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Diploma of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Action

Geneva Centre of Humanitarian Studies
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The Diploma of Advanced Studies (DAS) aims to offer professionals a critical understanding of the humanitarian system and response learning from history and various other disciplines and an ability to contextualize humanitarian action in today’s world. It explores the role of humanitarianism in the way the world is governed today, as well as the political economy at play in relationships between States, non-State actors, international organisations, international and local non-governmental organizations and affected populations. Finally, the programme addresses the postcolonial dynamics of past and present humanitarian interventions to identify new avenues for contemporary and future crises.

A printable “Course at a glance” document is available here.


At the end of the course, participants will have developed a critical understanding of contemporary humanitarian action informed by academic scholarship, which will enable them to become better informed, and more aware and effective humanitarian practitioners, more autonomous in their decisions.

More specifically, at the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the politico-historical foundations of humanitarianism, the changing nature of humanitarian crises and the various forms of humanitarian action.
  • Widen their conception of humanitarianism by acknowledging the existence of other philanthropic, charity and faith-based endeavours.
  • Understand the ethical, normative and legal aspects of humanitarianism including the overlap between humanitarianism, militarism and sanctions.
  • Identify the various actors of humanitarian action and understand the political economy of the field.
  • Conceptualize humanitarianism as a distinct mode of governing and understand its link with border control policies and security regimes.

The course is divided in five modules:

  • M1: Humanitarianisms
  • M2: Contexts, Actions and Consequences
  • M3: Revisiting Vulnerability and Needs
  • M4: Humanitarian Normativity: Ethics, Norms and Principles
  • M5: The Humanitarians and the Social World of Aidland.

DAS dissertation

Throughout the DAS, participants will engage in a series of workshops designed to develop information-gathering and processing, critical thinking, analytical writing and networking skills. These workshops will help participants write three assignments (context analysis and reports) that constitute the core of the dissertation. The overall aim of the DAS dissertation is to stimulate a critical and original reflection on issues linked to humanitarian action through specific writing exercises.

The DAS dissertation must be presented by May 2021.

Информация об оплате

Fee cost: 8,000 CHF (this does not include travel, accommodation and living costs).

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A bachelor’s degree or an equivalent, university degree requiring three years of study.

Admission process

Admission is based on the overall quality of the application, including academic achievement, quality of application documents, relevance of previous work experience and English language skills. The Selection Committee examines the quality of the applications and aims to reach a balance between the number of men and women, educational profiles and professional experience, geographical distribution and financial contribution.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Language requirements

All classes at the Geneva Centre of Humanitarian Studies are delivered in English. All students must have an excellent command of English. Students whose mother tongue is not English, who do not have secondary or post-secondary qualifications taught in English or who have not spent a minimum of one year studying full-time at a university level in English (please provide transcripts certifying that courses were delivered in English), must provide a certificate to prove their mastery of English. More information on recognised tests and scores is available here.

To submit your application: