MA Humanitarianism and Conflict Response

Year of entry: 2024


Degree awarded
Master of Arts (MA)
1 year
Entry requirements

We normally expect students to have an upper-second class honours degree or its overseas equivalent.

Full entry requirements

How to apply
Apply online

Course options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning

Course overview

  • Receive a thorough grounding in both the practical and theoretical aspects of humanitarian issues.
  • Learn from some of the most renowned names in the field of humanitarian research.
  • Engage first-hand with the people, projects and organisations that shape humanitarian, global health, disaster management, conflict response and intervention issues around the world.

Open days

We are pleased to be able to offer individual virtual drop-in sessions with course director Dr Amanda Mccorkindale. This will be your chance to talk about the course content, teaching methods and application process. You can see the available times and reserve a space here: MA HCRI Drop-In Sessions .

Find out what it's like to study at Manchester by visiting us on one of our open days .


For entry in the academic year beginning September 2024, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MA (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £13,500
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £27,500
  • MA (part-time)
    UK students (per annum): £6,750
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £13,750

Further information for EU students can be found on our dedicated EU page.

The fees quoted above will be fully inclusive for the course tuition, administration and computational costs during your studies.

All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review and incremental rises per annum are also likely over the duration of courses lasting more than a year 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 qualification award and method of attendance.

Self-funded international applicants for this course will be required to pay a deposit of £1000 towards their tuition fees before a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) is issued. This deposit will only be refunded if immigration permission is refused. We will notify you about how and when to make this payment.

Policy on additional costs

All students should normally be able to complete their programme of study without incurring additional study costs over and above the tuition fee for that programme. Any unavoidable additional compulsory costs totalling more than 1% of the annual home undergraduate fee per annum, regardless of whether the programme in question is undergraduate or postgraduate taught, will be made clear to you at the point of application. Further information can be found in the University's Policy on additional costs incurred by students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes (PDF document, 91KB).


Each year the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures offer a number of School awards and Subject-specific bursaries (the values of which are usually set at Home/EU fees level), open to both Home/EU and international students. The deadline for these is early February each year. Details of all funding opportunities, including deadlines, eligibility and how to apply, can be found on the School's funding page where you can also find details of the Government Postgraduate Loan Scheme.

See also the University's postgraduate funding database to see if you are eligible for any other funding opportunities, including:

For University of Manchester graduates, the Manchester Alumni Bursary offers a £3,000 reduction in tuition fees to University of Manchester alumni who achieved a First within the last three years and are progressing to a postgraduate taught master's course.

The Manchester Master's Bursary is a University-wide scheme that offers 100 bursaries worth £3,000 in funding for students from underrepresented groups.

The Equity and Merit Scholarship offers a full-time scholarship for academically excellent students from Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania.

Postgraduate 1+3 funding is available from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for students to pursue postgraduate study through a master's (one year) leading into a PhD (3 years). It requires a project proposal as part of the application.

Contact details

School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Contact name
PG Taught Admissions

See: About us

Courses in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of courses in related subject areas.

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

We normally expect students to have an upper-second class honours degree or its overseas equivalent.

English language

An overall grade of 6.5 in IELTS is required with 6.5 in writing and no skill below 6.0 or 93+ in the TOEFL iBT with a minimum writing score of 22 and no skill below 20.

If you have obtained a different qualification, please check our  English language requirements  to ensure that it is accepted and equivalent to the above requirements.

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Other international entry requirements

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries. For these and general requirements including English language see entry requirements from your country .

Application and selection

How to apply

How your application is considered

As there is a high demand for our courses we operate a staged admissions process with selection deadlines throughout the year. Due to the competition for places and high quality of applications that we receive, we give preference to students from high ranking institutions and with grades above our minimum entry requirements.

Please ensure you submit all supporting documentation with your application before the application deadline to avoid a delay in processing.

Applications for 2024 entry:

Stage 1: Application received by 8th December 2023 ; Application update by 22nd February 2025

Stage 2: Application received by 3rd March 2024 ; Application update by 25th April 2024

Stage 3: Application received by 5th May 2024 ; Application update by 8th June 2024

Stage 4: Application received by 1st July 2024 ; Application update by 25th July 2024

Whilst we aim to give you a decision on your application by the deadline date, in some instances due to the competition for places and the volume of applications received, it may be necessary to roll your application forward to the next deadline date.

Applications received after our final selection deadline will be considered at our discretion if places are still available.

Please note: All places are subject to availability and if you apply at one of the later stages, some courses may already be reaching capacity or be closed to further applications. We, therefore, recommend that you apply early in the cycle to avoid disappointment.

Interview requirements

Not normally applicable.

Overseas (non-UK) applicants

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries that equate to a UK 2.2. For these and general requirements including English language see entry requirements from your country .

If English is not your first language, please provide us with evidence of an overall grade of 6.5 in IELTS or 93+ in the iTOEFL with a minimum writing score of 23.

