Humanitarian Distance Learning


Distance Learning Certificate of Advanced Studies – Designing Strategies and Projects for Humanitarian Action

An eight month distance-learning course, complemented by a two week residential course in Uganda.

This eight month course aims to reinforce the knowledge and skills necessary to confront current challenges faced by humanitarian actors working in complex environments. The course puts emphasis on adaptive and flexible strategies and projects. It focuses on your working situations and enables you to reflect on your current practice as you learn.

This course takes into account the major contexts for humanitarian action ( armed conflict, “natural” disasters, social exclusion, complex emergencies). In addition, the relationship between humanitarian and development aid is given due consideration.

The course is delivered in partnership with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Groupe urgence réhabilitation développement (URD), Handicap International (HI), United Nations Development Programme Bureau (UNDP-BCPR), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAE), Conflict Dynamic International, International Federation Red Cross Red Crescent (IFRC), International Committee of Red Cross Red Crescent (ICRC), Sphere Project, the Centre de Psychologie Humanitaire (CPH), ACAPS (Assessment Capacities Project), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR), Transparency International, CHS alliance, The Leadership Academy, Strategic Edge.


At the end of the course, you will be able to design and adapt humanitarian strategies and projects in line with the specificities of each context.

You will be able to develop coherent, flexible and creative humanitarian strategies taking into account ethical issues, context prerogatives and the organization's mandate.

Eight month distance-learning, including 2 residential weeks in Uganda.


  • Professionals in the humanitarian, development or social sector looking to develop their competencies as well as reflect and capitalise on their experiences.
  • Professionals from other sectors who wish to increase their understanding of the humanitarian sector for a potential career change.
  • Graduate students with relevant volunteer or intern experience, looking to undertake a post-graduate course with a view to entering the humanitarian sector.


10 ECTS- Credits recognized by the University of Geneva and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.



Helena Merelo, CERAH


"One of my motivations to apply for this course, besides being a distance-learning course, was its two-week field component. While online courses are suitable for people living anywhere in the world to have access to excellent professionals otherwise not available in their home countries, adding a face-to-face session builds on your networks, facilitates direct interaction with tutors and allows us to apply theory into the reality of that particular place, centering people at the heart of our actions. The course has helped me not only to acquire new skills, but also to increase my self-confidence as I can apply the tools in my workplace in a more qualified manner." - Lorena BRAZ, 2016 student CAS HDL Designing Strategies and Projects

❯ Read the testimonials from Dieudonné, Edessa and Mohammad and Kristina!
Read our press release


For you as a student / professional

  • Study and learn from your own context, combining studies and work
  • Define your own specific learning objectives based on current challenges
  • Develop an action plan and implement it directly in your work situation during the course
  • Develop a personalised learning pathway: choice of sequence, choice of options and choice of resources
  • Be coached in the implementation process
  • Improve remote communication skills and learning autonomy
  • Create a community of practice

For your organisation

  • Have trained professionals addressing current professionals issues
  • Define your learning objectives with your manager based on your job position’s challenges
  • Reflect on organisational processes with an academic perspective
  • Network at the institutional level
  • Save time and money
  • Learn from other organisations experiences
  • Combine individual learning process and organisational change management
  • Participate in the evaluation process on the content of the CAS regarding the challenges faced by the Humanitarian Organisations