MSc Disaster Healthcare (Online Delivery)

This distinctive online Masters in Disaster Healthcare is the only course of its kind in the UK and is aimed at experienced healthcare professionals working in the humanitarian field, or those who aspire to do so. A key element of the MSc Disaster Healthcare is its strong international and trans-cultural focus. This degree involves studying via distance learning, plus an annual two-week residential summer school at the beginning of the course.

You will study the key areas of theory and practice that are relevant to healthcare in complex humanitarian disasters, from resilience and response to mitigation and recovery. The MSc Disaster Healthcare course will prepare you to provide high quality care to vulnerable populations in conflict zones, and disaster emergencies through humanitarian assistance. You will also develop your knowledge on how to reduce disaster risks and improve public health.

Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Part-time 3 Years August On Line 8
Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Part-time 3 Years August On Line 8
  • Public Health in Disasters 1 (20 credits) 
  • Public Health in Disasters 2 (20 credits)
  • Researching and Evaluating Disasters (40 credits)
  • Personal Preparedness for Disasters (20 credits)
  • Principles and Concepts in Disasters (20 credits)
  • Professional Practice in Disasters (20 credits) - Optional
  • Evidence Based Practice in Disasters Running (20 credits)
  • Critical Reflection on Learning in the Workplace (Disaster Preparation and Response) (20 credits) - Optional
  • Planning for Disasters and Civil Contingencies (20 credits) - Optional
  • Professional Practice Project (Non Clinical) (40 credits) - Optional

You can exit the course in year one with a Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert). You can exit the course in year two with a Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip).




Each year begins with a two week residential summer school in either the UK or in Finland. Summer School includes a week of simulation exercises in the field followed by a week of classes to introduce the forthcoming modules.

The remainder of the year involves studying online learning materials, engagement in online discussions and exercises, and self-directed study.

The final year of the MSc Disaster Healthcare course includes a 12 week placement in either disaster response, humanitarian assistance of disaster risk reduction.

You will be taught by an international teaching faculty from a range of backgrounds with field expertise in disaster and emergency response, public health, and humanitarian assistance.


Modules will be assessed throughout the course using essays, research proposals and field work study. Field placements scheduled for August/ September form a central and compulsory feature of the course structure.


The teaching team includes experts in nursing, midwifery, mental health and more.

Key staff are:

Jeff Evans
Caroline Whittaker
Teresa Filipponi
Nigel Taylor
Patrick Deeny
George Kernohan
Hanna Oommen

Applicants must have an:

  • Honours degree or
  • a postgraduate diploma in a relevant subject or
  • a recognised equivalent qualification.

IELTS 6.5 is required for non-English speakers.

Applications are welcome from healthcare and social welfare professionals, community health workers, NGO staff, healthcare managers and logisticians.

Usual accreditation of prior and experiential learning (APEL)/accreditation of prior and certificated learning (APCL) requirements apply.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

August 2018 - July 2019 Fees

  • Part-time UK and EU: TBC

August 2019 - July 2020 Fees

  • Part-time UK and EU: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

Apply directly to the University for this course.

Admissions statement 

Graduates of the MSc Disaster Healthcare course find work with national healthcare providers, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and inter-government organisations. Graduates have taken up key posts with the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) and Red Crescent Societies, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department of Health, the armed forces and with NGOs in Sudan, Iraq, Angola and Afghanistan.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.