• Offered by Environmental Management & Development Program
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Environmental Management & Development
  • Areas of interest Geography, Human Ecology, Anthropology, Development Studies, Science
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Helen James
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2015
    See Future Offerings

The impact on human society of earthquakes, landslides, volcanoes, floods, dam bursts, droughts, heat waves, fires, cyclones, tsunamis, epidemics, large scale water/air pollution events and environmental/industrial disasters is the focus of this course. First we will investigate causes, preparation options and responses. Students will be introduced to the large available literature dealing with disaster risk reduction (DRR) and learn how to access it for practical advice. Second, disasters will be used as a society stress test. These challenging and disruptive events expose weaknesses and strengths often hidden in quieter times and can result in radical social, economic, environmental and political changes. So what does the nature of a particular disaster and responses reveal about the communities and nations that are affected? The course will also link disasters to other major academic discourses such as social and economic development, poverty alleviation and adaptation to climate change. In addition, it will examine some of the many academic disciplines involved in disaster research. What does each contribute and why do they come to the subject with different interests, approaches and methods?  

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Develop a critical capacity to evaluate the principles and practices of disaster risk reduction and management;
  2. Develop a deep understanding of disaster resilience, risk mitigation, and recovery policies as they arise from natural hazards around the globe;
  3. Develop the capacity to participate in debates on disaster governance and societal reconstruction. 

Other Information

This course is run in American graduate school style. Students are expected to do the readings each week before class and be prepared to discuss issues arising from the material. This course is research-led teaching and is interactive using powerpoints for each in-class session. The course uses a substantial number of case studies from around the world to give students a grounded experience of how disasters impact on people and their societies, their political cultures and institutions.  While there are no examinations for this course, students will be expected to participate fully in the class discussions and critically evaluate the disaster governance principles under consideration.  

Indicative Assessment

20% - Presentation 
20% - Short paper, 1500 words
50% - Long paper, 4000 words
10% - Class participation

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


40 contact hours

Preliminary Reading

Weekly readings are specified in the course outline



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $3096
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $4146
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
2253 20 Jul 2015 07 Aug 2015 31 Aug 2015 30 Oct 2015 In Person N/A

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