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Masters Degrees (Humanitarian Actions)

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This online course is for practitioners in humanitarian and peacebuilding field. This course has been designed using the knowledge and expertise of both the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP). Read more

This online course is for practitioners in humanitarian and peacebuilding field. This course has been designed using the knowledge and expertise of both the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP).

Built on the experiences and expertise developed by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP) at Oxford Brookes University, the MA explores the interactions between humanitarian action and peacebuilding. It links applied knowledge and practice with theory through online lectures, action research, sharing of experiences, discussions with key practitioners, and critical reflection on practices. 

This programme is designed mainly for practitioners working in the fields of humanitarian action and peacebuilding, though it is open also to those working in related fields. It allows you to broaden your perceptions, critically review your role, and develop and refine hard and soft skills needed to work effectively in the fields of humanitarian action and peacebuilding. The programme is also relevant for practitioners working in other fields, interested in exploring new opportunities in conflict transformation.

Why choose this course?

  • Flexible and user-friendly online learning environment allowing you to learn from your workplace
  • Investigating cutting-edge issues in the field of humanitarian action and peacebuilding, proposing innovative tools and reflecting on current field practices
  • Designed and delivered jointly by Oxford Brookes University and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) offering you access to resources and support from both institutions online and in the field through UN missions 
  • Unparalleled support from a team of academic experts and top-ranked practitioners as well as field experts for specific topics
  • Founded on action-research, and on populations and employers' direct needs in humanitarian and peacebuilding programming 
  • Access to a worldwide community of learners. 

This course in detail

This is the first MA aimed at investigating the interactions between humanitarian action and peacebuilding, merging knowledge and know-how developed in both fields to promote better targeted initiatives and comprehensive responses. This MA is also one of the first Masters working on the principle that long-term and sustainable peace can only be built by local and national actors and initiatives. Therefore culture sensitivity, community initiatives and local responses are at the core of the learning process. 

To explore the links between humanitarian action and peacebuilding and learning from field practices, the MA relies on three distinctive features brought together to propose a unique and innovative learning approach: 

  • Based entirely on online delivery to create a web-based learning community, the MA offers a flexible and diverse method based mostly on collaborative work. A large portion of the learning activities are based on discussion and confrontation of ideas and practices to enhance peer to peer learning and discourse. 
  • The workplace is intended to be the main learning environment, to allow learners from all countries to engage with this global community of reflective practitioners. As a result, case studies, action research and hands-on exercises with live and field-based problems, working with communities, practitioners and agencies are an integral part of the programme. 
  • Based on innovative multicultural and multidisciplinary approaches, the MA uses studies and theories from social sciences, peace and conflict studies, humanities, management, political sciences, law, urban planning and architecture. It also merges practice-based knowledge produced by field practitioners and research outputs from practice-oriented scholars. The diversity of learners and lecturers creates a unique opportunity to merge and discuss different cultural paradigms, perceptions and intellectual traditions.

This part-time programme is usually studied over 30 months. However, you are able to take up to 5 years to complete the necessary credits or to finish it in 24 months if you can take time out of work to complete the programme.

It is constituted of three core modules; three issue-based modules as well as a research skills module as preparation for the dissertation.

How this course helps you develop

  • This programme will allow you to strengthen your professional network as you will be working collaboratively with other professionals and experts based in different humanitarian fields of operation.
  • It will allow you to strengthen you digital literacy and distance team-working
  •  It will develop self-reflective approaches and allow you to appraise critically your work environment.  

Careers

This course is ideal for a career in the field of humanitarian action, conflict transformation or related fields - such as civil servants or diplomats in charge of humanitarian affairs, academics teaching humanitarian practices, journalists seeking a better understanding of humanitarian issues, or military personnel ready to be deployed in a field of operation where humanitarian actions are taking place.



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You will examine the central challenges of the world we live in today from contemporary and historical perspectives. This innovative MA will provide a grounding in international relations theory while examining in depth issues of enduring international significance. Read more
You will examine the central challenges of the world we live in today from contemporary and historical perspectives. This innovative MA will provide a grounding in international relations theory while examining in depth issues of enduring international significance.

•Hear from experts and practitioners in the field of International Relations
•If you are interested in doing an internship we can help arrange one with an appropriate organisation
•Erasmus funding for European student internships
•Participate in field trips to visit and understand the complex workings of institutions and think tanks in the UK and Europe
•Students will be involved in organising and participating in national conference/symposia
•Join a highly motivated postgraduate research community


The MA International Relations is designed to help you examine the central challenges of the world we live in today in both contemporary and historical perspectives.

​The programme takes an expanded definition of what is International Relations and covers a range of subjects from economics, politics, law and culture to examining the actions of international organisations, nation-states and non-state actors.

It provides you with an essential grounding in international relations theory and also provides a range of specialist modules which examine in depth issues of enduring international significance: conflict, US foreign policy, state-building in the colonial and post-colonial world, and the role of humanitarian actions by state and non-state actors.

​In addition to the cross-faculty taught aspects of the MA, this programme recognises the importance of networking by obtaining employment in a related field. This is why we will provide opportunities of an internship programme and will hold and attend regular events and workshops with experts.

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All countries face a wide range of hazards, both natural and man-made, that have the potential to result in catastrophic damage. Despite actions taken by local emergency management professionals, international trends show that the economic and social impact of disaster has increased around the world. Read more
All countries face a wide range of hazards, both natural and man-made, that have the potential to result in catastrophic damage. Despite actions taken by local emergency management professionals, international trends show that the economic and social impact of disaster has increased around the world. This is especially true in the developing world, where large-scale disasters can result in enormous loss of life as well as considerable economic damage.

The MSc in International Disaster Management is designed for participants who want to increase both theoretical and practical management skills in enhancing resilience to disasters through prevention, preparedness, response and recovery from natural and man-made disaster events. Within the HCRI, this will take place through multidisciplinary study focusing on the critical analysis of current trends in global policies, particularly those related to international disaster risk reduction, sustainable development, climate change adaptation and humanitarian action tools commonly used by disaster risk reduction professionals. To this end, the core curriculum brings together the realms of disaster risk reduction, sustainable development, climate change adaptation and humanitarian action. The interdisciplinary team of researchers at the HCRI will also support academic study through practical applications of theory to disaster resilience, prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

In this way, the MSc in International Disaster Management is unique as it incorporates a wide variety of available course units from history, politics, development studies, the arts and medicine. This results in a course that is suitable as a way to development initial skills in disaster risk reduction or support continuing education for disaster risk reduction professionals.

Aims

On completion of the course, you should be able to show a critical understanding of:
1. Key issues and debates related to the theory and practices of disaster risk reduction. Students will show familiarity with different theoretical approaches, practical problems and an appreciation of the diversity of polices at international and national levels, including the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, Sustainable Development Goals, 21 st Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP21) and the outcomes of the World Humanitarian Summit.
2. The range of environmental, health and social science topics which influence disaster risk reduction and management (including political, historical, anthropological understandings). Students will become familiar with the methodological and normative underpinnings of these disciplines.
3. The analytical and policy literature concerning the related issues of disaster risk reduction including environmental/geological studies, emergency management structures and institutions, the role and perspectives of the state, multilateral and bilateral agencies, international and domestic NGO's and other civil institutions.
4. An understanding of common approaches to disaster risk reduction (i.e. risk matrices, disaster typologies), including an awareness of the problems and critiques associated with disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery in both industrialized and developing countries.
5. The development of a range of academic and professional/transferable skills through both independent and group-based work.
6. A detailed understanding of a specific conceptual and/or policy-related area of disaster risk reduction along with implications and limitations of research findings on this subject, and of how to produce an original piece of academic research. Delivered via a dissertation.

Special features

HCRI also offers bespoke training in International Disaster Management and Continuing Professional Development courses.

HCRI at The University of Manchester is inspired by the need to conduct rigorous research and to support postgraduate training on the impact and outcomes of contemporary and historical crises. Directed by Dr Rony Brauman (former President of MSF France, Associate Professor at L'Institut d'Études Politiques, Paris, and Director of Research at the MSF Foundation, Paris), HCRI is widely recognised as being a leading international research institute focusing on the study of humanitarianism, conflict response and peacebuilding.

Our work is driven by a desire to inform and support policy and decision makers, to optimise joint working between partner organisations, and to foster increased understanding and debate within the field. Bringing together the disciplines of medicine and the humanities (including international relations and political science) to achieve these goals, HCRI aims to facilitate improvements in crisis response on a global scale whilst providing a centre of excellence for all concerned with emergencies, conflicts and peace. In offering a range of postgraduate courses we embrace this opportunity to develop a scholarly and professional agenda for humanitarians and peacebuilders around the world.

Teaching and learning

Delivery of the course will be done through face-to-face teaching at the University of Manchester. This will be supported by streamed lectures, discussion boards and other e-learning elements.

Coursework and assessment

Graduation requirements will be the completion of 180 credits. A total of 120 credits of module coursework will be required for students to move on to dissertation writing. A passing dissertation will lead to the final 60 credits needed for MA completion.

Career opportunities

Students completing this programme may consider a wide range of career choices, including careers with:
-Civil Service (working within various government ministries, including the foreign office, international development office and local resilience forums)
-International Institutions (such as the UN Peacebuilding Commission, Department of Peacekeeping Operations and regional bodies such as the European Union, African Union, Organization of American States)
-NGO's (local and international) working on peacebuilding initiatives
-Academia/Research Institutes/Think-Tanks

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