The aim of the course is to provide a general introduction to the protection of civilians, with a focus on conflict and post-conflict environments. It provides insight into both theory and practical realities and applies critical thinking on concepts, principles and professional practices most common amongst protection actors in humanitarian or peace operations.

Read the most recent blog by course director Baptiste Martin to learn more about him and this course.

A French version of the video is available here.

Scholarships are available for this course. Learn the eligibility criteria and how to apply here.

Objectives of the course

At the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Discuss the main protection of civilians conceptual frameworks, definitions, principles and related world-level policy issues
  • Explain where the protection of civilians lies within the political, peace and security agenda, but also under humanitarian or development action
  • Identify and analyse protection actors, threats and risks
  • Describe professional protection standards, programming/operations, mechanisms and processes
  • Distinguish and assess various protection field strategies


Structure of the course

  • History and politics of protection
  • Protection principles and operational realities
  • Protection norms, policies and doctrines
  • Unveiling evolving protection concepts and modes of action
  • Introduction to field protection strategies
  • Protection actors and analysis
  • Critical review of field-level protection action
  • Case studies



Around 50 hours of work for the whole course, including:

  • 20 hours of face-to-face teaching (lectures, case studies, group work)
  • App. 30 hours of self-study time (readings, writing and group-work)
  • Professionals in the humanitarian, development or social sector looking to develop their competencies in protection norms, policies, doctrines and strategies
  • Professionals of international and regional peace operations, national defence and security forces who wish to increase their understanding of protection of civilians at institutional and field level
  • Graduate students with relevant volunteer or intern experience, looking to undertake a postgraduate course with a view to entering the humanitarian sector.

Admission requirements:

  1. a university qualification (bachelor’s degree or equivalent);
  2. at least three years of relevant professional experience;
  3. excellent command of English;
  4. motivation working in the humanitarian sector.


Documents required:

  • CV (Résumé)
  • Copy of your highest diploma
  • Work certificate or official document of your current job position
  • Proof of English language competence (TOEIC/TOEFL/IELTS or equivalent); see details here
  • Scanned copy of passport and a passport photo (jpg).


More information about the admission process is available on our application page.



“I had an amazing experience at the Geneva Center of Humanitarian Studies. I’m grateful for that incredible educational experience. The diversity of modules really broadened and probably transformed in a way my thinking. The actual projects and assignments we did during the course taught me a lot about humanitarian activities.
It was a beautiful challenge for me, juggling my business activity and meeting deadlines. However, I believe it allowed me to reshape my attitude towards humanitarianism while starting my own Foundation.
Aside from a new perspective and fresh inspiration from the wonderful participants besides me, the course gave me valuable insights into humanitarian aid, thanks to my professors’ expertise and experience.
The course was well-structured, and the lecturers provided all kinds of resources to consolidate knowledge. They were happy to help with clarifying any information. A great advantage might have been the staff’s professionalism, who often were eager to support me even in the evenings. I was able to build authentic and deep connections with other members. My main focus and goal are to continue my studies at the school, hopefully, next year!”

Robert Sadowski, Philanthropist and CEO of Sawa Logistics (course participant, 2022)

  • Protection of Civilians in Armed ConflictsDates 18 - 29 September 2023
  • Protection of Civilians in Armed ConflictsDuration Two weeks
  • Protection of Civilians in Armed ConflictsLocation Online
  • Protection of Civilians in Armed ConflictsLanguage English
  • Protection of Civilians in Armed ConflictsCREDITS 2 ECTS
  • Fee CHF 1'700
  • Application Deadline 27 August 2023