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Course Content

Course content

This multidisciplinary degree course focuses on response to crises originating from both conflict-zones and natural disasters. Bringing together the study of medicine and humanities, the course provides an inclusive approach that mirrors the reality of aid operations and informs the reflexive processes of both analytical and applied disciplines. Students will be able to draw synergies from an exceptionally wide breadth of disciplinary traditions and research expertise.


1. Provide critical insights into competing perspectives on how Humanitarianism and Conflict Responses can be understood, analysed and explained - from both an historiographic and contemporary viewpoint.

2. Develop analytical skills in critically evaluating the idea of humanitarianism and the ways that responses to conflict are organised, justified and implemented. This includes competency in developing a reasoned argument, critically considering data sources and defending different approaches.

3. Develop skills in gathering, organising and using evidence and information from a wide variety of sources. This will be complemented by guidance on how best to manage workloads and obtain research materials.

4. Enable students to apply research skills to a relevant research area.

Intended learning outcomes of the programme

Students should be able to show a critical understanding of :

1. Key issues and debates in Humanitarianism and Conflict Response, familiarity with different theoretical approaches, practical problems and an appreciation of the diversity of policies at international and national levels.

2. Both the range of social science topics associated with Humanitarianism and Conflict Response and the normative and historiographic assumptions which underpin these issues.

3. The analytical and policy literature concerning the related issues of the causes of conflict, reconstruction, ethics and international governance structures and institutions, the role and perspectives of the state, multilateral and bilateral agencies, international and domestic NGOs and other civil institutions.

4. A detailed and extensive understanding of a specific conceptual and/or policy-related area of Humanitarianism and Conflict Response, of the implications and limitations of research findings on this subject; and of how to produce an original piece of academic research, all through their dissertation.

Special features

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

View the course handbook to see details of the current unit options.

Coursework and assessment

This will vary from course unit to unit.

Course unit details

Course units may include:

  • Humanitarianism and conflict response: inquiries
  • Emergency humanitarian assistance
  • Fundamentals of epidemiology
  • Humanitarian responses to crises: case studies
  • The history of humanitarian aid
  • Research & evaluation methods
  • Global health
  • The Arab revolts and post-revolutionary state formation
  • Anthropology of violence
  • Performance in theory and practice
  • The ethics of killing
  • Ethics in world politics
  • Conflict analysis
  • Democracy: theory & practice
  • Reconstruction and development
  • Global governance

Career opportunities

As a hard-working, ambitious Manchester postgraduate, a wide range of exciting careers are within your reach. Students at the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute come from a broad range of backgrounds, with varying levels of experience. Many who already have work experience will be able to harness the knowledge gained from their course to progress within their field of expertise, reaching senior roles in government and non-governmental organisations. Others will be able to use the course as a starting point to progress onto careers within NGOs, HR consultancies, financial institutions, academic institutions and more. Whatever your level of experience, you can access support from your tutors, the University Careers Service and an extensive alumni network to boost your career prospects further than ever before whilst at Manchester.

Associated organisations

A close link has been formed with the humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières. Recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize, it delivers emergency aid in over 60 countries to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural or man-made disasters or exclusion from healthcare through its staff of 25,000 health professionals, logistics experts and administrators. The HCRI is also building a network of associate fellows based in relevant organisations and academic institutions around the world.

Visit the Humanitarianism and Conflict Response (MA) page on the University of Manchester website for more details!





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