Background: Nowadays, many medical schools include training in disaster medicine in undergraduate studies. This study evaluated the efficacy of a disaster medicine curriculum recently designed for Saudi Arabian medical students. Methods: Participants were 15 male and 14 female students in their fourth, fifth or sixth year at Jazan University Medical School, Saudi Arabia. The course was held at the Research Center in Emergency and Disaster Medicine and Computer Sciences Applied to the Medical Practice in Novara, Italy. Results: The overall mean score on a test given before the course was 41.0 % and it increased to 67.7 % on the post-test (Wilcoxon test for paired samples: z = 4.71, p < 0.0001). There were no significant differences between the mean scores of males and females, or between students in their fourth, fifth or sixth year of medical school. Conclusions: These results show that this curriculum is effective for teaching disaster medicine to undergraduate medical students. Adoption of this course would help to increase the human resources available for dealing with disaster situations. © 2016 The Author(s).