Humanitarian Studies, Ethics and Human Rights (HuSEHR)

Interdisciplinary Concentration at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


The Interdisciplinary Concentration in Humanitarian Studies, Ethics and Human Rights (HuSEHR) provides an in-depth program of study that focuses on the normative underpinnings and practice of humanitarian response. The curriculum covers a broad range of areas including:

  • Civilian protection
  • Human rights
  • Coordinated aid
  • Sector-based assistance
  • Strategic planning
  • Health and human security of internally displaced people
  • Ethics and standards
  • International humanitarian law
  • Disaster response
  • Crisis dynamics
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Situation analysis

Upon successful completion of the concentration, students will be prepared to assume research, leadership and operational roles within the humanitarian and human rights global community. Concentrators fulfilling HuSEHR requirements will receive a certificate from the Humanitarian Academy at Harvard.


The core competencies of the HuSEHR concentration are based primarily on the framework developed through a two-year global consultation process led by the Consortium of British Humanitarian Agencies and People in Aid. The specified competencies also complement and overlap with stated core competencies of the HSPH MPH concentration. In addition to the competencies demonstrated by completing their respective MPH and two-year Masters programs, students who successfully complete the HuSEHR curriculum will have developed competence in the following areas:

1. Frameworks, principles, analysis and assessment for the areas of humanitarian studies, ethics, and human rights
2. Project and team management
3. Communication, collaboration, coordination
4. Safety and security
5. Leadership, negotiation, strategic planning


  1. Completion of 7.5 credits of core course requirements in foundations, ethics, methods, strategic planning / leadership and essentials of humanitarian action; electives are encouraged (see below for list of classes)
  2. Required Core HuSEHR Courses:
    ID 205: Societal Response to Disasters
    GHP 537:  Field Methods in Humanitarian Crises I
    GHP 515:  International Humanitarian Response
    GHP 518:  International Humanitarian Response II
    *A full list of core courses and electives for the HuSEHR Concentration can be found here*
  3. Completion of respective MPH and home department Master degree requirements
  4. Voluntary participation in HuSEHR seminar series


Eligibility / Registration

Admitted Harvard University graduate students (fall 2017) interested in the HuSEHR concentration must complete a short registration form for admissionRegistration forms will be accepted on a rolling basis but should only be completed after receiving your acceptance letter from your respective Harvard Chan School program. Admission to HuSEHR must be confirmed by the Academy and will be done on a rolling basis as registration forms are received. 

Applications will be evaluated with preference given to those expressing a strong interest in and desire to pursue a career path in one or more of the three concentration areas (humanitarian studies, ethics, human rights).  Experience in the sector is desirable but not required for a strong application.

All entering MPH students, as well as 2-year master students from the following departments – Global Health and Population, Epidemiology, Health Policy and Management, Social and Behavioral Sciences - are eligible. All other interested students, please inquire for further details.


All questions can be directed to the Humanitarian Academy at Harvard at