MSc Humanitarianism, Conflict and Development


Programme Description

Develop a critical understanding of conflict and humanitarian crisis in this distance learning course. Gain skills in peacebuilding and humanitarian response.

This course addresses the core global challenges of conflict and humanitarian crisis, with a practical focus on the tools and approaches that can respond to these challenges. You will examine in-depth the complexities involved in resolving conflict and promoting peace. Additionally, you will also explore sustainable policy solutions that address the needs of those displaced by conflict and natural disaster.

Drawing on case studies from the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, you will learn how the practical and policy-related challenges of responding to conflict and humanitarian crisis play out in specific contexts.

You will leave this course with:

  • in-depth knowledge of humanitarian conflict response, and development policy and practice
  • the professional and analytical skills to tackle political, ethical and practical tensions on the ground
  • the skills and knowledge to evaluate diverse perspectives and tools for conflict response and humanitarian action across different settings
  • an established professional network for continued knowledge-sharing and effective career development

The course is designed for those who already work in the field of humanitarian and conflict response, and recent graduates who aspire to do so. Graduates of the course will be in a strong position to work or progress further, in this field.

Learning and teaching

The course is delivered in an inspiring format, that combines:

  • highly structured and interactive online content
  • face-to-face learning and networking at short residentials in Bath (compulsory) and Jordan (optional)
  • intensive support from leading Bath academics throughout

Graduate prospects

This course provides an excellent background for those wishing to pursue a career in humanitarian, conflict response, or peacebuilding. It is equally relevant to those already working in the humanitarian and conflict fields, seeking to advance their careers with a deeper level of specialist knowledge.

You will be well qualified to work with development or humanitarian NGOs, the United Nations and other inter-governmental organizations, or in conflict or humanitarian advisor roles in government departments such as DFID.

You could also progress onto doctoral studies.

Course structure

This course lasts 2 years. It starts in September 2018 and ends in 2020.

Occasionally we make changes to our programmes in response to, for example, feedback from students, developments in research and the field of studies, and the requirements of accrediting bodies. You will be advised of any significant changes to the advertised programme, in accordance with our Terms and Conditions.


The course combines two intensive residentials in Bath, with in-depth and structured online learning facilitated by academic staff with internationally renowned experts. Throughout the course, you will be able to fit your learning around professional commitments while applying it to your practice.

There’s also an optional third residential in Amman, Jordan, which offers an excellent opportunity to learn from senior policymakers and explore how issues relating to human displacement and humanitarianism apply to a specific regional context.

Compulsory course units

These compulsory units are currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new units.

Year 1

  • Conflict, development, and peacebuilding
  • Humanitarianism in principle and practice

Year 2

  • Approaches to human rights
  • Negotiating the field
  • Dissertation

Residential events

You must attend two compulsory full-time residential events as part of this course.

Year 1: Residential

9 to 14 September 2018

This residential will take place at the University of Bath campus. University accommodation will be available.

Year 1: Residential/Masterclass

February 2019

This residential will take place in Amman, Jordan.

This event is not a compulsory part of the course.

Year 2: Residential 2

January 2020

This residential will take place at the University of Bath campus. University accommodation will be available.

Learning and assessment


Online resources

  • Podcasts and videos
  • Topic overviews with specified reading, key issues, questions and debates
  • Structured online web-discussion with academic staff
  • Blogs and forums
  • In-depth case studies based around specific conflict regions, developed by leading experts

Residential resources

  • Tutorials
  • Lectures
  • Extended seminars with visiting professionals involved in humanitarian and conflict response
  • Free attendance at the Institute for Policy Research annual symposium


  • Blog
  • Dissertation
  • Essay
  • Online web-forum contributions
  • Policy brief
  • Presentations

Case study

MSc Humanitarianism, Conflict and Development from the University of Bath on Vimeo.

Entry requirements

British Qualifications

  • You should have a bachelor’s honors degree or international equivalent, typically a 2:1 or above.
  • To apply for this course you should have an undergraduate degree in an appropriate subject such as development studies, human or political geography, sociology, area studies, politics, political economy, economics or international relations.
  • We will also consider graduates with an undergraduate degree in other subjects where you have relevant professional experience.
  • We may make an offer based on a lower grade if you can provide evidence of your suitability for the degree.
  • If your first language is not English but within the last 2 years, you completed your degree in the UK, you may be exempt from our English Language requirements.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall with no less than 6.0 in all components
  • The Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic): 62 with no less than 59 in any element
  • TOEFL IBT: 90 overall with a minimum 21 in all 4 components

If you need to improve your English language skills before starting your studies, you may be able to take a pre-sessional course to reach the required level.

For international students, please contact the school for more information.

Fees and funding

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on whether you are a Home, EU, Island or Overseas student.

Tuition fee waiver

If you start your studies with us in September 2018, you are eligible to receive a tuition fee waiver of £1,000 per year for the duration of the course (2 years). We cannot guarantee this tuition fee waiver if you start after this date.

How to pay

Tuition fee loans

If you are studying a postgraduate course, you may be able to take out a loan for your tuition fees and living costs.

Scholarships and bursaries

You could be considered for a bursary or scholarship to help you study at Bath. You do not have to pay it back.

Other payment options

You can pay your tuition fees by Direct Debit, debit card, credit card, cheque, bank transfer or cash. You may also be eligible for a student loan to help you pay your fees.


Each year of the course has two full-time residential. You will need to budget travel, accommodation and some meals for these residential.

For the residential in Bath, University accommodation can be booked. Details will be provided nearer the time. For the optional residential in Jordan, you will need to budget travel and some meals. Costs for accommodation will be covered by the course fees.

Last updated June 2018

About the School

Our mission is to deliver world-class research and teaching, educating our students to become future leaders and innovators, and benefiting the wider population through our research, enterprise and in ... Read More

Our mission is to deliver world-class research and teaching, educating our students to become future leaders and innovators, and benefiting the wider population through our research, enterprise and influence. Our vision is to be recognised as an international centre of research and teaching excellence, achieving global impact through our alumni, research and strategic partnerships. Read Less
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