MSc Disaster Interventions and Humanitarian Aid

Working in humanitarian aid or disasters? Worried about people and the planet? This course will provide you with the tools to become a skilled practitioner in disaster mitigation, recovery and reconstruction.

Disaster Interventions and Humanitarian Aid

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
  • Start date September 2022
  • Duration 12 months full-time
  • Mode of study Full-time

Overview

There is an increasing global demand for nations, organisations and communities to increase their resilience to potential crises and disasters. Most recently, the Covid-19 pandemic has shown the impact that a global pandemic can have on humanity and the economy. Our MSc in Disaster Interventions and Humanitarian Aid is an innovative and unique course that will assist social work practitioners, humanitarian aid workers, health professionals and volunteers to work effectively with victim-survivors of (hu)man-made and/or ‘natural’ disasters. You will acquire the skills to engage with the problems facing those working in disaster interventions, including family reunification, safeguarding children, adults and other vulnerable groups and rebuilding sustainable, resilient communities post disaster. This includes exploring disaster mitigation, preparation and prevention strategies within a community engagement and coproduction framework to create new, long-term responses owned and endorsed by communities.

You will be encouraged to learn from each other and innovate in disaster responses by exploring complex disaster issues in the safety of the classroom using videos, simulations and small group exercises. Your skills will be enhanced further through participation in a field-based learning opportunity involving a period of shadowing practitioners within humanitarian agencies, emergency responders and government departments responsible for deploying emergency personnel. Here, you will learn about agency policy, procedures and practices during deployment.

Top reasons to study with us

Course objectives

You will:

  • Consider a brief history of modern humanitarianism, humanitarian aid, and explore the linkages to ‘ideology of compassion', human rights, social justice and social work practice
  • Explore humanitarian laws and organisations, their inception, evolution and roles
  • Examine the concepts and policies that underpin national and international humanitarian aid
  • Develop an in-depth understanding of practice with disaster victim-survivors (including refugees) as recipients of, actors and agents in disaster interventions
  • Gain cultural understandings and explore the social history of state and non-governmental organisations and their roles in delivering humanitarian aid, policies and programs in diverse parts of the world, among different groups and settings

Work placements

There will be an observational field-based learning opportunity (FBLO) in the emergency services, voluntary agencies or local authority resilience teams, giving you the chance to shadow practitioners to learn how they deal with the complex dilemmas they face and how policy is used to address these.

This FBLO will give you the opportunity to learn what happens in agencies responsible for emergency responses, and to learn about agency protocols, procedures and the legislation to be observed in emergencies in the UK.

You will be asked to prepare an organisational case study to reflect on what you have learned during your FBLO and to present these learnings back to the study group.

Flexible learning

Our MSc Disaster Interventions and Humanitarian Aid course offers students the flexibility to learn at their own pace, with the option to attend up to two specified modules during the summer - The Social Dimensions of Disasters and Disaster Interventions from a Green Social Work Perspective as Continuing Professional Development Modules (CPD) and receive a Certificate of Attendance, or to attend the modules and complete the relevant assignments to gain credits. Students may also continue their studies with us to gain a Certificate or PG Diploma in Disaster Interventions and Humanitarian Aid or complete all modules including their dissertation to achieve the full Masters qualification.

The Masters course can be taken either full-time or part-time. Those wishing to study part-time should discuss their options with the Course Director.

If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

A minimum of a second class honours degree at 2.1 and six months of practice experience or equivalent. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

English language requirements

Due to disruption in English Language testing caused by COVID-19, we are accepting alternative English Language tests (including online English Language Tests).

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS Indicator 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each sub-skill
  • Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) 185 overall with a minimum of 176 in each sub-skill
  • Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) 185 overall with a minimum of 180 in each sub-skill
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 67 overall with a minimum of 62 in each sub-skill
  • IBT TOEFL 94 overall with 19 in reading, 24 in writing, 20 in listening and 22 in speaking
  • IBT TOEFL Special Home Edition Test 94 overall with 19 in reading, 24 in writing, 20 in listening and 22 in speaking
  • Trinity ISE III Pass overall and in all sub-skills, ISE IV Pass overall and in all sub-skills
  • Aptis (4 skills) CEFR C1 overall and B2 in all sub-skills
  • Duolingo 115 overall with minimum of 105 in each sub-skill
  • LanguageCert International ESOL C1 Expert - Pass with minimum 33 in each sub-skill

If you are from India, Bangladesh, Ghana or Nigeria please also check your country/region specific page for any additional, or changes to, English language requirements.

For more information on ways that you can meet our English language requirements, including options to waive the requirement, please read our information on English language requirements.

Pre-sessional English language courses

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses.

