Online Education for Working Professionals
Apply hazard analysis and effective communication to lessen the impact of hazard events on communities.

Natural Hazards and Disaster Risk Reduction—Graduate Certificate

Natural Hazards and Disaster Risk Reduction

Add geophysical and social aspects to your hazard mitigation toolkit.

Learn causes and mitigation strategies for a range of natural hazards and their impacts on society. This interdisciplinary certificate introduces cultural complexities in dealing with geological hazards. Formulate hazard maps, warnings, and strategies for communication and planning. Explore electives in geoinformatics, volcanology, volcano seismology, or anthropology in international development. This certificate provides training to those with backgrounds in physical sciences, geosciences, social sciences, computational sciences, civil engineering, and environmental engineering. The average salary for geological engineering jobs is about $70,000 per year.

Photo by Jose Fredy Cruz Centeno.

3 courses in 3 semesters.

Department Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences
Admissions requirement BS degree.
Contact Luke Bowman
Length 3 courses in 2-3 semesters
Effort 3 hours per credit per week
Each course 3 credits
Total credits 9
Course type Online or on-campus
Modality Watch class recordings on demand
Cost Based on credits and course type
Already enrolled? Speak with your advisor.


Progress quickly with a compact curriculum.

Work with the program advisor to select courses that fit your interests and pre-requisite skills.

Take 6 credits of required courses.

Take GE 5150 and take GE 5680 Social Dimensions of Natural Hazards when it becomes available. For Spring 2021, GE 5940 "Special Topics in Geology" is available as "Social Dimensions of Natural Hazards".

GE 5150 - Advanced Natural Hazards

Exploration of how to develop comprehensive plans to mitigate the impact of natural hazards on humans. Requires a project and report.

  • Credits: 3.0
  • Lec-Rec-Lab: (2-0-3)
  • Semesters Offered: On Demand
  • Restrictions: Must be enrolled in one of the following Level(s): Graduate

GE 5940 - Special Topics in Geology

Study and discussion of geology topics.

  • Credits: variable to 9.0; Repeatable to a Max of 9
  • Semesters Offered: On Demand
  • Restrictions: Permission of instructor required; Must be enrolled in one of the following Level(s): Graduate

Take a 3 credit elective course.

GE 5515 - Advanced Geoinformatics

This course covers the concepts and theories in geospatial science, GIS analysis techniques (network analysis, cost distance analysis, multi-layer raster data analysis), and remote sensing theories and applications across different spectra. Basic concepts and techniques associated with geostatistics, and analysis of spatial relationships are also introduced using examples in geophysical and environmental research.

  • Credits: 3.0
  • Lec-Rec-Lab: (2-0-2)
  • Semesters Offered: Spring
  • Restrictions: May not be enrolled in one of the following Class(es): Freshman, Sophomore, Junior
  • Pre-Requisite(s): GE 2010

GE 5180 - Advanced Volcanology

Volcanoes and how they work. Volcanic products, their recognition, and significance. Applies chemistry, physics, and fluid mechanics in a volcanological context.

  • Credits: 3.0
  • Lec-Rec-Lab: (0-3-0)
  • Semesters Offered: On Demand
  • Restrictions: Must be enrolled in one of the following Level(s): Graduate

GE 5195 - Volcano Seismology

Will prepare students, including those with no seismology background, to interpret seismic and acoustic signals from volcanoes. Topics: basic seismology, monitoring techniques, tectonic and volcanic earthquakes, infrasound, deformation over a range of time scales.

  • Credits: 3.0
  • Lec-Rec-Lab: (2-0-1)
  • Semesters Offered: Spring
  • Pre-Requisite(s): (MA 1160 or MA 1161 or MA 1121 or MA 1135) and GE 2000 and PH 2100

SS 4120 - Anthropology of International Development

Advanced anthropology course that focuses on cultural, social structural, historical, and environmental analyses of international development. Students engage with relevant social theory and practical applications in international development case studies.

  • Credits: 3.0
  • Lec-Rec-Lab: (3-0-0)
  • Semesters Offered: Fall - Offered alternate years beginning with the 2019-2020 academic year
  • Pre-Requisite(s): UN 1015 and (UN 1025 or Modern Language - 3000 level or higher)

The minimum completion time is two semesters.

Here is a typical schedule.

Fall Spring
GE 5150
SS 4120
GE 5680
GE 5180
GE 5195
GE 5515

Interested in taking a single, online course? Enroll as a non-degree seeking student.

Upon completion of the Certificate the student should be able to:

  1. Identify geophysical as well as sociocultural aspects pertaining to natural geological hazards.
  2. Compose a complete hazard mitigation plan that includes appropriate physical hazards and social vulnerabilities/risks that pertain to real settings and demonstrate the sharing of the plan to various stakeholders appropriate to the chosen settings.
  3. Demonstrate proficiency in using computational tools commonly used for hazard mapping.

Michigan Tech was founded in 1885.

The University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and widely respected by fast-paced industries, including automotive development, infrastructure, manufacturing, and aerospace. Michigan Tech graduates deliver on rapid innovation and front-line research, leaning into any challenge with confidence.

The College of Engineering fosters excellence in education and research.

We set out as the Michigan Mining School in 1885 to train mining engineers to better operate copper mines. Today, more than 60 percent of Michigan Tech students are enrolled in our 17 undergraduate and 29 graduate engineering programs across nine departments. Our students and curriculum embrace the spirit of hard work and fortitude our founders once had. Our online graduate courses are the same, robust classes taken by our doctorate and masters candidates, taught directly by highly regarded faculty, with outstanding support from staff. We invite working professionals to join these courses, bring their own experience and challenges as part of the discussion. Leverage the national reputation of Michigan Tech to advance your career in tech leadership.

Meet the online certified instructors.

Students have the flexibility to review class recordings later.

Luke Bowman

Luke Bowman

Research Assistant Professor, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences

Teaching Statement

Dr. Bowman teaches social dimensions of natural hazards.

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Greg Waite

Greg Waite

Professor, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences

Teaching Statement

Dr. Waite teaches on topics of natural hazards, earthquake seismology, and time analysis in geosciences.

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