HomeResearch and policyPublicationsStudying Humanitarianism

Profound failures to deliver humanitarian assistance in a well-coordinated, transparent, professional and efficient way have led to significant humanitarian reforms and paradigm shifts.

New ways of working – underpinned by new frameworks, codes, principles and standards – have emerged, with the number of humanitarian and development aid workers increasing by approximately 6% annually.

The ongoing professionalisation of humanitarian aid and the sector is clearly reflected by the rapid expansion of humanitarian educational programs around the world. Despite this trend, there is no agreement on a core course curriculum in Humanitarian Studies.

This working paper surveys 23 ‘humanitarian action’ master’s degree programs offered in the US, the UK, Europe, Australia and Nigeria to identify key commonalities across courses.

Acknowledging the diversity within and between different humanitarian master’s degrees and in which institution’s departments, schools and faculties they are housed, there is much room for differences in approach and in the belief of what constitutes ‘core’ or ‘common’ concepts.

This paper does not put forth a proposal of how a core curriculum should look like; rather, it highlights core commonalities across programs.

Findings presented in this working paper are preliminary and contribute to the understanding of what could qualify as part of a ‘core curriculum’.

Download Studying Humanitarianism: A Course Audit of Master’s Degree Programs in Humanitarian Action (Open Journal PDF)

Academic contributors