applied earth sciences - Natural Hazards, Risk and Engineering

Spatial information for effective disaster risk management

Are you interested in the use of spatial information for effective disaster risk management? Than this master’s course in Geo-information Science and Earth Observation for Applied Earth Sciences with specialization in Natural Hazards, Risk and Engineering leading to an MSc degree is the course for you!

Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and extreme weather events are well-known triggers for natural hazards in many parts of the world. But we are also increasingly affected by the effects of climate change, urbanization, environmental degradation and unsustainable land use practices.

Our exposure and vulnerability to landslides, floods, erosion and other natural hazards and the corresponding disaster risk are continuously changing. They also influence the way we try to minimize the possible impact of natural hazards and to reduce risk. For example, what is a good combination of societal adaptation and (geotechnical) mitigation measures? The modelling and assessment of natural hazards and disaster risk, and the use of spatial information in risk reduction and disaster preparedness planning, post-disaster damage assessment and remediation are among the themes emphasized in this course.

For whom is this master course relevant?

The master’s course with specialization in Natural Hazards, Risk and Engineering leading to an MSc degree is for students who want to become experts in using remote sensing and GIS technology for natural hazard and disaster risk assessment, spatial analysis and predictive modelling, and geotechnical engineering. As a student in this course you are at ease with quantitative analysis methods and already have some knowledge of dynamic processes at the earth surface. Our students often have a background in earth science, geography, engineering, or environmental science.

What is the master course content?

This master’s course exposes you to different types of natural hazards and the risk that they can cause, from both a societal and engineering perspective. You will gain insight in methods to evaluate hazards and risk and how they may change in the future due to urbanization and other global changes. Both geo-technical engineering solutions and non-structural measures for mitigating these hazards will be dealt with. You will also learn about vulnerability concepts and how risk information is used for disaster risk reduction, disaster preparedness planning, post-disaster damage assessment and remediation.

The course offers a mix of theory and practice. More than half of the time is reserved for hands-on training and project work, using examples from all over the world that are often linked to international projects. Throughout the master course you will also use an array of software tools, for spatial analysis, image processing, digital terrain analysis, dynamic modelling, etc.

During the course we expect you to develop a pro-active and critical learning attitude. In that way you also equip yourself to respond to changing demands and opportunities in your career after completion of the master’s course.

The master's programme in Geo-information Science and Earth Observation is divided into four blocks. The blocks vary in length and are divided into three week modules. The number of modules for the programme is 23.

Block 1 (modules 1-3)
Concepts of remote sensing and GIS technology.

Block 2 (modules 4-10)
Application of RS and GIS for natural hazards, risk and engineering.

Topics: image interpretation for earth science studies, advanced image analysis and quantitative remote sensing, rock and soil mechanics, empirical modelling of hazard processes, process modelling of natural hazards, risk assessment, geotechnical modelling, climate change impact assessment, group project

Block 3 (modules 11-15)
Advanced courses and MSc research preparation

Block 4 (modules 16-23)
Individual research MSc research phase

What will be achieved?

Throughout the master’s course emphasis is put on the meaningful and creative use of concepts, techniques and tools from an earth science perspective, but with an open eye to other disciplines and scientific fields.

At the end of the master’s course you are able to:

  • analyse problems encountered in professional practice and develop appropriate methods for studying a/o solving these problems;
  • use geo-information science and earth observation to generate, integrate, analyse and display spatial data;
  • evaluate and apply relevant methods and models for data analysis and problem solving;
  • formulate and carry out an MSc research project and defend the results of this thesis work;
  • contribute with knowledge and skills to problem solving in natural hazards, risk and engineering context;
  • work in teams with specialists of other disciplines;
  • display critical learning attitude, be flexible, pro-active, have a vision;
  • respond to changing demands and opportunities from both the scientific discipline and society;
  • effectively communicate the results of investigations, both to scientific peers and the general public.

About your diploma

Upon successful completion of this programme you are entitled to the degree Master of Science. You will receive an (Academic Education) Diploma in Geo-information Science and Earth Observation from the University of Twente.

Along with your diploma you will receive a Diploma Supplement, providing the name of the specialization, the description of the nature, level, context, and status of the study completed.

Career opportunities

An MSc degree in Geo-information Science and Earth Observation for Natural Hazards, Risk and Engineering provides a good basis for international employment. Our graduates have found positions in research institutes and universities, in national and international agencies dealing with disaster risk mitigation and civil protection, and in the private sector (engineering, consultancy, insurance). For excellent students with research ambition this master’ course is a good starting point for PhD research with an academic research group in Europe or worldwide.

Why choose this master’s course?

This course will transform you into a skilled and knowledgeable expert in the field of natural hazards who can identify the both risks they pose to society and what can be done to reduce these risks. The course offers the opportunity to experiment with spatial approaches and techniques for hazard assessment, and integrate the modelling of the physical processes involved into multi-hazard risk assessment.

Sustainable strengthening

ITC's goal is to explore activities in international exchange of knowledge, focus on capacity building and institutional development in developing countries and emerging economies. ITC's approach is application-oriented, directed at finding solutions for and strengthening of civil society in addressing issues of local, national and global dimensions.

Other courses in Natural Hazards, Risk and Engineering

Are you specifically interest in the practical applications of the concepts and strategies taught in this master’s course but to a lesser extent in the research part and an MSc degree? Than one of our distance courses or short courses may be of interest to you!

how to apply for this master course?

Select a course in the Course Finder and click the register link. This will take you to the ITC online course application system. More information about studying at the faculty ITC can be found on the ITC Study webpages.

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