Skip navigation
The Australian National University

Humanitarian Action

lifting boxes


The MAAPD (Humanitarian Action) specialisation aims to give students a critical understanding of the role that humanitarian intervention can play in local development processes. Providing students with knowledge and skills from applied anthropology, the specialisation will enable graduates to work in humanitarian disaster situations and to assess the role of specific humanitarian interventions in ongoing development work.

Course outline

Graduates of the Master of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development (Humanitarian Action) program will gain the knowledge and skills to:

  • Understand the role that humanitarian crises can play in national and local development processes in developing countries;
  • Identify practical approaches to dealing with humanitarian crises including internationally-led, State-led, NGO- and community-led processes;
  • Understand recent trends and changes in humanitarian response;
  • Apply critical social inquiry and participatory processes to the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of humanitarian activities;
  • Undertake social assessments and integrate social perspectives and participatory practices with other forms of technical expertise in humanitarian work;
  • Contribute to development policy processes of NGOs, the private sector, government, and multilateral agencies to ensure the inclusion of local and community perspectives in humanitarian responses. 

Who should do the MAAPD (Humanitarian Action) Program

The MAAPD (Humanitarian Action) program is designed for those who have developed an interest in the application of anthropology's critical methods and styles to social issues in the context of humanitarian aid and development.

It is designed for people working in government, non-government organisations, or as independent consultants, who wish to develop their expertise for working in humanitarian aid situations, by pursuing a professional program.

On completion of the program MAAPD (Humanitarian Action) graduates will be better able to manage aid programmes in the context of humanitarian relief work, including undertaking assessments and advising on the social impacts of proposed activities.

The MAAPD (Humanitarian Action) program is taught by social scientists from specialist areas across the ANU. It draws on the regional and conceptual expertise that has contributed to the world-class reputation of ANU in anthropology and development studies.

MAAPD (Humanitarian Action) is currently available on-campus at either a full-time or part-time intensity - 2 semesters full time, 3 - 4 semesters (or longer) part time. Many courses are available by distance-education. Any of the courses offered can be taken as Non Award Courses.

Updated:  5 November 2014/Responsible Officer:  MAAPD Convenors /Page Contact:  Program Coordinators