MSc Crisis and Disaster Management

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What is Crisis Management?

Jonathan Hemus, Managing Director of crisis management consultancy Insignia explains what crisis management involves and why it is vital for businesses.

Course overview

  • Course level
  • Course type
  • Duration
    1 year
  • Course options
    No placement
  • School

Entry requirements

  • Entry requirements, this course opens in 2020:
    A good UK honours degree (minimum lower second class) or an equivalent overseas degree recognised by Aston University.
  • As well as:
    Two professional references – at least one must be from an academic referee. An official academic transcript of your university grades to date, and a completed application form.
  • For International Students:
    An official academic transcript, with official English translation, of your university grades to date, students whose native language is not English also need to satisfy our English language requirements. Entry requirements for each individual student will be stated in their offer letter.
More information

Key dates

Ranked in the top 100 for Business and Management (QS World University Rankings 2020)

Select from a range of elective modules

Course Summary

On this course, you will learn about the intricacies of crisis and disaster management in general and you will be able to study further in the area of your preference: business risk or humanitarian operations. You will understand decision-making approaches on those areas and you’ll develop your skill to contribute to different organisations affected by disruptions.

This course concludes with a Business Project; a substantial piece of work designed to provide you with an opportunity to analyse a business problem and practically apply the knowledge and skills developed during the course.

You can choose to study this course as part of our double degree programme.



Entry requirements
  • A good UK honours degree (minimum lower second class)
  • Equivalent overseas degree recognised by Aston University.

As well as:

  • Two professional references – at least one must be from an academic referee
  • An official academic transcript of your university grades to date
  • A completed application form.

For International Students:

  • An official academic transcript, with an official English translation, of your university grades to date.

  • Students whose native language is not English will also need to satisfy our English language requirements Pre-sessional English language programmes are available for good applicants whose English qualification falls just short of these requirements.

  • Postgraduate masters students enrolling with Aston Business School with a 5.5 in one of the four IELTS sections will be required to engage with English language tuition as part of our professional development programme, The Aston Global Advantage.  There will be no extra cost to the student.

  • For students who do not meet our minimum academic and English language requirements for this course, we offer an alternative pathway to an Aston Master’s with Kaplan International College, London.
  • For more information about qualifications, view our Aston in your country webpage.


Why choose us?

Being in an elite group of just 1% of business schools in the world, thanks to our AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA accreditation, we can help to enhance your career prospects and boost your earning potential.

On this course, you will learn about the intricacies of crisis and disaster management in general and you will be able to study further in the area of your preference: business risk or humanitarian operations. You will understand decision-making approaches on those areas and you’ll develop your skill to contribute to different organisations affected by disruptions.

Our courses offer a range of opportunities to gain practical experience through things such as, consultancy projects and entrepreneurial opportunities. Find out more here. 

Fees and scholarships

Fees 2020/21

UK/EU:          £ 10,550
International:  £18,850

Find out about our scholarships here

Subject guide and modules

Core modules

  • An Introduction to Crisis Management
    Through the analysis of real-world examples, this module introduces you to crisis management theory. You’ll critically examine the life-cycle of crises and management theory, so that you are equipped with the knowledge and foresight to understand how a crisis unfolds and to take steps to resolve or mitigate a crisis at each stage of the crisis life cycle.
  • Crisis Management and Decision-making
    This module introduces you to the practical application of decision-making within chaotic and urgent circumstances. We critically examine the stages of the crisis life-cycle and align them with an appropriate decision-making method, such that you will be equipped with the tools to take appropriate action to resolve or mitigate a crisis at each stage of the crisis life cycle.
  • Ethics in a Crisis
    This module provides background, context and structure to ethical decision making in crisis situations in order to test whether specific response and recovery operations are fair and just.
  • Crises Technology and Analytics
    The aim of this module is to provide you with a broader and deeper understanding of the growing role of technology and analytics stemming from the heterogeneous digital data streams in crisis management. The module will examine the advantages, limitations and barriers to adoption of technological solution in the domain using relevant theories which will be supplemented with real-life case-studies.
  • Applied Research
    This module will look at the research methods used in this area of study and work practice. You’ll examine the strengths and weaknesses of methods and techniques used to collect and analyse information. You’ll be guided through the stages of the research process to ensure information is valid and reliable.
  • Simulation for Managerial Decision Making
    This module aims to combine the challenge of learning the theory of simulation modelling with collecting data in an external organisation using simulation modelling software and group work to meet a deadline for the presentation of results. This skillset is useful as simulation is used in many organisations and consultancy units to provide descriptive predictive and prescriptive analytics.
  • Professional Development Programme (PDP)
    The Aston Professional Development Programme (PDP) aims to provide opportunities to develop as an effective academic and also as a desirable potential employee or researcher. In conjunction with partner learning organisations abroad and organisations in the UK the PDP introduces you to 'live' problems and challenges through core and elective workshops alongside studying your Master's programme.
  • MSc Dissertation
    The Business Project/Dissertation is a chance for you to carry out an original piece of work applying material that you have learnt in the taught element of your degree. Specific requirements will be explained relating to different degree programmes but in summary you must demonstrate both theoretical and practical knowledge of your chosen area of specialism.