Course details

This Masters is the first of its kind in the country. It is taught by experienced lecturers and aims to build confident practitioners and humanitarian workers able to intervene effectively in various disasters that are occurring throughout the world, and increasing in frequency and intensity, especially those linked to pandemics, climate change and extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, wildfires and earthquakes.

Modules

The module information below provides an example of the types of course module you may study. The details listed are for the current academic year (September 2021). Modules and start dates are regularly reviewed and may be subject to change in future years.

Course Details

Teaching

Teaching will incorporate a range of techniques including formal lectures, online self-directed study, small group discussion, videos, role plays, debates, case studies, vignettes and simulations alongside formal presentations, directed study, group project work and action learning sets. External guest lecturers will be brought into the classroom via video-conferencing. 

Fieldwork

The Field Based Learning Opportunity provides students with the opportunity to shadow experienced practitioners in emergency and related services and demonstrate their knowledge of the agency within which they are based through an agency study.

Assessment

Each module has its own assessment. These include essays, peer and tutor assessed presentations and assignments.

Classroom hours

Each module has 20 hours of lectures, 5 hours of group tutorials and 5 hours of individual tutorials and 170 hours of student-based learning to total 200 hours.

Key staff

Professor Lena Dominelli is a world expert on disaster interventions and green perspectives in social work. An extensive range of publication in social work, social policy and sociology add to those based on disaster interventions and green social work perspectives.

Dr Sandra Engstrom, an early career researcher, will be the other main lecturer on this course. Sandra has completed research projects based on disaster interventions, and has teaching experience in community work and social work.

Fees and funding

Fees and costs

  2021/22 2022/23
Students from the UK£6,600£7,100
Students from the Republic of Ireland£6,600£7,100
Overseas (non-EU) students£18,645£19,145
European Union students£18,645£19,145

Students from the UK

Course fees

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course.

If you need to extend your period of study or repeat study, you will be liable for additional fees.

If you are studying part time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Students from the Republic of Ireland

Course fees

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course.

If you need to extend your period of study or repeat study, you will be liable for additional fees.

If you are studying part time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

European Union students

EU Postgraduate Scholarship

Eligible EU students will automatically receive our EU Postgraduate Scholarship, which provides a 40% fee discount on full-time postgraduate degrees at the University of Stirling.

Course fees

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course.

If you need to extend your period of study, you will be liable for additional fees.

If you are studying part time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Overseas students (non-EU)

We offer a range of funding options for overseas students.

Course fees

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course.

If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for additional fees.

If you are studying part time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

This course is eligible for a postgraduate tuition fee loan from one of the UK’s governments. See the section, below, for more details.

Additional costs

There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

Scholarships and funding

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

Scottish students may be eligible to apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for loans of up to £10,000 to cover tuition fees and associated living costs.

English students can apply for a loan of up to £11,570 each year as part of the Postgraduate Masters Loan Scheme.

Welsh students can apply for financial support of up to £18,025 as a combination of grant and loan from Student Finance Wales.

Northern Irish students can apply for a postgraduate tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 from Student Finance NI.

If you have the talent, ability and drive to study with us, we want to make sure you make the most of the opportunity – regardless of your financial circumstances.

Learn more about available funding opportunities or use our scholarship finder to explore our range of scholarships.

Cost of living

If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

European Union and overseas students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay

After you graduate

Graduates from this course are likely to be employed in the voluntary, NGO and statutory sectors concerned with disaster responses and humanitarian aid distribution, locally, nationally and overseas, e.g., the Red Cross, Red Crescent, Oxfam, Save the Children. Also, there are opportunities for employment in the United Nations and its associated agencies such as UN Women, UNDP, UNICEF, WHO and FAO.

Employability skills

The students successfully completing this program should have enhanced level skills for understanding humanitarian aid and intervening in complex and difficult disaster situations. These include:

  • An in-depth understanding of the history of humanitarian aid and roots of modern humanitarian work and agencies involved in disasters across the globe.
  • The ability to address complex issues and ethical dilemmas arising from humanitarian work in times of crisis and conflicts.
  • The ability to link the range of issues arising from both natural and human made disasters to disaster interventions across the disaster cycle.
  • Understanding the social construction of social problems and processes leading to social exclusion of individuals, families, groups and communities in humanitarian work.
  • Critical self-reflection, identification of professional development needs, and capacity to organise support in meeting these.
  • Information technology and computer skills to research, analyse and disseminate information relevant to humanitarian work and prepare for humanitarian social work practice.
  • Critical thinking, critical analysis, problem solving and decision-making processes and applying these in planning and delivering humanitarian aid including in refugee camps.
  • Evaluation and monitoring skills for disaster situations.

Changes at Stirling

Find out about important changes including how you'll be taught, start dates and how we're making campus safer.

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