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MSc Humanitarianism, Aid and Conflict

MSc Humanitarianism, Aid and Conflict

Different course options

Full time | SOAS, University of London | 1 year | SEP

Study mode

Full time


1 year

Start date


Key information

Qualification type

MSc - Master of Science

Subject areas

Conflict Management (Business)

Course type


Course Summary

The MSc Humanitarianism, Aid & Conflict builds on the strength of existing expertise in violence, conflict and global development within the Department of Development Studies and SOAS in general.

The programme is designed to provide students with analytical training and an in-depth understanding of the challenges of contemporary humanitarian aid, its interaction with conflict and development and new directions in the field.

The programme presents students with comprehensive knowledge of the history of the architecture of aid in humanitarian contexts, key local, regional and international actors, and engages with theoretical, conceptual and policy debates relating to the political and logistical challenges of the global responses to conflict, natural disasters and complex emergencies, the diverse range of critiques that have been made of it, emerging innovations, context-specific challenges and agendas from the Global South.

In this unique programme is specifically designed to allow students to focus on and develop wide-ranging knowledge of the field and the tools to critically engage with the pressing questions of power dynamics, politics, accountability, security and access that are facing the humanitarian organisations, academics and local communities today.

The core modules on the programme provide an in-depth and critical overview of the key issues and debates in the humanitarian studies and practice, while the optional modules enable you to shape your studies to your own needs and interests, in areas such as migration, gender, political economy, food insecurity, protracted conflict, labour and livelihoods, climate and the environment and urban development.

The programme links theory to practice through engagement with a wide range of materials, including academic literature, case studies, archival documents, policy reports, popular culture and media.

What Makes the Programme Special?

Students studying Humanitarianism at SOAS will benefit from our critical and engaged tradition in development studies, the knowledge of our world-leading faculty and staff on global responses to complex crisis and our unique expertise on specialist regions. SOAS University of London is the leading Higher Education institution in Europe specialising in the study of Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East.

Throughout the year our students will partake in a variety of activities which will support their academic development and knowledge of current debates in the Humanitarianism, Aid and Conflict. Termly Humanitarian Seminars will be held on current issues in the field. The seminars will allow students to engage in real-time with a wide variety of academics, government officials, aid workers, researchers and civil society advocates from the UK and around the world. In addition, students will be able to attend and benefit from the vibrant and engaged research community at SOAS and attend public lectures, workshops and special events organised by the Development Studies Department, and other Departments and Centres across the School.

Who Should Do This Programme?

We welcome students with a strong background in the social sciences, management, humanities or social science of medicine in their first degree, and those who have worked in the area of humanitarian aid, development, or in a related field.

This course will provide a solid foundation and practical skills for students with an interest working in humanitarian aid, policymaking, global development, migration, civil-society and advocacy, philanthropy, the NGO sector, or academia and research careers.


This core module offers students the opportunity to combine study and analysis of critical perspectives on development and the increasingly important and related field of migration studies. The module will address the political economy of migration from a historical perspective, major trends in migration theories, and different forms of and approaches to the study of migration and displacement. Moving beyond a narrow preoccupation with the direct and causal linkages between migration and development, the module interrogates the academic and policy discourses underpinning each, and explores some of the ways in which historical, socio-political and globalizing forces construct migration contexts and environments, and how these are navigated and challenged by migrants themselves.

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK students

For this course (per year)


International fees
Course fees for EU and international students

For this course (per year)


Entry requirements

Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent). Relevant work experience may also be considered.

University information

At SOAS University of London, students are encouraged to challenge conventional views and to think globally. SOAS is the leading higher education institution in Europe specialising in the study of Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East, offering over a hundred postgraduate programmes, all taught by world-class specialists. The central London campus is home to a large postgraduate community, with 45% of students studying towards a...more