Skip to main content

M.S. in Humanitarian Studies Curriculum

The Master of Science in Humanitarian Studies degree is a 30-credit program constituted by five core courses, four concentration track electives, an internship, and a completed thesis. 

Core requirements (5 courses, 15 credits total)

  1. Fundamentals of Humanitarian Action 
  2. Contemporary Issues in Humanitarian Action
  3. Information Management 
  4. Humanitarian Resource Management & Administration 
  5. Monitoring & Evaluation in Humanitarian Response

Four electives (4 courses, 12 credits total) are available across three concentration tracks: 

Human Rights

Courses in this concentration examine the preservation of human rights in humanitarian activities. A clear understanding of these rights and privileges is critical to those working within the humanitarian sector, and students concentrating in this area will emerge with skills and critical thinking in how to preserve those rights and privileges in those who are at risk. Courses that fulfill this concentration include:

  • Protection for Vulnerable Populations
  • Access to Education during Crisis and Conflict
  • Alternative and Advocacy Journalism
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Trauma and Family Violence
  • Contemporary Social Theory
  • Independent Study

Communities and Capacity Building

Courses in this concentration examine humanitarian response at the subnational level, including how processes are created, relationships are founded, skills are shared, and institutions are built, strengthened, and stabilized. Students concentrating in this area will work through practical skills to mitigate and respond to complex emergencies at a local level. Courses that fulfill this concentration include:

  • Disaster Risk Reduction
  • Gender Integration in Humanitarian Action
  • Epidemics and Development
  • Persuasion and Public Opinion
  • International Communication
  • Global Mental Health
  • Global Cities
  • Independent Study

Livelihoods and Institutions

Courses in this concentration area examine humanitarian response through a macro-structural lens, incorporating global processes and a critical exploration of how international actors can support and enrich national and local societies in times of crisis. Students concentrating in this area will focus on causality and larger response mechanisms. Courses that fulfill this concentration include:

  • Urban Disaster and Displacement
  • International Responses to Migration
  • Environment History
  • Migration, Microfinance, and Poverty
  • Foreign Aid and Development
  • Ethics and Economics
  • Ecological Ethics
  • Issues in Urban Studies
  • Independent Study

Internship (3 credits)

Our New York City location enables students to pursue internships and exposure to various United Nations agencies, diplomatic missions, international nongovernmental organizations, and prominent research and think-tank institutions. You will complete an internship tutorial that matches your concentration area, either during a summer, fall, or spring semester.

Masters’ Thesis

You will complete a Master’s Thesis under the supervision of a faculty member on a topic related to your concentration area. 

Five-Year BA or BS/MS in Humanitarian Studies

The five-year BA or BS/MS program in Humanitarian Studies allows select Fordham University Juniors from any undergraduate major to apply to earn both their Bachelor’s degree and the Master of Science degree in Humanitarian Studies in five years. For more information, please consult the Early Admissions web page on the GSAS web site.