Objectives of the course
At the end of the course, you will be able to:
- Understand the evolution of the humanitarian system, governance and stakeholders
- Demonstrate knowledge of core humanitarian values, principles, codes and frameworks
- Engage with major debates and critiques in the humanitarian sector
- Critically assess humanitarian contexts and complex emergencies (armed conflicts, disasters, urban settings and migration)
- Assess, monitor and evaluate humanitarian projects
- Demonstrate key management, leadership and accountability skills
- Develop relevant skill sets and competencies for the humanitarian sector, including public health, gender-based and sexual violence, communication, advocacy, negotiation, protection, finance and management.
Around 1,500 hours of work for the whole Master, including:
- 400 hours of face-to-face teaching (lectures, group work, round tables, debates, visits)
- 750 hours of self-study time (e-learning modules, readings, assignments, videos, quizzes, etc.)
- App. 350 hours for the MAS dissertation
The Programme is made up of 4 parts for Option One, 14-month MAS, which is taken in consecutive order:
|Diploma of Advanced Studies (DAS)
in Humanitarian Action Term 1: September-December (25 credits – ECTS)
|The Diploma of Advanced Studies (DAS) aims to offer professionals a strong understanding of contemporary humanitarian challenges through a comprehensive overview of conceptual and operational issues in past and present humanitarian crises. It is structured into five modules:
|Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) Quality Management of Humanitarian Projects
Term 2: January-April
(10 credits – ECTS)
|The Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) addresses the essential components that guarantee the qualitative management of adapted projects and cohesive teams. It integrates fundamental principles such as inclusion, do no harm, accountability or participation into processes, methods and tools of project and people management.
The whole CAS takes place online during 12 consecutive weeks.
|Executive Short Courses (ESC)
Terms 3 and 4: April-October
(2 credits – ECTS / per course)
|A series of short elective courses focus on key approaches and evaluative tools of humanitarian contexts. Students can select five courses to develop specific skills and learn about good practices. All courses take place online during two weeks each.
The elective courses include:
(15 credits ECTS)
|Throughout the DAS, MAS students will engage in workshops designed to develop information-gathering and processing, critical thinking, analytical writing and networking skills. These workshops will help participants to write the MAS dissertation. The overall aim of the MAS dissertation is to stimulate a critical and original reflection on issues linked to humanitarian action. The submission deadline for the MAS dissertation is the end of October 2023|
The Programme for Option Two MAS Flexible Option (up to 38 months) has a more flexible choice of courses.
|Autumn 2023||DAS in Humanitarian Action (25 credits ECTS)|
|2024, 2025 or 2026||The flexible option offers two different Certificates of Advanced Studies (CAS). MAS students can choose one (10 credits ECTS) or both (20 credits ECTS). Both CAS are delivered online.
|2024, 2025 or 2026||Flexible MAS students who do not want to do a CAS or choose to only do one CAS can earn extra credits from a series of executive short courses. Students can select up to ten courses (2 credits ECTS each) to develop specific skills and learn about good practices. All courses take place online for two weeks each throughout the year.
The executive short courses include:
• A relationship at stake: media and humanitarian action
• Negotiation in humanitarian crises
• Sexual and reproductive health in humanitarian crises
• Cash and voucher assistance in humanitarian action: What works?
• Health systems assessment in humanitarian crises
• Humanitarian advocacy: from bearing witness to activism
• Protection of civilians, from humanitarian to peace operations
• Planetary health
• Digital innovations in the humanitarian sector
• Sexual violence in conflict settings and emergencies
• Humanitarian Leadership and people management [already included in the CAS Quality Management]
• Humanitarian project cycle management [already included in the CAS Quality Management]
• Patient safety in humanitarian crises: addressing healthcare-related incidents [new course to open in 2023]
(15 credits -ECTS)
|Throughout the DAS, MAS students will engage in workshops designed to develop information-gathering and processing, critical thinking, analytical writing and networking skills. These workshops will help participants to write the MAS dissertation. The aim of the MAS dissertation is to stimulate a critical and original reflection on issues linked to humanitarian action. The submission deadline for the MAS dissertation is the end of October 2026.
- Entry and mid-level professionals in the humanitarian, development or social sector looking to develop their competencies as well as reflect and capitalise on their experiences
- Professionals from other sectors (medicine, military, private sector, social services) who wish to increase their understanding of the humanitarian sector for a potential career change
- Graduate students with relevant volunteer or intern experience, looking to undertake a postgraduate course with a view to entering the humanitarian sector
Our audience is typically junior or middle managers, 25-45 years old, expat or national staff.
60 ECTS – Credits. Once the students successfully complete the Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Action’s full programme according to the Centre’s requirements, they obtain a joint degree delivered by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) and the University of Geneva (UNIGE), and accredited by the Swiss Agency for Accreditation and Quality Assurance (AAQ).
The Master is open to maximum 30 students per year. Admission is based on the overall quality of the application, including academic achievement, quality of application documents, the relevance of previous work experience and English language skills.
The Selection Committee examines the quality of the applications and aims to reach a balance between the number of men and women, educational profiles and professional experience, geographical distribution and financial contribution.
Applications sent after the closing date and/or incomplete, will not be considered.
- a university qualification (bachelor’s degree or equivalent);
- at least three years of relevant professional experience;
- excellent command of English;
- motivation working in the humanitarian sector.
All classes at the Geneva Centre of Humanitarian Studies are delivered in English. All students must have an excellent command of English. Students whose mother tongue is not English, who do not have secondary or post-secondary qualifications taught in English or who have not spent a minimum of one year studying full-time at a university level in English (please provide transcripts certifying that courses were delivered in English), must provide a certificate to prove their mastery of English. More information on recognised tests and scores is available here.
- Regular academic year (starting in September)
- with scholarship/visa: For candidates who wish to apply for a scholarship and/or who need an entry visa for Switzerland, the application deadline is 1 February 2022.
- 31 May 2022 for non-OCDE countries/ 30 June 2022 for OCDE countries
- Candidates without scholarships can also enrol to the Master during the current academic year.
To submit your application:
- Duly fill in the form on the online enrollment platform
- Register to the correct programme
- Upload all requested documents (check your scholarship eligibility beforehand: see Fees & Scholarship)
You will receive a confirmation by e-mail. Should you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more detailed information about the application process visit our dedicated page.
It has been an incredibly intense yet enriching experience. We had the chance to listen, learn and discuss with a great number of professionals from the humanitarian system. I have been often challenged by the process of deconstruction and critical analysis of the humanitarian system itself however, I feel this has made me not only a better worker of the sector but a better human in general”.
- Dates Early September 2023 - End of October 2024 (14 months Master) / Flexible entry (Two-Three Year Master)
- Duration 14 months / Flexible (Two-Three Year Master)
- Location Blended-learning (Online and residential in Geneva)
- Language English, though exams and dissertations are accepted in English or French
- CREDITS 60 ECTS
- Fee CHF 15,000 for One Year Option / CHF 17,000 for Flexi Option
- Application Deadline Regular deadline: excl. EU/EFTA citizens 31 May / EU/EFTA citizens: 30 June
- If applying for a scholarship Deadline: 1 February 2023
- Resources Study Regulations