Humanitarian Action - International

MSc Humanitarian Action
Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 120)
The Erasmus Mundus Joint Master's Degree Programme in International Humanitarian Action is an inter-university multidisciplinary postgraduate programme that provides high quality academic education and professional competencies for personnel working or intending to work in the area of humanitarian action.

This Masters offers students the opportunity to grow both academically and professionally within the field of crisis relief and development. Offering access to a worldwide professional network, the NOHA Masters is an inter-university and multidisciplinary postgraduate programme that combines the provision of high quality academic education with skills and competencies needed to work in the area of humanitarian action and related areas. It is a postgraduate course which aims to develop skilled professionals who have both the theoretical and practical knowledge needed out in the field.

Created in 1993 through the concerted efforts of the NOHA Universities in close collaboration with the DG for Humanitarian Action and Civil Protection (ECHO) and the DG for Education and Culture, the initiative was a response to a growing need for higher educational qualifications specifically suited to addressing complex humanitarian emergencies.

Collaboration is one of the most unique elements of the programme and is central to the NOHA experience. Students study at different universities and benefit from rich cultural interaction and exchange of ideas and languages. It is an integral part of the NOHA teaching-learning process. The partner universities have gradually integrated the joint training and research programme into their respective curricula, achieving a high degree of co-operation and integration, while preserving their speciality and traditions.NOHA students come from all over the world and register in the NOHA network. They are admitted following a highly competitive selection process agreed by the Network and can therefore enrol for courses jointly recognised by each of the participating universities, with the assurance of good communication links between them.

Course Description
The 2-year programme is divided into four semesters and structured around five main components:
• Intensive Programme Semester 1 (5 ECTS credits)
An initial inter-university joint course that brings together all NOHA students, introducing them to the key principles and concepts underlying humanitarian action and the main actors in the field of humanitarian relief, their policies and strategies, as well as contemporary issues and challenges facing humanitarian actors. Location: Warsaw, Poland.

• Humanitarian Disciplines Semester 1 (25 ECTS credits)
Common courses (NOHA Modules) which provide a space to debate the essentials of humanitarian action and its current trends: World Politics, Legal Dimensions of Humanitarian Action, Management, Public Health, Anthropology and Intercultural Aspects. Location: Home University.

• Thematic Specialisation Semester 2 (30 ECTS credits)
Allows students to gain deeper knowledge and competences in specific aspects of humanitarian action (e.g. protection, international humanitarian law, forced migration), and is supplemented by a set of common courses (Advanced Management, Methodology & Research Methods in Humanitarian Studies). Location: European Host University.

• Individual Specialisation Semester 3 - Research Track or Professional Track) - 30 ECTS credits

Research Track
Elective courses in regional humanitarian studies at a partner university in or outside of Europe

Professional Track
Advanced career development training and placement at a humanitarian organisation

• Master Project & Thesis Semester 4 (30 ECTS credits)
Aims to prepare students to select and analyse research material, confront new problems in their multifaceted dimensions, understand reality and elaborate innovative solutions.

Vision and Values Statement
The MSc. in Humanitarian Action (NOHA Masters) is an inter-university, multi-disciplinary postgraduate programme that provides high quality academic education and professional competencies for personnel working in or intending to work in the area of humanitarian action. 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 emphasized. 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. It adopts a competence-oriented, interactive and student centred approach to learning. Teaching practices include group and project work, lectures and seminars, student presentations, simulation exercises, individual study; individual internship and individual thesis research. The programme is suitable for both recent graduates and experience practitioners working or intending to work in the field of humanitarian relief and international co-operation as project managers, administrators, researchers, evaluators, consultants in national and international organisations, both in the field and at headquarters around the world.

Subjects taught

Stage 1 - Option
• Evidence-based Community Resilience: Applied Research Design - HACT40010
• Linking Localisation with Humanitarian Management - HACT40020
• Addressing GBV in Emergencies - HACT40100
• Legal Dimensions of HA - HACT40110
• World Politics and HA - HACT40120
• Social Anthropology - HACT40130
• Public Health - HACT40140
• Management in HA - HACT40150
• Intensive Programme - HACT40160
• Work Placement in HA - HACT40180
• Regional Training in HA - HACT40190
• Minor Thesis in HA 30cr - HACT40210
• Orientation Period – Aix - HACT40390
• Orientation Period – Deusto - HACT40410
• Orientation Period – Groningen - HACT40420
• Orientation Period – Bochum - HACT40430
• Orientation Period – Uppsala - HACT40440
• Orientation Period-Warsaw - HACT40660
• Orientation Period- Malta - HACT40710

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements
Candidates are chosen on the basis of the quality of their education and professional background, their experience in and concern for humanitarian issues, their multicultural sensitivity and their linguistic abilities.

Admission may be granted to applicants who meet the following entry requirements and common minimum eligibility criteria:
• All applicants must follow the joint application procedure as established by the NOHA+ consortium. Please contact the Programme Director for more information.
• Candidates must have obtained, as a minimum, a university first cycle degree (Bachelor, EQF level 6) in a discipline of relevance to humanitarian action (medical sciences, foods sciences, economics and management, engineering, law, social sciences, education sciences, humanities).
• Candidates are required to have a recognised qualification in the language(s) of instruction of the universities they plan to attend - English is the language of instruction in all universities during all semester except for Aix-Marseilles (French - 1st & 2nd Semester) and Deusto (Spanish - 1st semester only).

Application dates

The following entry routes are available:
Joint Masters in Humanitarian Action FT (D061)
Deadline: Rolling*

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

Full Time option suitable for:
Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

Humanitarian action is regarded as a boundary discipline, occupying a space on the margins of several academic disciplines. This Masters in Humanitarian Action is an inter-disciplinary programme welcoming students from a diverse range of backrounds including management, politics, public health, international law, social anthropology, agriculture, science and engineering.




D061: 2 years full-time
Mode of delivery: Face-to-Face


MSc Humanitarian Action (D061) Full Time
EU fee per year - € 12000
nonEU fee per year - € 12000

***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: 2020/2021 September

Post Course Info

Careers & Employability
Some 3,500 NOHA graduates currently work in the field of humanitarian relief and international co-operation. They hold various positions of responsibility in humanitarian relief and international co-operation for organisations and institutions in the field and at HQs globally.

Such positions include programme managers, protection officers, field/country directors, delegates, emergency team leaders, administrators, researchers, academics and consultants.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Daytime

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    Course provider