1. Masters in Refugee and Migration Studies
MA in Migration and Refugee Studies with Concentrations in Migration, and in Refugee Studies – American University in Cairo – New Cairo, Egypt
American University in Cairo offers a MA in Migration and Refugee Studies with concentration options in Migration and in Refugee Studies. This interdisciplinary program aims to equip students with knowledge, research and analytical skills,and experience that will help them succeed in their careers. In addition to the core courses and concentration courses, students must also complete and present a thesis to receive their degree. Students in this program will be prepared for careers with government agencies, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, universities, research institutes, private companies, and more.
This 2 year-program costs $522 per credit hour for Egyptian students and $735 per credit hour for international students. The university offers a variety of need-based and merit-based scholarships for students, as well as fellowships and other forms of financial aid.
MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies – University of London School of Advanced Study – London, UK
The University of London School of Advanced Study has a MA program in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies offered through distance learning. This program provides legal, practical, and theoretical understanding of issues relating to refugees and forced migration. Students complete required courses and choose from a variety of electives ranging in topics such as law, history, gender, healthcare, and more. To complete the degree, students take open-book examinations, take online assessments, and complete a dissertation. The program is fairly flexible and self-directed outside of the due dates set to complete the assignments. Because the program is taken through distance learning, it is designed as an ideal way for current professionals to boost their careers and obtain work with government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and international organizations working in these areas.
This distance learning program is designed to be taken part-time and can be completed in a minimum of 2 years. Tuition costs £8400 for the entirety of the program, plus any additional fees for exam-taking venues. The program has 3 scholarships available, with some restrictions as to country of origin for the applicants.
MA Refugee Studies – University of East London – London, UK
The University of East London offers a MA in Refugee Studies designed to help students learn about refugee crises and the economic, social, cultural, and environmental factors, especially from the perspective of people who have been forced to flee conflict, violence, and human rights violations. Beyond just courses, students will also have opportunities to participate in internships and engage with experts in the field, as well as academic staff who are well connected to important research institutes and organizations. This program will prepare students for doctoral study, further research in human rights and migration studies, and careers with non-governmental organizations, government agencies, and more.
This 1-year degree costs £8,580 for UK/EU students and £12,840 for international students. UEL offers several types of scholarships for both EU and international students. Some scholarships are only available to UK and EU students, so check eligibility criteria. The school also has loans available for graduate students.
MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies – University of Oxford – Oxford, UK
The University of Oxford offers a MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies. Students take courses from a variety of perspectives such as anthropology, law, and politics; they also learn research methods and can study advanced human rights law, humanitarianism, or regional specialization. Students must also complete a desk-based study thesis to complete their degree. As part of the program, students will be responsible for giving regular presentations and writing short essays. This degree prepares students for doctoral study, law school, and careers in international organizations, research institutes, governments, and academic institutions.
This 9-month program costs £21,200 for UK/EU students and £26,960 for international students, not including living expenses. The university boasts over 1000 graduate scholarships available to students, and many of them cover both tuition and living costs. Students are automatically considered for scholarships upon admittance to Oxford. The program department also has scholarships and studentships available for students to apply for.
MS in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies – DePaul University – Chicago, IL, USA
DePaul University has a MS in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, giving students theoretical and practical skills to work with refugees and immigrants around the world. Students will gain legal, political, and humanitarian understandings of how to address issues relating to refugees and forced migrants. Students will have many opportunities to gain hands on experience and learn first-hand from professionals working with refugees and immigrants in DePaul’s home city of Chicago. Students can also gain experience internationally through internships with partner organizations and universities. Graduates of the program are equipped to work in the field for government agencies, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and more, as well as continue their study at the doctoral level.
This is a 2-year degree which costs $715 per credit hour. US-based students can apply for federal grants and loans. DePaul also offers graduate assistantships and scholarships, which are highly competitive. The university’s provides information about external scholarships that may be available to students based on their eligibility.
MSC in Refugee Studies – London South Bank University – London, UK
London South Bank University offers an MSc in Refugee Studies to provide students with an in-depth understanding of issues related to forced migration and other relevant topics. Students take courses in sociology, law, development studies, anthropology, political science, and psychology. Students will also learn research skills and complete a dissertation. Students are encouraged to volunteer with local organizations and agencies working with refugees and immigrants in the area and around the world. Students who graduate from this program will be prepared for careers with governments, inter-governmental and international organizations, immigration law firms, non-governmental organizations, and more.
This 1-year program costs £7500 for UK/EU students and £13125 for international students, not including any additional fees and living expenses. Some students may be eligible for a postgraduate loan program. The university also offers a variety of scholarships available to students based on their eligibility for both UK/EU students and international students.
