Bachelor in Humanitarian and Development Studies

Aid worker 

To help prepare Australians looking to pursue a career with international governments and transnational welfare organisations, Western Sydney University is launching the Bachelor of Humanitarian and Development Studies.

The new program was officially launched at the Parramatta South Campus, with prominent leaders of International NGO's and Western Sydney migrant and refugee organisations in attendance.

The Bachelor of Humanitarian and Development Studies will help prepare students looking to pursue careers in disaster management, humanitarian assistance and development practice.

The degree provides comprehensive field experience overseas to enhance the students' learning and research skills. Heading the program is ARC Future Fellow Professor Andre Renzaho, who has 20 years experience in complex humanitarian emergencies and development practice with organisations including the United Nations.

"The Bachelor of Humanitarian and Development Studies has been developed in extensive consultation with international aid organisations, and will help our students not only secure their dream job, but make a real difference to the world," says Professor Renzaho, from the School of Social Sciences and Psychology.

"Humanitarian disasters will continue to happen and therefore, there will be a continuous need for skilled humanitarian workers."

"The number of humanitarian workers active globally is projected to increased from 347,000 in 2010 to 381,883 full time staff in 2020"

Professor Renzaho says a major component of the degree is a placement overseas for a full semester, which will be assisted by international partners including United Nations agencies and international NGOs.

"By bringing together coursework focussing on the response to complex emergencies like earthquakes and violent conflicts, as well as development projects such as education, water and sanitation, we will give students the skills to help some of the world's most impoverished populations," he says.

Major studies in the Bachelor of Humanitarian and Development Studies are Humanitarian Preparedness and Response and Human Rights, Protection and Development.

A Bachelor of Humanitarian and Development studies will provide students with the opportunity

  • To gain knowledge and practical experience in all aspects of disaster management, humanitarian response and development assistance
  • Of experiential learning experience through embedded simulation activities, case, problem, solution-based studies, and a semester-long field placement
  • To be career-ready: To work with national and international organisations implementing life-saving programs and policies
  • To learn current developments in the field: The Bachelor of Humanitarian and Development Studies was developed in consultation with NGOs to ensure what students learn is current and practical
  • To learn from experts: The delivery of the course will involve experts from Western Sydney University and practitioners from United Nations agencies and international NGOs


1 December 2015

Mark Smith, Senior Media Officer

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