Human Security is a unique Master’s programme (MSc) and the first of its kind in Europe. During two years of cross-disciplinary studies the Master Student will achieve a deeper understanding of social and environmental conflicts around the world, i.e. how to analyse and intervene in a complex of interweaving social, economic and political factors. The Master’s programme is lead by the Department of Anthropology, and located at Moesgaard Campus (MoCa) south of Aarhus city.
During recent years, the concept ’human security’ has become a rallying point for understanding and working with processes of (human) development in unstable environments marked by social and environmental conflicts. Particularly the growing challenges posed by global environmental changes threaten to trigger a rapid escalation of conflicts throughout the world as competition over access to scarce resources intensifies, supplies of essential commodities dwindle and global population rates continue to increase.
During recent years, the concept ’human security’ has become a rallying point for understanding and working with processes of (human) development in unstable environments marked by social and environmental conflicts. Particularly the growing challenges posed by global environmental changes threaten to trigger a rapid escalation of conflicts throughout the world as competition over access to scarce resources intensifies, supplies of essential commodities dwindle and global population rates continue to increase. However, human security is more than an absence from physical aggression. As a cross-disciplinary development approach, the MSc in Human Security comprises not only various forms of militarized and physical security; it also refers to secure access to water, food, land and education.
The climate is changing, resources are declining, and social tension is on the rise. How can people – in the Global South as well as the Global North – lead safe and secure lives, now and in the future, under these conditions? That is the challenge that the Master in Human Security enables you to meet.
The Master in Human Security is unique in that it takes a holistic approach to development in a changing natural and social world. You will acquire a hands-on extension of your bachelor’s degree – whether your BA is from the social or natural sciences.
The competences that this master’s programme gives you are in demand, both now and in the future. Human Security aims at employment opportunities in the development sector. These might include:
During the Master’s programme in Human Security you will study and work with students from Denmark and abroad. Furthermore, you will achieve expert knowledge and skills from both social and natural scientists who have practical work experience in relation to environmental and development issues around the world.
The 4 departments involved in the Master's programme are:
Besides the affiliated scientific staff at Aarhus University visiting lectures from abroad will give courses throughout the Master"s programme.
The Master’s degree programme in Human Security counts as two years of full-time study (120 ECTS credits).
Download and print a short presentation of the MSc in Human Security programme 2017.
Listen to Jody Williams talk about World Peace (approximately 11 minutes). Jody Williams has worked in charity and has for many years tried hard to create better conditions and security for people in need. In 1997 she received the Nobel Peace Prize for her work to ban land mines.
Johan Rockström talks about how man has increased the pressure on the planet’s sustainability and how we can get help from the environment to protect our planet (approximately 18 minutes). Johan Rockström is a sustainability researcher at Stockholm University.
The disaster in Haiti has been going on for a long time and has cost many lives. Peter Haas talks about why construction work and infrastructure is important for Haiti’s future (approximately 8 minutes). Peter Haas in one of the founders of AIDG – the Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group – an organisation that helps communities get access to electricity, better sanitation and clean water.
You may also have a look at the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS). The UNTFHS hold the objective to finance activities which translate the human security approach into practical actions.
In order to be admitted to the Master’s degree programme in Human Security, you must have completed a Bachelor’s degree including a minimum of 90 ECTS within either
Since English is the language of instruction in all subjects, all applicants are required to provide evidence of their English language proficiency.
35 (This number is a guideline only and may be subject to change by the university.)
As the Master’s programme only admits 30 students each year meeting the admission requirements does not in itself guarantee admission to the programme.
In evaluating qualified applicants, the admissions committee assesses each applicant on the basis of the following criteria:
1. Academic background (75%)
Please note that marks/grades obtained after the time of application will not be included in the GPA.
The admissions committee assesses each applicant on the basis of the information provided by diplomas, transcripts, course descriptions/academic regulations (curricula) and the statement of relevance.
2. Other relevant experience within the field of development, environmental analysis and/or conflict analysis and management (25%)
The admissions committee assesses each applicant on the basis of the information provided by the CV, Statement of relevance and other relevant documentation.
In addition to the general documentation requirements, you must upload the following documentation to your application:
As a student it is important to know the regulations for your chosen subject: what is the content, how is it structured and what does it require from you. You can find this information in the academic regulations.
In the following graphical presentation of the subject you can see the different modules and courses that, in addition, link to the course catalogue where you can read the course descriptions.
Since we have a new administration system, there are still some elements that do not work. We are working on the graphical presentation for the master’s subject and adding links to the course catalogue.
Which Bachelor’s degree (BA) will give me direct access to the Master’s programme in Human Security?
Notice that for Danish applicants with a Danish BA there is a concrete list of Bachelor’s degrees from Danish Universities which qualify directly for the academic assessment. See the academic regulations.
How do I know if my Bachelor’s degree (BA) fit the admission requirements?
To qualify for an academic assessment - besides the English language request - you will need 90 ECTS-credits within either ‘society and development-related studies’ or ‘environment-related studies’ (see answer to the first question). If your BA doesn’t fulfil the admission requirements you might be able to supplement e.g. with an elective subject or a ’course taken ‘during daytime’, Such Single Subject Courses requires payment of a tuition fee – read more here.
Is the programme theory or practice-oriented?
Both. And highly cross-disciplinary as well. The Master’s programme is divided into three parts: 1) The theoretical module, 2) The methodological module and 3) Thematic and regional specialisation. See structure and content.
