MSc/PGDip/PGCert Humanitarian Practice

Year of entry: 2022

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Degree awarded
Master of Science
Up to 5 years part-time
Entry requirements
Applicants should hold an Upper Second Class Honours degree, or its overseas equivalent. Consideration may be given to those without this who have extensive (over three years) professional humanitarian training and experience.

Full entry requirements

How to apply
Apply online

Course options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning
PGCert N N N Y

Course overview

  • Choose from multiple awards: PGCert, PGDip and MSc. 
  • Benefit from our partnership with Medecins Sans Frontieres and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. 
  • Learn in an online format, with a mix of asynchronous and synchronous learning.  
  • Critically reflect on your humanitarian work and gain the relevant academic background to inform decisions made in practice. 
  • Strengthen your leadership skills, helping you to grow into a management or coordination position within a humanitarian organisation.
MSc Humanitarian Practice (LEAP)

Open days


Register your place at our next MSc Humanitarian Practice webinar in June where you can find out more about the programme and blended learning.

You can also stream recorded sessions from The University of Manchester's virtual postgraduate open day to find out more about the university.


For entry in the academic year beginning September 2022, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MSc (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £10,500
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £21,000
  • MSc (part-time distance learning)
    UK students (per annum): £875 per 15 credits
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £1,750 per 15 credits
  • PGDip (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £875 per 15 credits
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £1,750 per 15 credits
  • PGDip (part-time distance learning)
    UK students (per annum): £875 per 15 credits
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £1,750 per 15 credits
  • PGCert (part-time distance learning)
    UK students (per annum): £875 per 15 credits
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £1,750 per 15 credits

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

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).


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.

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

Applicants should hold an Upper Second Class Honours degree, or its overseas equivalent. Consideration may be given to those without this who have extensive (over three years) professional humanitarian training and experience.

English language

An overall grade of above 6.5 (preferably 7) in IELTS is required, or above 88 in the TOEFL iBT.

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 that equate to a UK Upper Second. For these and general requirements including English language see  entry requirements from your country .

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 bachelor's 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.

Relevant work experience

This course is designed for those working in the humanitarian field or with extensive experience of humanitarian work.

Application and selection

How to apply

Advice to applicants

This course is designed for those currently working in the humanitarian sector or who have previous experience of humanitarian work.  

Applicants must have at least six months of humanitarian work experience.  

Queries regarding the content of this course should be sent to the Programme Director,  Dr Darren Walter , who can discuss the course in greater detail and address any questions prior to applying.  

Staff members from Medecins Sans Frontieres should apply through the internal procedure at their Operational Centre.

Course details

Course description

Our blended learning MSc in Humanitarian Practice is part of the  Leadership Education Academic Partnership  (LEAP) programme.  

A flexible course designed by humanitarians, for humanitarians, it allows professionals to study alongside working in the field. 

The programme is delivered jointly by the  Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute  (HCRI) at The University of Manchester and the  Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine  (LSTM) in partnership with  Médecins Sans Frontieres  (MSF).  

The course brings together the disciplines of epidemiology, history, politics, anthropology, development studies, international relations, public health, management and humanitarian medicine, as well as the expertise of academics and leading practitioners. 

Crossing traditional subject boundaries, it will enable you to reflect critically on issues arising from your own work, the wider humanitarian agenda and develop the skills set needed for contemporary humanitarian practitioners. 

The course is blended, meaning there is a two-week intensive teaching period each semester either online or in Manchester or Liverpool, as well as online courses that you can study remotely. 

As a student of HCRI and LSTM, you will benefit from a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to teaching and research, as well as individual tutoring and supervision from academics from a wide range of disciplines.


The overarching aim of the course is to enhance the leadership and management capacities in medical humanitarian operations through employing multidisciplinary, self-reflective and collaborative approaches and epistemologies. The course also aims to provide the following:

  • To nurture graduates who are critical thinkers, effective communicators, innovative problem solvers, lifelong learners and ethical leaders with humanitarian principles.
  • To advance interdisciplinary knowledge to meet the changing operational needs of humanitarian fields.
  • Lead and excel in professional education, applied research and partnership for the betterment of humanitarian movements.

Special features

Blended learning   

Each semester we hold a two-week intensive online or face-to-face teaching period, involving live lectures and activities.  

This provides a valuable opportunity to meet other students from across the world, meet the academic team and attend extra-curricular events and activities. 

This teaching period is a chance to take time out from day-to-day working life and focus on your studies.  

You'll take part in group work, peer-to-peer learning and give presentations with colleagues from our diverse study body. 

Innovative education partnership   

The LEAP programme is delivered jointly by The University of Manchester's Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI) and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) in partnership with international medical humanitarian organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).  

This partnership brings together interdisciplinary academic expertise and operational humanitarian experience. 

Teaching and learning

This course combines the required core course units with a wide range of optional courses delivered by both The University of Manchester and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. 

The core units are delivered as blended learning, which include eight weeks of online learning with two weeks of intensive online or face-to-face teaching (when restrictions allow) in Manchester and Liverpool, in the middle of the units. Teaching and learning methods include: 

  • lectures; 
  • tutorials; 
  • skills workshops (including action learning sets); 
  • individual and group presentations; 
  • group discussion and reporting-back; 
  • group, paired and individual case study analyses and exercises; 
  • assignment and work-based projects; 
  • meetings with mentors; 
  • reflective reports. 

We suggest that all students complete the Critical Approaches to Evidence unit in the first year as it will be an appropriate introduction to the course and master's-level study. 

Students will also be able to choose 60 credits of optional units from the wide range of units offered by both institutions.

Coursework and assessment

Assessment methods can include written assignments, exams, presentations, group projects and tutorial discussion and participation alongside online assessment tools such as quizzes.

Course unit details

For the MSc, you will need to complete 180 academic credits. You will take:

  • four core units (60 credits);
  • a selection of optional units (60 credits);
  • a dissertation (60 credits).

Please note that this course offers optional units which have a 10, 15 or 20-credit weighting.

PGCert and PGDip

Other study pathways are also available.

To complete a PGCert, you must complete 60 credits within 24 months.

To complete a PGDip, you must complete 120 credits within 36 months.

Below is a list of core modules specific to the Humanitarian Practice course.

Information on all available optional modules can be found on our module database .

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 (MSc Global Health) HCRI70000 60 Mandatory
Critical Approaches to Evidence HCRI70010 15 Mandatory
Research Into Practice HCRI70030 15 Mandatory
Critical Approaches to Management of Humanitarian Operations HCRI70040 15 Mandatory
History of Humanitarian Aid HCRI71200 15 Mandatory
Emergency Humanitarian Assistance (blended) HCRI71060 15 Optional

Additional fee information

MSc (full-time, 1 year on campus)

  • UK students: £10,000
  • International, including EU, students: £20,000 
MSc (part-time, 3 years distance learning)  
  • UK students (per annum): £3,333
  • International, including EU, students (per annum): £6,667
PGDip (full-time, 1 year on campus)
  • UK students (per annum): £6,667
  • International, including EU, students (per annum): £13,334

PGDip (part-time, 2 years distance learning )

  • UK students (per annum): £3,333
  • International, including EU, students (per annum): £6,667

PGCert (part-time, 1 year distance learning)

  • UK students (per annum): £1,666
  • International, including EU, students (per annum): £3,333

Course collaborators

The programme has been developed in partnership with  Medecins Sans Frontieres  and  Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine .

What our students say

Visit the  LEAP programme in Humanitarian Practice website  to hear more from our students.


The University of Manchester offers extensive library and online services to help you get the most out of your studies.

Disability support

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


Career opportunities

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 .