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MSc Humanitarian Program Management

Durée du programme
One academic year (on campus) including final management project (12 months)
Niveau de sortie
Niveau d'admission
Bachelor level degree or professional experience
€ 10,100
Lieu d'enseignement
12 rue Pierre Sémard 38000 Grenoble

This program is delivered in Bioforce Institut, Vénissieux (69).

The MSc in Humanitarian Programme Management aims at training managers for the humanitarian and development sector (NGO, non-profit or charitable organisations, foundations, etc.). It leads to a variety of positions in the area of humanitarian operations, implying coordination and management. Entry positions can be found as Reporting Officer, MEAL Officer (in charge of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning), Coordinator or Programme Assistant or Grant Manager for more junior profiles. Middle management positions include Project Officer, Programme Manager, and Field Officer. And the highest positions are Programme Coordinator, Head of mission or Country Director, according to the specifics of each organisation.

A Humanitarian Programme can be defined as a set of activities planned and undertaken by an Aid organisation, directly or by mean of partnerships with other organisations, in a specific geographical area, over a specific timespan, in pursuit of specific objectives to address identified humanitarian needs. To undertake the activities (often organised in a set of related projects), human, material and financial resources are required, as is the analysis of the programme’s environment and surrounding actors.

Management in such contexts implies the use of organisational and methodological tools and techniques to assess, plan, organise, monitor and report on both the programme’s activities and the optimal use of assigned material and financial resources. It also implies team support (through motivation and development) and the creation and maintenance of relationships and dynamics with a variety of stakeholders, to ensure the achievement of results in a challenging and changing environment.

Many Aid organisations face the challenge of recruiting and retaining skilled managers in order to ensure continuous, consistent and effective management of their programmes. This training programme has been developed to answer both organisation and individual needs: to empower potential and current humanitarian managers to develop their technical, analytical and personal skills.

The partnership between Bioforce and Grenoble Ecole de Management has enabled the creation of a substantial management training programme for the humanitarian and development sector, offering trainees the academic qualification and specific expertise they seek. This academic expertise is completed by a strong involvement of professionals from the humanitarian and development sector in the training delivery.

Modules Bioforce / ESC Grenoble Hours ECTS
Openingsessions Institut Bioforce 14 0
Induction Institut Bioforce 21 0
Introduction tothe aid sector Institut Bioforce 36 3
Managing Peopleand Organisations Institut Bioforce 93 8
ManagingProgrammes and Projects Institut Bioforce 93 8
ManagingFinance and Funding Institut Bioforce 87 8
Training ofTrainers Institut Bioforce 35 3
Field exercise Institut Bioforce 35 0
Career Advice Institut Bioforce 14 0
Closing session Institut Bioforce 3 0
AdvancedDecision Techniques GEM 15 4
Strategy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship GEM 27 6
Corporate Governance GEM 27 6
Geopolitics GEM 27 6
Global Marketing andStrategy GEM 15 4
Leadership and ResponsibleManagement GEM 27 4
Applied research Project InstitutBioforce/GEM (présentiel à distance) 42 30
Assignment (may-december) GEM 700 30
TOTAL   1311 120

Modules Contents and Objectives

At Bioforce

Opening sessions 

Introduction to the training's objectives, contents and organisation to participants. To ensure that the expectations of trainees are coherent with the learning objectives defined for the programme.


Develop group dynamics among learners by involving them in joint activities, and in synergy with Bioforce staff.

