Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Action

Programme description 

This Master programme is a cutting-edge interdisciplinary postgraduate course on humanitarian action providing current and future humanitarian professionals with the conceptual and practical tools necessary to optimize responses to contemporary crises.


At the end of the Master, students will be able to critically analyse humanitarian responses through a good understanding of the concepts of humanitarian action and use management and strategy tools to develop, coordinate and evaluate a humanitarian response.


The Master programme is a modular, full-time executive training of 60 ECTS credits composed of four terms:

Term One: Critical Analysis of Humanitarian Action (24 ECTS Credits)

Module 1: Humanitarianisms                                                          

  • Genealogy of humanitarianisms (secular and faith-based, North and South, etc.)
  • Humanitarian ethics and principles
  • Philanthro-capitalism & humanitarian business

Module coordinators: Dr. Valérie GorinProf. Davide Rodogno

Module 2: Contexts, Action and Consequences         

  • Contexts, forms and times of humanitarian responses
  • Protection, health, food, shelter, people on the move etc.

Module coordinators: Jean-Marc BiquetDr. Christophe Gironde

Module 3: Revisiting Vulnerabilities and Needs    

  • Relativising ‘needs’ and ‘key populations’ (disability, HIV, refugees, women, children etc.)
  • Vulnerabilities, categories and indicators

 Module coordinators: Prof. Julie BillaudDr. Anne GolazHelena Merelo

Module 4: Humanitarian Governance, Norms and Principles

  • Humanitarian government and biopolitics
  • Normative and legal frameworks
  • Dynamics of actors

 Module coordinators: Prof. Julie BillaudGeneva Academy

Module 5: The Humanitarians                                           

  • The culture of humanitarianism
  • Aidland

Module coordinators: Dr. Valérie GorinProf. Alessandro Monsutti

Term Two: Designing Strategies and Projects for Humanitarian Action (1o ECTS Credits)
Option I: Residential, in Geneva, Switzerland (duration: 7 weeks)
Option II: Distance Learning (duration: 8 months)

Term Three: Humanitarian Programme Management and Implementation (10 ECTS Credits)

Selection of five elective courses from the following list:

Term four: Dissertation or Work Experience (16 ECTS Credits)

Dissertation to include:

  • Literature review;
  • Context analysis;
  • Reports on thematic issues relevant to humanitarian action;
  • Case studies.


  • Report on work experience gained during the studies



Location   Centre for Education and Research in Humanitarian Action (CERAH)
22 Rue de Rothschild, Geneva, Switzerland
Duration   from September to August.
from 1 to 3 years (except for scholarship beneficiaries)
Programme type   Full-time programme of 60 ECTS credits
Programme structure   Four terms including a dissertation
Teaching methodology  
  • Lectures delivered by academics and humanitarian experts
  • Intercultural classroom settings
  • Participatory programme
Teaching language   Teaching is conducted in English
Written exams and dissertations are accepted in English and French
Awarded degree   Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Action, corresponding to 60 ECTS credits
Degree is awarded jointly by the University of Geneva and The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
Tuition fee   CHF 15,000.00 (for one year course) and CHF 17,000 for 2-3 year flexible course
Participants   Maximum of 30 participants per year
Starting date   September for the one year course. For the 2-3 year course the start date is flexible. 
Enrollment   For all details, please see Admission