Please review the standard admissions expectations below as you prepare your application for the M.S. in Humanitarian Action degree program.
Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale (official transcripts required).
Degree candidates with a GPA under 3.0 will be asked to provide an essay in support of their candidacy. It is recommended that candidates with a GPA under 3.0 complete a standardized test such as the GRE or GMAT, but it is not required.
One personal statement containing responses to the four following prompts:
What is a specific social issue or problem that you believe plays an important role in creating, exacerbating or prolonging humanitarian crises? Justify your answer.
In your opinion, what are the biggest obstacles to solving that problem? (In other words, why hasn’t it already been solved?)
Describe something that has inspired you to enter the humanitarian field.
Why do you want to pursue a Master of Science in Humanitarian Action at the University of San Diego’s Kroc School in particular? Be sure to address how a Master of Science in Humanitarian Action fits into your professional plan or career trajectory.
Resume or curriculum vitae.
One recommendation letter from the candidate’s professional supervisor or professor (or two letters of reference).
You can find additional information and guidance on preparing your application by visiting our Starting Your Application page.
If you have questions regarding any aspect of the application process, please contact an Enrollment Advisor for assistance.
If you are currently in the U.S. on an F-1 or M-1 student visa, you are not eligible to pursue the online section of our program, per U.S. immigration regulations.
No Humanitarian Experience? No Problem.
We’re looking for degree candidates who are action-minded individuals ready to make a difference. If you don’t have a background in humanitarianism or disaster relief but you do have some volunteer experience — and you’re interested in pursuing a career in these impactful areas — we encourage you to apply.
If you do not meet the technical admission requirements for the MSHA program, please speak with an Enrollment Advisor or use the chat feature on this page.
At a Glance
The MSHA degree is a 30-unit program designed for recent graduates and working professionals looking to advance their humanitarian career.
Those with an undergraduate degree, background and/or relevant experience in humanitarian aid, international affairs, political science, social justice, economic development, anthropology, sustainability and other related areas
International humanitarian aid and development workers
U.S.-focused natural disaster response workers
Refugee service providers
Military service members, veterans and government personnel (U.S. Navy, Marines, FEMA, U.S. State Department, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, etc.)
Private sector employees working with (or for) firms that sell or source to markets in insecure and/or disaster-affected areas
Admission to the MSHA program will require a bachelor’s degree with strong academic credentials, preferably in a humanitarian-related discipline.
Degree candidates are admitted on a rolling basis throughout the year during one of three semesters — spring, summer and fall. Students take two courses during each 14-week semester, focusing on one 7-week course at a time. This degree program can be completed in 5 semesters (20 months).
Are any standardized tests required for admission?
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required. International students whose primary language is not English must submit official scores from the TOEFL (minimum of 83) or IELTS (minimum band score of 7).
Can I work full-time while completing the program?
Yes! In fact, the MSHA program was designed specifically for individuals working full-time. Classes are delivered online asynchronously, so you can complete your coursework at your own convenience wherever you have access to the internet.
What is the tuition for the MSHA degree program?
Tuition for the MSHA program is $710 per unit. With a total of 30 units, the full cost of tuition for the program is $21,300.
Tuition amounts shown on this website, or in other university publications or web pages, represent tuition and fees as currently approved. However, the University of San Diego reserves the right to increase or modify tuition and fees without prior notice and to make such modifications applicable to students enrolled at USD at that time as well as to incoming students. In addition, all tuition amounts and fees are subject to change at any time for correction of errors. Please note that the displayed tuition covers only the cost of courses, and additional expenses such as books and other fees are not included.
What if I don’t have any humanitarian-related experience? Do I still have a chance of being accepted into the program?
Absolutely! We also seek applicants who may not have background or experience in humanitarian-related areas but are action-minded individuals with volunteer experience who are interested in pursuing a career in the humanitarianism or disaster relief sector.
Are the University of San Diego’s online master’s degree programs considered full-time or part-time?
All of the University of San Diego’s online graduate degrees provide 6 units per term, making them part-time, or 3/4 time, programs.