The Master of Arts in Humanitarian Assistance (MAHA) is a one-year joint degree offered by the Friedman School and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. The program is geared toward mid-career professionals who have significant field experience in humanitarian assistance. The program’s mission is to offer an academic setting where professionals can develop their knowledge and skills in the areas of nutrition, food policy, and economic, political and social development as they relate to humanitarian action in complex emergencies and other disasters. Practitioners study, read about, reflect on, and write about humanitarian theories, programs, and policies.
Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy (FSNSP) and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy offer a one-year joint degree Master of Arts in Humanitarian Assistance for mid-career professionals with significant field experience in the areas of famine, conflicts, complex emergencies and other disasters.
The Friedman School, the only school of its kind in the United States, was established in 1981 with the mission of bringing together biomedical, social, political, and behavioral sciences to conduct research, education, and community service programs in nutrition and food security. The FSNSP has achieved international recognition for its cross-disciplinary training of professionals to work in nutrition and related programs, such as human nutrition and nutritional epidemiology, applied nutrition and food policy, humanitarian assistance, world hunger, malnutrition, development and policymaking.
The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy is the oldest school of international affairs in the United States devoted exclusively to graduate study in international relations. It educates professionals from throughout the world for careers leading to positions of leadership or influence in the national and international arenas, such as, negotiation/mediation, environment, refugees and migration, population issues, development, international law, global business, foreign service and other world issues.
The mission of the Masters Degree program is to offer an academic setting for professionals to develop their professional knowledge and skills in the areas of nutrition, food policy, and economic, political and social analysis, as they relate to humanitarian action in famines, complex emergencies and other disasters. The one-year program provides an opportunity for practitioners to study, read, reflect and write about current issues and trends of international humanitarian theories, programs and policies.
Major shifts have occurred in the field of disaster interventions over the past several years. Humanitarian assistance is not a transitory phenomenon. It is part of a full web of responses over time to change and development, particularly in complex socio-economic and political situations. The examples of Afghanistan, Bosnia, Haiti, Kosovo, Rwanda, Somalia, and Sudan have led to major challenges to development and relief theory and approaches. There is growing appreciation of humanitarian assistance as an important field in and of itself (not as an appendage to development studies), as well as the need for innovative analysis and research on new models for effective humanitarian assistance.
This program fills a vacuum in the academic world in the United States, identifying important shifts and providing a place for mid-career professionals to learn and to contribute to innovative theory, research and policy. This program will therefore affect the academic and the professional worlds of international humanitarian and development assistance. It builds on the recognition of Tufts as a leading institution in nutrition and international issues.
The Master of Arts in Humanitarian Assistance consists of two semesters of academic work, requiring students to complete eight semester courses and one capstone project.
Of the eight courses, three are required, and there are three core electives to be selected from a list of Friedman and Fletcher courses covering gender issues, human rights, conflict resolution, development and migration. Course offerings will vary slightly from year to year.
For the capstone project requirement, students must apply theoretical and analytical skills acquired during the program to their previous experience. The written capstone project is then orally presented at the end of the year, as part of a group MAHA presentation of work. Each student is assigned an adviser from the Feinstein International Center, who will help tailor the program to the interests and professional needs of the student, advise students on course selection, provide guidance on writing, and ensure that degree requirements are met.
Prior to academic year 2012-13 a thesis was required. This has been replaced by the capstone project which allows for more options such as writing a policy paper, strategic plan, or a traditional thesis. Theses by past MAHA students are available at the Tufts Digital Library website.
In addition to the course and capstone project requirements, students whose native language is English are required to pass a reading and oral foreign language examination in order to graduate. (Non-native English speakers who were primarily educated in an English speaking environment may also be required to demonstrate their proficiency in a second language by completing a reading and oral foreign language examination.) All students are also expected to pass a short online course on research ethics.
This program builds on the existing expertise of Friedman and Fletcher professors and on the activities of the centers also involved in these areas.
Students must take all three of these Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy courses:
- NUTR 223: Seminar in Humanitarian Assistance
- NUTR 229: Humanitarian Aid in Complex Emergencies
- NUTR 308: Nutrition in Complex Emergencies
Students must take three of the following courses in the Friedman School or the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy:
- NUTR 0201: Fundamentals of Nutrition Science
- NUTR 0207: Statistical Methods for Nutrition Policy
- NUTR 0231: Fundamentals of GIS
- NUTR 0310: Qualitative Research Methods
- NUTR0304: Nutrition, Food Security, and Development
- DHP D232: Gender, Culture and Conflict in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies
- NUTR 217: Seminar on Program Monitoring and Evaluation (Coates)
- NUTR 0301: Nutrition in the Life Cycle
- NUTR 0324: Humanitarian Studies in the Field
- DHP D221: Seminar on International Mediation
- DHP P222: Development Aid in Practice
- DHP P227: Advanced Seminar in Development and Conflict Resolution
- DHP D235: Field Research Methods
- EIB E241: Development Economics: Policy Analysis
- EIB B242: Market Approaches to Economic and Human Development
- EIB B241: Microfinance and Financial Inclusion
- ILO L210: Human Rights Law
- NUTR0238: Economics of Food Policy Analysis
- DHP D239: Forced Migration
- PLEASE NOTE: Some of these courses may not be offered. Substitutions may be used upon permission by Dean of the Friedman School
The Master of Arts in Humanitarian Assistance is offered to mid-career professionals from government, international, national and private organizations and agencies, as well as independent professionals. The program is tailored for practitioners who expect to continue working in related fields, including those who will return to their agencies upon completion of this degree program and those who are between jobs or anticipating a change of focus in their humanitarian assistance careers. The recruitment and admissions process seeks to attract a healthy mix of people from different countries, backgrounds, and experience, creating an environment where participants learn not only from the classroom experience, but from each other as well.
Candidates must hold an undergraduate degree, have significant experience in the field of humanitarian assistance, have a demonstrated commitment to furthering their career in the field of humanitarian assistance, and have proven proficiency in the English language and one additional language. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required.
Upon admission to the program, every student will be assigned academic and thesis advisers who will work with the student throughout his/her enrollment. The advisers will be assigned by the Academic Director. The advisers oversee the student’s progress, advise the student on course selection, provide guidance on writing a capstone project, and ensure that degree requirements are met.
Tuition fees are set each year and the trustees of Tufts University reserve the right to change the tuition fee or to establish additional fees or charges for special features or services whenever such action is deemed advisable. Tuition is reviewed annually. Financial aid is available through the financial aid procedures of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Limited scholarships are available.
This program is offered jointly by the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy (FSNSP) and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Fletcher). It is administered academically by a joint Fletcher-Nutrition Academic Affairs Committee, comprised of two representatives from the faculty of each participating School. Students will be selected for admission by this joint Academic Affairs Committee, subject to review and approval by the Admissions Committee of each School.
Administration, management and financial control of the program are provided by the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.
Core Teaching Staff at the Feinstein International Center
For information about the Center and course content, please contact the Feinstein International Center, Phone # 1-617-627-3423, Fax # 1-617-627-3428 or by email email@example.com. For information on registration or application process, please contact the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Phone # 1-617-636-3777, Fax # 1-617-636-3600, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
To apply to the MAHA program, please consult the Friedman School’s general Admissions website: http://nutrition.tufts.edu/admissions/. The application deadline for the 2013-2014 school year is February 28.