Humanitarian Action

The MSc Humanitarian Action has evolved over a 25-year period and is distinguished by its inter-disciplinary, inter- sectoral and international nature.

The COVID19 pandemic has impacted societies globally. It has exposed the vulnerabilities and fragility of our existence. Unfortunately, it has emerged at a time when the International Humanitarian System is already challenged to address the effects of other disasters. We are living in an era of unprecedented humanitarian need brought about by climate change, complex political emergencies resulting in conflict, global migration, and protracted conflicts. Before the pandemic emerged, an estimated 72 million people were displaced from their homes due to conflict, an estimated 180 million people were in need of immediate humanitarian assistance, and almost a billion were under-nourished globally. Needless to say, the devastation of COVID19 will vary considerably across societies.

This MSc provides high quality academic education and professional competencies for those working or intending to work in the area of humanitarian action and related areas. The programme aims to provide students with a broad foundation in the area of international humanitarian action, in which both critical thinking and research skills are emphasised. The goal is to deliver high level, committed, interdisciplinary trained personnel who can function with enhanced professionalism in the broad field of humanitarian relief, and are informed by their theoretical insights and humanitarian principles. The programme design integrates professional and research orientation that is intended to bridge the gap between academic research and the humanitarian work-field.

The programme supports students to build suitable networks for research and internships. This masters programme has a long tradition of attracting students from diverse backgrounds with varying degrees of experience in the humanitarian sector and related fields.

This MSc Programme is closely aligned to the UCD Centre for Humanitarian Action (UCD-CHA) and NOHA, both of which are well recognised as key global institutional stakeholders in Humanitarian Studies.

The programme provides a dynamic classroom based learning environment, involving a variety of teaching methods such as lectures, simulations and field-trips. Students have the opportunity to explore specific themes through second trimester specialisations and a minor thesis. The MSc in Humanitarian Action brings together experts from academia and the field to lecture on the different modules.

Subjects taught

Stage 1 - Core
Evidence-based Community Resilience: Applied Research DesignHACT40010
Linking Localisation with Humanitarian ManagementHACT40020
Addressing GBV in EmergenciesHACT40100
Legal Dimensions of HAHACT40110
World Politics and HAHACT40120
Social AnthropologyHACT40130
Public HealthHACT40140
Management in HAHACT40150
Minor ThesisHACT40200
Introduction to HAHACT40220

Entry requirements

Applicants must hold a minimum of an upper second class degree, or international equivalent, in a cognate subject.

Knowledge of languages of the place(s) of study is an asset. Practical experience in the area of humanitarian action and / or development is valued.

Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate English language profi ciency of IELTS 6.5 (no band less than 6.0 in each element), or equivalent.

Students meeting the programme’s academic entry requirements but not the English language requirements, may enter the programme upon successful completion of UCD’s International Pre-Master’s Pathway programmes. Please see the following link for further information:

Application dates

The following entry routes are available:
MSc Humanitarian Action FT (D062)
Deadline: Rolling*

* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised.




D062: 1 year full-time
Mode of delivery: Face-to-Face


MSc Humanitarian Action (D062) Full Time
EU fee per year - € 9000
nonEU fee per year - € 24200

***Fees are subject to change
Tuition fee information is available on the UCD Fees website. Please note that UCD offers a number of graduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on a UCD graduate degree programme. For further information please see International Scholarships.

Enrolment dates

Next Intake: 2024/2025 September.

Post Course Info

Careers & Employability
UCD has delivered graduate programmes in Humanitarian Action since 1998. There are some 600 alumni of the MSc Humanitarian Action holding positions both in the field and at headquarters level around the world. Many of these alumni are employed with the UN, Government, Non-governmental organisations or within academia.

Graduate Roles:
• Programme Managers
• Protection Officers
• Field/Country Directors
• Emergency Team Leaders
• Administrators
• Researchers
• Academics
• Consultants

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Daytime

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    Course provider