The other language tests we accept can be found here:

Exceptions to needing a language test (if English is NOT your first language) are:

  • if you have successfully completed an academic qualification deemed by UK NARIC as equivalent to at least a UK Bachelors Degree or higher from one of the following countries:

    Antigua & Barbuda; Australia; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Dominica; Grenada; Guyana; Ireland; Jamaica; New Zealand; St Kitts and Nevis; St Lucia; St Vincent and the Grenadines; Trinidad and Tobago; UK; USA.



Applicants may defer entry for 12 months provided they contact the course administrator ( ) before September 1st. Please note that applicants are subject to the fees for the entry year they will start the course.


If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry.  In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved.  We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.


Requests for transfers will be considered individually.

Course details

Course description

The MA in Humanitarianism and Conflict Response focuses on response to crises originating from both conflict zones and natural disasters.

Bringing together the study of health, the social sciences and the humanities, the course provides an inclusive approach that mirrors the reality of aid operations and informs the reflexive processes of both analytical and applied disciplines.

You will benefit from being able to draw on an exceptionally wide breadth of disciplinary traditions and research expertise.


1. What type of career does this degree enable?

Previous students have gone on to work in a number of roles for NGOs, the UN, national charities and civil service bodies, and many other organisations. A degree from HCRI is highly regarded in the humanitarian sector. Each year we host a ‘careers in humanitarianism' fair which enables you to talk to practitioners about what it's like to work in the sector. The degree provides valuable skills for current humanitarian staff looking to improve their contextual understanding, and we also offer various online modules for field staff and others.

Our degree is a good foundation for a wide range of careers. You will get a strong grounding in social science and humanities approaches. The focus of the degree is on conflicts and disasters, but the insights into politics, power and society can be applied more widely. Many of our students have gone into jobs in business, the civil service and many other fields.

2. How much time commitment is the degree?

The MA is an academically rigorous degree. We therefore expect a high level of commitment throughout the year. Each week you should:

  • Attend two hours of class lectures/seminars per module
  • Undertake reading and research
  • Prepare for your assignments

This is in addition to any simulations, public talks, field trips or extra-curricular activities you may do. We run workshops on academic skills and each student is assigned an academic advisor, so there is plenty of support.

When possible, there is a research trip associated with one of our optional modules to help hone and apply your research skills. 

If this does not fit with your current circumstances, there are part-time and online degree options

3. Will it provide me with practical experience?

The MA HCR is first and foremost an academic programme. You will gain a deep and critical understanding of complex issues and broader contexts that will equip you in to thrive in fast-changing field. It is not a vocational degree intended to teach you technical competencies. Rather it will help you to help you understand the drivers of conflict, intervention, governance and the role of different actors. It will give you the analytical skills to understand the field of humanitarianism and conflict response, and particular modalities of intervention.

4. I come from a different academic background. What types of assessment are used?

A range of assessments styles are used at HCRI including essays, book reviews, policy briefs, creative projects, presentations, and more. Examples of successful work by previous students are provided for each course. Exams are not currently offered.

5. I have never written a dissertation before! What support is available?

While you may have never conducted research, written a long piece of work, or are perhaps returning to study after a long break, HCRI will support you. First, you will complete a Research and Evaluation Methods module that introduces you to a variety of research approaches and skills. Second, you will be assigned a supervisor who will guide you through the process. Your dissertation is a great way to get your foot in the door for a future career.

6. I am concerned about the cost of living. What financial support is available?

This is a concern for many students. The University of Manchester offers a variety of support, including recreation grants and emergency loans. Learn more here .

Some students work part-time; no full-time student should work full-time. Courses are offered from Monday to Friday, so ensure any part-time work is flexible and that course attendance takes priority.

7. I want to develop my language skills. Are there opportunities to do this?

Yes, students can take a language course as one of their five optional modules; join a student language society; take courses offered in the community; or create an informal HCRI language club.

8. English is not my first language. Will that be an issue?

This is an academic programme offered in English, therefore strong written and spoken English are needed to understand and keep up with weekly readings across multiple courses; to understand lecture content and participate in class discussions; and to produce high-quality assessments, including your dissertation. At an absolute minimum, an overall grade of 6.5 in IELTS with 6.5 in writing and no less than 6.0 in all skills is required or 93+ in the TOEFL iBT with a minimum writing score of 22 with no skill below 20. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.


We aim to:

  • Provide critical insights into competing perspectives on how humanitarianism and conflict responses can be understood, analysed and explained - from both a historiographic and contemporary viewpoint.
  • Help you develop analytical skills in critically evaluating the idea of humanitarianism and the ways that responses to conflict are organised, justified and implemented. This includes competency in developing a reasoned argument, critically considering data sources and defending different approaches.
  • Help you develop skills in gathering, organising and using evidence and information from a wide variety of sources. This will be complemented by guidance on how best to manage workloads and obtain research materials.
  • Enable you to apply research skills to a relevant research area.

By the end of the course, students should be able to show a critical understanding of:

  • Key issues and debates in humanitarianism and conflict response, familiarity with different theoretical approaches, practical problems and an appreciation of the diversity of policies at international and national levels.
  • Both the range of social science topics associated with humanitarianism and conflict response and the normative and historiographic assumptions which underpin these issues.
  • The analytical and policy literature concerning the related issues of the causes of conflict, reconstruction, ethics and international governance structures and institutions, the role and perspectives of the state, multilateral and bilateral agencies, international and domestic non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other civil institutions.
  • A detailed and extensive understanding of a specific conceptual and/or policy-related area of humanitarianism and conflict response, of the implications and limitations of research findings on this subject; and of how to produce an original piece of academic research, all through their dissertation.

