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IIHA Undergraduate Programs

Students in Classroom at Rose Hill

The Humanitarian Studies Program provides students with the technical knowledge and analytical tools necessary to examine and critique a wide range of humanitarian activities, including food aid, water and sanitation programming, medical assistance, and refugee settlements. The combination of rigorous interdisciplinary coursework and experiential learning opportunities prepare students for a host of graduate studies and careers, such as disaster relief, global public health, human rights, and international law. Additionally, the IIHA’s New York City location provides students with exposure to various United Nations Agencies, the US Mission to the UN, international NGOs, and prominent research institutions.


Humanitarian Studies Major and Minor

The Humanitarian Studies Programs offers both a Major and Minor track. The course of study, outlined below, balances the theoretical examination of key humanitarian issues with opportunities for practical application exercises, specifically through the Foreign Service Program (HUST 4500) and Internship Seminar (HUST 4800).


Learning Goals

Group of students sitting around a lunch table in Nicaragua during an Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs January break trip

Upon completion of the undergraduate humanitarian studies programs, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the actors and actions in international responses to humanitarian crises;
  2. Employ a wide range of disciplines and case studies to examine complex humanitarian emergencies, including natural disaster, famine, war, and pandemic disease;
  3. Recognize the value of different kinds of knowledge (including both academic and experiential) in formulating appropriate responses to humanitarian crises;
  4. Critically evaluate the way in which humanitarian interventions are understood and assessed, specifically contrasting the differences between effectiveness, efficiency, outcome, and impact.

Our mission for students in the Humanitarian Studies Program at Fordham extends beyond simply satisfying the course requirements for the major or minor, and the IIHA and their advisor will support them in a number of ways. Students are encouraged to:

  • Participate in the life of the humanitarian community at Fordham. Examining contemporary humanitarian issues with their peers through debates, clubs and other activities is an important part of their humanitarian education;
  • Cultivate an in-depth knowledge of a specific area of humanitarian assistance through their elective choices, their internship, and - if in the Major - their thesis;
  • Consider their professional development and their range of career options while making use of the IIHA’s relationships with practitioners as well as Fordham’s location in New York City.

Summer Session

Students standing in a coffee field in Nicaragua The Humanitarian Studies Undergraduate Program offers two of its courses during Fordham’s Summer Session: Introduction to Humanitarian Action: Theory and Practice and the Foreign Service Program. Each course is 4 credits and can be applied to either the Major or Minor. Students can also enroll in a one-credit internship course, taking advantage of internships with world-renowned humanitarian organizations in the city.

The courses are offered during the first and second session, respectively, and take place at the Lincoln Center Campus. Students visiting from other colleges and universities can also enroll in the courses.

Please visit the Fordham Summer Session page for more information on enrollment.


Internships

The IIHA serves as a support for internship placements, working closely with students to help with resumes, cover letters, and establishing connections with various organizations. Priority is given to those students enrolled in the Internship Seminar, but all students are encouraged to take advantage of the IIHA’s available resources. Students should generally begin the application process approximately two months before they wish to begin their internship. Current and past placements include:

  • Action Against Hunger (ACF)
  • Aid for AIDS
  • American Red Cross
  • Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB)
  • Catholic Worker Concern Worldwide
  • Covenant House
  • Equality Now
  • Girl Rising
  • Global Nomads Group
  • Global Poverty Project (GPP)
  • Human Rights Watch (HRW)
  • Immigration Equality
  • International Legal Foundation
  • International Rescue Committee (IRC)
  • New York City Office of Emergency Management NGO
  • Working Group on Food and Hunger at the United Nations
  • Physicians for Human Rights
  • United Nations Department of Public Information (UNDPI)
  • United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)
  • U.S. Fund for UNICEF

This list is not exhaustive, and it is important to note that while the IIHA has many New York based partner organizations, students are ultimately responsible for securing their internships through respective application processes. Students are not guaranteed placement with any particular organization. Please contact the IIHA Graduate Assistant for further assistance.

Please note that internships are also available for students to work directly with the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs.


Humanitarian Student Union

The Humanitarian Student Union (HSU) was created and fostered by the IIHA for socially conscious students determined to work on humanitarian issues. The entirely student-run organisation, with separate branches at Fordham’s Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses, is dedicated to educating club members, and the greater Fordham community, on humanitarian crises in local, regional, national, and international spheres.

The Unions are founded on strong principles of inclusion at Fordham. Students and members are invited to speak openly about political and moral affairs affecting them in their studies or elsewhere. By promoting activism in this way, and encouraging members to engage with the issues they are most passionate about, the Unions strive to improve the humanitarian aid of the future. These topics are broad and far reaching, and have already encompassed events on the following topics:

  • Gender-based advocacy
  • Fundraising for hurricane responses
  • Crisis in Yemen
  • Migration in Central America
  • Denuclearization