Combine the academic excellence of the MAS with the flexibility to choose the most relevant courses for your professional development.
A Tailored Program in Humanitarian Logistics and Management gives the following options:
DAS | 30 ECTS
Diploma of Advanced Studies in
Humanitarian Logistics and Management
Choose 3 of the 6 blocks corresponding to 3 weeks of study.
CAS | 10 ECTS
Certificate of Advanced Studies in
Humanitarian Logistics and Management
Choose 1 of the 6 blocks corresponding to 1 week of study.
MASHLM courses are interactive. Lectures are complemented by games, simulations, case studies, and group work. Participants actively contribute to classroom discussions, adding their practical know-how to academic theory.
Between the study blocks, participants will work individually or in small groups on different projects designed to allow participants to put into practice what they have learned in class.
Each one-week block is followed by final exams and assignments which participants work on in their own time and deliver online. Exams are administered online using the Moodle e-learning platform.
The curriculum is delivered across courses with expert faculty from all over the world.
The course aims at familiarizing the master's participants with the environment in which international humanitarian action takes place, as well as with the range of humanitarian institutions and their relations with various categories of stakeholders.
Provide an overview of the basic concepts of humanitarian action and its relations with international development cooperation, a germane policy instrument;
Present and discuss developments and trends in the world society, notably armed violence, and their humanitarian consequences;
Analyze the international response to humanitarian crises and the architecture of humanitarian action (overview and typology of actors);
Familiarize the participants with some of the main issues and challenges that presently confront humanitarian action and humanitarian actors.
The world under stress;
Global governance and humanitarian actors;
The UN response to crises;
Relations of humanitarian actors with political and military actors;
From emergency to development: Humanitarian action and international development cooperation;
Relations of actors among themselves and relations with national/local institutions and the beneficiaries.
The course covers the operational and strategic aspects of all the elements or components of the logistics process from a supply chain management perspective.
Introduce the building blocks of supply chain management from both practical and analytical perspectives;
Develop the basic logistics concepts and frameworks for decision-making in supply chain management settings;
It includes an introduction to supply chain management, supply chain elements, supply chain integration and some strategic consideration in supply chain management.
Introduction and Customer Service;
Sourcing and Contract Management;
Warehousing and Inventory;
Reverse Logistics and Transportation;
Operations and Logistics Information Systems;
Logistics Channels and Network Design;
Alignment of Supply and Demand and Management Strategies;
Global Logistics and Risk Management.
Gerard de Villiers
Effective transportation management plays a key role in responding to humanitarian crises stemming from events such as natural disasters, armed conflicts, epidemics, and famine. This course explores transportation issues, presents analytical and managerial approaches to address the issues, and positions transportation as a key component in the overall supply chain.
Capability to more effectively manage transportation through market analysis, procurement strategies, dynamic planning, and the use of technology;
Ability to articulate a transportation strategy across the organization and within the logistics strategy.
Transportation Fundamentals: modes, costs, time, terms and equipment for international and inland transportation;
Transportation Cost Structures;
Transportation Analysis using Linear Regression;
Multimodal Transportation Network Planning;
Transportation Planning: decision models.
Gerard de Villiers
The objective of the project management teaching module is to cover the basic principles and advanced methods for managing complex projects. Examples of complex projects in humanitarian logistics are the establishment of logistics infrastructures such as distribution centers in various parts of the world or the implementation of new information technology and communications systems to improve ongoing operations and disaster response.
The overall objective of this course is to introduce basic principles, methods, and tools for project management in a realistic context, such that they can be taken back to the workplace to improve your ability to manage complex development projects;
Understand the theory underlying the methods and tools of project management;
Be able to apply the methods and tools and understand their limitations;
Obtain an appreciation for organizational and human aspects in (1) Project Organizations and (2) Project Manager soft skills and typical profiles.
Work Breakdown Structures (WBS);
Critical Path Method (CPM);
Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT);
Workflow and Design Structure Matrices (DSM);
Budgeting and Earned Value Management;
Project Risk Management;
Human and Organizational Aspects of Project Management;
Principles of Project Management Summary.
