This paper examines the need for an holistic approach to the professional development and training needs of personnel working in, and studying, disaster management. It is essential that any programme of study and/or professional development should include equipping practitioners with the skills and abilities to solve social, technical and economic problems in disaster situations around the world. It should also ensure that an holistic approach is adopted so that rehabilitation, long term recovery, mitigation and pre-planning topics are properly covered. The paper deals globally with issues relating to disasters caused by human error and intervention, as well as the effects of natural phenomena. It concludes with a summary of the approach used by Coventry University and partner institutions in the development of its undergraduate disaster management programmes of study.