MSc Humanitarian Action (Online) SOAS University of London
Mode of Attendance: Online learning
How and where is humanitarian aid given, and how does it interact with the political and military complexities of emergency contexts? How have critiques of humanitarian aid, including from recipients, impacted on humanitarian action? How does South-to-South assistance in emergencies change, challenge or complement the concepts and practice of humanitarianism?
This is an online degree that engages critically with the history, politics and practice of humanitarian action. Students take the core module, followed by a selection of elective modules and a final dissertation.
Why study MSc Humanitarian Action at SOAS?
- This online degree has been developed to meet the needs of people working or hoping to work, in international agencies, humanitarian organisations, and NGOs.
- The online format enables students to study for an MSc degree alongside work, caring or other commitments.
- The degree brings together a cohort of students from around the world into online discussions, led by a specialist seminar tutor.
- It builds upon the strengths of the Department of Development Studies in areas of violence, aid and security.
- The degree draws on research and professional experience from colleagues across SOAS, a university with an international reputation for its work on Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Who should apply?
We welcome applications from those who have worked in the field of development and/or conflict. We also encourage those without relevant work experience who can demonstrate a strong interest in humanitarianism and have a strong first degree, to apply.
What will you study?
The core module for the MSc Humanitarian Action has three parts: it starts with the groundwork in humanitarian principles and architecture and then presents the critiques and voices from the Global South. It deals with practice and the contradictory contexts for humanitarian work, exploring the politics of security decisions, Responsibility to Protect, witness and asylum. This part presents the opportunity to examine and assess competing priorities in situations of multi-layered insecurity.
This module draws on a range of literature, including the academic work on humanitarianism, publications, data sets and relevant websites from NGOs, humanitarian thinktanks and UN bodies. It also includes blogs, crowd-sourced data and journals from the Global South. The module challenges the conventional tropes of North to South assistance by examining how agents within the Global South have responded to a humanitarian disaster, and also how humanitarianism has been transformed with the establishment of operations in Europe to assist refugees and other destitute people migrating across the Mediterranean.
Analytical and empirical depth will be provided through a series of case studies (Calais, Sri Lanka, Syria, for example) that examine the practicalities and institutional learning in famines and complex emergencies. The module presents processes and mechanisms of institutional learning as well as the persistence of some challenges in approach and delivery.
Students must take 180 credits comprised of one core and three elective modules totalling 120 taught credits, four supporting mini-modules and a 60 credit dissertation.
Core modules: A core module is required for the degree programme, so must always be taken and passed before you move on to the next year of your programme.
Elective modules: These are designed to help students design their own intellectual journey while maintaining a strong grasp of the fundamentals. Elective modules can be chosen from a list of subjects offered across SOAS' portfolio of programmes.
- Dissertation in Development Studies
- Humanitarian Principles and Practice
Students have to choose a minimum of 30 credits from the Development Studies list below. They can then either select an additional 60 credits from this list or 30 from the Development Studies list and 30 from the Open Options list.
- Human and Critical Security Studies
- Understanding Violence, Conflict and Development
- Critical Insights in Forced Migration
- Partnerships Beyond Borders: NGOs, Social Movements and Civil Society in Transnational Development
- The Transnational Politics of Gender and Feminisms in Development
Open Options - Global Diplomacy, International and Environmental
- The Art of Negotiation
- Climate Change and Development
- Economics, Politics and Society in MENA
- Economics, Politics and Society in South Asia
- Food Security and Social Protection
- Global Media
- Global Public Policy
- International Security
- Multinational Enterprises in a Globalising World
- Strategic Studies
- Understanding Poverty
- Understanding Sustainable Development
The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session.
English Language Requirements
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