Master of Humanitarian Assistance

Course summary for current students

Year2018 course information
Award granted Master of Humanitarian Assistance
Course Map

This course map is for new students commencing from 2018.

If you require a copy of an older course map, please contact Arts and Education Student Services.


1-2 years full time or part time equivalent depending on your entry point

CRICOS course code092386D
Deakin course codeA757
Approval statusThis course is approved by the University under the Higher Education Standards Framework.
Australian Quality Framework (AQF) recognitionThe award conferred upon completion is recognised in the Australian Qualifications Framework at Level 9.

Note: This course includes compulsory short intensive classes (includes five days in Trimester 3 and five days in Trimester 1) held at a Deakin University campus for both campus and cloud located students.

Course sub-headings

Course overview

If you’re working in or wishing to work in the humanitarian sector, kick-start your career with an industry-relevant, formal qualification.

The current environment in which humanitarian workers find themselves is more complex and diverse than ever. Conflicts are increasingly complicated and natural disasters are escalating in number and intensity. These often occur in regions already struggling with socio-economic and political constraints and fragility.

This course in humanitarian assistance is strategically positioned as the first course of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region. It builds a unique platform where humanitarian practitioners and academics can share knowledge and experience, with a focus on improving leadership, preparedness and response capacities to national and international emergencies.

Combining theory and practice, the course is delivered using both Deakin’s interactive online study and intensive, located learning practice-based units. Coupled with action-based research in the sector this course enables you to be an effective and highly-skilled worker, both in Australia and internationally.

You will also be able to capitalise on Deakin’s strong partnerships with relevant international non-government organisations (NGOs), United Nations agencies, other locally-based NGOs, government agencies such as Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and other relevant stakeholders in the sector.

Research information

Students will undertake research training and complete a research project in one of the three following options:

  • one credit points of research training in research design, and a one credit point research project;
  • two credit points of research training in research design and methods (qualitative or quantitative), and a two credit point research project; or
  • two credit points of research training in research design and methods (qualitative or quantitative), and a four credit point research project developed in consultation with a supervisor from the relevant discipline

Fees and charges

Fees and charges vary depending on your course, your fee category and the year you started. To find out about the fees and charges that apply to you, visit the Current students fees website.

Course Learning Outcomes

Deakin Graduate Learning Outcomes

Course Learning Outcomes

Discipline specific knowledge and capabilities

Critique the historical development of the humanitarian sector and apply the key principles, exemplary practice and sector standards to current humanitarian context, both national and international, with particular focus on leadership, risk management, emergency responses, and recovery strategies.  


Integrate, analyse, synthesise and evaluate the theory and practice of humanitarian emergencies and responses and communicate to a range of specialist and non-specialist audiences through reports, briefings, essays, case studies, and oral presentations. 

Digital literacy

Demonstrate the ability to research, analyse, report and communicate complex information via the employment of a range of sector- specialised and generic technological modes to a wide variety of audiences including humanitarian, professional and scholarly communities. 

Critical thinking

Investigate, critically analyse, synthesise and report on issues facing contemporary humanitarian scenarios in light of established concepts and practice and design and develop interventions, solutions and strategies to address them.  

Problem solving

Demonstrate initiative, creativity and intellectual rigor in researching, identifying, planning, implementing, managing people and processes and evaluating proposed innovative responses to complex situations and problems encountered in a range of humanitarian emergencies, locally and globally. 


Plan, organise and perform as an independent and reflective practitioner in the field as well as in the sector generally, demonstrating a commitment to continuing professional development, scholarly research and professional contribution. 


Contribute to the achievement of team goals and cohesiveness in diverse humanitarian emergency scenarios, humanitarian planning, implementation projects and research projects through active and constructive participation and contributions to resolving impasses and conflict. 

Global citizenship

Demonstrate the ability to undertake a number of roles, in an efficacious and ethical manner, in a broad range of humanitarian operations across diverse cultural, social, political, economic and environmental spectrums. 

Approved by Faculty Board June 2014


Course rules

To qualify for the Master of Humanitarian Assistance, students must successfully complete 16 credit points of study comprising:

  • 6 credit points of core units;
  • AAI018 Academic Integrity (0-credit-point compulsory unit) and
  • 10 credit points of study as a combination of research and elective units in one of the following three configurations.

Option 1: Dissertation

  • 2 credit points of research training (AIX706 Research Design, plus one of AIX707 Qualitative Research or AIX708 Quantitative Research)
  • 4 credit points independent research writing (AIX702, AIX703)
  • 4 credit points of electives

Option 2: Research Paper

  • 2 credit points of research training (AIX706 Research Design, plus one of AIX707 Qualitative Research or AIX708 Quantitative Research)
  • 2 credit points of independent research writing (AIX704 Research Paper A and AIX705 Research Paper B)
  • 6 credit points of electives

Option 3: Research Project

  • 1 credit point research training (AIX706 Research Design)
  • 1 credit point independent research writing (AIX701 Research Project)
  • 8 credit points of electives

Core units

Students to complete the following 6 core units (6 credit points of study)

AHA721Dynamics and Dilemmas of the Humanitarian Sector

AHA722Applied Humanitarian Assistance: From Theory to Practice

AHA723Fundamentals of Humanitarian Management

AHA724Disaster Risk Reduction and Management in Humanitarian Contexts

AHA725Project and Financial Management in Humanitarian Contexts

AHL701The Humanitarian World


Electives & Research Options

Students to select 10 credit points of study as a combination of research and elective units listed below


ADS712Food Security

ADS714Gender and Development

ADS715Cross Cultural Communication and Practice

AHA716Humanitarian Settlement

ADS735 Conflict Resolution and Development (No longer available for enrolment)

ASS705Anthropology of Poverty and Development

AIR707The United Nations and International Organisation

AIR717International Conflict Analysis

AIR726Human Rights in World Politics

HSH701Principles and Practice of Public Health

HSH704Health Communication

HSH709Health and Social Impact Assessment

HSH728Health Equity and Human Rights


AHA726Humanitarian Assistance Internship (4 credit points)

Research options

Option 1: Research Project (6 credit points)

AIX706Research Design

Plus one of

AIX707Qualitative Research


AIX708Quantitative Research

Students then complete:

AIX702Dissertation A (2 credit points)


AIX703Dissertation B (2 credit points)

Option 2: Research Paper (4 credit points)

AIX706Research Design

Students then complete:

AIX704Research Paper A


AIX705Research Paper B

Option 3: Research Project (2 credit points)

AIX706Research Design

Students then complete:

AIX701Research Project



Course Map

Course Map

Other course information

Course duration - additional information

Course duration may be affected by delays in completing course requirements, such as accessing or completing work placements.