Programme Contents Foundation Period

(1) NOHA Intensive Programme (5 ECTS): An initial inter-university joint course that brings together all NOHA students, introduces them to key principles and concepts underlying humanitarian action and main actors in the field of humanitarian relief, their policies and strategies, as well as contemporary issues and challenges facing humanitarian actors.

Warsaw, Poland
When: Beginning of September
Language of instruction: English

(2) Common courses (25 ECTS): Jointly developed NOHA modules which provide a space to debate the essentials of humanitarian action and its current trends: World Politics, Legal Dimensions of Humanitarian Action, People & Culture, Management, Public Health.
The content of the modules, their layout and the complementary capacity building and problem-solving activities aim at providing the required knowledge and skills in a complex interdisciplinary and international learning framework respecting the different historical teaching background and variety of expertise in the NOHA partner universities.

Home university
When: September-January
Language of instruction:


• Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB), Germany
• University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland
• Uppsala universitet, Sweden
• Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RUG), The Netherlands
• Uniwersytet Warszawski (UW), Poland
• L'Università ta Malta (UM), Malta

• Aix Marseille Université (AMU), France

• Universidad de Deusto (UD), Spain

Specialisation Period

Upon successful completion of the Foundation Period at their home universities, students follow the Specialisation Period (Semester II) in another NOHA university of their choice. It allows students to get deeper knowledge and competences in specific aspects of humanitarian action and to strengthen the areas of a particular importance to them. Each university offers 20 ECTS of courses based on their unique expertise which are supplemented by a set of common courses: Advanced Management and Methodology & Research Methods in Humanitarian Studies.

Any of the NOHA universities (Host university)
When: February-June

•    Law and Leadership in Humanitarian Action - Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB), Germany
•    Law and Practice of Protection in Difficult Geopolitical Contexts - Aix Marseille Université (AMU), France
•    Societies in Transition - University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland
•    Forced Migration and Human Security - L'Università ta Malta (UM), Malta
•    Humanitarian Analysis and Intervention Design - Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RUG), The Netherlands
•    Armed Conflicts and Humanitarian Action - Uniwersytet Warszawski (UW), Poland
•    Protection in Humanitarian Action - Universidad de Deusto (UD), Spain
•    Conflict, Peace-building and Religion - Uppsala Universitet (UU), Sweden

In Bochum: Thematic specialisation: Law and Leadership in Humanitarian Action
The second semester specialization phase at Ruhr University Bochum focuses on the specific challenges that humanitarians face due to the fact that, very often, they work in contexts of violence and armed conflict. It seeks to further develop students understanding of the legal framework conditions shaping humanitarian work in these settings, focusing particularly on issues of protection, military engagement and justice. In addition, specific management challenges will be dealt with in detail. On the basis of a rather theoretically oriented advanced management module, students will get the opportunity to design their own projects in the course of a practical exercise, supervised by experienced practitioners. The final module will focus on the important issue of communication, negotiation and leadership and will take into account different counterparts, for example non-state armed actors, the media and governments in donor countries. The semester finishes with a simulation exercise in Brussels that allows students to apply their knowledge.

Advanced Management
Methodology and Research Standards in Humanitarian Action
Institutions - Law and Politics  
Project Design and Programming
Legal Practice and Advocacy

Contextualisation Period

During the Contextualisation Period (Semester III) the student can choose between two options:

a) Regional training  (30 ECTS):
This component introduces students to humanitarian action approaches in regional contexts, gives them the opportunity to cooperate, function and work in a different cultural setting, and help students to develop and adapt their research project to the regional context in preparation for the students’ project in the fourth semester
Regional training is offered at the following partner universities (more information soon):

•    Asia-Pacific: Deakin University (Australia)
•    Latin America: Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Colombia)
•    South-East Asia: Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)
•    East Asia: International Christian University (Japan)
•    Middle East: German-Jordanian University (Jordan)
•    Middle East: Université Saint-Joseph (Lebanon)
•    Post-Soviet States: Vilniaus universitetas (Lithuania)
•    Eastern Europe: Uniwersytet Warszawski (Poland)
•    South Africa: University of Western Cape (South Africa)
•    North America: Fordham University (USA)

b) Work Placement (30 ECTS)
Students follow a training module on Career Development and a supervised, mentored and monitored placement which are jointly designed with the partner organisations and formalised through individual written traineeship agreements.
•    Career Development Training (10 ECTS)
•    Placement (20 ECTS)

Note: List of available placements will be published at a later stage.

Location: Home university / Partner university / Humanitarian organisation
When: September-January

Research Period

In the context of international humanitarian action new professionals must be:

•    able to select and analyse research material;
•    trained to confront new problems in their multiple dimensions;
•    able to understand reality and to elaborate innovative solutions; and
•    accustomed to assessing their results.

The aim of the Research Period (Semester IV) is to provide key competences required to research the humanitarian action context and ensure that interventions are based on systematic information collection, analysis and synthesis. The Master thesis must be assessed by at least two examiners. In principle, the examiners should be a member of the first semester university and the second semester university of the student or the partner university or institution. Supervision and assessment is to be conducted in line with the joint Master Thesis Guide.
Location: Home university
When: February-June