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Environmental Hazards (MSc)

  • Duration: 1 year
  • Mode: Full time

Start date

Open day

Find out more about studying here as a postgraduate at our next Open Day.

Why study this course

This course provides an advanced understanding of environmental hazards and technical expertise in risk assessment with a focus on the methods needed to analyse past hazards and forecast future ones.


Societal impact

Join the global effort to improve our resilience to environmental disasters, as outlined in the Sendai framework and endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly.


Specialist modules

Develop an advanced knowledge of how environmental hazards occur and technical expertise in risk assessment, with hands-on experience using remote sensing, numerical modelling, and a range of advanced field and laboratory analyses.


Research-led teaching

Experience research-led teaching from leading practitioners who will share their diverse expertise in the interdisciplinary science of hazard assessment and risk management.


Graduate prospects

Gain the skills required by graduate employers in hazard management, environmental consultancies, urban resilience planning, government policy, and crisis communications industries, or for further research in this evolving field.


Independent project

Complete a research project driven by your own interests in a location of your choosing, including outside of the UK.

Our society is facing unprecedented environmental hazards driven by climate change and the rapid expansion of the world population. Global and local disasters cause many fatalities and cost billions of pounds every year. Earth scientists with expertise in the specialist hazard field are able to mitigate the impact of natural hazards, such as floods, earthquakes, landslides, volcanoes and coastal erosion, and environmental hazards created by people, such as air and water pollution.

On this course you will develop an advanced understanding of environmental hazards and technical expertise in risk assessment, including crucial skills in numerical and statistical modelling, remote sensing and data analysis. There will be plenty of opportunities to gain hands-on experience using state-of-the-art field and laboratory equipment and high-level, professional software. You will handle the latest modelling methods using remote sensing data from satellites such as CubeSat constellations and Sentinel, which are used to image the surface of the Earth.

With the skills required to predict, track and mitigate disasters, you will be an attractive candidate for a range of employment and research opportunities within government, government agencies, environmental consultancies, flood risk, utility and insurance companies. Plus, you will become part of the global effort to make our society more resilient against disasters as outlined in the Sendai framework and endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly.

Where you'll study

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

We’re making sense of our changing world and solving some of the most critical challenges facing our society, economy and environment.

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  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2087 4830
  • MarkerPark Place, Cardiff, CF10 3AT

Admissions criteria

In order to be considered for an offer for this programme you will need to meet all of the entry requirements. Your application will not be progressed if the information and evidence listed is not provided.

With your online application you will need to provide:

  1. A copy of your degree certificate and transcripts which show you have achieved a 2:1 honours degree in a relevant subject area such as geography, geology, or urban planning, or an equivalent international degree. If your degree certificate or result is pending, please upload any interim transcripts or provisional certificates.
  2. A copy of your IELTS certificate with an overall score of 6.5 with 5.5 in all subskills, or evidence of an accepted equivalent. Please include the date of your expected test if this qualification is pending. If you have alternative acceptable evidence, such as an undergraduate degree studied in the UK, please supply this in place of an IELTS.

If you do not have a degree in a relevant area or have a 2:2 honours degree you may still apply but should provide additional evidence to support your application such as a CV and references.

Application deadline:

We allocate places on a first-come, first-served basis, so we recommend you apply as early as possible. Applications normally close at the end of August but may close sooner if all places are filled.

Selection process:

We will review your application and if you meet the entry requirements, we will make you an offer. If you do not have a degree in a relevant area or have a 2:2 honours degree you may be invited to an interview to assess your suitability for the programme.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

This is a full-time course undertaken in one academic year.

For the first seven months, from September to April, you will complete taught modules to a total of 120 credits during the Diploma stage of your degree.

If you pass the Diploma stage you will progress onto the Master’s stage, where you will undertake an individual project (worth 60 credits) culminating in a dissertation. This project will be carried out during the summer under the supervision of a member of academic staff.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2024/25 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2024.

This course is composed of compulsory modules with a balance of modules that examine the global, interdisciplinary problems of hazard mitigation and provide advanced methodological training. The programme also develops the advanced technical and theoretical skills required by modern hazard analysis.

Finally, the 60-credit dissertation provides students with an opportunity to conduct hazard research in their specialised area of interest.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

The School of Earth and Ocean Sciences has a strong and active research culture which informs and directs our teaching. We are committed to providing teaching of the highest standard allowing students from a range of backgrounds to fulfil their potential.

The methods of teaching we employ may vary from module to module. Generally we teach using a mixture of methods including lectures, small group workshops, computer based laboratory exercises, and field based trips. Where possible, lectures will be recorded so you can watch and study in your own time.