MA in Refugee Care – University of Essex – Colchester, UK
University of Essex has a MA in Refugee Care for both those already in the field and students wanting to enter the field. Courses focus largely on psychology and sociology theory and skills, helping students gain an in-depth understanding of how to work with and care for refugee populations. Students are also responsible for researching and writing a dissertation to present their senior year. This program prepares its graduates to be able to work in humanitarian settings with refugees and other displaced groups in multiple capacities.
The tuition for this 1-year program is £7,940 for EU students and £17,040 for international students. Students may choose to take the program part-time. University of Essex has several internal and external scholarships and bursaries for students, varying in eligibility. The site also has information about forms of alternative funding for both EU and international students.
MA in Refugee Integration – Dublin City University – Dublin, Ireland
Dublin City University has an MA program in Refugee Integration. This program is designed to give students a multi-disciplinary, in-depth perspective on issues relating to refugee policy, crisis intervention, and humanitarian work. Students take courses covering a wide range of topics such as politics, gender, translation, environment, law, and more. Students must complete a dissertation as part of their degree work. Graduates of this program work in non-governmental organizations, refugee resettlement agencies, policy organizations, think tanks, governments, local councils and organizations, international organizations, and more.
This program takes 1 year to complete if taken full-time; students can also take it part-time over the course of 2 years. Full-time tuition is €6,750 for EU students and €15,000 for non-EU students. DCU lists various research and teaching opportunities available to their graduate students for scholarships and other funding.
MA in International Migration Studies – City University of New York – New York, NY, USA
The City University of New York offers an MA in International Migration Studies. In this program, students analyze policies, as well as cultural, social, economic, and political factors that impact global migration trends and issues. Students will take courses that will give them skills and research, policy, urban development, and more; they can also choose from specializations in Comparative Immigration, Global Immigrant Cities, Assimilation and Integration, and Immigration Politics and Policies. To complete the degree, students will undertake a capstone project. This program equips students for a range of jobs in policy, human rights, advocacy, ethnic studies, and more in governments, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, academic institutions, research institutes, and more.
For this 2-year program, New York residents pay $5385 per semester and non-NY residents pay $830 per credit per semester, plus an excellence fee of $100 per credit for all students in this program. CUNY offers a merit-based scholarship, which students are automatically considered for upon admittance. They also encourage students to apply for a variety of external scholarships that are listed on their site.
MA in Migration and Diaspora Studies – University of London SOAS – London, UK
The University of London SOAS has a MA in Migration and Diaspora Studies program. Degree participants take a variety of courses from the anthropology and sociology programs, covering various cultures, languages, law, society, and more. Students must complete a dissertation to graduate. This program prepares students for careers in government agencies, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and more working with issues relation to migration, refugees, ethnic studies, and other related areas.
If taken as a full-time, 1-year program, this program costs £9,685 for UK/EU students and £19,930 for international students. The university has several scholarships available for both EU and non-EU students. Information about scholarship eligibility and application deadlines is listed on their website.
MA in International Migration – University of Kent, Brussels School of International Studies – Brussels, Belgium
The University of Kent’s Brussels School of International Studies has an MA in International Migration designed for both early-career professionals and those who have already been working in the field. Students will learn both theory and practice on topics such as refugees and forced migration, migration flows around the world, human trafficking, labor migration, and other relevant topics. Program participants can choose to take this program as 90 credits or 120 and can choose to gain a specialization from 9 different options. Students will have the chance to undertake internships and other field opportunities. This program can lead to jobs in governments, non-governmental organizations, media services, international organizations, academic institutions, and more.
Tuition for the 90 credit program is €18400, and tuition for the 120 credit program is €26100. The school offers various scholarships for graduate programs and other eligibility criteria. They have a search site that lists all internal and external scholarships available for students to apply for, including national scholarships of international students’ countries. Students can find scholarships based on the department they are studying in, the campus they attend, the degree program they are part of, the country they are from, and more.
MA in Global Migration and Policy – Tel Aviv University – Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel Aviv University has an MA in Global Migration and Policy designed for students with strong academic backgrounds, professional drive, and, ideally, previous experience in the field. Students will cover a wide range of topics in their courses such as immigration, citizenship policies, refugees and asylum seekers, labor market, discrimination, best practices in international development and humanitarian aid, and more. Program participants can choose a specialization in a particular area of migration through their classes. Students will also have opportunities to participate in field work, semester-long exchange programs, and a thesis track. Students who graduate with this degree will be prepared for continued doctoral study, as well as careers in government, policy and research institutes, private corporations, non-governmental and community organizations, international organizations, media services, and more.
