The department is ranked no. 5 in the QS World University Rankings in the subject of Development Studies.
The MSc Humanitarianism, Aid & Conflict builds on the strength of existing expertise in violence, conflict and global development within the Department of Development Studies and SOAS in general.
The programme is designed to provide students with analytical training and an in-depth understanding of the challenges of contemporary humanitarian aid, its interaction with conflict and development and new directions in the field.
The programme presents students with comprehensive knowledge of the history of the architecture of aid in humanitarian contexts, key local, regional and international actors, and engages with theoretical, conceptual and policy debates relating to the political and logistical challenges of the global responses to conflict, natural disasters and complex emergencies, the diverse range of critiques that have been made of it, emerging innovations, context-specific challenges and agendas from the Global South.
In this unique programme is specifically designed to allow students to focus on and develop wide-ranging knowledge of the field and the tools to critically engage with the pressing questions of power dynamics, politics, accountability, security and access that are facing the humanitarian organisations, academics and local communities today.
The core modules on the programme provide an in-depth and critical overview of the key issues and debates in the humanitarian studies and practice, while the optional modules enable you to shape your studies to your own needs and interests, in areas such as migration, gender, political economy, food insecurity, protracted conflict, labour and livelihoods, climate and the environment and urban development.
The programme links theory to practice through engagement with a wide range of materials, including academic literature, case studies, archival documents, policy reports, popular culture and media.
Each cohort will acquire critical thinking and analysis skills, data gathering, research and communication and presentation skills, and guidance on undertaking internships. Students will interact with a wide range of actors including academics, policymakers, practitioners and civil society activists.
What Makes the Programme Special?
Students studying Humanitarianism at SOAS will benefit from our critical and engaged tradition in development studies, the knowledge of our world-leading faculty and staff on global responses to complex crisis and our unique expertise on specialist regions. SOAS University of London is the leading Higher Education institution in Europe specialising in the study of Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East.
Valerie Amos discusses humanitarian relief challenges with SOAS students | World Humanitarian Day
Throughout the year our students will partake in a variety of activities which will support their academic development and knowledge of current debates in the Humanitarianism, Aid and Conflict. Termly Humanitarian Seminars will be held on current issues in the field. The seminars will allow students to engage in real-time with a wide variety of academics, government officials, aid workers, researchers and civil society advocates from the UK and around the world. In addition, students will be able to attend and benefit from the vibrant and engaged research community at SOAS and attend public lectures, workshops and special events organised by the Development Studies Department, and other Departments and Centres across the School.
A weekly Student-Centred Workshop will be given by faculty members focused on topics such as developing academic writing and presentation skills, learning innovative methodologies and strengthening analysis skills. In the second term students will be able to use this space to invite speakers or organise special events.
This programme focuses on student-centred and engaged learning, and critical thinking. Modules span a wide variety of topics allowing students to focus on special areas of interest and utilise innovative and cutting-edge pedagogies such as podcasts, visual presentations, learning diaries and fieldtrips.
Who Should Do This Programme?
We welcome students with a strong background in the social sciences, management, humanities or social science of medicine in their first degree, and those who have worked in the area of humanitarian aid, development, or in a related field.
This course will provide a solid foundation and practical skills for students with an interest working in humanitarian aid, policymaking, global development, migration, civil-society and advocacy, philanthropy, the NGO sector, or academia and research careers.
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: September intake only
Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time
- Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent). Relevant work experience may also be considered.
- One calendar year (full-time); two calendar years part-time. We recommend that part-time students have between two and a half and three days free in the week to pursue their course of study.
- UK fees:
- Overseas fees:
Fees for 2021/22 entrants. This is a Band 5 fee. The fees are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found in the Fees and Funding tab on this page or in the Registry Postgraduate Tuition Fees page
Dr Althea-Maria Rivas Convenor