Global Master of Arts in
Humanitarian Assistance & Crisis Management (Full-Time)

Gain the skills and on-the-ground experience needed to respond to humanitarian crises around the world.

At a Glance

For programs beginning in 2024

Credits

36

Format

Full-Time

Application Deadline for U.S. & permanent residents

January 31, rolling thereafter until May 15

International students

January 31, no rolling admission

Duration

1 Year

Instructional Sites

Jordan, Morocco

Program Excursion Countries

Turkey

Critical Global Issue of Study

Identity & Human Resilience

Identity & Human Resilience Icon

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.

WHY A MASTER'S IN HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE AND CRISIS MANAGEMENT?

Political upheaval, natural disasters, forced displacement, public health emergencies, and other major events have resulted in humanitarian crises on a massive scale. Through excursions, fieldwork, and experiential learning across at least three continents, this program gives you hands-on, graduate-level training in humanitarian assistance and crisis management.

Spend your first two semesters in Amman, Jordan, and Rabat, Morocco, observing humanitarian crises in diverse geographical, political, and cultural environments. Interact with aid workers, NGOs, and refugees, as you witness humanitarian assistance and advocacy in action.

Along the way, you will design and implement crisis management plans and humanitarian programs that will aid and protect populations affected by disaster. You will also learn how to create contingency plans to assess and approach risk to ensure the safety and well-being of yourself and others in high-conflict environments and emergency situations.

On a 10-day field study trip to Istanbul, Turkey, a country that hosts the largest population of refugees in the world, you will gain expertise in humanitarian policy, diplomacy, and advocacy. Meet with the United Nations refugee agency, National NGOs, the Turkish Red Crescent, and other key organizations engaged in relief, protection, advocacy and humanitarian diplomacy.

In your final semester, you will put your learning into practice during a 12-week field practicum in a location of your choosing. You will also complete a capstone paper reflecting on the experience.

Designed to prepare the next generation of leaders in humanitarian assistance and crisis management, this unique master’s degree gives you the skills and on-the-ground experience you need to stay ahead of critical issues stemming from the world’s rising number of humanitarian crises.

Career Paths

Students who have graduated with this degree have worked in careers such as:

  • Humanitarian program and project manager

  • Monitoring, evaluation, and learning officer or manager

  • Health officer or manager

  • Human rights advocacy officer, coordinator, or specialist

  • Women’s protection and empowerment coordinator or manager

  • Crisis and emergency manager or director

  • Humanitarian aid officer or coordinator at a UN agency or NGO

  • Community organizer

  • Humanitarian policy analyst or researcher

Visit the SIT blog to read more about SIT Graduate Institute alumni careers.

Program Sites

Amman, Jordan

Spend the fall semester in Jordan, home to millions of refugees and displaced persons from Palestine, Iraq, and Syria. Jordan currently hosts 2.2 million Palestinian refugees, whose displacement constitutes the longest-standing refugee crisis in the world; and 661,000 Syrian refugees registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), although it is estimated that the total number is closer to 1.5 million. You will get firsthand exposure to the humanitarian response and program of various NGOs, INGOs, and UN agencies, most notably, UNHCR, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the United Nation’s International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), during emergency, post-emergency, and resettlement phases, in collaboration with the host government.

Click here for a description of the SIT center in Jordan.

Rabat, Morocco

Morocco has long been an important entry point for North Africans and sub-Saharan asylum seekers into Europe. Here, you will learn about national asylum and refugee policies and the impact of European externalization of border control. Morocco is both a transit and host country, with refugees and asylum seekers registered with UNHCR from than 45 countries, and provides an excellent opportunity to experience community-based assistance, protection and well-being programs, and learn about collaboration between the government, civil society and international aid organizations in providing protection and assistance to refugees and asylum seekers.

Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.

Academics

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of humanitarian aid and crisis management as an interdisciplinary field encompassing legal, political, ethical, and professional standards and frameworks as well as a critical practice.
  • Demonstrate professional competencies and leadership skills needed in the field of crisis management and humanitarian action, including the competencies to plan, deliver, and advocate for humanitarian assistance in collaboration with all stakeholders in the context of emergencies.
  • Apply ethically sound methods to identify, study, and innovate solutions to plan, respond, and advocate for humanitarian aid and human rights of forcibly displaced and disaster-affected populations.
  • Articulate global and comparative perspectives on the humanitarian sphere relating to causes of the humanitarian crisis; social, health, and political impacts; and responses across different environmental, socioeconomic, and geopolitical contexts.
  • Apply fundamental research skills to conceptualize, design, and develop a unique capstone project in the form of a research-based paper, a policy advocacy paper, or an evidence-based recommendation that addresses gaps or needs in a humanitarian crisis.
  • Design a risk analysis and crisis management plan.

