Aarhus University Seal


Master's Degree Programme

About the programme
Language: English (See language requirements)  | Place of study: Aarhus  |  Commencement: August / September (no winter intake)


The Master’s degree programme in Human Security is based on the UN’s Human Security approach and focusses on conflict and environmental issues. During recent years and partly due to the work of the UN, the concept of ‘human security’ has become a rallying point for understanding and working with processes of (human) development in unstable environments. Growing challenges posed by global environmental changes threaten to trigger a rapid escalation of conflicts throughout the world. Intensified competition over scarce resources, dwindling supplies of essential commodities, and a continued increase in global population rates are just some of these challenges. Thus, as a student of Human Security you learn how to analyse and intervene in these settings comprised of complex and interwoven social, environmental, economic, and political factors. Alongside, you develop the ability to carry out an informed and critical analytical assessment of human safety by combining scientific theories with real-life experiences.

A unique programme

The Master’s degree programme in Human Security is the first of its kind in Europe. The programme is the result of a collaboration between the School of Culture and Society, the Department of Biology, and the Department of Agroecology. The teachers instructing the Human Security programme are from various departments and backgrounds and are supported by visiting lecturers from around the globe. During the programme’s two years (120 ECTS) of interdisciplinary studies, you will achieve a deeper understanding of conflicts and ecosystems around the world and learn about different approaches to human security.

The programme is active on social media, where we encourage you to find more information and become inspired by former and current students. Take a look at our Programme community site, our Facebook page and our LinkedIn group.

Admission requirements

The following Bachelor's degrees are sufficient for admission to the Master's degree programme in human security:

  • Bachelor's degree in biology (Aarhus University (AU). University of Southern Denmark (SDU), Aalborg University (AAU), University of Copenhagen (KU))
  • Bachelor's degree in geography (AAU, KU)
  • Bachelor’s degree in agriculture, food and environment (AU)
  • Bachelor's degree in anthropology (AU, KU)
  • Bachelor's degree in political science (AU, KU, SDU)
  • Bachelor's degree in sociology (AAU, KU)
  • Bachelor’s degree in sociology and cultural analysis (SDU)
  • Bachelor’s degree in town, energy and environmental planning (AAU)
  • Bachelor’s degree in environmental and resource management (SDU)
  • Bachelor's degree in natural resources (KU)
  • Bachelor's degree in food science (KU)
  • Bachelor's degree in agricultural economics (KU)

Other Bachelor’s degrees, including international degrees, can provide admission to the Master’s degree programme, provided the university assesses that their level, extent and content correspond to the degrees mentioned above. The corresponding Bachelor’s degree should as a minimum include 90 ECTS points of study within social science (cf. definition of subject areas in the programme order for university degree programmes organised on a full-time basis), environment-related studies or conflict-related studies.

The Master's degree programme in human security is taught in English and therefore requires applicants to have passed English at 'B' level or equivalent.

Language requirements

Since English is the language of instruction in all subjects, all applicants are required to provide evidence of their English language proficiency. 

Read how to document your language qualifications

Number of seats offered

40 (This number is a guideline only and may be subject to change by the university.)

Selection Criteria

As the Master’s programme only admits 40 students each year meeting the admission requirements does not in itself guarantee admission to the programme.

In evaluating qualified applicants, the admissions committee assesses each applicant on the basis of the following criteria:

1. Academic background (75%)

  • Average mark (i.e. GPA) – Bachelor’s degree (25%)
  • Average mark (i.e. GPA)– relevant courses within social sciences and/or environmental studies (25%)
  • The number of relevant courses within social sciences and/or environmental studies (measured in ECTS) included in your Bachelor’s degree (25%)

Please note that marks/grades obtained after the time of application will not be included in the GPA.

The admissions committee assesses each applicant on the basis of the information provided by diplomas, transcripts, course descriptions/academic regulations (curricula) and the statement of relevance.

2. Other relevant experience within the field of development, environmental analysis and/or conflict analysis and management (25%)

  • Relevant work experience
  • International, cultural or organizational experience

The admissions committee assesses each applicant on the basis of the information provided by the CV, Statement of relevance and other relevant documentation.


In addition to the general documentation requirements, you must upload the following documentation to your application:

  • Statement of relevance: A brief statement in English (1-2 pages) outlining your motivation for attending this MA programme. The statement should explain:
    • The relevance of your BA degree (and the individual courses) in relation to the Masters programme in Human Security
    • Your career plans
    • Relevant work experience
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) describing your relevant educational and work experience in chronological order.

Programme structure

Academic regulations

As a student it is important to know the regulations for your chosen subject: what is the content, how is it structured and what does it require from you. You can find this information in the academic regulations.

In the following graphical presentation of the subject you can see the different modules and courses that, in addition, link to the course catalogue where you can read the course descriptions.


Students of Human Security can specialise by choosing a profile course, a project placement, or a period of study abroad:

  • Profile courses 
    Profile courses are cross-disciplinary courses targeting the labour market for third-semester students on all Master’s degree programmes in the humanities. Read more about profile courses
  • Studying abroad
    There is also another obvious opportunity: studying at a university outside Denmark for a semester. Aarhus University has exchange and partnership agreements with many universities around the world, and help is always available if you want to study abroad. The Arts study portal contains relevant information about studying abroad, so all you need to do is visit the site for inspiration and seize the opportunity!
  • Project placement
    In the third semester, most students in the Human Security Master’s degree programme use the opportunity to go abroad and do project placement/fieldwork. By doing so, students gain experience in their field of interest, establish an international network, and begin preparations for their thesis by collecting their own data. Our students have completed project placements all over the world and with many different types of institutions, organisations, businesses, and research programmes, such as: NIRAS, Oranjezicht City Farm, World Health Organisation, GIZ, NATO, 14km, Save the Tigris Campaign, Planned Parenthood, DIGNITY and the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance.

Student life

Group work, discussion and supervision  

Group work is an integral aspect of studying in the Human Security programme. This type of learning allows for a deep discussion and analysis of literature and case studies pertaining to the study of human security. The programme is an interdisciplinary programme, both in terms of academic content and amongst the participating students: Students who join the programme not only come from all over the world, but also come from many different academic backgrounds (humanities, social science, and natural science), which helps to enliven and enrich the learning atmosphere. Thus, in addition to the diversified lectures the programme provides, our students have the unique opportunity to learn directly from each other as well.

To support our students, we begin the supervision process already in the first semester. Each student is assigned a supervisor based on their personal research interests, and your supervisor will help guide you through the process of planning your thesis proposal and data collection. Your supervisor is in contact with you during your project placement and also supports you during the process of writing your master thesis. We value that all of our students receive equal guidance and graduate on time. Therefore, we have created a structured scheme to ensure the quality of supervision amongst students.

An inspiring study environment

The Human Security Master’s programme is continuously evolving in the creation of an exciting study environment. The study environment is heavily influenced by our students, who have the opportunity to participate in the Students’ Committee. The committee’s vision is to create an inspiring learning environment outside scheduled university hours, as well as provide a social and professional network to one another. This is done through three main focus areas which students can work with on a voluntary basis: Outreach & Discussion, Social Events and Media & Communication. The Students’ Committee manifesto can be seen here

In addition, knowledge-sharing amongst current and former students is done through various social media platforms associated with the Human Security programme. Such knowledge-sharing allows you as a current and former student the possibility to continuously develop your abilities and knowledge in the field of human security through the webwork of individuals connected to the programme, both past and present. Take a look at our Programme community site, our Facebook page and our LinkedIn group.

Studying at Moesgaard  

The Human Security programme is taught at the beautiful Moesgaard Campus, just next to Marselisborg forest, and close to the ocean. At the campus, you have access to the library, group rooms, and quiet study spaces. You also have the option to reserve a spot in the library for writing your thesis. From Aarhus city centre, you have easy access to the Moesgaard Campus by bus, car, or bike.

As a student at Moesgaard, you can also access the Moesgaard Museum for free by showing your student card and letter of enrollment. 

The campus has its own Friday bar — “BarBaren” — where you can relax after a knowledge-packed week, get to know your fellow Human Security students, or meet students from other studies at the Moesgaard campus, like those studying Anthropology or Archeology.

Aarhus as a city  

As the second-largest city in Denmark, Aarhus is a young and dynamic place with plenty of opportunities. The 40,000 students at the university make up 17.5% of the city’s population, which leaves its mark on city life. An attractive feature of Aarhus is that there are beaches and woods only a short bike-ride away, as well as cultural events which place throughout the year, including the Aarhus Festival in September. The theatres in the city and the ARoS international art museum offer many events that allow you to more fully experience Danish culture. 

Why choose Aarhus? Visit studyguide.au.dk and get all practical information about being an international student.

Follow the student life at Aarhus University

-experienced, photographed and filmed by the students themselves.

With thousands of pictures #AUInternational, #AarhusUni gives insight into the everyday life as a student at AU; the parties, procrastination, exams and all the other ways you’ll spend your time at university.

The photos belong to the users, shared with #AUInternational and #AarhusUni.


Job functions for grads

The chart shows the five most common types of work for graduates 1-2 years after finishing their degree. The data is derived from a survey made by Epinion for the Ministry of Higher Education and Science and Aarhus University in 2020.

Upon graduation, a Master’s degree in Human Security allows you to have job opportunities in many different sectors. Depending on your specific area of interest, you could work for NGOs, international organisations, governmental agencies, private companies or consultancies which deal with issues and topics involving human security.

If you are interested in human rights, a Master’s degree in Human Security would make you a strong candidate in working for organisations like the Red Cross, the Danish Refugee Council, CARE, IBIS, and many more. Big international organisations such as the UNDP, UNICEF or the World Bank may also benefit from your expertise. If you are interested in sustainable development policies, employment with Danida, Norad or USAID may be of further interest. Also, it is possible to work for national ministries or government authorities, handling international aid or environmental programmes. If you wish to focus on food safety, natural resources, or the consequences of climate change, companies like Vedvarende Energi, QualiTree or Undesert may find you well suited as a potential member to their organization. Regardless of your field of interest, there is no doubt you will be able to use what you have learned in a professional field you wish to be in.

Anders Baltzer Jørgensen from Danida elaborates:

“There's a great need for a degree programme like Human Security with graduates who are able to analyse ‘human security’ in relation to conflicts, environment and climate change. (…) Human security graduates will be able to find employment within a wide range of companies, organisations, Danish and foreign governmental organisations as well as multilateral organisations, where they can work as generalists, specialists, consultants, analysts or advisors in the implementation process.”

In our Human Security profiles, found at www.humansecurity.dk, former Human Security students tell how they are using their human security backgrounds in their current careers.

Competence profile

The Master’s degree programme’s competence profile is described in the academic regulations. Some of the learning outcomes are listed below:

  • Expertise in the critical evaluation of texts involving environmental analysis, anthropology and social science theories, as well as detailed empirical studies.
  • The ability to carry out an informed and critical analytical assessment of human and environmental safety.
  • The ability to apply both science and social science approaches to the understanding of conflict and environment analysis, and the ability to combine the approaches in real-life contexts.
  • The ability to establish scientific arguments or theories at a high academic level and adopt a critical approach to the inherent methodological and theoretical assumptions.
  • Knowledge and ability to apply qualitative and quantitative methodologies when carrying out investigations relating to environment and conflict analysis.
  • The ability to produce new knowledge about complex contexts that influence environment and conflict analysis in a global context.
  • The necessary skills to take part in multidisciplinary international teams and to carry out project work, including the design of projects that comply with specific guidelines.
  • An interdisciplinary and solution-oriented approach that is open to new ideas, techniques, methods and viewpoints.

PhD programme

After completing a Master’s in Human Security, you also have the option of applying for admission to the PhD programme at the faculty’s Graduate School. You can apply when you have completed your Bachelor’s degree and one year of your Master’s degree studies, or when you have completed your Master’s degree. For more information about PhD degree programmes at Aarhus University, click here. It is also possible to apply for a PhD while you're still studying for your Master's (4+4 PhD programme). You can read more about that option here.

We have a strong Human Security PhD environment at Aarhus University. This is not least due to the Anthusia programme, where sixteen students were admitted. Among these sixteen students, six are currently placed at the Moesgaard Campus, Aarhus University. You can read more about the programme, here.

Career Guidance

Please contact the Student Counselling Office for information on and advice concerning the structure of the Human Security Master’s programme, your options for the third semester, or employment opportunities after graduation.

You can read more about various career services at the website, Arts Karriere, the career center at the Faculty of Arts.