This is a 2-year program that costs $3748 for Israeli citizens and $10,500 for international students. Tel Aviv University offers need-based financial assistance, scholarships for students from specific countries through the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, scholarships for new immigrants to Israel, and department-specific funds for students the MA Global Migration and Policy program.
MA in Migration and Displacement – University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg – Johannesburg, South Africa
The University of the Witwatersrand offers an MA in Migration and Displacement. This program takes a multidisciplinary approach to migration, covering topics in public health, political science, urban planning, development studies, and other relevant topics. This research-focused degree requires students to complete 2 compulsory courses, choose from a selection of electives, and submit an advanced research report. This program equips students with the necessary theory and skills to pursue careers in government, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, academic institutions, and more.
This program can be completed in 1 year at full-time or in 2 years at part-time. Tuition is $2826. The university offers a Postgraduate Merit Award, as well as a few fellowships for students in the Migration and Displacement program. They encourage students to apply for external funding as well, listing several options on their site.
Master of International Migration – Comillas Universidad Pontificia – Madrid, Spain
Comillas Universidad Pontificia offers a Master of International Migration. The program’s courses are split into the categories of interdisciplinary approach to the study of migrations, migrations and social transformation, emerging issues and social challenges, and research and professional intervention. Students also participate in an internship and a Master’s final dissertation. Graduates of this program typically work for non-governmental organizations, private companies, government agencies, international organizations, and more. They will also be prepared to pursue the university’s Official Doctorate Program in International Migration and Development Cooperation or other further academic study.
This program can be taken in 1 year at full-time or in 2 years at part-time study. Tuition is €6.690 plus €1,966.80 in administrative fees. The university offers a variety of study grants to cover partial tuition fees. Students must apply separately for these grants.
Master’s Degree in Crossing the Mediterranean: towards Investment and Integration – Ca’ Foscari University of Venice – Venice, Italy
Ca’ Foscari University of Venice has a Master’s in Crossing the Mediterranean: towards Investment and Integration program designed to help its participants understand the policies, social and cultural aspects, history, and more regarding migration in the Mediterranean region. In addition to courses covering a range of subjects, students also undertake a second language and take a proficiency exam at the end of their studies. They also have the opportunity to participate in an internship for first-hand experience in the field. To complete their degree, students must research and write a thesis in French or English. Graduates will be able to go on to further study or careers in policy, government, non-governmental work, communication, and research around topics of migration, especially in the Mediterranean region.
This 2-year program costs €4000 which is paid in 3 installments. Students with a household income under €60,000 can ask for a reduction in fees. The university offers a wide variety of financial aid options for master’s students, including several scholarships; need- and merit- based tuition exemption, waiver, or reduction programs; loans; and monetary prizes for outstanding dissertations.
Risking it all crossing the Darien Gap, a treacherous trek no one should tackle
In the notorious Darien Gap spanning the Colombia-Panama border, a young pregnant woman and her husband from Haiti were left alone to face the unforgiving jungle along one of the world’s most dangerous irregular migration routes.
No roads, poisonous snakes, steep mountain ranges, raging rivers and groups of armed robbers had deterred Jean Horima, 25, and his wife Rose from risking their lives as thousands of desperate people from countries such as Haiti, Cuba, Bangladesh or Somalia do every year trying to reach the United States, Canada or Mexico.
More than 42,000 Haitians, including thousands of children, have tackled the perilous journey so far this year, hoping to gain refugee status and better futures. Many have not made it and Jean and Rose know they are lucky to have survived, especially as the baby came early.
“The jungle is brutal; it’s really, really tough. The hardest thing for me was to climb the mountains and cross the water,” says Jean. ”There are also people in the forest who will rob or kill you. I know some who got killed. Yes, people who left before me and when I arrived, I found them dead in the woods.”
The couple had started the week-long slog from the Colombia side with 50 others, but when the first hill loomed, the group abandoned them. After several days tackling the dense rainforest, Rose went into labour in the middle of nowhere.
“I was with my wife, and she told me what to do to help and save her,” says Jean. She gave birth and told her husband to cut the umbilical cord with a pair of scissors. “I also had a black string, so I told him to use it to tie the baby’s umbilical cord. Then, we used a t-shirt to make a bag to put the baby in,” says Rose.
The birth of a healthy baby boy gave them the courage and strength to continue and three days later, the exhausted but relieved family emerged at the Migrant Reception Station (ERM* by its Spanish acronym) in San Vicente, Panama, which is managed by the Panamanian Government with support from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency.
Vertulo Renonce and Guerline Mettelus from Haiti have also survived the Darien trek. They had travelled from Chile with their three-year-old son Louvertir, and crossed Colombia’s border with Panama in February. The couple has five other children and hope to join their two eldest in Guatemala. The other three are still in Haiti.