Olivier L. de Weck
Managing and improving processes that create and deliver an organization’s primary products and services is critically important for the long-term survival and success of all organizations. Accordingly, this course will expose you to the principles of Process Management which will help you understand, analyze, improve and manage processes in Humanitarian Logistics. Two major approaches for process improvement emerged separately in the 20th century and have come to be known as “Lean” and “Six Sigma” methodologies. Lean improvements focus on process speed and waste removal, while Six Sigma focuses on the removal of process defects for quality improvements and the reduction of process variability.
At the end of the course, you will earn a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certificate.
To introduce you to the concepts, tools, and techniques of Process Management using Lean Six Sigma that are particularly useful in successfully managing processes commonly encountered in Humanitarian Logistics;
Adopt the process management viewpoint to understand humanitarian logistics processes and identify their performance measures in terms of cost, quality, speed, service, and flexibility. Define, describe, and utilize concepts fundamental to process analysis;
Analyze complex processes using suitable process analysis techniques and make sound recommendations for improving processes;
Develop an understanding of the Lean Six Sigma tools and techniques, including the DMAIC methodology.
Overview of Lean Six Sigma;
Business Process Management: Process Flow Chart, Cycle Time, Takt Time, Capacity, Little's Law, Economies of Scale, Inventory Management;
Lean Six Sigma Tools and Techniques: SIPOC, Voice of Customer, Process Mapping, Value Analysis, Fishbone Chart, Benchmarking, Poka Yoke, Matching Demand and Supply, Improving Service Quality, Risk Analysis - FMEA, Prototype and Pilot Testing, Stakeholder Analysis, 5 S Systems, Rapid Improvement Events, Process Control Charts.
Lean Six Sigma Green Belt
After successfully completing the course, a certificate for having completed the educational requirements of LSS Green Belt will be awarded. The full-fledged Green Belt certificate will be awarded when the student successfully completes a LSS Green Belt project under the guidance of a faculty instructor.
This course examines concepts, tools, and a method for conducting scenario analysis, defining strategic project objectives and project strategy, and allocating resources to a portfolio of strategic projects. Historically, smart managers have frequently made wrong assumptions about the future with great certainty. Scenario planning is a disciplined method for imagining possible futures that is designed to overcome common decision-making errors such as overconfidence and the tendency to look only for confirming evidence of current beliefs.
Once managers have developed a more robust view of the future, they can more effectively define sets of projects to build future organizational competencies. This course will also examine project objective definition and present heuristics for project strategy and execution in complex and uncertain environments.
Construct scenarios scalable to any organizational need;
Define a strategic project’s objectives and strategy;
Evaluate alternative projects for resource allocation.
Focus Question, Time Frame, Hexagons or Affinity Diagram;
Stakeholder list, Stakeholder x Issues Matrix;
Behavior-over-time Chart, Causal-loop Diagram;
Uncertainties, Possible Outcomes, Uncertainty Correlation Matrix;
3 ways to construct initial scenarios;
Learning scenarios, researching scenarios;
Early indicators, Scenario Matrix;
Analytical Prioritization Matrix.
This course aims – primarily – at transferring the basic and most important knowledge on conducting empirical research. This means that students should be brought into a position in which they are able to conduct an empirical research project by themselves. Thus, the major part of this course can be seen as a training ground for the students’ master theses. However, the course also aims at helping students to “make sense” of statistics.
Making sense of statistics is a particularly important aspect of empirical research. However, not only typical statistical fallacies will be addressed in this course, but also the topic of how to use and to interpret multivariate methods and results. Beyond these “quantitative” aspects of the course, qualitative research methods will also be presented.
How to get started with a research project;
Data collection for quantitative studies;
Results interpretation and presentation;
Introduction to qualitative research;
The connection between theory and empirics.
