Health in Humanitarian Crises by Distance Learning

(Certificate, Diploma and MSc)

Overview - Health in Humanitarian Crises by Distance Learning

As armed conflicts persist and natural disasters are intensified by climate change, addressing the needs and challenges of vulnerable, displaced people in complex emergencies is a global priority. Gain the practical humanitarian skills and operational expertise you need to improve health in fragile and crisis-affected communities.

Study Heath in Humanitarian Crises to develop your current role or get ready for new positions in this vital field. Ours is one of the few distance learning courses available in this field.

What you will learn

  • Explore the humanitarian project cycle, including ethical considerations, policy issues, and global response architecture
  • Develop strong evidence-based decision-making skills for effective crisis response
  • Build on your critical analysis and evaluation skills to confidently gather critical information, assess and prioritise needs, design programmes and monitor intervention effectiveness
  • Apply a decolonial lens to understand how historical roots impact humanitarian ethics, political economy, and current barriers
  • Strengthen professional skills in problem-solving, time management, and written and verbal communication
  • Choose elective topics to complement the core course, that matter most to you and your career, from global mental health to medical anthropology

The aims and learning outcomes are detailed in the programme specification.

This online degree allows you to learn from anywhere in the world, at a time that suits you. Whether you have family commitments or you’re working in the field with limited internet access, you can work at your own pace. Later on, there is the opportunity of applying for blended learning in person if you want to include some face-to-face intensive modules.

The course has been developed by academics and field experts from the likes of Médecins Sans Frontières, Save the Children and the World Health Organization. You’ll benefit from a real diversity of expertise and unique insights from teaching staff and guest lecturers.

Who’s it for?

You might be a policy maker or researcher looking to deepen your understanding of humanitarian issues. Perhaps you’re already delivering health projects within a crisis-affected community, wanting to progress to a global leadership role. Or maybe you’re a graduate who is passionate about working in a humanitarian setting.

Diversity is important in a humanitarian response. Our course and our student body reflects that. Study alongside peers from a range of backgrounds and choose to complete either a Certificate, Diploma or MSc.

We created this course to give you the skills to hit the ground running in humanitarian response as well as to progress to leadership positions at an organisational or national level. The MSc qualification also provides a strong foundation for pursuing a PhD or Doctorate in public health.

Programme specification

The aims and learning outcomes are detailed in the programme specification.


CourseYou studyStudy period
Master's8 modules + a compulsory project report2-5 years
Postgraduate Diploma8 modules2-5 years
Postgraduate Certificate4 modules1-5 years

Health in Humanitarian Crises by distance learning


Watch Programme Director Bhargavi Rao talking about the programme.

Professor Francesco Checchi
Professor Francesco Checchi, Programme Director

"We are very excited to offer the new distance learning programme as a unique course for both newcomers wishing to enter this field, and experienced staff looking for opportunities to extend their skills."

Structure - Health in Humanitarian Crises by Distance Learning

The below structure outlines the proposed modules for this programme. Programme and module specifications provide full details about the aims and objectives of each module, what you will study, what materials are provided and how the module is assessed.

Programme structure
  • Postgraduate Certificate: 4 compulsory core modules
  • Postgraduate Diploma: 8 modules (4 compulsory core + 1 additional compulsory + 3 elective modules)
  • Master's: 8 modules (4 compulsory core modules + 1 additional compulsory + 3 elective modules) + a project report

It is possible to register for the PG Certificate in the first instance then, on successful completion of the compulsory core modules, transfer your registration to the PG Diploma or MSc.

Compulsory core modules (PG Certificate, PG Diploma and MSc)
  • IDM101 Principles of Biostatistics and Epidemiology
  • PHM214 Conflict and Health
  • HHM101 Public Health Information in Humanitarian Crises
  • HHM102 Design and Planning of Humanitarian Health Projects
Additional/elective modules (PG Diploma and MSc)

Additional compulsory module:

  • HHM201 Management and Evaluation of Humanitarian Health Projects (compulsory for the PG Diploma and MSc)

Elective modules:

  • GHM102 The Politics of Global Health Policy
  • GHM104 Issues in Global Health Policy
  • GHM202 Global Mental Health
  • IDM104 Control of Infectious Diseases
  • IDM202 Nutrition and Infection
  • IDM215 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
  • IDM301 Epidemiology and Control of Infectious Diseases
  • PHM204 Economic Evaluation
  • PHM211 Medical Anthropology in Public Health
  • PHM212 Organisational Management
  • PHM218 Applied Communicable Disease Control

(Note that restrictions and pre-requisites may apply to some of the modules above. Not all elective modules will be available every year).

