Humanitarian assistance


In an ever-evolving and vastly unpredictable global socio-economic landscape, Deakin is committed to developing current and future humanitarian leaders. Kickstart or step-up your career with an industry-relevant formal qualification.

Get work-ready

Deakin has an exceptional reputation with over 40 years of teaching and research in international and community development, pioneering the first graduate program in humanitarian assistance in Australia. Our courses build on the practical connections between immediate disaster and humanitarian relief and the longer-term issues associated with development. Deakin academics have many years of experience in the field with a diverse range of humanitarian and development organisations. Their insights offer unparalleled access to the industry.


Postgraduate (further study)

A postgraduate qualification can be undertaken by students who have already completed an undergraduate degree or possess significant, demonstrable work experience. Postgraduate courses include graduate certificates, graduate diplomas, masters and PhDs, as well as specialist programs for industry professionals.


Higher Degrees by Research (supervised research)

Research degrees are research based master’s or PhD programs that focus on a single area of expertise. They provide students the opportunity to carry out highly specialised research under expert supervision.

Career opportunities

Employment in the humanitarian field is expanding. The sector employs staff with generalist or specialist skills in project management and community development, social work and protection, accounting and finance, health, education, fundraising, IT, research, logistics, engineering and other areas. Opportunities exist in government, non-government organisations and the private sector across all aspects of humanitarian response including:

  • disaster response
  • coordination
  • service provision
  • communications
  • program management
  • community engagement and recovery
  • monitoring and evaluation.
Industry partnerships

Industry partnerships

Through studying humanitarian assistance, you can capitalise on our strong partnerships with relevant international non-government organisations (NGOs), United Nations agencies, other locally-based NGOs, and government agencies such as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

We want graduates to come out not only prepared for careers within the humanitarian sector but really prepared to change the humanitarian sector to be more just, to address imbalances of power, and really prepare it for the future.

Dr Nazanin Zadeh-Cummings

Senior Lecturer, Humanitarian studies

Research with us

Take your studies to the next level with a higher degree by research in humanitarian studies. You’ll be guided by staff who are recognised as leaders and innovators in their fields, and benefit from access to world-class facilities.

Learn more about researching with us

More humanitarian sector courses

Graduate Certificate of Humanitarian Leadership

This course is available in either English or French and is delivered by the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership – a partnership between Save the Children and Deakin University. Please note that the Graduate Certificate of Humanitarian Leadership (delivered in English) is on hold for 2023 and 2024.

The Centre for Humanitarian Leadership

The Centre for Humanitarian Leadership is transforming humanitarian leaders and influencing how humanitarian organisations, and the system, respond to the increasingly complex humanitarian environment.

Learn more about the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership

Latest articles

Making a difference: why study humanitarian assistance?

Whether it's an earthquake, a bushfire, or flood, studying humanitarian assistance at Deakin can train you to help communities get back on their feet.

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