SDMM13007U  Vulnerability & Risk Assessment Methods

Volume 2015/2016

Master of Disaster Management


The course is focused on the basics of vulnerability and capacity assessment (VCA) including definitions of risk, methods for risk analysis, decision analysis, management of uncertainty, and analysis of chronic vulnerabilities as well as those related to extreme events and hazards. The course is based on IFRC’s Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (VCA) Methodology. A central part of the course is the case study and fieldtrip, which involves performing a vulnerability and capacity assessment for an area/city/village/community. The students will work with the case throughout the course.

Learning Outcome


On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Understand how risk perception influences the evaluation of risks.
  • Understand the differences between VCA and the more conventional research and risk assessment methods, and the strengths of application of each.



On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Critically analyse different types of vulnerabilities to hazards and their potential consequences.
  • Critically analyse central underlying aspects that influence the vulnerabilities and capacities of individuals and societies.
  • Develop a set of guidance and recommendations for vulnerability and risk reduction in the case study.
  • Work with international and local agencies in a field setting to undertake a VCA.


On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Identify a variety of tools and techniques applied in VCA concentrating on use, characteristics and caution measures.
  • Examine critically an actual VCA plan produced from a real life case.
Combination of Theory lectures on VCA as a methodology and a series of exercises on practical applications of VCA and risk assessment methods. This is followed by a field visit to Bangladesh to take part in one or more projects dealing with DRR and CCA where VCA had been applied and was at the centre of decision-making. In Bangladesh, the students will be split into teams each working to develop a VCA assignment and report back and share the findings with the community and the facilitating organization.
This course is offered by the School of Global Health, University of Copenhagen as part of the programme Master of Disaster Management.
Type of assessment
Written assignment
The examination is based upon an assessment of a written individual report in which the students present their risk analysis of a given case, as well as their reflections around issues raised by the course management regarding the risk assessment process. Parts of the report can be written in cooperation with other students that belong to the same case group.
Exam registration requirements

Exam registration upon course registration

All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
More than one internal examiner
Exam period

See Exam Plan


This course includes a field trip to Bangladesh.

Criteria for exam assesment

To achieve the maximum grade of 12, the student shall be able to:

Refer to the Learning Outcomes

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 18
  • Field Work
  • 40
  • Exercises
  • 20
  • Practical Training
  • 20
  • Exam
  • 30
  • Preparation
  • 10
  • Total
  • 138