Introduction to the Aid Sector (Framework of Humanitarian Aid)

Introduction to the Humanitarian Sector; Introduction to the Q&A initiatives and applications in programme management; The Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS); International humanitarian law and ethics; Challenges in the Humanitarian Sector

Managing People & Organisations

  • Strengthening organisational capacity:
    • Developing strategy
    • Translating strategy into manageable objectives,
    • Understanding and managing risks
    • Enhancing human capacity and building teams
    • Leading and implementing change
  • Managing people
  • Managing team safety and security:
    • Introduction to Safety & security
    • Context and risk analysis
    • Safety & security management, planning & implementation
    • Introduction to Stress management
    • Accident & incident management

Managing Programmes & Projects

Introduction to Project Cycle Management; Assessment & analysis; Planning, Programming and Monitoring; Evaluation

Managing Finance & Funding

  • Donor context and the funding cycle
  • Choice of donors and essential elements of a proposal
  • How to approach a donor
  • Institutional Funding
  • Private Funding
  • Financial management concepts and frameworks, and getting organised
  • Financial planning essentials
  • Field accounting essentials
  • Financial reporting essentials / Financial analysis
  • Internal control essentials
  • Case study

Training of trainers

Principles of adult learning, methods and techniques for adult learning; Learning styles & rhythms, role of the trainer, needs analysis and drafting objectives; Writing sessions plans; Techniques for evaluation of training, transfer to professional application

Field exercise

This full-scale, outdoor exercise involves a large group of students, providing the MSc in HPM students with the opportunity to collaborate with Logistics, Human Resource and Finance students. Within an operational framework, they will have to put into practice the various capabilities developed throughout the training period.

At Grenoble Ecole de Management

Note: For GEM students, it is possible to follow the "English track programme" described below or to spend the second semester in an English-speaking university abroad. External students of the MSc must follow the "English track programme" delivered in Grenoble.

Advanced Decision Techniques

Quantitative modelling and simulation tools to help in decision-making.

Strategy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Strategic choices that the manager must operate in an entrepreneurship environment (opportunity, business model design) ; Different options for development and growth patterns (internal / external growth, mergers and acquisitions, alliances).

Corporate Governance

Understanding who determines the objectives of corporations and of other organizations, how they are governed and how their managers are incentivised and monitored: value creation, the legal rules and the practices of company management (remuneration, ethics, social responsibility, governance "codes"), the legal rights and the behaviour of shareholders, the impact of financial markets on governance (shareholders' activism, takeovers, LBOs) Applying the main concepts and techniques of finance, accounting and management control of the case of a listed company


The globalisation of the economy and its players, notably national States, and international and non-governmental organisations ; Geopolitical and economic analysis of certain countries and zones: Russia; New Zealand Australia and South Pacific; Caribbean; India; China; South Africa; the Arab States (in particular post-revolution); ASEAN ; European Union relations with the emergent economies; the determination overall world political agenda ; Europe (through analysis of the different themes mentioned above)

Global Marketing and Strategy

  • Globalisation decision and process
  • International market selection
  • International marketing research
  • International market entry strategies and expansion
  • Standardisation versus Adaptation of 4 Ps

Leadership and Responsible Management

This module seeks to move beyond simple 'managerialistic' views by integrating recent developments in organisational thinking with the dual challenges of organisational leadership and corporate social responsibility. The course will be demanding in terms of class preparation, contribution and after-class work, and hopefully rewarding in terms of generating novel insights into contemporary organisational and managerial challenges.

Institutionalised environments, innovation and entrepreneurship, social movements, networks and social capital, power and politics in contemporary organisations, organisational routines and decision making, sense making and cognition in organisation and organisational change. Each topic will be introduced through case studies alongside theoretical readings, and each of the course session will discuss the consequences of these topics for both leadership processes and corporate social responsibility.

Teaching Methods used in the MSc

  • Mix of theory and practice,
  • Inductive approach incorporating discovery learning, experimentation and interrogation.
  • Experience sharing and peer-learning.
  • Learning by doing with exercises and case studies related to NGO management practices.
  • Concepts and behavioural understanding through role-playing.
  • Introduction of analysis grids and tools adaptable to different contexts.

Number of participants

The maximum number of participants for this training programme session is 20. The Bioforce Institute and Grenoble Ecole de Management reserve the right to cancel the training programme in case of an insufficient number of participants (in which case, the persons registered will be fully reimbursed).

