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VCE Humanities

Geography Unit 1: Hazards and Disasters


There are no prerequisites for this unit.

Course Description

Hazards and Disasters

In this unit, students undertake an overview of hazards before investigating two contrasting types of hazards and the responses to them by people.

Hazards represent the potential to cause harm to people and or the environment whereas disasters are judgments about the impacts of hazard events. Hazards include a wide range of situations including those within local areas, such as fast-moving traffic or the likelihood of bushfires, to regional and global hazards such as drought and infectious disease. Students examine the processes involved with hazards and hazard events, including their causes and impacts, human responses to hazard events and interconnections between human activities and natural phenomena, including the impact of climate change.

Areas of Study

Characteristics of Hazards

In this area of study, students examine hazards and hazard events before engaging in a study of at least two specific hazards at a range of scales. They study one from at least two different types of hazards from the list provided, for example, plate tectonic events, coastal hazards and bushfires, or diseases and oil spills. The selection of hazards should allow students to use visual representations and topographical maps at various scales and undertake fieldwork.

Response to Hazards and Disasters

In this area of study, students explore the nature and effectiveness of specific measures such as prediction and warning programs, community preparedness and land use planning, as well as actions taken after hazards become harmful and destructive disasters. They study natural and human factors influencing the nature of human responses, considering the scale of the hazard, levels of risk due to hazards, past experiences and perceptions of similar hazards and hazard events, the economic choices available to government organisations and communities to take action, available technological resources and the ability to plan and develop effective prevention and mitigation measures. Students investigate the human responses to the hazards selected in Area of Study 1, with reference to a variety of locations.


Assessment Tasks
(school-assessed coursework)

On completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse the nature of hazards and the impacts of hazard events at a range of scales.

Fieldwork report and an analysis of geographic data. 

On completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse and evaluate the nature, purpose and effectiveness of a range of responses to selected hazards and disasters.

Structured questions, a case study and a report.


Overall Final Assessment

End of Semester Examination – 1.5 hours.

Information can be obtained from the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, Victoria, Australia: