Humanitarian Policy and Practice MSc

London, Bloomsbury

This Humanitarian Policy and Practice MSc will equip you with the analytical and evaluative skills to enable you to interpret and analyse complex humanitarian situations, while reflecting on humanitarian policies and practices in the past and present.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2023
Applications accepted
All applicants: 17 Oct 2022 – 30 Jun 2023

Applications open

Entry requirements

A UK degree at 2:1 classification or above in a social science or health/medical science subject or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Candidates who do not meet the academic standards but who have 5 or more years relevant professional experience (this can be a combination of voluntary and paid work) may be considered for admission.

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

Preventing and responding to humanitarian emergencies is a growing global priority. Wars, disasters, pandemics and the growing impacts of climate change demand new understanding and new ways of working. Using real world case studies, this programme will demonstrate the practical dilemmas humanitarians face today.

Based in UCL’s world-leading Faculty of Population Health Sciences, the core of your learning will be related to improving humanitarian policy and practice with the ultimate goal of saving lives and preventing health crises. However, emergency situations require knowledge and understanding from many sectors and disciplines, and this degree will equip you with skills for working in the broader humanitarian sector and beyond.

Who this course is for

This programme is designed for students with an interest in humanitarian issues and a relevant first-degree. We do accept applications from people with a wide range of qualifications, and we do consider professional experience if students do not have a relevant first degree.

What this course will give you

You will develop the ability to understand the deeper contexts in which humanitarian crises have arisen, as well as gaining the judgement and skills to make complex decisions taking into account geo-political, environmental, health and other factors.

There is a shift away from a global, ‘top-down’ approach delivered sector by sector to thinking locally and utilising markets, networks and new technologies more effectively to deliver the wide array of goods and services people need to survive and thrive. This ‘new humanitarianism’ requires new ways of thinking and all humanitarian workers will need to have a solid academic background, drawing on a variety of disciplines in order to be better able to understand, analyse, and, when appropriate, challenge these changes.

This programme offers you this cross-disciplinary perspective along with a solid grounding in the methodologies needed to interpret conflicting information and make appropriate judgements in difficult circumstances.

The foundation of your career


On completion of this programme you will have:

  • Detailed understanding of the subject area of humanitarian policy and practice
  • The ability to select tools to evaluate, and conduct evaluation of humanitarian interventions and policies
  • The ability to critically analyse humanitarian interventions and policies
  • Project management skills
  • Effective written and verbal communication skills
  • The ability to critically evaluate and advance research questions
  • Effective teamwork skills

Teaching and learning

Types of assessment:
Written exams
– testing and applying knowledge and understanding to case study/scenario analysis.

Coursework essays – organisation of knowledge and understanding in order to develop cohesive argument.

Presentations – selection, synthesis and communication of information for varied audience/ purpose, media, precis/concision, including both group and individual projects.

Portfolio - collated series of short pieces of writing which have been developed and critiqued over the course of the module.

Group project – Presentation demonstrating planning and preparation and teamwork; complemented by a written report demonstrating structured subject knowledge from across the course.

Research project – Research analysis, literature review, critical appraisal, structured research writing and presentation of argument.

Typical contact hours and hours of self-directed study for this programme per 15-credit module are: 150 hours.


Students take eight core modules. Five are taught modules and two are project-based.


You will study over two academic years, during which time you will take eight core modules. Five are taught modules and two are project-based.

You will study for up to a maximum of five academic years, during which time you will take eight core modules. Five are taught modules and two are project-based. Flexible students can take as many or as few modules as they would like in any given academic year.

Compulsory modules

Understanding Humanitarian Policy and Practice 

Research Methods for Humanitarian Contexts

Improving Outcomes in Humanitarian Emergencies

Programme Management for Humanitarians

Humanitarianism and Intersectionality

Humanitarian Technologies

Individual Research Project

Group Humanitarian Project

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) Health

The UCL DBA Health is a professional doctorate degree designed for leaders in health-related fields who want to apply research skills to tackle health sector challenges. Studying flexibly over 5 years, you'll develop research skills for evaluating, assessing, and overseeing health projects and research, enabling you to apply strategic decision-making. Attend this open day to learn more about the UCL DBA Health, the admissions process and ask any questions you may have about the programme.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Scholarships & Funding Information Session

The Global Business School for Health is committed to providing our talented students with the ability to access targeted scholarship funds to ensure they can meet their potential. Our scholarships place a particular focus on supporting diversity in the healthcare leadership space. In this information session, you will find out which scholarship and funding opportunities you are eligible for and how to submit your application.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £11,800 £5,900
Tuition fees (2023/24) £32,100 £16,050

Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.

Additional costs

There are no additional costs for this programme.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

Our Studentships and Funding page highlights a range of funding sources available within the Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, across UCL and external to UCL.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Next steps

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Humanitarian Policy and Practice at graduate level
  • why you want to study Humanitarian Policy and Practice at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2023-2024

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.