MSc International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response - January Intake / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

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
Humanitarianism and Conflict Response: Inquiries HCRI70090 15 Mandatory
Rethinking Recovery (online) HCRI70250 15 Mandatory
Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Humanitarian Crises (online) HCRI70290 15 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
Disaster Preparedness HCRI79000 15 Mandatory

Scholarships and bursaries

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.

What our students say

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

Disability support

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