Master's Programme in Humanitarian Action and Conflict 2020/2021

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What is humanitarian action? In what ways are humanitarian emergencies intensified and changed by conflict? What factors define a humanitarian disaster? What laws and moral principles steer humanitarian interventions? The one-year Master's Programme in Humanitarian Action and Conflict is aimed at those who are interested in humanitarian work both in Europe and the world at large.

Why this programme?

The Master's Programme in Humanitarian Action and Conflict seeks to give you the competences and skills necessary to work within different areas of the humanitarian field, and you will get both data and methodology relating to conflict situations and peacebuilding activities. The programme aims to help graduates take on different professional roles such as project manager, conflict analyst or desk officer in NGOs and governmental organisations.

During the programme you can expect to:

  • be able to make an independent analysis of problems in the field of humanitarian action and conflict;
  • understand specific perspectives on humanitarian phenomena, including anthropological, geopolitical, legal, public health, managerial and ethical perspectives;
  • be able to communicate advanced knowledge concerning humanitarian action to a non-academic target group in both oral and written form.
Student profile
Our students want to work in the field of humanitarian action. They come from all over the world and from a wide range of backgrounds - for example Anthropology, Business Management, Development Studies, Human Rights, International Relations, Languages, Law, Medicine, Peace and Conflict Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology and Theology.

Related programmes


The programme leads to a Master of Arts in Theology (60 credits) with International Humanitarian Action as the main field of study.


This is a one-year master's programme and the first semester is used to give you a solid foundation in humanitarian action. During the second semester you learn more about conflicts and how they relate to humanitarian action. You will also write your Master's thesis at that time - see here the wide range of  topics our students write about.

Courses within the programme

Semester 1
Introduction to Humanitarian Action, 5 credits
Anthropology and Intercultural Aspects of Humanitarian Action, 5 credits
Legal Dimensions of Humanitarian Action, 5 credits
World Politics and Humanitarian Action, 5 credits
Public Health in Humanitarian Action, 5 credits
Management, 5 credits

Semester 2
Conflict and Peacebuilding, 15 credits
Master's Thesis, 15 credits

Learning experience

This is a campus-based, full-time programme, which means around 30-40 hours of study per week. It is not possible to study this programme part-time or as distance learning. The language of instruction is English.

Teaching on the programme includes lectures and seminars in which you are expected to play an active part. Traditionally a Swedish Master's programme involves less class time than in other countries, with more personal reading plus individual/group assignments and presentations. Greater responsibility is placed on students to manage their own work. You will have plenty to do, but the aim is also to give you a balanced workload and the time to think about what you are studying.

The core courses in the first semester are studied and examined one at a time. In the second semester, you make initial preparations for the thesis before taking the course in Conflict and Peacebuilding; the second half of that semester is devoted to writing your thesis. In order to be registered for second-semester courses, you must have earned at least 15 programme credits in the first semester.

You will write your Master's thesis with guidance from a supervisor and present it at a defence seminar.


A Master's degree from this programme could lead to a variety of positions such as project leader, conflict analyst or country manager, in both governmental and non-governmental organisations.

Meet alumna Rozan Khalifeh who went on to work for RedR UK.

Career support
During your whole time as a student UU Careers offers you support and guidance. You have the opportunity to partake in a variety of career activities and events, as well as receive individual career counselling. This service is free of charge for all students at Uppsala University. Read more about UU Careers.


The statement of purpose, maximum one A4 page, should be written in English and mention your motivation, relevant education, experience and future plans in the humanitarian field. The statement of purpose should be uploaded with the rest of your application at

Applicants who are interested in a joint international programme including exchange studies are referred to the 2-year Master's Programme in International Humanitarian Action, 120 credits, which is run in association with the Network on Humanitarian Action (NOHA).

Master's Programme in Humanitarian Action and Conflict

60 credits

Autumn 2020 - 100 % - Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application Deadline: 2020-01-15

Enrolment Code: UU-M5510 Application

Language of Instruction: English

Academic requirements
A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university. The degree must include a documented written independent academic work of at least 15 credits.

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 90
  • Cambridge: CAE, CPE
More information about English language requirements

Selection: Students are selected based on:

  • a total appraisal of quantity and quality of previous university studies; and
  • a statement of purpose (1 page).
Tuition fee-paying students and non-paying students are admitted on the same grounds but in different selection groups.


If you are not a citizen of a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) country, or Switzerland, you are required to pay application and tuition fees. Fees cover application and tuition only and do not cover accommodation, academic literature or the general cost of living. Read more about fees.

Application Fee: SEK 900

Tuition fee, first semester: SEK 50000

Tuition fee, total: SEK 100000

Contact and further resources

Is this programme right for you?

Here is some additional information on the organising faculty to help you decide.

Faculty and research
Breadth, depth and diversity are three concepts which illustrate well the research undertaken at the faculty. The Faculty of Theology is a leading centre for the study of different world religions and plays host to the Centre for Multidisciplinary Studies on Racism and the Uppsala Religion and Society Research Centre. The faculty carries out research on, amongst other issues, immigration, racism, the meeting between science and religion, ritual and mental health, theological and philosophical aspects of animal rights ethics and religion and welfare. These examples also show the relevance of research to society at large and its importance for a deeper understanding of historical and contemporary occurrences and phenomena.


For programme-specific information, please contact Administrator Carina Lövdahl:

+46 18 471 21 65

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

Department of Theology

Thunbergsvägen 3 B, Uppsala

P.O. Box 511, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden

+46 18 471 22 95

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.