Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

Humanitarian Studies

Humanitarian action, those international endeavors that attempt to relieve the suffering of populations in crisis, and its ideological counterpart, humanitarianism, are powerful notions that cut across many aspects of contemporary life. Even as humanitarianism makes compelling moral claims, its actions are often shaped by political interests, expediency, and a technocratic approach to addressing suffering, all of which have potential to harm the world’s most vulnerable populations. The academy has a vital role to play in both understanding humanitarianism and improving contemporary humanitarian practice. The major in international humanitarian studies allows students to examine technical innovation and undertake theoretical critique of humanitarian activities across a range of crises and actors.

In considering international responses to suffering, undergraduates in this major will draw upon a wide array of intellectual tools and academic frameworks. Ethical, moral, cultural and spiritual considerations confront logistic, economic, scientific and geo- political modes of thought in circumstances of vast complexity: violent conflict (including gender-based violence), famine and natural disaster. The major will also contribute to central aims of Fordham’s mission: research and education that assist in the alleviation of poverty, the promotion of justice and the protection of human rights as part of a cosmopolitan education that prepares students for leadership in a global society.

Program Requirements

Four core courses:
HUAF 4001 - Introduction to Humanitarian Action: Theory and Practice
HUAF 4500 - Foreign Service
HUAF 4800 – International Humanitarian Affairs Internship Seminar
HUAF 4900- International Humanitarian Studies Senior Thesis Seminar

6 Elective Courses
Electives must fulfill a distribution requirement consisting of two courses from each of the following three areas of study:
1.    History, Philosophy, Anthropology Area Studies (LALS, AFAM, and MEST)
2.    Humanitarian Affairs, Political Science, Sociology, Economics
3.    Women’s Studies, Literary studies, Communications.

The major will help provide valuable skills for a wide range of graduate studies and careers including: international NGO work across relief and development; healthcare (and particularly global health); international affairs careers including the state department and USAID; careers in the United Nations; careers in human rights and international law.

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