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Humanitarian Action

MSc Humanitarian Action
Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 120)
The NOHA Masters in International Humanitarian Action 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.

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

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.

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


2 years full-time

Number of credits


Careers or further progression

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 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, delegates, emergency team leaders, administrators, researchers, academics and consultants.

Further enquiries

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

Subjects taught

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 (30 ECTS credits) (Research Track or Professional Track)

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.

Stage 1 - Core
World Politics and Humanitarian Action

Intensive Programme

Legal Dimensions of Humanitarian Action

Management in Humanitarian Action

Public Health

Anthropology and Intercultural Studies

Stage 1 - Option
Minor Thesis

Orientation Period - Aix

Orientation Period - Louvain

Orientation Period - Deusto

Orientation Period - Groningen

Orientation Period - Bochum

Orientation Period - Uppsala

Applied Research Design

Transition Issues & Strategies

Sociology of Transition


Addressing Gender-based Violence in Emergencies

Application date

How to apply?
The following entry routes are available:
Joint Masters in Humanitarian Action FT (D061)
2 Years

Full Time

Rolling *

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

Enrolment and start dates

Next Intake: 2019/2020 September

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