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Module DXX-2008:

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Lynda Yorke

Overall aims and purpose

This module contextualizes the concepts of “hazard”, “risk”, “vulnerability” and “resilience” in relation to the natural environment and society. It will provide a practical and realistic overview of the impacts of hazards on society, coupled with an understanding of the science associated with investigation and monitoring the processes causing hazards (and disasters) at a range of spatial and temporal scales. The causal processes, impacts, and physical mitigation of hazards, and preparedness and disaster risk reduction to minimise potential impacts of natural hazards on society are examined throughout the lecture and seminar series.

Course content

• Hazards and disaster: what they are, complexity, risk and management • Historical perspectives: events, reconstruction and what we’ve learnt, early warning systems • Hazards: types, forecasting, planning • Hazards and the future: planning, resilience and reduction

Assessment Criteria


Grade D- to D+ Written examination answers provide basic factual information, but lack depth and detail. Seminar presentation keeps to time, slides are clear, and student is able to answer most of the questions asked by the audience. Poster is readable and gives basic information on the causes and impacts of a geohazards and how these can be monitored.


Grade C- to B+ Written examination answers provide most of the relevant factual information and include examples to illustrate particular points. Seminar presentation keeps to time, slides are clear and informative, and student is able to answer all of the questions asked by the audience. Poster is well designed and informative on the causes, impacts and monitoring of a geohazard.


Grade A- and above Written examination answers provide all of the relevant factual information as well as discussion based on wider reading and highly-developed conceptual awareness. Seminar presentation keeps to time, slides are clear, informative and imaginative, and student is able to give comprehensive answers to all of the questions asked by the audience. Poster is well and imaginatively designed, and gives full information on the causes, impacts and monitoring of a geohazard.

Learning outcomes

  1. Define the key concepts in the context of the impact of natural processes on human society.

  2. Explain the processes which lead to the occurrence of natural hazards and disasters at a range of temporal and spatial scales

  3. Outline the scientific methods used to investigate and monitor hazards and explain effective mitigation strategies

  4. Synthesise information (relating to hazards) from a variety of sources (on-line and traditional)

  5. Evaluate the impacts of hazards and disasters on human society

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
GROUP PRESENTATION Group oral presentation

A group presentation on a topic on the students choosing (needs approval from the module organiser). The talk must be 12 minutes long and there will be 3 minutes for Q&A from the cohort. Total of 15 minutes.

GROUP PRESENTATION Group Poster Presentation

A group poster based on the students choice of topic (must be approved by the module organiser). There is guidance on the format of the poster on the module BlackBoard site, and there will be a dedicated workshop to prepare for this assessment. There is no word count.


The exam comprises one seen question (released before the end of the semester) and an unseen component - 3 short-answer questions must be attempted from a choice of 5 questions. Students will be able to take their notes for the seen-question into the exam room in the form of a cheat-sheet (there is strict guidance and rules on the module BlackBoard site). The exam is two hours long, with one hour for the seen-question, and 20 mins per question for the unseen component.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


10*2 hour lectures


6*1 hour seminars


1 x 4 hour conference

Private study

Private and guided self-study


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

Subject specific skills

  • Develop and identify research question(s) and/or hypotheses as the basis for investigation.
  • Recognize and apply appropriate theories and concepts from a range of disciplines.
  • Consider issues from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives.
  • Apply subject knowledge to the understanding and addressing of problems.
  • Collect, analyse and interpret primary and/or secondary data using appropriate qualitative and/or quantitative techniques.
  • Awareness of the concepts of spatial and temporal scale in understanding processes and relationships.
  • Appreciation of the reciprocal nature of human-environmental relationships.
  • Apply appropriate techniques for presenting spatial and/or temporal trends in data.
  • Preparation of effective maps, diagrams and visualizations.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the importance of risk assessment and relevant legislation


Courses including this module