Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer

Humanitarianism and Conflict Response PhD

View tabs | View full page

Degree awarded
Doctor of Philosophy
48 Months. [Full-Time]
Entry requirements

Successful completion of a Masters course with an overall classification of Merit or higher, or its overseas equivalent, with an element of research training, is a prerequisite for entry to a PhD. A research proposal must be included with the formal application materials. 

Full entry requirements

How to apply

Please visit our School's research pages for information regarding our staff, areas of interest, facilities and other information that will help you apply online.

Programme options

Full-timePart-timeFull-time distance learningPart-time distance learning

Programme description

The ways in which States, NGOs and individuals respond to conflict has become a particularly salient issue since the end of the Cold War. The global aid industry has experienced the dual pressures of rapid growth, accompanied by a significant expansion in the roles it is expected to fulfil and range of tasks it has tried to perform. This, combined with a considerable rise in the number of nation-states (and thus bilateral actors), governmental organisations and NGOs, has resulted in a fragmented geopolitical system in which there is little policy coherence and even less clarity of action. Decision-makers are therefore no longer able to interact exclusively with the diplomats, senior civil servants and international leaders who constituted the contours of global governance of yesteryear, but must instead entertain inputs from a diverse set of stakeholders.

Educational programmes looking at the ways in which these actors respond to conflict-affected contexts are still comparatively scarce. Unlike the better established fields of peace studies, conflict theory and war strategy, important work is required before governments, policy makers and citizens involved in organising humanitarian and other responses to conflict-affected contexts, are able to discern and incorporate academic research into functional outcomes. Without such inputs, there is, in an increasingly interdependent and information-rich world, an imminent danger that those seeking to intervene in conflict-affected contexts will merely replicate the errors of previous generations.

This structured PhD is inspired by the need to conduct rigorous, in-depth research and analysis on the impact and outcomes of contemporary and historical crises. It is driven by a desire to inform and support policy and decision makers (inc. WHO, FO) and to optimise joint working between partner organisations, and to foster increased accountability within a knowledge-gathering framework. We will offer a flexible approach to the provision of teaching, to cater for the current needs of the aid industry and prepare the next generation of crisis response researchers and practitioners; the programme will seek to engage directly with people affected by situations of ongoing conflicts and crises. This PhD therefore reflects the need for structured forms of professional development and dynamic knowledge practices that function effectively across multiple academic and non-academic contexts. Action research and reflective practice-inspired pedagogy can respond to and influence the complex, unpredictable and shifting social, political and cultural contexts within which professional practitioners operate. The PhD will introduce students to a range of dynamic and challenging concepts and methods with which to reflect critically and constructively on their current professional experience/context. This pedagogical approach enables students' professional context to become a primary research resource.

Open days

Postgraduate Open Days take place every year in October or November - for details of this year's event please see

HCRI welcomes visits by potential students throughout the academic year - please email to arrange a visit


For entry in the academic year beginning September 2014, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • PhD (full-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £4,900
    International students (per annum): £14,000
  • PhD (part-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £2,450
    International students (per annum): £7,000

Please note for the majority of projects where experimentation requires further resource: higher fee bands (where quoted) will be charged rather than the base rate for supervision, administration and computational costs. The fees quoted above will be fully inclusive and, therefore, you will not be required to pay any additional bench fees or administration costs.

All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review and incremental rises per annum are also likely over the duration of the course for UK/EU students (fees are typically fixed for International students, for the course duration at the year of entry). For general fees information please visit: postgraduate fees. Always contact the department if you are unsure which fee applies to your project.


For more infromation on HCRI-specific funding, please visit the School website

Contact details

Academic department
School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
+ 44 (0)161 275 3559
+ 44 (0)161 275 3031

Academic department overview

See: About us

Related subject areas