Disasters, climate change and displacement

The module focuses upon human displacement, migration and (im)mobility in the context of disasters, climate change and environmental degradation.

The module seeks to impart a solid critical understanding of the concepts and conceptualisations of different forms of human (im)mobility in such contexts, and critical appraisal and application of relevant law/policy frameworks including: international refugee and human rights law; national and international law and policy on migration and internal displacement, and; recent global initiatives to address human displacement and migration.

Topics covered

  • Disasters are not natural
  • Human mobility and immobility
  • The limits and potential of refugee and human rights law
  • Migration frameworks to the rescue?
  • Protection at home: mitigating cross-border displacement
  • Global initiatives, policy frameworks and new frontiers.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, you will be expected to be able to:

  • Recognise and appraise concepts and conceptualisations of natural hazards, disasters, climate change and environmental degradation, and how they impact on people’s circumstances and living conditions
  • Describe and evaluate the main legal/policy frameworks relating to displacement and (im)mobility in the context of disasters, climate change and environmental degradation
  • Use these concepts, laws and policy frameworks to assess a range of factual case studies based on complex contemporary scenarios
  • Develop sound legal and policy arguments, evaluating these concepts, challenges and law/policy frameworks, reflecting on them and modifying them as appropriate based on the constructive feedback of your tutor and peers.


This elective module is assessed via a 4,000-word research essay, which comprises 70% of the overall grade, and three online assessments (E-tivities), which make up 30% of the overall grade.