Postgraduate Diploma in Disaster Risk Management



Qualification code: 2GC D01          Curriculum code: N501P
Solving complex real-world problems and building societal resilience requires many disciplines


What this course offers: 

Climate change and disasters are significantly affecting the way in which we live, develop, plan and interact. Research suggests that the current development trajectory of Earth will greatly be determined by the adaptive capacities of humans. Moreover, issues of climate change and disaster risks impact on development gains and influences almost all disciplines and professional constituencies. This prestigious postgraduate diploma (NQF Level 8) aims to address issues of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation through a multi- and transdisciplinary perspective. The aim of this qualification is to provide adult learners with specialised skills which will enable them to apply disaster risk reduction within their specific discipline or area of speciality. This transdisciplinary diploma was developed by the African Centre for Disaster Studies drawing on over a decade of active involvement in practice and research. It is our belief that this qualification will enable learners from various disciplines to enter (or more effectively continue in) the international employment market. Learners will gain valuable knowledge and skills which will prepare them for a career in international humanitarian and development organisations (such as the Red Cross, CARE, World Vision, Oxfam and Save the Children to name but a few), enter the international public management domain (e.g. various UN agencies such as UNDP, UNEP, UNISDR, UNWOMEN, UNESCO, OCHA etc.) or more effectively apply disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation within their own discipline or professional working environment.

Programme outcomes:

In this programme the student will experience that the discipline of Disaster Risk Studies equips students with knowledge and professional management skills to make significant contributions to a fast changing world. It also offers students analytical and research skills that may put him/her in demand in the labour market or in a position to work autonomously. This course can be done in 1 year full time or 2 years part time. Access to internet and computers is compulsory.

Admission requirements:

  • A B-degree, Advanced Diploma, or its equivalent (NQF Level 7 qualification).
  • Candidates that do not comply with this minimum requirement may apply to the Director of the African Centre for Disaster Studies for an interview by an admissions panel. The panel is compiled by the Director of the African Centre for Disaster Studies and may consider admission in light of the interview and other relevant considerations.
  • A limited number of candidates will be admitted to the programme annually, depending upon the availability of the personnel capacity of the African Centre for Disaster Studies. All applications will be strictly judged according to academic merit. All admitted candidates must attend an introductory and orientation meeting at the Potchefstroom Campus on a date determined by the Director of the African Centre for Disaster Studies.


This diploma will give students access to enroll for an M.Sc. in Environmental Sciences with Disaster Risk Science (N801P).


To apply, visit the NWU website. Applications will only take place online at

Applications for the diploma usually opens around middle April and closes around the end of October for commencement in the following year. 


First semester 

  • Disaster Risk Studies and Climate Change Adaptation (DRRS511) – 16 credits (fundamental)
  • Socio-Ecological Resilience (DRRS512) – 16 credits (fundamental)
  • Hazards (DRRS513) – 16 credits (fundamental)
  • Disaster Risk Assessment (DRRS514) – 16 credits (core)
  • Research Methodology (DRRS515) – 16 credits (fundamental)

Second semester

  • Urban Disaster Risks (DRRS521) – 16 credits (core)
  • Preparedness and Response (DRRS522) – 16 Credits (core)
  • Planning and Project Management (DRRS523) – 16 credits (core)
  • Research Project (DRRS524) – 16 credits (fundamental)


For more information on the Postgraduate Diploma, contact the Programme Manager, Ms. Suna Meyer, at +27 (18) 299 1620 or


Last updated: 4 November 2022