Optional modules*

  • Non-state actors and human rights in crisis management
    The aim of this module is to map and examine the role of non-state actors (companies and NGOs), in shaping the strategic and operating environment of humanitarian crisis and complex emergencies. To use concepts and principles of international human rights norms to critically evaluate some key issues that arise in relation to crisis management. 
  • Humanitarian supply chain Management
    This module aims to provide an overview of the supply chain in disaster situations. The module introduces an analysis of current considerations associated to the different dimensions of supply chain during disaster events to identify potential alternatives to enhance operations in chaotic environments. It aims to provide you with knowledge about the range of tools/techniques/methodologies needed to plan supply chain activities during disasters.
  • Global risk and resilience management
    This module aims to provide students with a high level of conceptual and practical understanding of risk management and resilience management processes and practices in the crisis and disaster management context. This module will explore current thinking on risk management strategy, culture, risk issues and risk identification techniques. It will also examine processes and practices in building business resilience for crisis and disaster management. 
  • Advance tools and techniques for crisis Management
    Note – This programme has two streams:
    • Humanitarian stream – Includes the modules “Humanitarian Supply Chain Management” and “Non-state Actors, Human Rights and Crisis Management”
    • Business Crises stream - Include the modules “Advances in Crisis Management” and “Global Risk and resilience management”.

    These optional modules will be selected by students and will take place at Teaching Period 2.

Learning, teaching and assessment

You’ll be taught through a mix of lectures and various applied seminars, where you’ll develop your skills. Practical sessions include the use of simulation software and different techniques for decision-making in chaotic environments. Seminars will also cover the analysis of real cases to understand the environment surrounding crisis and disasters, to allow you to reflect on the complexity of these environments and potential solutions for businesses and humanitarian organisations. Additionally, workshops and discussions about the implications of these situations and the importance of different stakeholders will be covered.

During your studies you will have access to our online learning platform: Blackboard. This platform includes all the digital resources you need when revising, including lecture slides, access e-books and online journals, as well as video recordings of teaching sessions. These resources will enhance your learning experience and help you complement taught sessions. Your lecturers will also be on hand to offer one-to-one support with any topics you have difficulty with.

Assessment methods are varied including project reports, exams, poster preparation, coursework, pitching projects and group work. The broad range of assessments will help you develop the right skillset to contribute to businesses and humanitarian organisations.

The Aston Global Advantage

The Aston Global Advantage is an integrated module which runs throughout your course. Focusing on professional development and employability, this module gives you the opportunity to identify, develop and apply the key skills you will gain throughout the year. You'll have the opportunity to:

  • Develop your academic skills
  • Build a portfolio of professional business skills
  • Study abroad with one of our international partners, undertake an internship placement in the UK or overseas or get involved in a global business challenge simulation.
Student experience and employability

Overseas opportunities

We benefit from an extensive network of partner institutions, including some of the highest ranked business schools in the Europe, such as Kedge Business School in France. Your options are not just limited within Europe, we also have partnerships with universities worldwide, from Australia to China and USA to Singapore.

You’ll be pleased to know that all of our overseas study programmes are all tuition-free and you’ll study and be assessed in English.


We believe that a work placement taken as part of your masters programme can be hugely beneficial to your career prospects. It will enhance your CV and can give you a competitive advantage when applying for graduate roles.

As part of this course you’ll have the opportunity to undertake a work placement. Choose a company of your choice, in the UK or overseas, and spend from one month to 12 months gaining valuable work experience. You’ll apply what you’ve learnt on a daily basis and develop a deeper understanding of your subject area.

Our students have been successful in gaining work placements in a wide variety of business sectors, both in the UK and internationally. You’ll also have the unique opportunity to support start-up businesses and a local SMEs with real-life business projects through our Aston Business Clinic. You can work to solve strategic problems and making a real positive impact to growing businesses.

Our award-winning careers team will be on hand to help you find work placements and graduate positions. The team are also available to assist you with your CV and interview technique.

Trips and visits

Your lecturers will arrange for a number of guest speakers to visit and deliver the course content. This will give you with the chance to learn from experienced business analytics professionals. You’ll gain an insight into how different companies operate and the challenges faced in this area of business.

A large number of graduate employers visit campus during the year. There’s careers fairs, networking events and much more. You’ll have the chance to discover a wide range of graduate opportunities and speak with companies to see where’s the best place for you to start your career. 


Study or work in another country

The University has secured Erasmus+ mobility funding for students going on placement during the academic year 2019/20.  For students planning their placement in the academic year 2020/21, Erasmus+ mobility funding will be dependent on the Exit date and whether a Withdrawal deal is agreed. The University’s Brexit information page is regularly being updated and will have the latest information.   

Career prospects

A postgraduate qualification in this subject prepares you for many different careers within the field.  Graduates from this programme may seek careers working in academia, business, government and non-profit organisations in areas such as emergency planning, disaster response, crisis communication, and risk management both in the UK and overseas.

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