BSc International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response and Arabic / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course description

On the modern languages side of this course, students will study compulsory language units (the number of credits will depend on whether students are ab-initio or post-A-Level and whether they are studying European or non-European languages) and the study of the culture and history of a specific region.

Teaching within modern languages in these latter areas are characterised particularly by the historically and politically contextualised study of culture and cultural practices, including in literature, visual culture, and music, with thematic focus on such issues as the environment, popular culture, gender, immigration and transnationalism, and religion.

Crucial here is the understanding of language skills being informed by intercultural awareness and cultural knowledge being mediated by linguistic skills.

On the humanitarian response side of the degree students critically explore contemporary and historical issues within the broader fields of international disaster management, peace and conflict studies, and humanitarian response.

The thematic focus of humanitarian response significantly overlaps with that of languages for instance, the investigation of environment, gender, migration, cultural norms and behaviours, power, politics, and popular culture.

As such, students will be able to apply their theoretical understanding of these broader ideas and contextualise them in different disciplinary and empirical areas.

Furthermore, teaching within humanitarian response is very much research-led, and draws on contemporary and historical case sites from across the world.

Most of these cases are in countries where English is not the principal language.

For example, students will explore issues such as resilience, peacebuilding, relief aid, maternal mortality, and refugees in diverse contexts including Puerto Rico, China, Haiti, Venezuela, Mexico, Iraq, Japan, and Cameroon.

This will make the content particularly engaging and relevant for students of languages.

Special features

Insight from the field

Due to current travel restrictions we're currently unable to go on field trips overseas.

However, our adapted fieldwork unit for third years brings insight from humanitarian practitioners into the classroom.

The unit explores concepts such as preparedness and response, recovery, migration, and conflict in relation to a specific hazard, vulnerabilities and disasters.

Work placements

Our Professional Experience Project module will allow you to gain valuable professional experience with a humanitarian organisation.

You can also apply your subject-specific knowledge in a real-world context through a placement year in your third year of study, enabling you to enhance your employment prospects, clarify your career goals and build your external networks.

Your year abroad will offer the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of life in an Arabic-speaking country, and further develop your language skills.

Industry partnerships

Our pioneering partnerships with specific national and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) shape the real-world focus of our teaching, as well as offering strong industry links to key career destinations for graduates.

Partners include Save the Children, International Alert, Medecins Sans Frontieres, The Overseas Development Institute, ALNAP, Mines Advisory Group (MAG), and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

HCRI is also a World Health Organization collaboration centre.

Coursework and assessment

The IDMHR part of the degree is 100% coursework based.

This involves a variety of assessment types including essays, policy briefs, blogs, book reviews and reflective writing.

Course content for year 1

You will split your study time equally between the two components of your degree.

On the Arabic side, language instruction is 'ab initio' in Year 1, with seven contact hours per week in a course designed to build confidence in comprehension, writing, speaking and listening skills. 

Alongside language study, the Arab culture units offer introductory knowledge on cinema, literature, history and religious culture. 

For the IDMHR component of your degree you will take compulsory modules introducing you to the key concepts and theories necessary to make sense of the humanitarian world. 

You will also take modules introducing you to international disaster management and humanitarianism.

Course units for year 1

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
Key Concepts in International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response HCRI11021 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Disaster Management HCRI11032 20 Mandatory
History and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa MEST10711 20 Mandatory
Arabic Language 1 MEST51011 20 Mandatory
Arabic Language 2 MEST51022 20 Mandatory
The History and Sociopolitics of Palestine/Israel (1882-1967) MEST10041 20 Optional
Cultural Anthropology of the Middle East and North Africa MEST10092 20 Optional

Course content for year 2

In the second year you continue your Arabic language learning, increase your reading of authentic Arabic texts, and choose from a range of subjects that include gender and cultural studies, Modern Islam, and the history and politics of the Arab World. 

In second year for IDMHR, you can choose between compulsory units which allow you to explore aspects of responding to crisis; the links between disaster and development; and peacebuilding. 

There is also an option to take a module centred on a professional experience project.

Course units for year 2

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
Arabic Language 3 MEST51031 20 Mandatory
Arabic Language 4 MEST51042 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Conflict Analysis HCRI10002 20 Optional
Governing Aid HCRI11081 20 Optional
Everyday Peace Building and Security HCRI20001 20 Optional
Disasters and Development HCRI20011 20 Optional
Rethinking Crisis HCRI20022 20 Optional
Emergency Humanitarian Assistance HCRI20212 20 Optional
Professional Experience Project HCRI20220 20 Optional
Introduction to Global Health HCRI20321 20 Optional
Introduction to Post Colonial Arabic Literature MEST20001 20 Optional
Themes in the Histories of Arab and Jewish Nationalisms MEST20271 20 Optional
The Politics of Women and Gender in the Middle East and North Africa MEST20352 20 Optional
History of Modern Islamic Thought MEST20501 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 14 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

Your third year of study is spent abroad under approved conditions.

Course units for year 3

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
Media and Business Arabic MEST30182 20 Mandatory
Arabic Language 5 MEST51050 20 Mandatory
Dissertation and Research Methods HCRI30000 40 Optional
Introduction to Global Health HCRI30021 20 Optional
War, Migration and Health HCRI30032 20 Optional
Ethical Decision-Making Under Pressure HCRI30061 20 Optional
Practical Approaches to Researching Disasters and Conflict HCRI30111 20 Optional
Geographic Information Systems and Disasters: A Critical Introduction HCRI30212 20 Optional
Systemic Approaches to Disaster Management HCRI30221 20 Optional
Building Nations: nations, nationalism and post-conflict reconstruction HCRI30622 20 Optional
Disaster Mobilities of Climate Change HCRI30632 20 Optional
Dissertation in Modern Languages and Cultures LALC30000 40 Optional
Contemporary Debates in Islam MEST30031 20 Optional
Nature, the Environment and Politics in Modern Arabic Literature MEST30122 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 14 course units for year 3

Course content for year 4

The fourth year covers an advanced Arabic language course, a variety of specialised thematic course choices in Middle Eastern Studies, the possibility to learn Business Arabic, and the option to write a dissertation on an approved topic of your choice. 

You can also choose from a range of options within IDMHR, which will allow you to specialise in a specific area of the degree such as humanitarianism or disaster management.

Disability support

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