Programme Details

Master of Arts in Humanitarian Action & Development Programme


The Master of Arts in Humanitarian Action & Development Programme was launched in 2021, as an accredited full-time programme for those with an interest and a willingness to pursue a career in humanitarian work.

Given the nature of the subject matter, the programme emphasizes practical skills development and knowledge of the major theoretical trends that are shaping the delivery of humanitarian aid and development studies. The programme aims to improve the decision-making skills of its participants, as well as their ability to manage multicultural teams. The programme runs for one academic year.

The skills & knowledge that our MA students acquire

Upon the successful completion of the programme, graduates will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a specialised knowledge in international development and humanitarian action and how it has evolved over time.
  • Possess an understanding of development studies and humanitarian action in the context of international relations, international law, diplomacy, and the relevant United Nations agendas.
  • Take responsibility for managing humanitarian action programmes and the challenges they will like encounter during their professional activity.
  • Acquire the cognitive and creative skills needed to become ethical leaders in their workplace. The programme aims to improve the decision-making skills of the participants both in the long-term (as for project development) and in the short-term (as for crisis management).
  • Communicate effectively and demonstrate an ability to communicate through the mass media and through social media in particular.
  • Be prepared to pro-actively update their knowledge. Graduates will be able to critically assess existing projects or actions and to suggest improvements and/or new projects.

To apply for MAHAD, prospective participants need to:

  • Be a UAE national
  • Have a Bachelor’s Degree (or equivalent) from an accredited university, with a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale)
  • Have a minimum score of 79 on the Internet-based TOEFL (IBT) or a minimum score of 213 on Computer Based TOEFL (CBT) or a minimum score of 550 pm Paper Based TOEFL or a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 or minimum EmSAT of 1550 or will take the exam soon.
  • Candidates who have already obtained a Master’s Degree from AGDA can also enroll in the MAHAD programme, after completing all degree requirements of the MA in Global Affairs and Diplomatic Leadership. They will need to complete the MAHAD degree requirements specified under the ‘AGDA Alumni’ category.

Other Prospective Candidates:

  • Prospective candidates who fulfil the above-mentioned requirements can also join the MAHAD programme. Participants in this category will have to complete the full 30 credit hours to graduate.

Young professionals enrolled in the MA programme in Humanitarian Action and Development will have to achieve 30 credit hours to complete the programme.

Participants will do:

  • 12 credit hours of core course (4 courses)
  • 12 credit hours of elective courses (4 courses)
  • 6 credit hours of a thesis (which they will start during the academic year and complete by June of every academic year)

Courses in the MAHAD programme include the following:

  • Humanitarian Action: Theory and Practice
  • Poverty and Sustainable Development: Theory and Practice
  • International Humanitarian Law
  • Humanitarian Action, Development and UAE Foreign Policy
  • Women, Security and Development
  • The UN 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development
  • Human Rights
  • Emergency Response and Crisis Communication
  • Leadership and Ethics in Humanitarian Practice
  • Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons
  • Stabilisation in Conflict-Affected Countries
  • Middle East Refugee Crisis Management
  • Special Topics in Development
  • Regional Studies in Development

Master of Arts in Humanitarian Action & Development Programme 2024-2025

  • Admission will open April 15th 2024

  • Deadline to apply is May 15th 2024

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