Master of Arts in International Humanitarian Action

In a disaster, good intentions are not enough. To care for people at their most vulnerable, humanitarian aid workers need to take swift and mindful action. That makes on-the-ground skills and best practices absolutely critical.

At Fordham’s Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs, where we’ve trained more than 2,500 humanitarian professionals from 133 different countries, we understand that as an aid worker responding to crises around the world, you don’t have the luxury of time to commit to a traditional two-year residential degree program. That’s why our Master of Arts in International Humanitarian Action (MIHA) is designed in one-, two-, and four-week intensive sessions that are held in various rotating locations around the world including Addis Ababa, Amman, Barcelona, Berlin, Dublin, Geneva, Goa, Kuala Lumpur, Nairobi, New York, Penang, and Rome.

Made up of four modules, our master’s program combines the experience of seasoned humanitarian professionals with the academic strength of Fordham faculty. Building on your area of interest, you’ll conduct independent research that culminates in a master’s thesis. Modules 1, 2, and 3 are each certified by the New York State Education Department as advanced certificates. Our one-week courses also can be taken as stand-alone training sessions outside of the master’s program.

Module 1: Humanitarian Assistance

  • Acquire a foundational and nuanced understanding of the basic skills, knowledge, and principles required for effective humanitarian action
  • Learn how to identify the roles and interactions of key actors in humanitarian response and how to work effectively as a team in a high-stress environment
  • Evaluate interventions and identify examples of best practices

Module 2: Operational Humanitarian Assistance

  • Distinguish phases and opportunities for intervention
  • Learn how to implement humanitarian response while addressing challenges of security and access
  • Identify strategies to build capacity and mobilize local response

Module 3: Management of Humanitarian Action

  • Identify ethical issues that arise in humanitarian action
  • Analyze the different dimensions of accountability in humanitarian response
  • Develop effective management skills

Module 4: Humanitarian Leadership

  • Analyze case studies of past disasters
  • Develop strategies for responding to and mitigating complex emergencies in light of current trends and key issues within the humanitarian sector
  • Research and write a master’s thesis

As a student in the program, you’ll learn to conduct independent research on a current challenge or thematic specialization, and to analyze data and trends in disaster and crisis management.

Program Basics

  • Curriculum requires four modules for a total of 32 credits all offered in one-, two-, and four-week intensive sessions
  • Program can be completed in 18 months or up to five years
  • Modules 1, 2 and 3 can be completed separately for an advanced certificate
  • Many courses can be taken independently of the master’s program

Admission Requirements

Admission consideration includes review of GSAS admissions materials plus proper work experience.

  1. Successful completion of the International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance (IDHA).
  2. GREs are accepted but not required, and candidates should have at least five years experience in humanitarian assistance or a related field.
  3. Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended. A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university is required.
  4. Three letters of recommendation
  5. Resume/CV
  6. A statement of interest connecting the student's goals for the program with the expertise and activities of the IIHA. Students must provide evidence of training, education, or practical experience in an area related to the fields and topics encompassed by the Master's program.
  7. $35 Admission Fee

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View the program cost for each course.