Frequently Asked Questions


Will the LEAP programme still be running this academic year (2022/2023)?

The LEAP programme is still running for the entire 2022/2023 academic year, with face-to-face teaching also returning from November 2022.


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:

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?

Tuition fees for the programme are fully funded by MSF until the end of 2025. This means you will not have to pay any tuition fees.

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

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 (Standalone modules, Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma) depending on your OC's chosen pathway and conditions for the programme. 

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


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?

Please see the LEAP module timetable for the 2022/2023 academic year for information on the course start dates for semester 1.

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 (around 15 hours per week) 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 running in semester 1 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.

How does graduation work?

Graduation is possible in absentia; this means you do not need to be present in the UK to receive your qualification, and MSF UK is not able to support you to travel to the UK for your graduation. MSF UK does, however, recognise the need to celebrate your hard work and achievements, and so there is an online acknowledgement ceremony organised for all graduates!


General Questions: 

Academic Questions: 

Visa Questions: 

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