Emergency Humanitarian Assistance (Professional development)

As the global humanitarian aid and research environment changes and develops, it is important for both new and existing practitioners in the field to keep up to date with the latest thinking and research.

Our continuing professional development opportunities enable humanitarian professionals to gain training informed by the latest research and discussion in the field.

Preparedness prior to responding to an international disaster cannot be underestimated and the Emergency Humanitarian Assistance module is a step in the right direction. Hosted by the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute, the module content is highly relevant and applicable to individuals wishing to pursue an interest in disaster response. The lectures cover a wide variety of relevant health-related topics delivered by a high calibre of speakers, many drawing on first hand accounts from personal experience of working on disaster response teams worldwide. As a student highly enthused by the subject matter I found the personal accounts of the speakers inspiring and exceedingly admirable!

Karen Livingstone / Registered General Nurse

The Emergency Humanitarian Assistance (EHA) course is a 15 credit unit that is part of HCRI's MA programme in Humanitarianism and Conflict Response, but can also be taken as a stand-alone module during one semester.

The course is taught in two 2-day face to face sessions and students successfully passing the assessment component will be awarded 15 credits under the national CATS (Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme) system. CATS helps you to move the credits you accumulate from one institution to another.

Course overview

The course is relevant to applicants with a keen interest in pursuing humanitarian aid work in the future, as well as those with existing experience. We are happy to accept intercalating medical students, doctors, nurses, aid and development workers and people from the military.

Providing an understanding of the principles of good practice in emergency humanitarian assistance and its place in health care development, the benefits and drawbacks of EHA will be explored alongside its place in the UN, the role of Government and non-government contributions in the delivery of healthcare to vulnerable populations, and the relationship of health to economics and politics.

The course will be delivered by expert practitioners, academics and policy makers/influencers and students will be provided with an opportunity to contextualise and interrogate the learning through tutorial group sessions. The face to face element will also be supported with online materials and students will also have to contribute to focused discussion board sessions as well as complete their private reading and research.

Course aims

  • To introduce students to the diversity of political, economic, social and health factors in time of emergencies
  • To develop a holistic understanding of complex health issues in times of emergencies
  • To understand the limitations and possibilities of emergency humanitarian medical assistance
  • To encourage critical analysis of emergency humanitarian assistance


To take part in the EHA CPD course, an Upper Second Class Bachelor's degree or the overseas equivalent is required, although each application is judged on its own merits and exceptions to this entry requirement may be made.

Students whose first language is not English are required to hold an overall score of IELTS 7.0 to include a writing score of 7.0, or an overall internet-based TOEFL test score of 100.

Study details

Intended learning outcomes of the programme - on completion students should be able to show a critical understanding of:

  • The common causes of disease in displaced populations and their prevention and treatment
  • How to carry out basic health surveillance and health needs assessment
  • The food, water and sanitation requirements of populations
  • Medicine and Surgery in low resource settings
  • The special needs of women and children
  • The common consequences of “natural” and man-made disasters
  • Complex Emergencies
  • Conflict Medicine
  • The roles of governments, international organisations, non government organisations and the military in humanitarian crises
  • The psychological and social consequences of humanitarian crises


The fees for this course are £800.

How to apply

Emergency Humanitarian Assistance will next run in January 2020. To register for the course, please complete;

The face to face sessions for 2020 will be held on:

  • Wednesday, 8 April 2020
  • Thursday, 9 April 2020
  • Thursday, 14 May 2020
  • Friday, 15 May 2020

The Emergency Humanitarian Assistance course is unique in attempting to align critical academic thinking on disaster response and practical realities of the challenges faced by teams on the ground. As a student of international development and experienced in a number of overseas missions, the course helped me learn and focus on the different approaches required in emergency contexts. By combining students from public health and students from the humanitarian and conflict response course, it also facilitates cross dialogue between two sets of workers likely to be involved in the frontline aid response to better understand each others roles and standpoints. 

Antony Duttine / Rehabilitation Advocacy Officer, Handicap International