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Master Risk Analysis

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  • Objectives
    This master’s programme provides an advanced foundation in interdisciplinary risk studies. This programme will help students enter careers in risk governance, management, assessment or communication, or to undertake further academic research. We focus on the societal, public health and environmental (but not financial) aspects of risk analysis.
  • Entry requirements
    people with a first degree in social science, geography or environmental sciences from a UK university with a 2:1 classification. We will also take into account other relevant study and/or work experience.
  • Academic Title
    MA/MSc Risk Analysis
  • Course description
    Programme description

    - This programme is based in the King’s Centre for Risk Management which is a centre of excellence for risk studies.
    - The programme has a unique focus on the societal, public health and environmental (but not financial) aspects of risk.
    - The career prospects for graduates are excellent in this rapidly developing field.

    The programme provides knowledge and understanding of:
    the role of risk in public policy, regulation and governance;
    theoretical concepts, techniques and approaches to the assessment, management, governance and communication of risk across many risk fields; institutional and organisational mechanisms for the management and governance of risk; ethical issues to be considered in research on risk.

    Programme format and assessment
    Students take five core modules. Core modules comprise Risk Communication, Risk Governance, Risk Management, Research Methods in Human Geography, and a Risk dissertation. Students can then select an additional two modules, for example, Risk Assessment (required for the MSc, but not for the MA), Risk internship (research within a public or private sector organisation), or other Geography modules.

    Modules are assessed by coursework alone or by combinations of coursework and examination.

    Programme modules for MA/MSc Risk Analysis 

    PRACTISING SOCIAL RESEARCH I: Understanding the Fundamentals (Core Module)

    This module enables students to derive a greater understanding of the relationship between methodology and method and the related notions of epistemology and ontology. The module is a mix of lectures and tutorials and enables students to develop skills in the appropriate use and application of quantitative and qualitative methods, which will have been worked through in tutorial sessions. The module lays the conceptual groundwork for the design of the dissertation and enables students to appreciate the connections between epistemology and the students particular programme of study

    Risk Assessment (Core Module)
    This module aims to develop a critical understanding of risk assessment and its uses. It examines the conceptual approaches to the assessment of risk, the models and methodologies used in the technical assessment of risk, the uses of risk assessment in decision-making and policy and critiques current risk assessment models. It examines human health risk assessment, environmental risk assessment and site-specific risk assessment. The module aims: - To develop an understanding and knowledge of risk assessment concepts and tools, - To develop an understanding and knowledge on the uses of risk assessment in government and industry, - To develop an understanding of the application of risk assessment concepts and tools to human health, environmental and site-specific hazards, - To evaluate the ability of risk assessment tools to achieve their objectives, and - To develop understanding on the role and function of risk assessment tools in decision-making.

    Risk Communication (Core Module)
    This module aims to develop a critical understanding of risk communication. The first section of the module focuses on how the field of risk communication was developed with a number of classes discussing the psychology of risk. The second half of the module provides an overview of the conceptual theories and ideas prevalent in the area of risk communication such as social amplification of risk and trust, and ends with a discussion on the future of risk communication. The module aims: - To provide the students with a history of the risk perception literature with a focus on both natural and technological hazards; To develop an understanding of the conceptual underpinnings of risk communication; To examine the successes and failures of risk communication programmes in both Europe and North America; and To develop an understanding of how regulators, policy makers and industry use risk communication techniques in every day policy making.

    Risk Governance (Core Module)
    This module examines the governance of risks to human health and safety and the environment in a wide range of governance settings. The module develops conceptual understanding of the mechanics and dynamics of risk regulation regimes and examines a range of explanatory approaches to risk governance. Specific aims are to: - develop understanding of the variety of ways in which risks to human health and safety and the environment are governed; - develop understanding of the concept of risk regulation regimes as a tool for describing and analysing risk governance variety; - develop understanding of the range of factors that shape risk governance regimes, how they succeed and why they fail; - develop understanding of trends in the reform of risk governance regimes and the related impacts of reform.

    Risk Management (Core Module)
    This module explores the emergence, practices and problems of risk management. It will help the student develop both a conceptual and practical understanding of risk management from a range of institutional, social theoretic and practice orientated perspectives. Specific aims are to: -develop understanding of risk concepts and the emergence of risk management; - develop understanding of the character and diversity of risk management practices across the private and public sectors; - develop understanding of a range of social theoretic critiques of risk management; - develop understanding of the organisational factors that shape risk management practice, success and failure; to help the student critically evaluate and address risk management problems in a range of institutional settings.

    Applied Social Science: Research Design and Project Management
    The course develops your skills in applying social science methodologies and concepts to the design and implementation of actual research. Through the use of active learning techniques, you will be introduced to a range of skills and activities necessary to carry out high quality research. This course is taught by the Department of War Studies.

    Biotechnology & the Cultural Politics of Nature
    The course allows students to explore the multiple and contested Nature(s) and identify how these contestations are encountered in politics and policy. The significance of everyday practices in shaping cultural understandings of places and their populations are drawn out through both historical and contemporary readings of Nature. These readings are inherently political. Through the analysis of multi-media information including academic texts, policy documentation, art and film, the question of a stable and shared national identity with one type of nature is put under question. Seminar discussions expose to critical examination the interaction between constructions and experiences of different natures and socio-cultural and political structures.

