Frequently Asked Questions


Will the LEAP programme still be running this academic year (2020/2021)?

The LEAP programme is still running for the 2020/2021 academic year. However, for the first term (September to December) all courses will be delivered online through a virtual online platform. For the second semester (January to June), as things stand we will revert back to our normal delivery method of a mix of online, blended and face to face courses. This, however, will be reviewed in the coming months and is dependent on the current level of the pandemic situation at the time.

When will the delivery method for the semester starting in January 2021 be confirmed?

At the moment there is no exact date. However, we expect a decision on this to have been made by at least November 2020.


NB: If you are a current student with questions on the impact of COVID-19 on your studies, please view the attached document: Frequently asked questions - LEAP COVID-19.

If this document does not answer your questions, please email or with your question.

How do you apply?

Please see the Application Process page

Which OC should you apply to?

For national and HQ staff, they should apply through the OC they are currently working for.

For international field staff (including those working for partner sections), please apply through the OC you have worked for the most, or most recently. If the OC you have worked for most recently is different to the OC you have worked for the most, you have the option of applying through either (however please do not apply for both simultaneously).

In such a circumstance, you should consider:

  • Which OC have you worked for the most in the past?
  • Which OC do you see yourself working for more in the future?
  • Which OC do you feel more a part of?

You should also consult with your career manager for advice on which OC they believe would be best to apply through.

Which profiles does LEAP target and who is it open to?

LEAP is a programme for all MSF staff. Those with fewer opportunities to access higher education and those with ambitions of leadership are particularly encouraged to apply.

What academic background do you need?

You will need to have a 2.1 undergraduate degree or international equivalent in a relevant subject to the course.

Professional experience in a humanitarian organisation can also be considered as an alternative, on the provision that you include evidence of such experience in your application, as well as evidence of your academic capability.

This can be demonstrated with a written essay or personal statement showing clear communication, motivation, and experience of prior learning.

The final decision on admissions will be taken by the academic committee at the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI) at the University of Manchester.

What if you don't have an appropriate academic background?

The universities can consider significant relevant professional experience as a valid background, as long as you are able to prove that you have the necessary skills to follow an academic course at Master's level.

You can contact for more details.

What level of English is needed?

A C1 level will be required in English. Unless you are from a majority English-speaking country you will need a certification to prove your level. For more information, please click here.

What will the qualification be in?

Depending on your pathway, the qualification will be either a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Master of Science awarded in ‘Humanitarian Practice’.

The full MSc is 180 credits, the Postgraduate Diploma 120 credits, and the Postgraduate Certificate is 60 credits.

How many places are available?

MSF has purchased credits which are equivalent to 40 full-time students per year across all 5 OCs. For more information, please contact your OC.


How much does it cost?

The course fees for MSF staff will be covered by a grant from the Transformational Investment Capacity (TIC) for the first three years of the programme (2019-21).

Attendance costs (travel, visa, accommodation) are covered centrally by your OC. For further information on how attendance costs are covered please contact your OC.

For those who will either fully or partially fund the attendance fees themselves, you can calculate the costs according to the figures below depending on the length of your study period:

Accommodation cost per week: £100-180 (€115-200)

Living cost per week: £50-100 (€60-115)

Short term visa: £93 (€105)

Long term visa: £335 (€376)

Will there be support with visas and flights?

If you receive and accept an unconditional offer from the University of Manchester for the LEAP Programme, you will be issued an invitation letter for a visa.

MSF and the universities will be able to signpost you to information regarding the application process for this. For those in the field, you will have to liaise with your HR coordinator.

Can you follow LEAP with your job?

Yes. The flexibility of the course will enable you to integrate your studies into your career path, as you will have the opportunity to progress towards an MSc over a 2 to 5-year period. For those not able to commit to studying the full MSc, there may also be the opportunity to pursue shorter pathways (postgraduate certificate and postgraduate diploma) depending on your OCs chosen pathway and conditions for the programme.

Each OC will define their policy around enrolment of staff and study leave.

How is LEAP funded?

LEAP is paid for by the MSF Transformational Investment Capacity (TIC) Check out the website to learn more.


How does the UK education system work?

For a concise breakdown of the UK higher education system, please see the HCRI English Education system explainer, where you will also find links to other useful sites.

What are the dates of the courses?

The core content will all be delivered in a blended format with content delivered both online and face to face during and intensive 2-week period. The course starts in September 2019 and the provisional dates for module options are available here.

How much study time will LEAP require?

The programme has a variety of delivery modes so that it can be as flexible as possible. The time it will take to complete the programme depends on the pathway that you choose.

The programme is made up of online, face to face and blended courses.

A short course will last a minimum of 2 weeks, a PG Certificate can be achieved in minimum of 3 months (1 semester), a PG Diploma in minimum of 9 months and a full MSc in 1 to 5 years.

Please see our provisional timetable for further information concerning potential course pathways.

One credit is equivalent to 10 hours of study. Therefore, if you are studying a 15 credit module you would be expected to commit 150 hours in total to studying. This amount includes both in-class learning (lectures and seminars) and independent study.

What academic and welfare support will be available?

Both universities have a welfare support system for students (LSTM, HCRI).

Regarding academic support, both universities’ teaching and academic staff are available to help students. There is also a peer support programme in both, led by students for students.

How will the e-learning modules work?

Each course provided online will have an induction for students to familiarise with the technology and to meet their peers and students.

Students will access courses while off campus but this does not mean that their experience will be undermined by the distance as they will have access to a student community site.

Low bandwidth connection might hamper the accessibility to the online course.

How do you choose which courses to study?

The choice will depend on which formula you choose and can be tailored to your individual interests, MSF content and your career path.

You can find a provisional timetable for the leap courses here.

Can I transfer university credits to the LEAP programme?

Yes, this is possible under the Principles and Guidance for the Application of the Accreditation of Prior Learning (AP(E)L): see the policy document here. Where the PG Certificate is a standalone programme, AP(E)L will be permitted up to a maximum of 15 credits.

Where the PG Diploma is a standalone programme, AP(E)L will be permitted for up to a maximum of 45 credits, and a Master’s Degree: up to 60 credits (not dissertation or equivalent).

Please contact for more information on this.


General Questions:

Academic Questions:

Visa Questions:, HCRI Visa Advice


+44 2070 674 259

Please send all applications to the relevant OC email addresses found in the Application Process page.