Courses & Units

Natural Hazards and Disasters XBR208


Naturally hazardous events do not necessarily result in natural disasters, rather, natural disasters are measured by the impacts of the event on people. This unit will introduce the natural earth systems that create natural hazards, including earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunami, cyclones, fire, landslides and floods, and address how geographic, societal, economic and political factors prevented or promoted events becoming natural disasters. This background knowledge is combined with highly topical case studies provided by teaching staff, and those led by students, which will describe historic local, national and global natural disasters. The case studies dissect the decision-?making processes of key stakeholders and the public driven by societal, political and economic pressures, and uncover the role of and relationship between traditional journalism and emerging media (e.g., social media, citizen journalism) in the construction and communication of disaster events. Natural hazards and disasters will be a continual challenge for global society. Reflection on historic events is a powerful means of bringing about positive change. This unit also includes a critical analysis and evaluation of multi-?disciplinary, institutional and cultural changes following disaster events and an investigation of successes and failures with policy development, implementation and outcomes associated with natural disaster events. This unit is of broad interest to those who will have decision-?making and crisis and communications responsibilities in both public and private sectors, including emergency managers, government and public decision makers, response personnel (ambulance, police, fire), utility managers, urban planners, and citizens.


Unit name Natural Hazards and Disasters
Unit code XBR208
Credit points 12.5
College/School College of Sciences and Engineering
School of Natural Sciences
Discipline Earth Sciences
Coordinator Associate Professor Rebecca Carey
Available as an elective? Yes
Delivered By University of Tasmania
Level Intermediate


Location Study period Attendance options Available to
Online Semester 1 Off-Campus International Domestic


International students
Domestic students

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Key Dates

Study Period Start date Census date WW date End date
Semester 1 20/2/2023 21/3/2023 10/4/2023 28/5/2023

* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (refer to How do I withdraw from a unit? for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2023 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2023 will be available from the 1st October 2022. Note census date cutoff is 11.59pm AEST (AEDT during October to March).

About Census Dates

Learning Outcomes

  • define the terms and concepts relevant to the environmental, climatic and geological conditions that lead to various natural hazards
  • distinguish the network of events and decisions of stakeholders and the public that have led to various historic natural disasters, and present alternative actions and their likely consequences.
  • compare and contrast natural disaster scenarios, and provide the rationale for each scenario choice in the context of social, economic or environmental factors.
Field of Education Commencing Student Contribution 1,3 Grandfathered Student Contribution 1,3 Approved Pathway Course Student Contribution 2,3 Domestic Full Fee 4
010799 $1,037.00 $1,037.00 not applicable $2,472.00

1 Please refer to more information on student contribution amounts.
2 Please refer to more information on eligibility and Approved Pathway courses.
3 Please refer to more information on eligibility for HECS-HELP.
4 Please refer to more information on eligibility for FEE-HELP.

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Please note: international students should refer to What is an indicative Fee? to get an indicative course cost.


Teaching Pattern

Fully online unit

AssessmentOnline quiz (20%)|Assignment (35%)|Assignment (45%)
TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



Required readings will be listed in the unit outline prior to the start of classes.

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