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8 Degree Options If You're a Humanitarian

A career in humanitarian work can be a rewarding and selfless way to make a difference in the world. You can take many different paths in this field, from working in international development to advocating for human rights. 

Choosing the right degree program is an essential first step in achieving your career goals. The following eight degrees offer a solid foundation in the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in humanitarian work. 

Whether you're interested in public health, conflict resolution, or environmental studies, there's a degree program out there that can help you make a positive impact on the lives of others.

1: International Development

An International Development degree program is designed to equip students with a deep understanding of what developing countries face regarding economic, social, and political development challenges. 

Students will learn about the root causes of poverty and inequality and explore different strategies to address these issues. Coursework in this program may cover topics such as global governance, international trade, microfinance, humanitarian aid, and sustainable development.

Graduates with a degree in International Development may work in various settings, including non-profit organizations, government agencies, and international development organizations. 

They may work on projects related to poverty reduction, community development, human rights, and economic empowerment. They may also be involved in policy development and advocacy work related to global development issues.

2: Human Services

An associates degree in human services online is also relevant for those interested in humanitarian work. Many colleges and universities offer online programs in human services that can be completed entirely or partially online. 

An associate's degree in human services typically covers counseling, case management, community outreach, and social services, providing students with a solid foundation for entry-level jobs in humanitarian work.

Completing an associate's degree in human services online can be an excellent option for those with other commitments, such as work or family, who need a more flexible schedule. Online programs give students the freedom complete coursework on their own schedule. 

3: Public Health

A degree in Public Health prepares students to tackle public health challenges by developing and implementing effective strategies and policies to promote health and prevent diseases. Students will gain knowledge and skills in epidemiology, biostatistics, health policy, and environmental health.

A Public Health degree course typically covers infectious diseases, chronic diseases, environmental health, health disparities, and health promotion. Students may also be able to specialize in areas such as global health, health communication, or health policy.

4: Social Work

A Social Work degree preps students for a career focused on empowering individuals, families, and communities to overcome challenges and improve their overall well-being. Students in this program will gain knowledge and skills in social justice, human behavior, social policy, and the principles of counseling and therapy.

A Social Work degree course typically covers human development, social welfare policy, research methods, and cultural diversity. Students may also be able to specialize in areas such as child welfare, mental health, or healthcare social work.

5: Human Rights

Graduates with a degree in Human Rights may work in various settings, including non-profit organizations, international organizations, government agencies, and advocacy groups. 

They may be involved in researching and documenting human rights abuses, developing and implementing human rights policies and programs, and advocating for the rights of marginalized populations.

Some common career paths for graduates with a Human Rights degree include human rights lawyer, policy analyst, international program coordinator, and human rights advocate.

6: International Relations

A degree in International Relations is a multidisciplinary field that equips students with knowledge of global political and economic issues, including humanitarian issues. The program covers many subjects, including diplomacy, international law, global governance, and foreign policy.

Graduates with a degree in International Relations may work in various settings, including government agencies, international organizations, non-profit organizations, and the private sector. They may be involved in diplomacy, policy analysis, development, research, and advocacy.

7: Conflict Resolution

A degree in Conflict Resolution prepares students to become experts in managing and resolving conflicts in various settings, including post-war reconstruction, peacekeeping, and conflict prevention. Students in this program learn about the nature and causes of conflict, negotiation and mediation strategies, and peacebuilding techniques.

A Conflict Resolution degree course typically covers conflict analysis, dispute resolution, nonviolent communication, and peace education. Students may also be able to specialize in areas such as international conflict, community conflict, or organizational conflict.

8: Anthropology

A degree in Anthropology gives students a deep understanding of cultural diversity, social norms, and human behavior. Graduates are critical in promoting cultural sensitivity and learning and developing policies and strategies supporting communities and individuals.

Some common career paths for graduates with an Anthropology degree include cultural resource manager, social researcher, museum curator, and community development worker. Graduates may also work in research, teaching, or journalism.


Pursuing a career in humanitarian work can be challenging and rewarding, and choosing the right degree program is critical to achieving success in this field. The eight degrees discussed above offer a diverse range of knowledge and skills to prepare you for a career in humanitarian work.