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M.A. in Humanitarian and Disaster Leadership Curriculum


This is an example. Please note that the most current and official curriculum information is found in our Course Catalog.

Master of Arts in Humanitarian and Disaster Leadership

Degree Requirements

  • The part-time hybrid option is designed to be completed over two years, primarily online but with two total weeks of on-campus intensive courses—one at the beginning of the program and one at the end.  
  • The full-time residential option is designed to be completed on campus over one year, with on-campus intensives during two summers.
  • The accelerated M.A. option is available to current Wheaton undergraduate students, who can take M.A. courses during their junior and senior years. These courses do not count toward their bachelor's degree but will count toward the M.A. 

Sample Course Sequence

Semester Part-Time HybridFull-Time Residential
Summer Year 1 HDI 514 (4)* HDI 514 (4)*
Fall Year 1 BITH TSR (4), HDI 644 (2) BITH TSR (4), HDI 644 (2)
HDI 524 (4), HDI 534 (2)
Spring Year 1  HDI 654 (2), HDI 624 (4)  J-Term: INTR 561 (4)*
HDI 654 (2), HDI 624 (4) 
HDI 614 (4), HDI 544 (2)
Summer Year 2  HDI 524 (4), INTR 561 (4) HDI 634 (4)**, HDI 694 (4)*
Fall Year 2  HDI 614 (4), HDI 534 (2) Not applicable
Spring Year 2  HDI 634 (4), HDI 544 (2) Not applicable
Final Summer HDI 694 (4)*  

Actual course sequence subject to professor availability

*On-campus intensive course, 1 week total per course per semester
(This will also involve pre- and post-course work. It is set up this way for faculty to communicate with students by distance before the in-person class starts, and to help maximize in-person time in class. Starting 4 weeks before on-campus intensives begin, there may be some pre-course materials sent by professors to be completed before the in-person dates.)
**Intership completed over summer months (length varies)

Summer 2019 on-campus dates for part-time hybrid and full-time residential students are August 12 – 16, 2019.  
Pre-work period begins July 15 and post-work period ends August 23. Pre-work and post-work is done remotely.

Course Descriptions

Foundation Courses

BITH/Theology TSR course (4 hours)
An introduction to the Christian faith, evangelical Protestant theology, and church engagement.

INTR 561 - Intercultural Communication (4 hours)
Foundational principles of intercultural communication from the fields of social psychology, cultural anthropology, and communication theory integrated with selected areas of personal encounter in cross-cultural settings.

Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance Courses

HDI 514 - Foundations of Disaster & Humanitarian Assistance (4 hours)
An introduction to evidence-based and informed psychosocial care skills, programs, and interventions in the context of disasters, crisis, and other trauma-inducing events.

HDI 524 - Preparedness Planning, Mitigation, & Continuity Management (4 hours)
The course focuses on understanding evidence-based leadership best practices, procedures, and policies for disaster operations that strengthen disaster resilience in affected communities.

HDI 534 - NGO Leadership (2 hours)
This course will teach students best-practices for leading non-profit humanitarian and disaster organizations, and will introduce the practice of social entrepreneurship, program and project planning, grant-writing, fundraising, business planning, and marketing methods.

HDI 544 - Organizing Emergency Humanitarian Assistance (2 hours)
This course focuses on understanding evidence-based leadership best practices for effective emergency and humanitarian response.

HDI 614 - Transformational Development (4 hours)
This course prepares leaders to actively engage government and public leaders through policy interventions and advocacy to advance the global struggle for human rights. Students are prepared to advocate for biblical justice by developing the skills necessary to assess and intervene in the policy process as well as to develop and implement advocacy campaigns.

HDI 624 - Refugee and Forced Migration Issues (2 hours)
An introduction to various historical and contemporary cases of forced displacement, integrating diverse disciplinary approaches, including legal, political and moral analysis.

HDI 644 - Global Public Health (2 hours)
An introduction to public health that puts contemporary definition, determinants, development, and direction as a field into a broad global context.

HDI 654 - Disaster, Crisis, & Trauma Intervention (4 hours) 
An introduction to evidence-based and informed psychosocial care skills, programs, and interventions in the context of disasters, crisis, and other trauma-inducing events.

Field Experience

HDI 634 - Field Work or Special Project (4 hours)
Students will participate in an approved supervised field practicum placement with a humanitarian or disaster-related organization; students with advance standing gained from significant prior field experience may opt to complete an applied professional or research project.

HDI 694 - Field Operations (4 hours)
An intensive residence course that will involves multi-day domestic and international field simulation and practice in leadership and evaluation duties that will be supplemented with classroom learning experiences.

Additional Courses

HDI 692 - Comprehensive Exam (0 hours)
Prerequisite: submission of Candidacy form. Fee $75. Graded pass/fail.

HDI 695 - Independent Study Department approval required. (1-4)

Total                                                                       40 hours