Master’s studies

Master Programme in International Humanitarian Action 2017/2018

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The Master Programme in International Humanitarian Action is a multidisciplinary and inter-university programme which is given in association with different universities in Europe and the rest of the world. It provides high-quality academic education and professional competences for a career in humanitarian action, emergency and disaster relief, and development at both national and international levels. The programme also supports a very active alumni network which, apart from being a lot of fun, supports new students in their careers with networking activities.

Why this programme?

NOHA stands for Network on Humanitarian Action, which is the organisation responsible for this joint European Master’s programme.

The programme was launched in 1993 because of a growing concern about the increase in disasters and conflicts in the world and the complex consequences for society. In order to address these questions, it was felt that a more professional approach was required, combining academic higher education and professional competences. The programme is administered by the Department of Theology, but is multidisciplinary.

The education is supported by the European Commission and is one of the best-established Master’s programmes in humanitarian action. NOHA links ten core universities in Europe with many partner universities around the globe. The Master’s programme has twice been awarded Erasmus Mundus Programme status, thus facilitating student and scholar mobility within the network.

The Master Programme in International Humanitarian Action offers a multidisciplinary education which seeks to teach you as a student core competences for a career in humanitarian action. The overall aim is to train you to develop the analytical and practical skills needed by professional humanitarian workers – for example, an interdisciplinary understanding of emergency situations and a capacity to organise and plan humanitarian relief operations. In Uppsala, the duration of the Master’s programme is two years of full-time study.


The programme leads to a Master of Arts in Theology (120 credits) with International Humanitarian Action as the main field of study.


First Semester
The semester kicks off in the first week of September with the Intensive Programme (IP), which is organised by a NOHA university in Europe. The semester then continues with courses in International Law, Anthropology, Management, Public Health and Geopolitics. All modules are worth 5 credits.

Second Semester
In the second semester, you move to a partner university within the network on Humanitarian Action (NOHA) and study that university’s specialisation. For information on NOHA members and specialisations, please see A good knowledge of French or Spanish will be necessary for certain universities.

In turn, Uppsala receives exchange students from other NOHA universities who will study our specialisation: Conflict, Peace-building and Religion. The first module is Conflict and Peace-building 15 credits. Exchange students then study Religion and Humanitarian Action, 5 credits, and end with Advanced Management, 5 credits, and Method, 5 credits.

Third Semester
In the third semester you will carry out an internship in a national or international organisation working with humanitarian issues. The internship should last half a semester and is worth 15 credits. The rest of the semester is devoted to elective courses (15 credits). Depending on availability and competition from students at other NOHA universities, you can also go to a partner university outside Europe. This exchange provides 15 credits and replaces elective courses.

Fourth Semester
The fourth and final semester is devoted to writing your Master's thesis (30 credits). The thesis module ends with a seminar where you will defend your thesis and critique another.

Learning experience

Teaching in the programme consists of lectures and seminars where you are expected to play an active part. The programme also includes extensive independent study. The language of instruction at Uppsala University is English, and at NOHA partner universities is English, French or Spanish.


This programme provides you with a high-quality academic education and professional competences tailored to a career in the areas of international humanitarian action, emergency and disaster relief, and development.

A Master's degree in International Humanitarian Action could be a suitable qualification for work in non-governmental organisations and in large international organisations such as the UN, EU or OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs).

Nationally, there are career possibilities in the public sector such as in the County Councils and Municipalities and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB).


Application should be made via the webpage of the Network on Humanitarian Action (NOHA) The application deadline is 31 March 2017.

Information about fees
All students who begin the programme (including students from Sweden and other EU or EFTA countries) shall pay tuition fees to the NOHA Consortium. Please see the NOHA Consortium's website for more information

Applicants who are interested in a local programme at Uppsala University with similar content are referred to Master Programme in Humanitarian Action and Conflict, 60 credits.

Master Programme in International Humanitarian Action

120 credits

Autumn 2017 - 100 % - Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application Deadline: 2017-03-31


Language of Instruction: English

Academic requirements
A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university.

Language requirements
All applicants need to verify English language proficiency. This is normally attested by an internationally recognised test such as TOEFL or IELTS with the following minimum scores:

  • IELTS: an overall mark of 6.5 and no section below 5.5
  • TOEFL: Paper-based: Score of 4.5 (scale 1–6) in written test and a total score of 575. Internet-based: Score of 20 (scale 0–30) in written test and a total score of 93
  • Cambridge: CAE, CPE
Knowledge of other languages and practical experience in the area of humanitarian action are recommended.

Selection: Students are selected based on:

  • a total appraisal of quantity and quality of previous undergraduate university studies;
  • a statement of purpose (maximum 500 words);
  • two letters of recommendation; and
  • work experience (if any) in the field of international humanitarian action.

Contact and further resources

Department of Theology

Engelska parken, Thunbergsv. 3 B

Box 511, 751 20 UPPSALA

Telephone: 018-471 2295

Fax: 018-710170


Telephone: +46 18 471 22 36

For general information about Master's studies at Uppsala University, please send an email to: