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MSc International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response

Year of entry: 2020


Degree awarded
Master of Science, PGDip, PGCert
Up to 36 months part-time
Entry requirements
A Second Class Honours Degree or equivalent in a relevant degree in any discipline from a recognised university or its 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

  • Develop the skills and knowledge required to respond quickly to disasters and prevent them from occurring.
  • Study via distance learning without leaving home or interrupting your career.
  • Benefit from the expertise of the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute, including a decade of online teaching.
  • Take advantage of PGCert, PGDip and MSc study pathways.
International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response MDc

Open days

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 2020, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • UK/EU students: £9,500
  • International students: £19,000

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.

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

A Second Class Honours Degree or equivalent in a relevant degree in any discipline from a recognised university or its equivalent.

English language

We require an English Language requirement of:

An overall grade of 7.0 (with a minimum writing score of 7) in IELTS is required or 100+ in the iTOEFL with a minimum writing score of 25.

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.

Relevant work experience

Students who do not clearly meet the academic requirements may be considered based on relevant professional experience.

Applicants who fall into this category should contact the programme director for advice.

Application and selection

How to apply

Advice to applicants

 Please contact us if you have any questions before submitting your application for this course.

How your application is considered

We assess your previous academic performance, letters from referees and personal statement.

Skills, knowledge, abilities, interests

Students who do not clearly meet the academic requirements may be considered based on relevant professional experience. 

Applicants who fall into this category should contact the programme director for advice.

Overseas (non-UK) applicants

Overseas applicants must meet our English language requirements to be accepted onto the course.


Deferrals are permitted at the discretion of the programme director HCRI.

Course details

Course description

Our MSc International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response distance learning course will enable you to develop the skills and knowledge needed to respond to and help prevent disasters.

When disasters strike suddenly, they require a quick response, and create burdens for rescue and humanitarian workers.

There is a great demand not only for preparing and equipping workers prior to the disaster event, but also building knowledge and skills to prevent disasters from occurring.

A community that has both a team with the capacity to prevent disasters and a ready-to-respond team can reduce disaster mortality and economic losses.

Our master's course is consistent with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) 2015-2030, which emphasises disaster education, including for personnel who have difficulty in attending conventional face-to-face provisions.

This course has been designed to equip you with advanced knowledge, and to continue your personal development in disaster risk management and humanitarianism.

You will learn to conduct theoretical and practical analysis, as well as evaluation to support disaster management and humanitarian action in global health contexts.

This course offers flexible online study that enables part-time students to obtain a master's degree without residency and boundary restrictions.


We aim to:
  • provide you with critical insights into competing perspectives on how disaster management and humanitarian action can be understood, analysed and explained - from both an historiographic and contemporary viewpoint;
  • develop your analytical skills in critically evaluating the idea of disaster risk management and humanitarian action and the ways it has been organised, justified and implemented. This includes competency in developing a reasoned argument, critically considering data sources and defending different approaches;
  • develop your 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 MSc students to apply established techniques of research and enquiry to a relevant research area to create and/or interpret knowledge.

Special features

  •  We're one of the leading global centres for humanitarianism, conflict responses, global health, international disaster management and peacebuilding.
  • We're a World Health Organisation Collaboration Centre with a focus on Conflict Analysis and Programming.
  • We have a truly diverse student body, with individuals from over 65 countries.
  • We bring together disciplines of medicines, humanities and social sciences, including international relations, geography and political sciences.

Teaching and learning

This course is delivered online through streamed lectures, discussion boards and other e-learning elements.

Coursework and assessment

Each course unit will include outline readings with points for discussion. These will help focus your study, while an online chat room/discussion board will be provided as an optional tool. 

Course units will be assessed by formative and summative prose-based assessments.

Course content for year 1

Indicative course units for Year 1 include:

  • Risk, Vulnerability and Resilience
  • Emergency Humanitarian Assistance
  • Disaster Preparedness
  • Community Approaches to Health

Course content for year 2

Indicative course units for Year 2 include: 

  • Rethinking Recovery
  • Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Humanitarian Crises
  • Humanitarian and Conflict Response: Inquiries
  • Research Methods

Course content for year 3


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
Community Approaches to Health HCRI71000 15 Mandatory
Emergency Humanitarian Assistance (blended) HCRI71060 15 Mandatory
Risk, Vulnerability and Resilience HCRI77000 15 Mandatory
Research Methods HCRI78000 15 Mandatory

What our students say

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


This course has been developed in close cooperation with the University's e-learning team, which will offer ongoing support.

Disability support

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


Career opportunities

This course can open up a wide range of career options, such as roles in the civil service within various government ministries, including disaster management offices, foreign offices, and international development offices.

You could also work at international institutions such as:

  • UN Inter-Agency Standing Committee
  • International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction
  • World Bank
  • World Health Organisation
  • IFRC
  • Peacebuilding Commission
  • Department of Peacekeeping Operations
  • Regional bodies such as the European Union, African Union, Organization of American States.
Other career paths could open up within local and international NGOs working on peacebuilding initiatives, or in academia, research institutes and think-tanks.

Associated organisations

Alongside the expertise of specific course unit conveners, the programme draws from a wide range of disciplines, including academics from the Environment, Education and Development, Nursing and practitioners and academics from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, International Alert, Mines Action Group, Save the Children International and Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).