New Online Master’s Degree Program in Humanitarian Action

2 min read
New Online Master’s Degree Program in Humanitarian Action

USD announces the new Master of Science in Humanitarian Action program starting in Fall 2022

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Now more than ever, the world needs dedicated humanitarian leaders to step up and tackle the largest global emergencies and challenges. That’s why the University of San Diego is proud to announce the creation of a new advanced degree program within the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies — the 100% online Master of Science in Humanitarian Action (MSHA). 

The MSHA program is a career-building advanced degree for professionals and leaders with experience or background in humanitarian aid, international affairs, political science, social justice, sustainability or related areas. It’s also ideal for military personnel, veterans and volunteers looking to pursue a career in humanitarian or disaster relief. 

Designed for both recent graduates and experienced professionals, this flexible program will cultivate the skills and knowledge needed to help prevent, respond to and recover from complex global humanitarian emergencies. This program’s multidisciplinary approach will prepare students to become the type of critical thinker and humanitarian leader who will help solve some of the world’s biggest challenges. 

“The new online MS in Humanitarian Action is innovative in a number of ways,” explains Associate Professor Topher McDougal, academic director of the program. “First, it embraces a peacebuilding approach to humanitarian intervention, leveraging the Kroc School’s strengths in conflict analysis, transformation and social innovation. This approach, blending humanitarianism with development and peacebuilding practices, is what’s known in humanitarian circles as the ‘Triple Nexus.’

“Second, with MSHA, we’re intentionally dissolving the barriers between international humanitarian and domestic emergency management. Third, we’re leveraging USD’s physical position on the border to emphasize the importance of humanitarian migration. And finally, we’re imbuing online instruction with the Kroc School’s hallmark focus on experiential learning.”

Degree candidates are admitted throughout the year to begin their degree during one of three terms (Spring, Summer, 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).

The MSHA curriculum will teach student how to: 

  • Assess humanitarian needs
  • Manage the complex landscape of local, national and international challenges 
  • Design and evaluate innovative solutions

The 30-credit program will culminate in a capstone simulation exercise in which students tackle a realistic complex humanitarian emergency. They will demonstrate the skills and thematic knowledge necessary to design, implement and evaluate creative solutions in a real-time scenario.

The faculty involved in the MSHA program include full-time professors within USD’s Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies and executive-level directors, experienced consultants and regional coordinators who work directly for humanitarian-related organizations. The academic director of the program, Associate Professor Topher McDougal, holds a Ph.D. in International Economic Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

“We’re living in an age of increasing risk for the most vulnerable,” explains Dr. McDougal. “We face accelerated rates of natural disasters due to climate change, desertification, salinization, biodiversity loss, and other complex environmental phenomena. USD is committed with the establishment of the MSHA program to meet those challenges with a combination of intelligence, innovative thinking, hope, and hard work.”

The program’s inaugural term begins Sept. 6, 2022 with an application deadline of Aug. 1, 2022. 

If you’d like to learn more or you’re interested in applying, we invite you to contact an enrollment advisor for more information about this exciting new opportunity at the University of San Diego.

Want to Advance your Humanitarian Aid Career?

No matter where you are in your journey, find out how a master’s degree program can help with our free eBook.

ebook cover