Durham University

Durham University


This MA degree programme is designed for students who wish to explore the social dimensions of risk and resilience. The Department of Geography is especially well-suited to examine these in relation to security- and health-related risk, but students are encouraged to develop their thinking in relation to any aspect of risk, including, for example, climate risk and disaster risk reduction. For students interested in security-related risk, the MA programme offers in-depth and advanced understanding on geo-political security challenges and politics, including the ways in which they are governed increasingly through the prism of risk. The course responds to the growing realisation that many risks are being created through social processes bound to questions of security, including the ways that risk techniques are emerging and being employed as a means of securing uncertain futures. Since the 9/11 attacks in New York City and the 7/7 bombings in London, governments have become more concerned with terrorist threats to security. Surveillance has become more commonplace, preventing some risks while also creating new ones never before seen in society. For students interested in health-related risk, the MA programme offers advanced training in research methods on the determinants of health and well-being, and their implications for health policy and service provision. Led in part by experts in population health from a social science and public health perspective, the MA programme responds to the observation that we often overlook the critical role played by communities in creating and managing risks, and that we need to develop new approaches to building community resilience. You will learn about the 'social determinants' associated with public health risks including unemployment and poverty. The socioeconomic impacts of financial crises, for example, have large implications for public health risk creating new challenges for research and governance. You will be trained in both quantitative and qualitative methods to learn how to produce evidence relating to the wider determinants of health that is likely to benefit population health. Graduates from this programme will be well-suited to the needs of social and community work, to health professionals, and the pursuit of research degrees.

Entry requirements

Normally at least an upper second class degree (2:1).

Course modules

Core Modules:
Understanding Risk (30 credits),
Risk Frontiers (15 credits),
Fundamentals of Risk Research (15 credits),
Dissertation by Research (or) Vocational Dissertation (60 credits),
Elective Modules available in previous years include:
Hydrological Hazards (30 credits),
Spatial and Temporal Dimensions of Hazard (30 credits),
Social Dimensions of Risk and Resilience (30 credits),
International Relations and Security in the Middle East (15 credits),
Strategic Asia: Policy and Analysis (15 credits),
European Security (15 credits),
Social Policy and Society (30 credits).

Assessment methods

All students will undertake a suite of core modules (120 credits) which provide students with a range of skills and knowledge which result in a unique focus in risk combined with training in interdisciplinary research methods. These modules are: Understanding Risk, Fundamentals of Risk Research, Risk Frontiers and the Dissertation. Assessment includes the dissertation.


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
MA Full-time - 1 years
MA Part-time October 2017 - 2 years

Campus details

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Key information

Department of Geography
Telephone number: 
0191 334 1833