Most of your taught modules will have further information for you to study and you will be expected to work through this in your own time according to the guidance provided by the lecturer for that module.

How will I be assessed?

Modules are entirely assessed based on a range of different coursework assessments that combine both individual and group exercises. The delivery of the coursework is balanced between different modes of assessment from presentations, written assessments (essays and reports), and laboratory practical assessments.


Feedback on coursework may be provided via written, oral, or video-based comments on work submitted, by provision of ‘model’ answers and/or through discussion in contact sessions.

You will usually receive your feedback from the module leader. If you have questions regarding your feedback, module leaders can give advice and guidance on your progress.

How will I be supported?

You will be allocated a personal tutor when you enrol on the course. A personal tutor is there to support you during your studies, and can advise you on academic and personal matters that may be affecting you. You should have regular meetings with your personal tutor to ensure that you are fully supported.

For your dissertation, we will allocate you an academic supervisor who is there to provide assistance and feedback on how your advanced project work is progressing. You should keep in in regular contact with your academic supervisor by email and attend at least one personal progress interview at Cardiff University during the dissertation period.


We use the University’s virtual learning environment, Learning Central, to share course materials, including handouts, professional reports, videos, images, further reading and links to government agencies. You may also use Learning Central to communicate and share ideas with fellow students and course tutors in discussion circles. Where possible, lectures will be recorded and shared via Learning Central so you can watch and study in your own time.

You will have full use of the Science Library, which houses materials related to Earth and Ocean Sciences, as well as the other University libraries.      

Support services

Cardiff University offers a wide range of support services which are open to our students, such as the Graduate Centre, counselling and wellbeing, financial and careers advisors, the international office and the Student Union. 


We aim to create an inclusive, supportive and welcoming environment that respects the dignity of staff and students of all ages, ethnicities, disabilities, family structures, genders, nationalities, sexual orientations, races, religious or other beliefs, and socio-economic backgrounds.

We are committed to the Athena SWAN principles and have been awarded a Bronze status.



What skills will I practise and develop?

Knowledge & Understanding:

On successful completion of the course you should be able to:

  • Categorise environmental hazards in terms of their underlying processes and drivers.
  • Critically evaluate the causes and impacts of vulnerability to environmental risk.
  • Develop a working definition of resilience to cope with global environmental hazards.
  • Appraise the risks of complex environmental hazards.

Intellectual Skills:

On successful completion of the course you should be able to:

  • Test deterministic and probabilistic models of environmental hazards.
  • Critically evaluate and objectively analyse environmental hazard problems and develop appropriate, creative solutions.
  • Summarise and critically assess complex hazard data and theory to forecast future risk.

Professional Practical Skills:

On successful completion of the course you should be able to:

  •  Design risk assessments for environmental hazards.
  •  Handle the range of data needed to critically assess environmental hazards and an ability to incorporate these into specific case studies.
  • Prepare to pursue opportunities for career development and lifelong learning and appreciate the potential effects of global change.

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the course you should be able to:

  • Create analysis using complex deterministic and probabilistic models.
  •  Critically evaluate literature to effectively communicate ideas, principles and theories by oral, written, and electronic means.
  • Work effectively as a team member or leader in a team and as an individual, cultivating initiative, personal responsibility and decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations.
  • Handle a range of remote sensing methodologies.

Tuition fees for 2024 entry

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £11,950 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2024/25 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Fees for island status

Learn more about the postgraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Fees for overseas status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £28,200 £2,500

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Financial support

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Additional costs

Not for any compulsory activity

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?


Living costs

We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.


Master's Scholarships

An award open to UK students intending to study one of our taught master’s degrees.

Postgraduate loans

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2024 or later, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan to support your study at Cardiff University.

Alumni Discount

The alumni discount is available for Cardiff University graduates who are planning to start an eligible master's in 2024/25.

Careers and placements

Graduates of this course have found employment within governmental and non-governmental agencies, environmental consultancies, flood risk, utility and insurance companies.

The range of technical skills taught on this programme were developed with consultation from environmental companies, which also makes students attractive candidates for these organisations. This course addresses both local and global-scale issues, providing graduates with a wide range of potential work across the globe.

If you prefer to continue on a more academic career pathway, you may choose to continue your studies with further research on a hazard-related topic.



Next steps


Open Day visits

Register for information about our 2023 dates.

Make an enquiry

Contact us for more information about this course.


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Related searches: Earth sciences, Hazard management, Environment, Environmental science

HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.