Project report (MSc only)
  • HHM300 Project Report (compulsory for the MSc)
Methods of assessment

Assessment varies from module to module but will include a combination of unseen written examinations and written assignments. Details are given in the module specifications.

Examinations take place once a year in June.

Credit awarded

Credits will be awarded for all modules (15 credits each) and the project (MSc only, 45 credits) if successfully completed. To successfully pass an award, the following credits must be gained:

  • Postgraduate Certificate – 60 credits
  • Postgraduate Diploma – 120 credits
  • Master's – 180 credits
Changes to the course

Changes to the programme

LSHTM will seek to deliver this programme in accordance with the description set out on this programme page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for LSHTM to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.

How you study
How you study - Health in Humanitarian Crises by Distance Learning

Study materials

Learning is via directed self-study against a detailed set of learning objectives for each module. Students have access to a range of study resources, discussion forums and online webinar discussion sessions via LSHTM’s virtual learning environment, Moodle. 

Details of the study materials for each module can be found in the module specifications. Materials and resources for HHM modules may include: 

  • Interactive Computer Assisted Learning materials which introduce, explain and apply the principles and methods covered in the module 
  • Workbooks and study guides for some modules
  • E-books and other recommended readings 
  • Real-time tutorials with module tutors on specific topics 
  • Self-assessed exercises and formative assignments
  • Past examination papers and examiners’ reports 
  • Access to Stata statistical software if it is required for the module

Students are strongly encouraged to participate in module-specific discussions on Moodle, and to make use of LSHTM’s online library resources. 

Module tutors provide feedback for all students via the online discussion forums and offer individual feedback on submitted assignments. 

Tutorial support is available for most modules from the beginning of October through to the end of May, while two modules run from the beginning of January through to assignment submission at the end of August. The project work (MSc only) is carried out in the final year, with submission at the end of September.

Flexible study

The course allows you to study independently, at a time and pace that suits you (subject to some course-specific deadlines) using the comprehensive study materials provided, with support available from academic staff. You have between 1-5 years in which to complete the Postgraduate Certificate, and between 2-5 years in which to complete the Postgraduate Diploma or the MSc. 

The study year for most modules runs from the beginning of October through to the June exams, while two modules run from the beginning of January through to assignment submission at the end of August.  The project work (MSc only) is carried out in the final year, with submission at the end of September.

Fees & funding
Fees and funding - Health in Humanitarian Crises by Distance Learning

The fees below refer to the 2024/25 academic year. Fees are subject to annual review and may be paid in one of two ways:

Either: on initial registration, a single payment covering the programme registration fee and all module fees for the duration of the programme

Postgraduate Diploma£13,960
Postgraduate Certificate£10,310
Application feenone

Or: pay the initial programme registration fee, plus the fee for each module you are taking in the first year. Then, in subsequent years, you pay the fee for each new module you take.

Initial registration fee£1,610
Fee per core module£2,150
Fee per advanced/ elective module£890
Fee for final project£2,740
Application feenone

Individual modules (taken on a stand-alone basis with no registration fee)

Fee per core module£2,620
Fee per advanced/elective module£2,620
Application feenone


Early payment fee reduction

An early payment fee reduction of 5% (up to £880 for a full MSc) is available on any of our distance learning programmes if paid in full before 31 May for the academic year 2024/25.

You will be considered for the fee reduction if you receive an offer for the following programmes: Master’s, PG Diploma, PG Certificate or individual module in Clinical Trials, Epidemiology, Infectious Diseases, Public Health, Global Health Policy and Health in Humanitarian Crises. Please see the Eligibility and Terms & Conditions (this link will direct you to the University of London website)

First Generation Scholarships

LSHTM is offering two scholarships to support students in the completion of an MSc degree by distance learning. These initiatives are designed to enable excellent students from groups who have been historically underrepresented in Higher Education at the postgraduate level to study, feel a sense of belonging and succeed at LSHTM. Find out more and apply by 6 April 2024.

