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Humanitarian Action

MSc Humanitarian Action

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)

The MSc in Humanitarian Action provides high quality academic education and professional competencies for those working or intending to work in the area of humanitarian action and related areas.

It is part of the inter-university multidisciplinary graduate joint masters programme in International Humanitarian Action (NOHA Masters).

The programme provides a dynamic classroom based learning environment, involving a variety of teaching methods such as lectures, simulations and field-trips.

The UCD Centre for Humanitarian Action (UCD-CHA) and NOHA are well recognised as key global institutional stakeholders in Humanitarian Studies.

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.

Programme Outcomes

Develop global and comprehensive visions of conflict, disaster and related vulnerable situations, in terms of theoretical approaches, as well as the responses and their effects.

Demonstrate critical thinking, conceptualising, analysing, assessing and judging of complex humanitarian situations and demonstrate capacity to make informed and reasoned complex decisions and take action upon them

Demonstrate ability to integrate knowledge and handle complexities, to respond to new humanitarian challenges and paradigms with innovative approaches

Identify and investigate new trends in humanitarian action and do applied research to create new knowledge and thinking, promoting new ideas, developments and solutions

Apply knowledge and understanding to manage humanitarian operations in complex and uncertain environments, including risk assessment

Develop capacity to manage policies, strategies, and programmes according to humanitarian principles and values, and to understand and promote constructively global coordination of humanitarian efforts in a set of multiple and diverse actors on global, national and local level

Demonstrate excellent communications skills and ability to build and lead diverse teams, moving them to the highest collective performance

Demonstrate knowledge of key international humanitarian principles and values and professional codes of conduct, and commitment to their implementation in practice

Demonstrate an ability to deal with ethical and moral dilemmas, and to cope with humanitarian crises on a personal level in relation to oneself and to those one is responsible for.

Develop Learning skills to self-reflect and ability to continue learning using experiences for future interventions

Entry requirements

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

Given that this is an Erasmus Mundus programme, 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 fi rst 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.


Duration:15 Months
Attendance: Full Time

Careers or further progression

Careers & Employability

Some 3,000 NOHA graduates currently work in the field of humanitarian relief and international co-operation. They hold various positions of responsibility in all kinds of international and national agencies, institutions and organisations, both in the field and at headquarters level all around the world. Such positions include:

programme managers,
protection officers,
field/country directors,
emergency team leaders,
academics and consultants.

Further enquiries

Contact Name:Joseph Munnelly
Contact Number:+353 (0)1 716 7608

Application date

Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

The following entry routes are available:

MSc Humanitarian Action FT (X438)

Duration 15 Months
Attendance Full Time

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