This course examines concepts, tools, and processes for planning and executing an organization’s strategy, the “big-picture” approach to making decisions and allocating resources to achieve long-term goals related to its mission. Government agencies and not-for-profits, as well as for-profit organizations, use their resources more effectively when they: (1) Have a well-articulated, coherent strategy appropriate to the external environment; (2) Put in place sustainable resources and activities to implement that strategy; and (3) Help individuals understand how their work relates to the organization’s strategy overall.
Articulated and/or critiqued your organization’s mission, vision, values, and three key objectives;
Conducted stakeholder analyses for two of those objectives;
Analyzed your organization’s external environments, including assessing possible consequences of current trends in the environment;
Performed internal analyses of your organization, focusing on resources and capabilities;
Made well-reasoned, actionable recommendations, informed by your analyses, for 3 strategic projects to help your organization be more effective in articulating and/or implementing its strategy;
Created a plan for engaging relevant stakeholders on work related to one of your organization’s strategic objectives.
The strategic plan that matters. “Planning” as orientation and integration. Why the process matters. Communication iterations and cycles for creating shared understanding;
Missions, visions, and values. Strategic and financial objectives. Generic strategic approaches to organizational distinction;
Stakeholder analyses. Distinguishing between the donor environment and the beneficiary environment. Managing stakeholders to achieve organizational objectives;
Applying Porter’s Five Forces analysis to the donor environment. Analysis of trends driving change in the operational environment;
Resources and capabilities. Assessing strategically valuable resources. Core and distinctive capabilities;
Comparing the resource view with the vision, mission, objectives, and strategy. Assessing the fit of internal resources with external environments to achieve objectives. Making strategic, actionable recommendations;
Communication pacing. Visual works-in-process. The value of “bad drafts.” Creating action plans based on shared understanding.
This course introduces you to system dynamics modeling with an emphasis on supply chain management issues. You will learn to visualize supply chains and other systems in terms of the structures and policies that create dynamics and regulate performance.
Introduce students to the theory and practice of system dynamics;
To provide a general framework for conceptualizing and understanding dynamics of any system;
To provide specific insight into the dynamics of supply chains and other structures such as epidemics and work-accomplishment;
To improve students’ understanding of the ways in which system performance can be improved.
To model is human;
System Dynamics: A way to model;
Patterns of behavior;
Patterns and Feedback loops;
ArchetypesStocks and flows;
This course aims to familiarize students with statistical theory, tools, and methods required for business systems analysis and improvement, emphasizing their application in real life situations.
Introduce students to the principles of statistics and its applications to common humanitarian contexts;
Gain understanding of concepts in probability and statistics and their applications;
Gain understanding of statistical models and their applications;
Learn to use excel to address applied statistical problems.
This course covers both financial and managerial accounting. Financial accounting primarily focuses on providing information to external stakeholders (such as shareholders and debt holders for for-profit firms and donors and stakeholders in non-profit organizations). Managerial accounting primarily focuses on providing information to internal parties, such as managers and executives.
The first part of this course will focus on financial accounting, which is often referred to as the language of business. Students will gain experience with the basic terminology and tools to prepare and read a set of financial statements from both for profit and non-profit providers. Financial accounting is like a language; students become more fluent with practice. The second part of the course explores the use of accounting information for internal planning and decision-making.
The main objective of the course is to equip you with the knowledge to understand, evaluate, and act upon the financial and non-financial reports used in managing modern firms. The emphasis in this course is very much on interpretation, evaluation, and decision making;
Understand the mechanics of financial accounting;
Acquire the basic language and tools to assess and communicate the impact of logistics on a firm’s financial performance;
Understand the various links between operating variables and financial performance;
Be able to obtain relevant information from financial statements;
Understand the difference between the various types of costs involved when assessing the impact of a decision.
Introduction to Financial Reporting and Analysis: how cash accounting works; what is accrual accounting; understanding the Balance Sheet; understanding the Income Statement;
Cash Flow Statement & Analysis: Introduction to the Cash Flow Statement; How does it differ from the Income Statement;
Financial and Inventory Related Ratios;
Working Capital Requirements;
Profit vs Cash Flow. Sustainable Growth;
Financials in the Value Chain;
Introduction to Investment Decisions. Net Present Value;
Decisions at Capacity.
Social innovations include ideas, concepts, processes and organizations that focus on societal needs. Social entrepreneurship can be understood as the process of identifying and starting a new business venture to address a pressing public and societal need.
This course starts by exposing students to pressing societal needs, then introduces them to the concepts and techniques associated with human-centered design for social innovation. Through a combination of methods, such as ideation and prototyping students learn to design robust ideas for social innovations.
Introduce students to the principles of social innovations;
Adopt a Human Center Design (HCD) approach as a driving force to guide students through the different design process stages, such as discover, ideate and prototype;
Expose students to processes that would allow them to generate robust ideas for social innovations.
HCD approach & Discovery Phase;
Individual Local Challenges;
Innovation Tournaments & Darwinator;
Innovation Tournament and Principles of Idea Screening;
Real-Win-Worth-it (RWW) criteria;
Idea Defense and Recombination;
Introduction to User Journey and Biases (The Fogg’s Principles);
Build-measure-learn cycle and OODA loops;
This course is designed to familiarize participants with advanced analytical models that can aid in making distribution and routing decisions such as: Where and when to procure? Where to store? How to transport? We will also focus on modeling and analyzing the trade-offs between cost and speed of delivery and the role of uncertainty.
To improve the participant's ability to analyze and assess various trade-offs present in managing distribution and routing of supplies and incorporate uncertainty in decision making.
Multi-commodity network flows;
Networks over time;
Bottlenecks and trade-offs;
Role of uncertainty and decision trees Routing vehicles.
This course aims to familiarize mashlm participants with management science techniques for the analysis and improvement of humanitarian systems. The techniques, including linear and integer programming, and goal programming, will be illustrated through examples and case studies derived from humanitarian applications.
Introduce students to the principles and practices of management science models for the analysis and improvement of humanitarian systems;
To provide an analytical framework for modeling and improving processes and decisions in humanitarian contexts;
To convey an intuitive understanding of widely-used analytical techniques and their applications (e.g., Linear and Integer Programming);
To provide hands-on experience with implementing models learned in class using excel.
Linear Programming (LP) Applications: Budget allocation, scheduling, transportation, production planning, transshipment and general transportation problems, shortest path and max flow;
Integer Programming Applications: Optimizing distribution of food aid with capacity constraints and losses, locating facilities to meet demand of beneficiaries, supply and demand constraints.
Information Management is critical to support an evidence-based decision-making process that has the affected population at the forefront. This fundamental session will explore the main aspects for effective management of information in a humanitarian crisis.
To explain IM principles applied to the humanitarian environment and coordination structures;
To explain principles and tools related to the development of an Information Management Strategy;
To demonstrate practical skills to leverage geographic information with user-friendly, free tools available online;
To demonstrate abilities to estimate populations through various techniques and to develop a Population Management Strategy;
To explain concepts of analysis in humanitarian situations and basic principles of visualization of information.
Information and Coordination;
Information Management Strategy Development;
Analysis and Visualization.
This pertains to Needs Assessment and Crisis Information Management. It is a scenario based practical exercise that will simulate a crisis and will require students to apply concepts and skills learn previously in the course.
This session will cover the basic components of assessing needs in a humanitarian situation and analytical process to classify the severity of need.
Students can explain methodologies, processes, and planning related to assessing needs in a crisis environment;
Students can demonstrate the application of methods to assign needs severity to an affected population.
Needs assessment fundamentals;
Analysis of the severity of needs.
The delivery of humanitarian assistance and, indeed, the significance of the term humanitarianism in today’s political climate, are increasingly under scrutiny. We are witnessing situations such as the Ebola crisis and ongoing conflicts in Syria and the Congo that increasingly challenge the ability of the humanitarian community to be of assistance to those in need. In addition, the increasingly important role of “outside” actors such as the military and the corporate sector, pose significant challenges to what has been long considered the domain of a loosely described humanitarian community.
Questions arise, such as what are the essential differences between humanitarian assistance and the direct provision of relief, or does it even matter? When does humanitarian assistance become part of the conflict, regardless of the intentions of the assistance providers? And finally, how meaningful is the generally accepted distinction between relief and development?
To provide students with background on the humanitarian system and the tools and approaches required to deal with the changing nature of humanitarian preparedness and response in the field and at headquarters.
A major question to be discussed is what is the future of humanitarian assistance? We will examine the concerns generated by the need for organizations to be accountable to a wide constituency, including beneficiaries, donors, the public, and the press.
How does one evaluate donor views on achievable goals as opposed to those of the relief organization field director or the UN official in charge?;
What are the structural and operational imperatives and obstacles guiding decision making at theheadquarters and field level?;
What are the links between data and program planning and operations?;
How do issues of standards and accountability come into play in decision making?;
The realities of staff training and staff selection;
Coordination as opposed to cooperation—an appraisal;
Civilian and military interaction—the changing relationship;
Political factors in the delivery of assistance.
This course aims to introduce and explore key elements of the theory and practice of disaster management, resilience and disaster risk reduction (DRR). With a core focus on vulnerability, participants will apply and critically review emergency-oriented approaches to risk, and compare and contrast these with developmentally-oriented understandings and tools. Models used in practice will be combined with practical tools and approaches including participatory assessment, negotiation, and social media.
Understand the linkages between development and emergency related concepts of risk, hazards, vulnerability, capacity, assets, governance and discrimination;
Critically review different approaches and tools used in practice;
Apply planning and analysis tools and approaches to different situations.
Pressure And Release (PAR) model and the cycle of disaster;
Local to global chronic vulnerability;
Relief-recovery lessons - Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan;
Livelihoods/resilience model as a people-centered approach for linking elements that determine community level risk;
Assessment tools for people-centred programme design - participatory rapid appraisal (PRA) techniques;
Lessons from ALNAP’s 2012 urban disasters lessons paper. Governance, and its central relationship to vulnerability.
The current humanitarian action is characterized by a multitude of different actors of a varying nature. These actors mainly consist of relief agencies, donors and beneficiaries; and all three groups of actors comprise governmental as well as non-governmental agencies. The module "Legal Framework of Humanitarian Action" takes account of the fact that each and every humanitarian situation presupposes acquaintance of decision-makers, both on the side of implementing agencies as of donors, with the legal framework conditions. These framework conditions bear in particular on the right of a humanitarian actor to access, the protection of the mission itself as the protection of the individual relief worker.
The course will familiarize participants with the theoretical and conceptual contexts of the international legal framework of humanitarian action, both in – international and non-international – armed conflict as in natural and technological disasters. Participants will further enhance competencies to carry out comprehensive analyses of conflict and non-conflict emergency situations, to develop a deep understanding of legal aspects of humanitarian action and to identify responsibilities in implementing humanitarian action and in assuming accountability.
To improve the student's ability to carry out comprehensive analyses of conflict and non-conflict emergency situations;
Familiarize participants with the theoretical and conceptual contexts of Public International Law and with International Humanitarian Law and International Disaster Relief Law in particular;
Enable participants to consider and apply international law in emergency situations, in particular the right of humanitarian actors to access, the protection of the mission itself as the protection of the individual relief worker.
Introduction to legal methodology and international law:
Functions of law / of int'l public law;
Areas of legal regulation;
Notion of "international legal regulation";
Regulation vs. enforcement.
Legal personality in and sources of international law:
"Traditional" subjects of int'l law;
Humanitarian organisations as "humanitarian actors".
Principles of int'l law;
"Guidelines" vs. "sources of law".
Basic structures of international humanitarian law (IHL)
IHL, human rights law and the Charter of the United Nations;
Types of armed conflict;
International armed conflicts;
Non-international armed conflicts;
"International disturbances and tensions";
The principle of distinction;
Civilians and the civilian population.
Protection of (groups of) individuals and restrictions on weapons and methods of warfare;
Protection of combatants;
Wounded and sick;
Prisoners of war.
Protection of civilians;
Weapons of mass destruction.
IHL regime of humanitarian action
Humanitarian action in international armed conflict;
Within occupied territory;
Outside occupied territory.
Humanitarian action in non-international armed conflict
Problem of a "right to humanitarian intervention"
Right vs. duty to offer humanitarian assistance;
Concepts of "droit d'intervention"; "droit d'ingérence"; "human security", "right to protect";
State practice / customary law.
Existing legal regulation for humanitarian action in non-conflict situations
UN GA Resolution 46 / 182;
Oslo Guidelines on the Use of MCDA (Military and Civil Defence Assets);
Guidelines on the Use of MCDA to Support UN Humanitarian Activities in Complex Emergencies;
Treaty law regulation.
IDRL Guidelines (2007)
Characteristics of existing laws, rules and principles;
Challenges in the field;
Structure and content of the IDRL Guidelines.
Why do people continue to suffer and die due to entirely predictable natural hazards? The remarkable progress in science and technology over recent decades allows us to anticipate future conditions, communicate early warnings and take early action to avoid losses, yet many recent disasters are evidence of a dreadful gap between climate science and the humanitarian sector. Combining presentations, participatory simulation games and plenary discussions, this course will familiarize students with recent developments in both climate-related forecasts and decision capacity, which together enable new ways to manage risks associated with extreme events and changing climate conditions.
Understand the basics of how science, technology, and organizational innovations can help the humanitarian sector understand and address climate-related hazards. Focus on the strengths and limitations of forecasts at different time scales;
Learn about approaches to work with experts from other disciplines in order to jointly identify the constellation of means, relationships, and processes that can enable forecast-based decisions to save lives and livelihoods.
New challenges in humanitarian work;
Towards forecast-based humanitarian decisions;
Integrating knowledge and action.
This short workshop will allow students to become familiar with contemporary fundraising concepts. We will provide an overview of the development cycle from identification and cultivation through stewardship and recognition.
Learn how to develop a case for support;
Identify and assess prospective donors;
Match a donor’s interests and needs with their organization’s mission and goals;
Recognize planned giving benefits to donors;
Structure a successful pitch.
Organized by PhD students in the Humanitarian Operations Team, two tutorial sessions are scheduled during each MASHLM block. Tutorials give participants the chance to practice what they learned in class, ask for clarification, and review theory in a lab-style atmosphere.
Tutorial sessions also support the thesis process and provide instruction and help for the specific assignments related to the thesis. Thesis tutorial topics include Academic Writing, Article Summaries, Literature Review, and Research Methodologies.
During each block throughout the year, academics and practitioners from all over the world visit USI to teach intensive courses in the MASHLM program. The Humanitarian Insights seminar series was designed to share the opportunity to interact with our visitors with our colleagues, our friends, and the community.
Seminar topics range from societal impact issues and activities, management and operations, to current events and tools. Each seminar is followed by an informal gathering.
DAS | Diploma of Advanced Studies | 30 ECTS
CAS | Certificate of Advanced Studies | 10 ECTS
DAS | Diploma of Advanced Studies | 30 ECTS - CHF 14'000
CAS | Certificate of Advanced Studies | 10 ECTS - CHF 5'000
USI Università della Svizzera italiana is one of 12 universities under the Swiss university system, coordinated by the Rectors’ Conference of the Swiss Universities (swissuniversitites). swissuniversities represents all 12 Swiss universities and maintains relationships with other accredited universities outside Switzerland. As a recognized university that is part of the public system, the degree-granting body of the Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management is USI Università della Svizzera italiana.
To ensure international recognition, in 2002 USI became the first Swiss university to adopt the Bologna Reform and the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS). The Bologna Declaration mandates that all taught courses and coursework are to be quantified in ECTS points. The ECTS guarantees that credits are wholly compatible and transferable within and across the broader European university system.