How to pay

All fees must be paid in pounds sterling (GBP) directly to the University of London. The University of London accepts:

  • Western Union - Quick Pay
  • Credit/debit card (Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, Electron, JCB)
  • Sterling banker's draft/cheque
  • International money/postal order 

Further details are given on the University of London website

Other costs

In addition to the fees payable to the University of London, you should also budget for the fee charged by your local examination centre to cover its costs; this fee will vary. MSc students who are carrying out a project may also need to budget for travel expenses or consumables, depending on the type of project undertaken.

Entry requirements
Entry requirements - Health in Humanitarian Crises by Distance Learning

All applicants are required to have:

  • the equivalent of a UK first or second-class honours degree in a relevant subject from an acceptable institution


  • an appropriate professional or technical qualification, plus three years' relevant experience.

Qualifications from around the world are accepted; for further guidance please see University of London's qualifications for entrance. Students who do not satisfy the entrance requirements may still be admitted at the discretion of LSHTM on the basis of their academic qualifications, work experience and references.

English language requirements - distance learning

English language requirements

You need a high standard of English to study this programme. You will meet our language requirements if you have achieved one of the following within the past three years:

  • IELTS7.0 overall, with 6.5 in the written test and 5.5 in listening, reading and speaking.
  • TOEFL iBT100 overall, with 24+ in writing, 23+ in speaking, 22+ in reading and 21+ in listening.
  • Pearson Test (Academic)68 overall, with 62+ in writing and 59+ in listening, reading and speaking.
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English185 overall, with 176+ in writing and 169+ in listening.
  • Duolingo: must achieve an overall score of at least 130.

Alternatively, you may satisfy the language requirements if you have at least 18 months of education or work experience conducted in English.

If you do not meet these requirements but believe you can meet the standard, the University of London may also consider your application.

Computer requirements - Health in Humanitarian Crises by Distance Learning

The computer should have at least the following minimum specification:  

  • a web browser with Cookies and JavaScript enabled (latest version of Firefox or Chrome is recommended)
  • a good internet connection
  • screen resolution of 1024 x 768 or greater
  • sufficient bandwidth to download documents/files of at least 50 MB

And the following applications installed: 

  • Word processing software, for example Microsoft Word (.doc and .docx)
  • PDF reader, for example Adobe Acrobat Reader

Additional requirements:

  • A headset/microphone may be required to participate in "real time" online discussions
How to apply
How to apply - Health in Humanitarian Crises by Distance Learning

Our distance learning programmes are run in collaboration with the University of London, a federation of 18 independent member institutions and universities, of which the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is one.

Please choose which qualification you would like to apply for. The link will take you directly to the University of London application portal.

Application process/deadlines - DL programmes
Application process

1. Submit your application to University of London. Please read the Guidance Notes for Applications (pdf) before you complete your application.

2. Submit your documentary evidence. This can be done online when submitting your application or at a later stage. You will be required to submit personal identification, educational certificates, transcripts, English language proficiency evidence, references and CV (see Guidance Notes for Applications (pdf) for further details).

3. University of London will notify you of whether or not you have been accepted. This usually happens within five working days. You will be sent a student reference number by email in case you need to contact University of London about your application.

4. If you are made an offer, you will receive an email with instructions for completing your online registration (usually from May/June). You will have until the registration deadline to accept your offer and pay your initial fees.

5. Begin your studies. You will be given access to LSHTM's online learning site (Moodle) at the beginning of October. If you have registered for a module which provides hard copy study materials, these will be sent to your correspondence address. Clinical Trials modules are delivered solely online via Moodle.

Important: you are welcome to submit your application even if you are yet to sit an exam or you are awaiting results. University of London can begin to process your application without all the evidence, although a final decision will be made once all the necessary documentation has been received. If you are unsure as to whether or not you meet our entry requirements, University of London might be able to advise you on this before you submit your online application.

Key dates
MSc, PG Dip, PG Cert and individual modulesDeadline
Application deadline20 September 2024
Registration deadline (new students)4 October 2024
Programme starts1 October 2024
Who to contact

If you have any questions before submitting your application, you can contact:

Academic queries (LSHTM)

Email for queries about programme content, modules or assessments.

Contact the Study team for general enquiries.

Admissions queries (University of London)

Send a message to University of London for queries about how to apply, documentary evidence or entry requirements, or call +44 (0)20 7862 8360