Master's Programme in International Humanitarian Action 2019/2020

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The Master's Programme in International Humanitarian Action is a multidisciplinary and inter-university programme 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 twelve core universities in Europe with many partner universities around the globe. The Master's programme has on three occasions been awarded Erasmus Mundus Programme status, thus facilitating student and scholar mobility within the network.

The Master's 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. The duration of the Master's programme is two years of full-time study.

Study abroad
​In the second semester you will go on exchange to one of seven NOHA partner universities in Europe. In the third semester you can either move to a partner university in or outside Europe or take a longer work placement at a national or international organisation in the humanitarian sector and follow a career development module.


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


Semester 1
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.

Semester 2
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 will be necessary for Aix University, whilst a knowledge of Spanish is an advantage if you wish to go to Deusto.

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

Semester 3
In the third semester (30 credits) you will either move to a partner university in or outside Europe or conduct a work placement and take a course in career development.

Semester 4
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 MSF, Save the Children, 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 period opens on 1 October 2018 and closes on 15 April 2019. Students who wish to apply for an Erasmus Mundus scholarship must, however, apply no later than 15 December 2018.

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's Programme in Humanitarian Action and Conflict, 60 credits.

Master's Programme in International Humanitarian Action

120 credits

Autumn 2019 - 100 % - Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application Deadline: 2019-04-15


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 that corresponds to English studies at upper secondary (high school) level in Sweden ("English 6"). This can be done in a number of ways, including through an internationally recognised test such as TOEFL or IELTS, or through previous upper secondary (high school) or university studies.
The minimum test scores are:

  • 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: See the section "Admission Criteria" at for information about the selection procedure.

Contact and further resources

Is this programme right for you?


For programme-specific information, please send an email to:

+46 18 471 22 36

For admissions-related or general information, please contact our applicant support team:

Department of Theology

Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3 B

Box 511, 751 20 UPPSALA

018-471 2295

Student portal

Student portal

The Student Portal provides logged-on students access to course and programme pages, study results, e-transcripts, information from the student unions, file area, webmail, and more. In order to log on, you must have applied for a student account. The course and programme pages in the Student Portal can be seen without being logged on here. The pages contain basic information plus those features that the department has chosen to make accessible.