The University of Southampton

UOSM2011 The Management of Risk and Uncertainty

Module Overview

The module offers an introduction to managing risk and uncertainty to students from all across the University. No matter what their intended future career, the professionalisation of risk management in all types of business and organisation ensures that the academic insight provided will be valued by employers and will give the student a real edge. Although the module material is mainly qualitative in nature, students with both qualitative and quantitative skillsets wishing to learn how to apply these within risk management contexts will find the module valuable.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

to explore different ways in which literally anyone might usefully think about, and then manage, risk and uncertainty. Generic skills are developed, which can be applied across numerous application contexts.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • risk management;
  • uncertainty management;
  • how risk and uncertainty management relate to broader organisational contexts of internal control, corporate governance, decision making and culture.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • analyse risk and uncertainty from a range of theoretical perspectives;
  • understand how risk and uncertainty can be managed effectively;
  • apply generic principles to a range of application contexts;
  • critically analyse current practice;
  • discuss possible improvements to current practice.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Written and oral communication skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Problem solving skills.


The themes covered in the lectures are: • A brief history of risk (ML) • Probability (ML) • The insurance perspective (AM) • Threat and Opportunity (AM) • Risk ‘to whom’ and ‘to what’? (AM) • Resilience (AM) • Mismanaging risk (ML) • Managing risk well (ML) • Risk Psychology (AM) • Risk Communication (AM) • Risk and Money (ML) • The Uncertain Past and Present (ML) • Should we feel safe? (AM) • Risk Governance (AM) ML: Matthew Leitch AM: Alasdair Marshall

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The fourteen lectures will raise risk and uncertainty issues which students, working in small groups in the weekly classes, will draw upon in order to develop group presentations for delivery and assessment in lectures 15-20. In the classes, the lecturer will first of all help students form groups based on similarities of interests. Each group will work on its own chosen ‘application context’ to develop its presentation. The lecturer will, over the course of the taught lecture weeks, talk the groups through the process of applying ideas raised in the lectures to their chosen application contexts. Each application context will involve some human exposure to risk and uncertainty, where current practice can be explored and improvements can be proposed. In practical terms, this might involve: • scrutinising how some specified organisation deals with its risk environment; • scrutinising some expert guidance or regulation; • scrutinising lay risk perceptions/behaviours; • scrutinising how risk and uncertainty are handled within some academic or scientific endeavour.

Preparation for scheduled sessions30
Completion of assessment task60
Follow-up work30
Total study time150



Group presentation


MethodPercentage contribution
Group presentation  (30 minutes) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (3000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (3000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the mandatory/additional reading text as appropriate.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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