Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)


Department: Geography


Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None.


  • None.



Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • The aim of this module is to expose students to current thinking in risk research through the Institute of Hazard and Risk Research programme of seminars, given by both Durham and external staff and to use this exposure as a means of training students in the generic skills of interpreting, criticising and synthesising emerging research. The risk industry has a new found appetite for using cutting edge ‘knowledge’ (witness notions of ‘evidence-based’ practice; the investment of the leading reinsurance brokers (e.g. Benfield-Aon; Willis; Axa) which in turn requires graduates who are skilled in critical interpretation and synthesis of new knowledge.


  • Students will attend the IHRR weekly seminar, each of which will have a subsequent workshop to work through readings and material related to the topic delivered. Students will complete: (1) a seminar diary; and (2) a detailed report on one seminar.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will have an in-depth understanding of a range of contrasting topics in risk
  • Students will have a very detailed understanding of one major topic in risk
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will be able to engage in constructive criticism of a set of very different risk topics
  • Students will be able to synthesis the core messages emerging from contrasting risk topics
Key Skills:
  • Written communication, notably critical synthesis of core messages
  • Deliberative and discursive skills in response to oral presentations

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • This module is based upon 16 seminars arranged by IHRR in Terms 1 and 2, which students will be required to attend. Each seminar will have a 1 hour workshop attached to them to allow students to practice their deliberative and discursive skills. Thus, each student has 32 hours of contact time and 118 hours of independent study. Students will be given formative feedback on their seminar diaries and an opportunity to undertake a practice report.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 16 weekly 1 hour 16
Workshops 16 weekly 1 hour 16
Self-directed learning 118
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Report on seminar Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Report on seminar 3000 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Peer assessment in workshops, feedback on seminar diary; a practice report and written feedback on the summative assignment. NB: formative work is a compulsory part of this module.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University