Humanitarian Studies

Degree Options: Major, Minor
Locations: Lincoln Center, Rose Hill
Visit the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs

Helping others is the essence of humanitarian studies—and of a Fordham education.

Humanitarian affairs students meeting with a family in Nicaragua.

You see the injustice, poverty, and disaster zones around the world—and you must do something about them. If you believe, as we do, in Fordham’s Jesuit-inspired mission to care for others and fight for justice, the international humanitarian affairs major might be the perfect program for you.

In our interdisciplinary program, offered by the Institute for International Humanitarian Affairs, you’ll examine the global impact of disasters, disease, poverty, conflict, human rights violations, and policies. You’ll learn the tools and techniques experts use to improve lives—and cast a critical eye on complex variables like politics.

You’ll study with faculty from international affairs, political science, philosophy, history, and anthropology, and learn from experts from the UN, NGOs, and the private sector.

From technical innovations used to help populations in crisis to theoretical critiques of humanitarian activities, our program will expose you to challenging situations—and innovative solutions.

You’ll learn more than international humanitarian studies here. You’ll also study philosophy, theology, literature, languages, ethics, science, and the performing arts through Fordham’s common core curriculum, the centerpiece of our liberal arts education.

We want you to excel in your field—and as a human being.

  • As an international humanitarian affairs major, you take four required courses:

    • Introduction to Humanitarian Action: Theory and Practice
    • Foreign Service Program
    • Internship Seminar
    • Senior Thesis Seminar

    You also take six electives drawn from three subject areas:

    • History, philosophy, and anthropology
    • Humanitarian affairs, political science, sociology, and economics
    • Communications, literary studies, and women’s studies


    The internship seminar is an essential element of the major, because you’ll gain priceless experience working at an international nongovernmental organization (NGO) or intergovernmental organization (IGO) in New York City, world headquarters of the United Nations. You’ll learn about the structure and inner workings of NGOs and IGOs that work in:

    • global health
    • world poverty
    • hunger alleviation
    • human rights
    • international law
    • global governance
    • women’s rights
    • conflict resolution
    • peacekeeping
    • international education

    Guest speakers regularly attend the weekly internship seminar to help students connect their ongoing, individual intern experience to the big picture of international humanitarian aid and development.

    We’ll connect you with our many partner organizations, and help you sharpen your resume and cover letter. But ultimately, landing the internship is up to you.

    Study Abroad

    International is in the major name. Put international experience on your résumé before you leave Fordham through our International and Study Abroad Program.

  • Philosophy of Human Rights
    Hazards, Disasters & the Human Experience
    Catholic Social Teaching
    Economies of Emerging Nations
    Third World Politics
    Gender, Crime and Justice
    International Communication 
    Peace, Justice and the Media
    Feminist Theory in Intercultural Perspectives

  • You’ll graduate with an international humanitarian studies degree well prepared for a wide range of challenging career paths working with:

    • international NGOs
    • global health initiatives
    • State Department
    • USAID
    • United Nations
    • human rights organizations
    • international law firms

    Our career services tap Fordham’s ties with more than 3,500 companies. We offer:

    • postgraduation career search
    • resume development, Interviewing practice
    • networking skill development
    • hands-on case-study sessions with industry executives
    • field-specific advising/coaching 

    You also get access to our powerful (and Fordham-loyal) network of alumni, who want to see you succeed as they have.

Learn More About the Humanitarian Studies Degree

Visit the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs