10 Best Online Degrees for Humanitarians

By BDP Staff
Posted November 2015

In this article, we highlight the 10 best online degrees for humanitarians, and those passionate about service work in non-profit organizations.

While nearly every degree is useful in providing humanitarian aid, some programs help secure immediate employment with large organizations, such as the Peace Corps. The top online degrees for humanitarians vary in focus and curriculum. Some humanitarian degrees cover topics in political science and law, while others exclusively spotlight human services and aid.

If you have a heart to serve others and a desire to work in non-profit organizations, the following online degrees for humanitarians may be a good fit. The list is designed to help assist you in your journey to find accredited online degree programs for humanitarians and aid workers.

Below is our list of the 10 best online degrees for humanitarians.

#10 – Bachelor’s in Political Science Online Degree

Humanitarians are needed in nearly every field, but especially in the areas of law and politics. An online Bachelor’s in Political Science is generally a first step in securing a humanitarian career. The program provides students with the skills needed to work in a democratic system and globalized political institution. Online political science majors can land employment as advocates for those in need. Typical course topics include Comparative Politics, Environmental Politics, and International Relations. Students can usually specialize in areas they are interested in, such as Humanitarian Relief and State Law & Government. An accredited online political science program offers one of the best degrees for humanitarians.

Best Online Degrees for Humanitarians - Political Science
One of the best online degrees for humanitarians and human rights activists is Political Science.

Example schools offering an online political science degree:

#9 – Bachelor’s in Sociology Online Degree

An online Bachelor’s in Sociology is a first step in pursuing a humanitarian career. Sociology covers broad based curriculum that includes such topics as Cultural and Social Diversity, Global Social Processes, and Political Science and Government. Students dabble in various social issues and learn new ways to synthesize and apply information related to social challenges. Online sociology students have opportunities to join online sociology clubs and organizations. This foundational degree is considered to be one of the best online degrees for humanitarians and those interested in providing human service in a non-profit organization. If your passion is understanding why people are organized or grouped within society, sociology studies will provide answers.

Best Online Degrees for Humanitarians - Sociology
Sociology is one of the top online degrees for humanitarians.

Example schools offering an online sociology degree:

#8 – Online Bachelor’s in Economics Degree

An online Bachelor’s in Economics provides a solid educational foundation for students passionate about working as humanitarians. Online economics degrees are accredited and nationally ranked. In today’s economy, education quality is critical. In an online economics degree program, with a humanitarian focus, students explore theory and application of challenges and impacts on the economic environment. Typical coursework includes International Economics, Labor Economics, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Non-profit organizations look for candidates with a background in specialized areas of study, which includes economics. This social science, yet highly specialized program, prepares students for work as non-profit administrators, managers, and economic experts, making economics one of the best online degrees for humanitarians.

Best Online Degree Programs for Humanitarians - Economics
A Bachelor’s in Economics is a practical online degree for humanitarians.

Example schools offering an online economics degree:

#7 – Online Master’s in International Relations Degree

If influencing the lives of people around the world is important to you than earning an online Master’s in International Relations is the first step. One of the best online degrees for humanitarians is a graduate degree in international relations. This degree is necessary for jobs in foreign policy, diplomatic relations, or international affairs. Students can expect to gain expert communication skills and hone their critical thinking abilities. The program offers various specializations, which include Global Health, International Security, Nonprofit Management, and Sustainable International Development. Most online schools require a thesis or capstone project with a focus on local or regional policy issues.

Best Online Degrees for Humanitarians - International Relations
For those who want a global perspective, International Relations is a top online degree choice for humanitarians.

Example schools offering an online international relations degree:

#6 – Women’s Studies Bachelor’s Online Degree

Career opportunities vary for those graduating with an online Bachelor’s in Women’s Studies. Versatility is what makes women’s studies one of the best online degrees for humanitarians, especially those with a passion for advocating women’s rights. From education to healthcare and law, women’s studies provide an insightful foundation with powerful perspectives on freedom and empowerment. Required courses include such topics as Feminist Research Methods, Introduction to Women’s Studies, Women and Immigration, and Transnational Feminisms. Non-profit and government agencies are always on the lookout for students with a background in women’s studies and a passion to advocate for those in need.

