ao. This partnership increases the breadth of teaching expertise, student research projects, and industry practice connections.
Students should 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.
For entry to the PhD, students must normally have obtained a BSc Honours or MSc degree of high standard.
Disaster Risk and Resilience studies are offered through the following programmes:
Master of Science majoring in Disaster Risk and Resilience
The MSc in Disaster Risk and Resilience is Part II only, consisting of DRRE 690 Thesis.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Disaster Risk and Resilience
In the PhD, students need to pass a thesis of original research in the disaster risk management field (DRRE 790 Disaster Risk and Resilience PhD).
The job market for Disaster Risk and Resilience graduates is strong and varied. Recent graduates have taken up roles in both central and local government and in the private sector, including for example NZ Crown Research Institutes, Ministries for the Environment and for Defence, Civil Defence and Emergency Management groups, local government hazard management, and consultancies (both here and overseas).