Applied Research Project

Objectives/Learning outcomes

To work as a team during the whole training period to sort out a humanitarian and/or development management issue. 

Students are invited to investigate a pressing issue or a topic that is subject to debate in the humanitarian and development sector. This applied research has to translate into a written report in English and an oral presentation in front of a jury composed by the tutor and the partner Bioforce Institute.

This project will require:

  • A written report in English (20,000 – 25,000 words) which may remain confidential (it is possible to write a summary for the organisation in a foreign language if required). Students have to submit the final report to the tutor 2 weeks before the oral presentation. The deadline for the oral presentation to take place is mid-November.
  • A written case study-based summary and the preparation of an oral presentation in English to a board of examiners

Expected results

  • A specific humanitarian and/or development management issue is defined
  • A bibliographical research is consolidated
  • Concrete proposals and outlooks are drawn up and a critical analysis is provided
  • Relevant recommendations are made

The definition of the issue to be researched has to be validated by both Bioforce and GEM. A specific schedule with deadlines will be communicated by Bioforce.
Rigor in diagnostic, analysis and facts interpretations, as well as recommendations will be required.
This work aims to support humanitarian organisations in their development and functioning. In this way, we expect students to be creative (while being realist) and to practice benchmarks. This research work is neither an operational mission nor a counseling one. The report presented is not an internship report either.

Usually, GEM students have to write a “Grand mémoire” during their enrollment. The MSc’s applied research report exempts them from the “Grand mémoire”.

Assessment process

Assessment process at Bioforce

  • An individual written exam for the “Framework of Humanitarian Aid” module.
  • An individual written exam for the “Managing people and organizations” module.
  • An individual written exam for the “Managing programmes and projects” module.
  • An individual written exam for the “Managing finance and funding” module.

Assessment process at Grenoble Ecole de Management

  • For each module, a continuous assessment is managed by a Grenoble Ecole de Management’s permanent professor.
  • For some modules, an exam is organized.

To be successfully completed, the student has to obtain a minimum of 10 out of 20. Each module’s responsible define the share of continuous assessment and exam.

Conditions of graduation

The diploma is delivered to the students:

  • Having obtained a minimum of 10 out of 20 to all exams;
  • Having produced and presented orally two reports demonstrating analytical and deductive skills (one related to the Applied Research project and the other related to the assignment/internship).

After the study period

Assignment (20 weeks in the humanitarian and development sector)

Objectives/Learning outcomes

To reinforce students’ autonomy and to further develop their skills as humanitarian programme managers in the humanitarian and development sector.
Students have to do an internship, after their study period, for 20 weeks at least (for instance in an NGO). The presentation of the report corresponding to this internship, to a board of examiners, must be done before mid-November 2019.
The assignment terms of reference are to be submitted to Bioforce in order to be validated. As a second step, GEM will give the final validation.
GEM is in charge of all administrative issues regarding the assignment.

Evaluation process:

  • A written report including:
    • a context (region, country, organization, programme, …)  presentation,
    • a description and analysis of the objectives and results obtained,
    • an analysis of the key challenges faced during the assignment,
    • an analysis of the impact of the training period on their professional capacities as a humanitarian programme manager
  • An oral presentation in front of a jury

The final mark will be a global mark including the written report and the oral presentation.

To participate to the MSc Humanitarian Program Management, the prerequisites are the following:

  • Master 1 level or Bachelor’s degree (four years of higher education after baccalauréat) for applicants justifying at least 1 year of professional experience as a project coordinator, administrator or logistician in international solidarity
  • By special dispensation, a L3 (licence) level or Bachelor’s degree (three years of higher education after baccalauréat) for applicants justifying an outstanding work experience (more than one year).
  • have an English language proficiency level of B2 (according to European language levels - Self Assessment Grid).
  • Have a profesional project in programme management (Programme coordinator, Logistics coordinator…)

Please note that these prerequisites provide a base for any validation of the application form. The final decision lies with the Coordinators of the training programme.”