Read more about Program Learning Outcomes.



Coursework

With SIT’s experiential curriculum, you will learn how to put theory into practicefocusing on topic areas that will help you meet your career goals. Students will complete a degree sequence of 36 credits in one year (fall, spring, and summer semesters).


Please expand the sections below to see detailed course information.


This is SIT

  • We value active togetherness, reciprocity, and respect as the essential ingredients for building a sustainable community.
  • With open minds, empathy, and courage, we facilitate intercultural understanding and respect for the commonalities and differences between people.
  • We champion social inclusion & justice in all that we are and all that we do, from ensuring our community and our programs amplify the voices, agency, and dignity of all people to deliberately instilling the principles and practices of inclusion in all of our work.
  • We are committed to human and environmental well-being through sustainability and contributing to a better world for all living and future generations.

Semester One, Fall: Jordan and Turkey (15 Credits)

  • Program Planning and Management  
    (MGMT–5105 / 3 credits)

This course explores the principles, theory, and practice of program planning and project design in the context of international community development. It encourages a critical examination of the prevailing models to assess their strengths and weaknesses. The course prepares students to be effective practitioners within organizations that adhere to the dominant paradigm, but who can also evaluate the efficacy within that particular context, introduce alternatives, and become agents of change.

  • Issues in Humanitarian and Refugee Studies
    (HACM–5110 / 3 credits)

The course will introduce the origins and history of humanitarian action and principles and the controversy surrounding them. Students will learn about complex humanitarian emergencies, examine the various root causes of such crises, and explore the role of the international, national, and local actors in responding. The course will also analyze the current critiques of humanitarian assistance with focus on efficiency, effectiveness, and the rising politicization of humanitarian aid. Theories relating to resilience, Identity, and integration for refugee and resettled populations will be examined and applied in different contexts.

  • Humanitarian Policy, Diplomacy, and Advocacy
    (HACM–5120 / 3 credits)

The course analyzes the evolution of humanitarian advocacy and provides a conceptual and theoretical framework for understanding its pivotal role in promoting and protecting international human rights and humanitarian principles. The course explores the channels, strategies, and most effective tools and approaches employed to inform and influence the humanitarian policies and actions of local, national, and international institutions. The course will include meetings with key actors in humanitarian assistance to learn about the advocacy strategies and the diplomatic and global policy arenas they target to influence policy debates on key humanitarian issues.

  • Crisis Management and Leadership in Humanitarian Response 
    (HACM–5130 / 3 credits)

This course examines leadership during times of crisis and the ensuing humanitarian emergencies. The overall goal is to better understand the key dynamics that influence the way that decision-makers perceive and respond to crises and the kinds of decision-making and institutional processes that facilitate effective crisis management. An important dimension of this course is the focus on providing students with the knowledge and skills for designing and implementing an integrated emergency management system to effectively respond to and mitigate the potential effects of disasters. Students will learn state-of-the-art strategies and procedures for identifying hazards and designing and implementing a risk management plan that anticipates the needs of various groups affected by a crisis in the various humanitarian sectors.

  • Practitioner Inquiry  
    (MPIM–5510 / 3 credits)

This course introduces students to qualitative research design and methodology and offers students a hands-on experience to explore and apply qualitative research methods. Students will be able to conceptualize and design a mini research study; conduct a literature review/develop a conceptual framework; collect, manage, and analyze data; synthesize, interpret, and write up findings; and present findings. The course will equip students with research skills necessary to carry out a capstone project upon completion of their Master’s degree. The skills will be transferrable to future academic and professional practice, including needs assessment and monitoring and evaluation.

Semester Two, Spring: Morocco (12 Credits)

  • Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning: Concepts and Practices  
    (MGMT–5106 / 3 credits)

This course provides a thorough introduction to concepts, case examples, and research tools designed to explore and assess community problems and the feasibility of new development interventions, and to monitor and evaluate the process and impact of existing interventions. Special attention is given to participatory methodologies and other current approaches. In addition, students will explore monitoring, evaluation, and learning within the specific context of humanitarian assistance.