During my academic career I have studied in English, do I need to take a TOEFL or IELTS test?
According to the Danish Ministry of Science's Order no 181 of 23 February 2010 on Admission to Danish Universities, all applicants with non-Danish examinations to Master's programmes taught in English must document English language qualifications comparable to an 'English B level' in the Danish upper secondary school ('gymnasium'). You don’t need a TOEFL or IELTS test if you have an English-taught entrance examination (upper secondary school/high school) or Bachelor’s degree as documentation.
Can I apply for a scholarship at Aarhus University?
You can’t apply for a scholarship at Aarhus University. You can only be nominated through your application for admission for a Master's programme. Read more here.
I am not sure which papers should be included in my application, and what is meant by a 'certified copy'?
Find out what to include in your application here. At the same page you will find more information about the ‘certified copy’ (e.g. of your exam papers) which require original stamps and signatures as proof of its authenticity.
Still in doubt? Contact the Guidance Counselling here.
I have done some volunteer work for a NGO, how is practical experience valued?
In the selection of the 30 most qualified candidates among the applicants who fulfil the admission requirements the main emphasis is on the applicant’s academic background (75 %). However, practical experience counts as well (25 %).
What is the maximum number of students each year?
Each year a maximum of 30 full-degree students will be admitted to the Master’s programme in Human Security. In case of free slots other students will have the possibility to choose single courses as electives.
The Master's degree programme in human security targets students with an international academic profile or who are interested in an international career. Human Security is based at Moesgaard – an old manor house located just south of Aarhus. Here you have access to a library, a common room, the Moesgaard Museum and beautiful countryside.
Your fellow students come from a wide range of academic backgrounds and countries. This creates a lively and colourful study environment which encourages engagement initiative and involvement.
We make sure you get to know your fellow students well from the very beginning and plan an introduction comprising both study-related and social events that promote a pleasant and supportive study environment.
In addition to the events relating to human security, there are many other activities around the university you can participate in. You can see a small selection of future events on the university's joint calendar. You are also welcome to participate in other activities such as lectures, regattas and Friday bars.
Student-to-student is your opportunity to ask about being a student at the Faculty of Arts and about Aarhus and Denmark in general to another international student who has already taken the leap and now lives in Denmark and studies for his/her Master's degree at the Faculty of Arts.
You can read more about the student-to-student service and find the list of AU international student ambassadors at Arts here.
Read more about the study environment at Aarhus University.
Colm Power, student at the Human Security programme
The general atmosphere among students and professors is simply great and there is a unique spirit within the group of Human Security students. As a political scientist I expected a stronger focus on national and international policies. The anthropological approach of the programme opened up a totally new and different angle to me and to my understanding of environmental challenges.
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With the title Master of Social Sciences in Human Security, you are qualified to work with topics of special relevance to developing countries. The human security programme is internationally oriented and prepares graduates for careers in NGOs, government aid organisations, UN organisations and private consultancy firms that administer and implement development and disaster aid.
As a graduate of the programme, you will be qualified to work with:
The Master’s degree programme provides the following qualifications and competences:
“There"s a great need for a degree programme like Human Security with graduates who are able to analyse ‘human security’ in relation to conflicts, environment and climate change. (…) Human security graduates will be able to find employment within a wide range of companies, organisations, Danish and foreign governmental organisations as well as multilateral organisations, where they can work as generalists, specialists, consultants, analysts or advisors in the implementation process.”
Anders Baltzer Jørgensen, Danida
Human Security is a completely new degree programme, but there are plenty of opportunities for getting a job after graduation. There are many potential employers who are interested in graduates from this internationally oriented degree programme. If you are interested in working with human rights, there are many NGOs that work with humanitarian projects, e.g. the Red Cross, the Danish Refugee Council, CARE, IBIS and many more.
Perhaps you are more interested in international organisations such as the UNDP, UNICEF or the World Bank, or perhaps aid to the developing world is what interests you most. If so, organisations like Danida, Norad and USAID can use you. It is also possible to work for ministries of the environment or conflict handling bodies where you work for government authorities handling aid distribution, for example.
The many companies dealing with human security also offer opportunities for focusing on food safety, natural resources and climate change in Africa or for working for companies like VedvarendeEnergi, QualiTree or Undesert. Regardless of your field of interest, there is no doubt you will be able to use everything you learn.
You have the option of applying for admission to the PhD programme at the faculty’s Graduate School. You can apply when you have completed your Bachelor’s degree and one year of your Master’s degree studies or when you have completed your Master’s degree. For more information about PhD degree programmes at Aarhus University, click here.
As a graduate, you can join the alumni association at Aarhus University. There is no specific alumni association for Human Security, but you can join the association for the entire university.
Read more about the alumni association Gerda and its events and other offers.
Please contact the Student Counselling Office for advice about employment opportunities and the subject profile options of your degree programme.
You can read more about the career services that are available from Arts Karriere who provide information about employment opportunities as well as arranging various events and workshops.
In the third semester you have an opportunity to incorporate a study period abroad (fieldwork/work placement). You therefore get an opportunity to get out and experience what you can do with your degree programme and at the same time establish an international network in addition to your existing study network.
Remember that it takes time to plan a study period abroad. Therefore, it is a good idea to begin your planning when you start your degree programme. Feel free to contact the International Centre, talk to the international student guidance officer for the degree programme or write to the Student Guidance Office at the Department of Culture and Society.