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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental ScienceUndergraduate study

Qualifications for humanitarian programme management

A brief overview of the qualifications and work experience generally required for those hoping to move managing humanitarian programes.

Experience is crucial in this field as most employers will ask for a minimum of 5 years' experience for this post. Volunteering is often the only way in, so be prepared to dedicate yourself to this path.


  1. In general, experience with development issues is the most important criteria in applying for jobs in humanitarian programmes.
  2. It is important to ‘get your foot in the door’ and work your way up from a more junior position
  3. If you are applying for an internship they tend to require a degree, though this can be in any subject
  4. Often a foreign language can be a positive attribute

Work experience

Try and volunteer on smaller projects to get experience and contacts.
Knowledge of the Red Cross, Oxfam and other actors on the development platform will show commitment to the cause.

Development employers are less likely to work at recruitment fairs or advertise jobs, so volunteering in the organisation you want to work for is crucial in getting a job role.

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