  • Developing and Maintaining Collaborative Relationships  
    (HACM–5211 / 3 credits)

The course introduces students to the core competencies of principled and effective professionals who are committed to communication, collaboration, community, and viable solutions for a better world. The competencies cover practice-centered learning and professional development, intercultural communication, and effective multicultural teamwork that are essential to planning and implementing a humanitarian response.

  • Safety and Well-being Challenges in Emergency Contexts
    (HACM–5212 / 3 credits)

The course examines the safety, security, and well-being (physical and mental health) challenges and needs of communities affected by humanitarian emergencies as well as those serving those populations. Students will

be exploring the risks inherent in emergency situations with focus on specific risks facing vulnerable groups. This course also discusses the risk factors and prevalence of mental illness in refugees, including conflict-related traumas and the psychosocial challenges of immigration and assimilation. A comparative situational analysis of risk across a variety of humanitarian contexts will be conducted using case studies in the context of political upheavals, natural disasters, health pandemics, environmental collapse, and war.

  • International Humanitarian and Refugee Law, Standards, and Principles 
    (HACM–5213 / 3 credits)

The course examines the theory, history, and development of key international human rights, humanitarian, and refugee laws, treaties, standards, and principles. Students will also gain understanding of the international and regional institutions and the role of transnational actors in the protection and promotion of human rights, with attention to situations of conflict, violence, and disaster. The course also explores several current debates and developments in the field, including the difficult and contentious politics of international humanitarian, human rights, and refugee law and how those political dimensions have been addressed at the national, regional, and international levels. Case studies examine how international law, treaties, standards, and principles have been utilized in a variety of actual humanitarian crises.

Summer: Field Practicum and Capstone (9 credits)

  • Field Practicum
    (HACM–6601 / 6 credits)

Each student completes a 12-week practicum with a think tank, nongovernmental organization, government agency, or other organization involved in policy-advocacy work on emergency response, crisis management, and humanitarian response. The practicum entails completion of professional work identified as a priority by the sponsoring organization. Practica provide in-depth, hands-on learning and experiences that enhance student familiarity and skill sets. Practica provide opportunities to put into practice conceptual and theoretical knowledge gained throughout the MA program. Given the option to conduct a quality practicum either in-person or remotely, at any location, the experience involves intercultural learning and an opportunity to exercise policy advocacy–related work in distinct social, cultural, institutional, and political settings. The practicum expands a student’s professional network and strengthens their ability to develop grounded expectations about what constitutes feasible or appropriate humanitarian response and crisis management. During the practicum, each student will receive substantive and critical feedback from both their academic advisor and internship site supervisor to further their intellectual and experiential development. As one result, participants will deepen their professional and applied interests in the field of humanitarian assistance and crisis management. Students will also engage in guided and structured reflection with peers via remote, digital means to cross- fertilize the experiences of diverse geographical, cultural, institutional, and professional contexts.

  • Capstone Paper
    (HACM–6702 / 2 credits)

In this course, students build on the content learned in Practitioner Inquiry to develop a research proposal, collect data in the field, and complete a research project related to the field of humanitarian assistance and crisis management. Each student is paired with an advisor to help conceptualize, launch, and write their research project. Course deliverables include a research-based paper.

  • Capstone Seminar
    (MPIM–6709 / 1 credit)

The capstone seminar provides an environment in which students demonstrate, assess, and synthesize previous learning as well as generating new learning. It is also an opportunity for students to improve and refine their skills in oral communication and presentation. Students will critically read and give, as well as receive, peer critique of their presentation during the seminar.

Faculty & Staff

Humanitarian Assistance & Crisis Management (Full-Time)

Bayan Abdulhaq, PhD
Chair and Affiliated Faculty, Jordan, MA in Humanitarian Assistance and Crisis Management • Chair and Affiliated Faculty, MA in Humanitarian Assistance and Crisis Management
Et-Tibari Bouasla, PhD
Associate Chair, MA in Humanitarian Assistance and Crisis Management
Asem Tahtamouni, PhD
Affiliated Faculty, Jordan, MA in Humanitarian Assistance and Crisis Management • Affiliated Faculty, MA in Humanitarian Assistance and Crisis Management
Azim Khan, PhD
Associate Faculty, MA in Humanitarian Assistance and Crisis Management

Accommodations

You will be supported by the SIT staff on location in arranging housing during your time abroad. Typically, students will rent a flat close to the SIT program base or city center. There may also be the option of living with a homestay family for immersion in the local culture, language and customs.

Discover the Possibilities