    Environmental Policy and Politics
    This module enables students to understand the main problems and opportunities of environmental actors with regard to environmental policy formulation and implementation. To have an insight into the pertinent debates surrounding the role of different environmental actors in the environmental management process. To understand debates surrounding differences between environmental policy-making in advanced economies and the Third World. To understand why different environmental actors are pursuing different agendas with regard to environmental policy and politics.

    Environmental Politics as Cultural Politics
    The course allows students to explore the multiple and contested Nature(s) and identify how these contestations are encountered in politics and policy. The significance of everyday practices in shaping cultural understandings of places and their populations are drawn out through both historical and contemporary readings of Nature. These readings are inherently political. Through the analysis of multi-media information including academic texts, policy documentation, art and film, the question of a stable and shared national identity with one type of nature is put under question. Seminar discussions expose to critical examination the interaction between constructions and experiences of different natures and socio-cultural and political structures.

    Environmental Remote Sensing
    The module enables students to understand the information content of optical, thermal and radar remotely sensed data and to be able to identify the appropriate type of data for use in different environmental investigations. Students will learn to understand and apply various data calibration, processing and analyses techniques to maximize the interpretation of remotely sensed imagery. They will search, order and import various types of remote sensing data into appropriate software packages, and will be able to identify, obtain, calibrate, process and interpret data from sensors such as the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer and/or Landsat Thematic Mapper to illustrate examples of environmental change phenomena.

    Modelling Environmental Change at the Land Surface
    Through seminars and hands on experience, this module enables students to develop a research-level understanding of environmental modelling applications and limitations. Students will gain the ability to build, develop and apply a wide-range of modelling solutions to environmental problems. Students will also be able to critically assess research involving models and the application of models.

    Monitoring Environmental Change
    This module introduces students to the details and practicalities of environmental monitoring, using a variety of methodologies and measurement techniques, specifically using electronic-based sensors and instrumentation. Students acquire the skills to manipulate raw field, laboratory and logged data for analysis, to monitor, measure and analyse data on environmental stores and fluxes, and to interpret, analyse and present field and laboratory data clearly in written reports in order to explain processes operating in the environmental system under investigation. Students will also gain experience to design field or laboratory based research projects to monitor environmental systems, making use of appropriate field, laboratory and measurement equipment. Field monitoring methods are taught in the context of atmospheric environments, catchment monitoring, fluvial systems, hydrological processes, complemented with a practical fieldwork exercise.

    Qualitative Research Methods
    The objective of this course is to equip students with qualitative methodological skills. It is designed to introduce students to a range of qualitative methodologies and analytic techniques. It will also provide experience of qualitative interviewing, ethnographic observation and qualitative data analysis. The course is split into two parts: the first part of the course covers intersubjective methods such as in-depth interviews, focus groups, and ethnography. The second part focuses on methods of qualitative analysis, including textual and discourse analysis, archival scholarship, and computer-based qualitative data coding, using packages such as NVIVIO NUD*ist and AtlasTI. Please contact the lecturer responsible for further information on the content of the course.

    Risk Dissertation
    This course aims to develop a critical understanding of the application of risk analysis theory to a risk problem, issue or concept. It aims to: - Develop the students ability to identify and justify topics worthy of further investigation, - Develop the students ability to identify, define and elaborate research questions, - Further students understanding of designing research strategies in relation to their research questions, - Develop understanding and application of data gathering methods, - Develop understanding and application of data analysis tools and techniques. - Develop the application of risk theory to the analysis of empirical data, and - Develop the ability of the student to analyse empirical data within the theoretical and conceptual framework of risk.

    Risk Internship
    This module aims to develop a critical understanding appropriate of how theoretical risk analysis is operationalised by industry and government. This practical module will provide students with experience working with selected industrial, government or regulatory actors (e.g. multinational companies, national and European government policy-making departments and arms-length regulators) involved in risk analysis, management and governance in the UK and Europe. The module will enable students to validate and question risk theories and assumptions explored elsewhere in the degree. It will also provide vital practical experience for future employment. The course aims: - To develop understanding on the development of risk policy, - To evaluate techniques for rational decision-making on risk issues, - To develop understanding of risk management decision-making based upon different deliberative approaches such as epistemological, reflective and participatory discourses, - To develop knowledge and understanding on risk governance structures, and - To develop understanding of risk regulation regimes.

    Techniques for Managing Environmental Change at the Earth's surface
    The module enables students to have contact and presentations from a number of personnel directly involved in environmental management in the commercial world. It gives students an understanding of the interdisciplinary processes involved in environmental management, enabling students to design management solutions to a number of environmental problems. It enables students to present the results of an environmental management investigation both orally and in a written report.

    Theory and Methodologies of the Social Sciences
    Through seminar discussions, students will consider a range of philosophical approaches to the social sciences, from positivism and empiricism, to hermenuetics, marxism, and post-structuralism, and discuss the relationship between theoretical debates in particular disciplines to those within the wider social sciences. Each seminar will begin with student-led discussion of readings and then end with a more formal presentation from the instructor to introduce the material for the coming week.

    Water Resources and Water Policy
    This module provides an interdisciplinary introduction to the recent history of water resource allocation and management especially in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Priority will be given to outlining a conceptual framework identifying the relevant underlying ecological, economic and sociological principles relevant in the evaluation and management of water resources. The conceptual framework will also show the link between these underlying principles and environmental and economic policies. The roles of the institutions and technologies through which such policies can be implemented will also be analysed and exemplified.

    Duration
    One year FT, two years PT, September to September.

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