Best Online Degrees for Humanitarians - Women's Studies
Among the best online degrees for humanitarians is Women’s Studies.

Example schools offering an online women’s studies degree:

#5 – Online Bachelor’s in Spanish Degree

An online Bachelor’s in Spanish is a top online degree for humanitarians because it provides global perspective while honing communication skills in a foreign language. Students can expect to study language acquisition, history, culture, and politics associated with the region. Course topics include Global Civic Culture, Latin American Studies, and Spanish Conversation. For those with a humanitarian bent, study abroad programs provide hands-on experience working with people in different cultures. Volunteer work is available for students who want experience in non-profit agencies and government organizations in a foreign country. The online Spanish degree is one of the best online degrees for humanitarians.

Best Online Degrees for Humanitarians - Spanish
The best online degrees for humanitarians include Spanish and other foreign languages.

Example schools offering an online Spanish degree:

#4 – Online Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree

An online Bachelor’s in Social Work or BSW is one of the best online degrees for humanitarians because of the specialized training it offers. Social workers are needed for professional practice and humanitarian efforts. Students pursuing this degree can expect to receive online courses in Ethical Considerations in Social Work, Human Behavior and the Social Environment, and Social Welfare Policy. Field practicums and required research projects give students an advantage when pursuing humanitarian careers. Most online social work programs, even at the undergraduate level, require this type of experience. The online Bachelor’s in Social Work is the perfect humanitarian aid degree.

Best Online Degrees for Humanitarians - Social Work
One of the top humanitarian degrees is the online Bachelor’s in Social Work.

Example schools offering an online social work degree:

#3 – Human Services Online Master’s Degree

An online Master’s in Human Services is considered to be one of the best online degrees for humanitarians. Not only does an online human services program provide advanced study but the program delves deep in coursework to equip students with theory and application as they embark on a humanitarian career. Learning outcomes for a human services program include the ability to assess funding and operating processes of non-profit organizations as well as understanding basic elements of project management within these organizations. Students can expect to cover topics such as Ethics for Human Services, Human Services Administration, Nonprofit Administration, and Social and Cultural Diversity.

Best Online Degrees for Humanitarians - Human Services
One of the best online degrees for humanitarians is Master’s in Human Services.

Example schools offering an online human services degree:

#2 – Master’s in Public Health Online Degree

Bringing positive change to the public is what drives graduate students in public health, and what makes the Master’s in Public Health one of the best online degrees for humanitarians. Grad students are able to turn their passion for communities into progress and action by learning the latest tools and techniques needed to impact the public health of society. An online Master’s in Public Health degree program offers service-oriented concentrations that are geared toward humanitarian efforts. Students take courses in Health Policy and Ethics, Public Health Services Administration, and Social Contexts of Health Care. Typical online public health programs do not require residency and can be completed fully online.

Best Online Degrees for Humanitarians - Public Health
An online Master’s in Public Health is one of the best online degrees for humanitarians.

Example schools offering an online public health degree:

#1 – Online Master’s in Human Rights Degree

For students who want to be the difference in today’s society, the online Master’s in Human Rights is the perfect degree. Arguably one of the best online degrees for humanitarians, the online Human Rights Master’s degree prepares students to work as global leaders, innovators, and advocacy specialists in human rights. Students can expect to cover coursework such as Economic Development, Foreign Policy, and Issues in Human Dignity. Most online Master’s in Human Rights programs provide students with more than thematic perspectives and theory. Students gain practical experience through internships and opportunities to participate in fieldwork positions across the globe. Students graduate well prepared to work for nonprofits and other human services organizations.

Best Online Degrees for Humanitarians - Human Rights
A top online degree for humanitarians is the online Human Rights degree.

Example schools offering an online human rights degree:

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