Humanitarian Action

In response to the increasing number, scope and intensity of humanitarian emergencies, the field of humanitarian action has grown dramatically over the last 25 years, along with diverse career opportunities. This minor complements students’ other fields of study in arts and sciences, business, engineering, and nursing with the concepts, theories and skills to discern individual and collective responsibilities to respond to humanitarian needs at home and around the world. This unique interdisciplinary minor prepares students to: 

  • Learn, reflect and respond to humanitarian needs.
  • Advance moral commitments and ethically grounded action.
  • Serve as men and women for others.
  • Alleviate human suffering and protect human dignity.

The program includes faculty with expertise in an array of disciplines including ethics, engineering, health, history, economics, management, and international affairs.

Students minoring in humanitarian action have opportunities to prepare for humanitarian action through the Humanitarian Action Club which raises awareness on campus about humanitarian issues and builds strategies for responding to humanitarian crises. Fairfield’s club is a member of the Jesuit Universities Humanitarian Action Network (JUHAN) which encourages collaboration amongst network. The minor also offers a semester abroad option in Athens through Global Fairfield which includes coursework and an internship in a humanitarian-related non-profit.

HUAC 3980 Humanitarian Action Internship    3 Credits

Attributes: HASM Humanitarian Action Minor Skills/Method Course

Students gain first-hand experience through placement with a relevant international organization, non-profit, media and business, or government agency focused on humanitarian crises and disaster response. Typically, an internship requires 10 to 15 hours per week on site. Other requirements include an e-portfolio containing reflections about readings, meetings with internship coordinator and peers and a final reflection paper. An on-site supervisor and Humanitarian Action professor evaluate student work. Open to juniors and seniors only, by permission of the minor director. Requires an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher. Previously HA 0298.

HUAC 4999 Humanitarian Action Capstone    3 Credits

Prerequisites: AETH 2272 or HIST 2270 or POLI 2472; completion of three Humanitarian Action electives; junior or senior standing.

This capstone course is a culminating experience for students minoring in Humanitarian Action. It provides students with the opportunity to engage with enduring questions that they have encountered throughout their coursework. Through a process of reflection and discernment facilitated during each class meeting, students will identify a research topic for a major paper that integrates the student's coursework, internship and/or extra-curricular experiences in the minor. Previously HA 0300.


Leatherman (Politics, International Studies)

Associate Director

Mughal (Center for Social Impact)

Advisory Committee

Babo (Sociology and Anthropology, International Studies)
Balaji (Electrical and Biomedical Engineering)
Crandall (School of Education and Human Development)
Gerard (Nursing)
McFadden (History)
Nantz (Economics)

Planas (Nursing)
Quan (Center for Social Impact)
Schmidt, D. (Applied Ethics)

Affiliated Faculty

Aksan (Economics)
Babo (Sociology)
Crawford (Sociology and Anthropology)
Downie (Politics, Environmental Studies)
Franceschi (Economics)

Garcia Iommi (Politics)
Lacy (Sociology and Anthropology)
Strauss (Management)
Planas (Nursing)
Vásquez Mazariegos (Economics)

Vavilov, Stanislav (Management)    
Zhao, Wen (Communication)     


Day (Applied Ethics)
Schmidt, N. (Applied Ethics)
Sobocinski (English)