Special features

Study at HCRI

The Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI) at The University of Manchester is inspired by the need to conduct rigorous research and to support both undergraduate and postgraduate training on the impact and outcomes of contemporary and historical crises.

Established in 2008 by Dr Rony Brauman, Professor Bertrand Taithe and Professor Tony Redmond, HCRI is widely recognised as being a leading international research institute focusing on the study of humanitarianism, conflict response and peacebuilding.

Our work is driven by a desire to inform and support policy and decision makers, to optimise joint working between partner organisations, and to foster increased understanding and debate within the field.

Bringing together the disciplines of medicine and the humanities (including international relations and political science) to achieve these goals, HCRI aims to facilitate improvements in crisis response on a global scale whilst providing a centre of excellence for all concerned with emergencies, conflicts and peace.

We embrace this opportunity to develop a scholarly and professional agenda for humanitarians and peacebuilders around the world.

Find out more about HCRI on our website .

Teaching and learning

You will learn through a variety of teaching methods, depending on the units you take. These may include lectures, tutorials and independent study.

Coursework and assessment

You will be assessed through a variety of methods, depending on the units you take. These may include written assignments, oral presentations and thematic maps.

Course unit details

You will undertake units totalling 180 credits. Core and optional units combine to make 120 credits, with the remaining 60 credits allocated to the dissertation.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Dissertation HCRI60000 60 Mandatory
Humanitarianism and Conflict Response: Inquiries HCRI60031 15 Mandatory
Research and Evaluation Methods HCRI60170 15 Mandatory
Humanitarian Education HCRI50010 15 Optional
Researching Responses to Displacement HCRI60061 15 Optional
Anthropology of Violence and Reconstruction HCRI60131 15 Optional
Armed Groups and Humanitarian Aid HCRI60162 15 Optional
Humanitarian Diplomacy and Negotiation in Practice HCRI60222 15 Optional
Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Humanitarian Crises HCRI60292 15 Optional
Young People in Conflicts and Displacement (20-21 Centuries) HCRI60511 15 Optional
The Politics of International Intervention, Conflict, and Peace HCRI60612 15 Optional
Economics, Peace and Conflict HCRI61142 15 Optional
The History of Humanitarian Aid HCRI61202 15 Optional
Conceptualising the Camp HCRI62312 15 Optional
Citizen Participation in Disasters HCRI63321 15 Optional
Humanitarianism and Genocide HCRI63331 15 Optional
Cash and Market Based Programming in Crisis Settings HCRI70081 15 Optional
Community Approaches to Health HCRI71000 15 Optional
Emergency Humanitarian Assistance (blended) HCRI71060 15 Optional
Ethics, Human Rights and Health HCRI72000 15 Optional
Health Systems HCRI74000 15 Optional
Management and Leadership in Health and Humanitarianism HCRI76000 15 Optional
Conflict Analysis MGDI60451 15 Optional
Climate, Environment and Development MGDI60552 15 Optional
Migration, Mobility and Displacement in the Contemporary World MGDI60731 15 Optional
Key Issues in Environment and Development MGDI60801 15 Optional
Characteristics and Skills of Development Practice MGDI71992 15 Optional
Global Governance POLI70422 15 Optional
Democracy: Theory & Practice POLI70872 15 Optional
Peace and Social Agency, Security and Intervention: Theories and Practices POLI70991 15 Optional
Critical Ecologies SALC61082 15 Optional
Creating a Sustainable World: Interdisciplinary Applications of the Sustainable Development Goals UCIL60312 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 32 course units

Course collaborators

Médecins Sans Frontières (see 'Associated Organisations').

What our students say

 You can read blog posts by and profiles of HCRI students on the Manchester Calling blog.


You will benefit from access to one of the UK's five National Research Libraries, modern study facilities and a range of cultural assets on campus and beyond.

Find out more about our facilities .

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email:


Career opportunities

Students at the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute come from a broad range of backgrounds, with varying levels of experience.

The skills gained on the course have helped to prepare graduates for national and international careers in: Development, migrant protection, humanitarian consultancy, health protection, security consultancy, and medicine.

  • Organisations our graduates have gone on to work in include:NGOs: International Committee of the Red Cross (IFRC), Human Appeal, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Voluntary Services Overseas and the British Heart Foundation
  • National Resource Governance Institute
  • Civil Service, including the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Read more about our graduate career destinations .

Find out more about careers and employability and our alumni .

The University has its own dedicated Careers Service that you would have full access to as a student and for two years after you graduate. At Manchester you will have access to a number of opportunities to help boost your employability .

Associated organisations

Through our partnerships with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), industry bodies and policymakers, we are able to make a meaningful impact in the field and reach many key humanitarian decision-makers internationally.

Find out more about our collaborative partners .

HCRI also has a network of associate fellows based in relevant organisations and academic institutions around the world.