Vulnerability and Risk Assessment Methods

Course content

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.



  • 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.



  • 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 South Asian country 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 a South asian country, 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.

Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)

Collective written feedback will be published via Digital Exam

Type of assessment
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
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.
The required length of the individual report is 5 pages, excluding the cover page and reference list (1 page = approximately 2,400 keystrokes, font size 12 pt. line space 1.5).
Exam registration requirements

Exam registration upon course registration

All aids allowed

The use  of AI chatbots, such as ChatGPT or similar software, is  not allowed during exams.

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

See the MDMa Exam Schedule


This course includes a field trip to South Asia (Sri Lanka, India or Nepal).

Criteria for exam assessment

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


  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (VCA) methodology as applied by the RCRC movement.
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of different methods of vulnerability assessment and their strengths and limitations and be able to critique them.



  • Develop a vulnerability and capacity assessment profile and an action plan for risk and vulnerability reduction for a practical case during the course in Bangladesh.



  • Show professional conduct during working alongside more experienced professionals and community members on the practical part of the course and fully engage in producing the practical output required from the assignment.

Part time Master and Diploma courses

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


Course number
Programme level
Part Time Master
Full Degree Master choice
Four weeks

Fees are published on the course page:

Fees covers tuition and field trip-related expenses.

Participants will go for a 3 week  field trip to South Asia (Bangladesh, India, Nepal or Sri Lanka) and will have to pay for their own flights, travel insurance, accommodation, daily food allowance and vaccinations. 

5 February to 1 March 2024
5 to 23 February - Field course in South Asia (Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, or Nepal
26 Feb to 1 March - Exam week
10-30 participants
Study Board for the Professionel Master´s Degree Programmes at The Faculty og Health and Medical Science
Contracting department
  • Department of Public Health
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
Course Coordinators
  • Emmanuel Raju   (5-6875646d784376787167316e7831676e)
  • Anne Bach Nielsen   (17-6673736a336766686d33736e6a71786a7345787a736933707a336970)
Saved on the 18-09-2023

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students