Master of Science in Humanitarian Studies

Educating the next generation of humanitarian professionals

Syria Atma Refugee Camp with Families

Syria Atma Refugee Camp - Syrian refugee family and camp

With the unprecedented rise globally of conflict-induced and climate-induced disasters, the need to ensure collective, effective responses to humanitarian crises that meet the needs of disaster-affected communities has never been more pressing. Addressing the multidimensional challenges of humanitarian action requires well-trained professionals who possess multi-sector knowledge, cultural understanding, and practical skillsets.

A Master of Science in Humanitarian Studies (MSHS) from Fordham University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) will educate you to make meaningful contributions to humanitarian operations.

Built on social justice values and humanitarian principles, this 30-credit interdisciplinary program is uniquely focused on the theory and practice of humanitarian relief, and is centered on equipping you with a wide range of skills and competencies necessary for a dynamic career in the sector.

You will be challenged to examine critically the political, social, economic, and legal foundations of the contemporary humanitarian sector, and to master various techniques to engaging holistic and sustainable responses to protracted and rapid onset humanitarian crises.

Program Highlights

  • Join an innovative graduate program, the first of its kind, U.S.-based Master’s degree dedicated exclusively to international humanitarian response
  • Engage deeply in contemporary humanitarian issues, including forced migration, human rights in conflict, urban disasters, and education in crises
  • Focus on developing practical field skills through unique experiential learning opportunity in New York and overseas
  • Cultivate an extensive network of high-qualified graduate program alumni and practitioners through the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs
  • Learn policy making and project management skills and techniques from faculty with both academic and field experience in humanitarian relief and assistance
  • Enrich your coursework with immersive internship, independent study and thesis research opportunities

Program Basics

  • Complete the MSHS in 1.5 years (3 semesters + 1 summer) or 2 years (4 semesters)
  • Attend evening classes as a working professional or to accommodate internship schedules
  • Take advantage of Fordham’s partnerships with academic institutions and humanitarian organizations to engage in local, national, and international research, internship, and study opportunities


The MSHS program is designed for individuals intending to build careers in humanitarian action. Whether in development, finance, policy coordination, advocacy, strategic communications, program/project management, logistics, or other areas of expertise, MSHS graduates will be exceptionally-equipped to contribute their skillsets and knowledge to humanitarian nongovernmental or intergovernmental organizations, government agencies, foundations, think tanks, or within the private sector. 

MSHS students have access to Fordham University’s Career Services, along with direct advising from the IIHA Executive Director, Helen Hamlyn Senior Fellow and Faculty. The MSHS is a program in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS)

"As a humanitarian studies student, it took me across the world: to Lebanon, Spain, Morocco, Greece, Turkey, Ireland, and beyond. I learned the power of partnership with local communities affected by conflict and disaster, and the importance of community at the center of all aspects of the humanitarian response to enhance and strengthen, rather than replace and undermine, local capacity in times of crisis."

- Samantha Slattery, MSHS '20, GSAS Student Graduation Speaker

"I don’t want to simply ‘help people’; I want to work toward common human goals, support people with empathy, respect, and dignity, and alleviate suffering while forging new paths toward an even playing field where the challenges of global inequality get smaller and smaller."

- Julia Britto, Current MSHS Student

"Understanding that pursuing the MSHS degree will increase my ability to help others is what truly motivates me to go to class each day."

- Andrew Ehrenfeld, Current MSHS Student & Instructor for Fordham’s Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps