Master Online course for practitioners

CENDEP is offering a new Master Degree in Humanitarian Action and Peacebuilding

First intake in January 2017

The programme is now open for application on UCAS postgraduate.

The Master in Humanitarian Action and Peacebuilding is the first master programme investigating the links between Humanitarian Action and Peacebuilding in a practice-based approach. The Master is jointly designed and delivers by CENDEP and the peacekeeping Programme of UNITAR (United Nations Institute for Training and Research).

At CENDEP, the new Master degree builds on the innovation and successes of the PG Certificate in Humanitarian action and Conflict created in 2011 and upgraded to a full collaborative master. Building on the best practices of HAC PG cert, the new master in Humanitarian Action and Peacebuilding has strengthened the culture of student and practitioner collaboration and aims to target national or international workers directly in the field in order to develop further their expertise and practices through work-based teaching programmes and to strengthen local capacities. The new MA is delivered strictly at distance, through online teaching.

During conflict and in its immediate aftermath, roles and interactions of and in between peacebuilding, humanitarian action and recovery are complex and need to be investigated. Long-term and sustainable peace as well as relief and recovery efforts can only be built with local and national actors– including central governments, civil society, local governments, private sector and individual citizens. Humanitarian actions, peacebuilding and recovery in post-conflict aim to build resilience at different scales individual, household and community level; but also societal and political levels. Humanitarian actors seek to assist local and national stakeholders in developing the ability to adapt and cope with current and future crisis – as do peace builders. Humanitarian assistance providers, after addressing core needs, focus on building the capacity to prevent, mitigate or respond to future humanitarian emergencies. Exploring therefore the links between peacebuilding and humanitarian action is essential to improve understandings and practices.

This is the reason why Oxford Brookes University and UNITAR have decided to create the Master Degree in Humanitarian Action and Peacebuilding, highly culture-sensitive and aiming at linking the different conceptions of what humanitarian action and peacebuilding are and what humanitarian and peacebuilding practices should be. The programme is designed mainly for practitioners working in the fields of humanitarian action and peacebuilding, though it is open also to personnel working in relevant fields (such as military and police officers deployed or about to be deployed in field operations, civil servants – including diplomats – in charge of humanitarian affairs, academics teaching humanitarian affairs, journalists, etc.) seeking to develop a more holistic understanding of critical issues related to humanitarian action and peacebuilding. More specifically, the programme allows this group of participants to broaden their perceptions, critically review their role, and develop and refine hard and soft skills needed to work effectively in the fields of humanitarian action and peacebuilding.

Main topics covered by the MA in Humanitarian Action and Peacebuilding include:

  • Conflict and post-conflict contexts of humanitarian action and peacebuilding – including the urban and built environments and their impacts on the nature of humanitarian responses;
  • Theories and practices related to the different dimensions of humanitarian actions and peacebuilding – with a specific focus on protection actions;
  • Methods and tools (for mapping, assessment, management, etc.) needed for practitioners working in the fields of humanitarian action and peacebuilding to address current and emerging challenges.
Six modules and a research component are offered.

From Conflict Sensitivity to Conflict Transformation
This module equips you with a sound understanding of the complexity of conflicts, including of conceptual frameworks and theoretical debates related to humanitarian action and peacebuilding in complex environments. It provides you with the analytical tools to understand the contexts of conflict and to assess the challenges faced as practitioners.

Culture-Sensitivity in Conflict and Post-Conflict Settings
It is agreed that emergencies, rehabilitation and peacebuilding programmes need to be embedded in local cultures. How can we be truly 'culture sensitive'? This module allows you to understand and deal with core issues related to culture, communication, trust building and culture-sensitivity. You also to explore issues related to cultural dimensions such as gender, displacement and identity.

Leadership, Team and Self-management in Conflict Settings
You will critically examine some of the personal skills (or 'soft skills') needed by professionals working in humanitarian action and peacebuilding. In particular, the module focuses on leadership skills, team management and self-management skills. The session on self-management is more specifically centred on stress and stress management and introduces you to a number of techniques that can be applied for self-support, but also to support peers and members of communities in conflict-affected countries.

A PGCert in Humanitarian Action and Peacebuilding is also offered for those not wishing to undertake the full MA. It consists of the three core modules mentioned above.

Humanitarian and Peacebuilding Programmes in Urban Conflicts
In urban conflicts, all lines are blurred and programming will need to take that into account. Conflicts particularly have an impact on the way people produce, understand and inhabit spaces and places. Rebuilding some social links and establishing communities in locations will become one of the key elements in conflict transformation and humanitarian programmes. Through action research methods, issues related to urban settings and specificities of humanitarian projects can be investigated.

Protection of Civilians in Conflict and Post-conflict Settings
This module reviews the critical issues related to the protection of civilians in conflict and post-conflict contexts by exploring different conceptual and operational frameworks. In its second part, the module focuses on the planning and implementation of protection activities and offers you the opportunity to apply different tools to concrete situations. The module concludes with a discussion on community-based protection strategies, including unarmed civilian protection.

Post-Conflict Stabilisation and Recovery
This module explores the different dimensions of post-conflict stabilisation and recovery, with a specific focus on restoration of governance and rule of law, justice and reconciliation. It focusses also on programming tools in post-conflict contexts, and introduces in a critical and non-prescriptive manner human rights-based as well as human security-based approaches to stabilisation and peacebuilding.

Each of these six modules is accessible to associated students and can be studied individually.

The research component is constituted of Research Methods and Dissertation/ Practice-based Final Work. The dissertation is a large piece of work that enables you to explore an issue or theme in depth. The dissertation is a self-driven work, where the supervisor plays the role of advisor, supporter and questioner.

If you wish more information please contact: or


Humanitarian Action and Peacebuilding

Oxford Brookes University
Headington Campus
Gipsy Lane
Oxford, UK

Tel: +44 (0) 1865 483810
Fax: +44 (0) 1865 483298