The parents have had difficulty communicating with their children since they arrived at the migrant reception centre in Lajas Blancas, but life there is not just an emotional drain.
“The can of milk Louvertir drinks costs USD 4.50 and about every two days I have to buy a new one,” says Guerline. The room in the Guatemala hostel where her children are staying is USD 20 a night, and her children in Haiti have missed school for more than a month because their fees have not been paid.
They arrived in Panama with USD 400 they had hidden from three armed attackers who had robbed their group of 14 people along the way and have only USD 3 left.
Lajas Blancas looks like a small neighbourhood where up to 500 people can be sheltered. Near the only entrance is a small kiosk where people gather to buy refreshments and biscuits and to charge their mobile phones. Off to the right are tents, showers and toilets. Down by the river is the quarantine and care area for people with COVID-19, where access is restricted.
Outside his tent, Jean François, who left Haiti in 2015, is grateful for the respite in his journey from Brazil with his four children. He greets a childhood friend who dumps firewood collected from the riverbank to prepare rice and beans.
“The food they give us here is not bad, but it is not made with love. That’s what we need,” says Jean François. They had survived a week in the jungle with very little food and travelled from Necoclí, Colombia. “Among the 230 people who crossed the jungle, there were around 100 children. It hurts to see them; the children don’t deserve this,” he says.
In the San Vicente ERM, Jean Paul, his wife and their four children are taking a breather on their way to the United States. After the perils of the Darien Gap, they must still travel through Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico.
They travelled by boat to the border of Colombia and Panama, where they paid a “coyote”, or migrant smuggler, to walk them through the jungle in groups of hundreds of migrants, most of them Haitian nationals.
On the swings and slide in San Vicente, three of Jean’s young children play.
It’s noon. The officers of the National Border Service are handing out the food and people are crowding at the entrance waiting for their turn. Jean Michelet is sitting with a plate of food in one hand and, lying in his arms, is one-year-old Alejandro, who has not wanted to eat since they arrived at the station three days earlier.
Jean Michelet made sure the three eldest children had eaten and took them to play, giving his wife who sleeps in one of the houses a break. Unsuccessfully, he keeps trying to get his baby to eat. In his face you can see anguish – concern for the future and the pain of remembering the nightmare of the merciless Darien Gap.
*The ERM was built by the Government of Panama with support from international cooperation, intergovernmental organizations, civil society and private enterprise to reduce overcrowding in La Peñita, another ERM. San Vicente provides dignified conditions in which physical separation and other biosecurity measures can be maintained to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Story written by José Espinosa Bilgray, IOM Panama.
Stitching hope: Empowering women in South Sudan towards self-reliance
It is only the first day of training in hand-sewing and the women already have big plans about how they are going to use their newly acquired skills to support their families to gain independence.
“Once I get the hang of hand-sewing, I will learn how to sew with a machine. From there, I will make bedsheets, curtains and tablecloths to sell and use the money to provide for my children,” says 50-year-old Adut Akwar.
Adut and 14 other women from the Hai Masna Collective Centre, an internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp in South Sudan’s Western Bahr el Ghazal state, are part of the selected group to be trained by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in an array of techniques including sewing, business and entrepreneurship as well as leadership skills. The group comprises women living with disabilities, young mothers and female-headed households.
Adut lives in Masna with her six children. They fled their home in 2017 when renewed fighting rocked their village in Jur River, forcing thousands of people, including women, children and the elderly to flee to save their lives. Many found refuge in Hai Masna (hosting 3,850 IDPs) and other collective centres around Wau, while the majority of the displaced sheltered at Naivasha IDP camp, formerly known as the UN Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Wau.
She is among the 40 women from Hai Masna and Naivasha who have benefited from the training workshops through the Women Participation Project (WPP). Through this project, IOM’s Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) team facilitates women’s access to income-generating activities through vocational and leadership skills training to support them to become self-reliant, encourage them to raise their concerns when they have them and take up leadership roles within the IDP camp and within their communities.
“I am very impressed by the enthusiasm that the women have shown in learning these skills which will help them in rebuilding their lives,” says Titus Muniri, IOM CCCM’s Community Participation Assistant.
“Some women who participated in previous trainings have even gone up and taken leading roles in the camp’s governance structures. We have four women who completed our training who were elected as members of the Community Leadership Committee (CLC) in Naivasha camp,” says Titus.
Adut Akwar says that she “has a plan.”
“When I return home, I will go back to ploughing my fields to grow food for my children,” she says.
“That’s not it though,” she adds with a renewed sense of excitement. “I will also use my time to sew bedsheets that I can sell to make an income.”
Adut says that she hopes that as peace holds in Western Bahr el Ghazal, more women will choose to leave the camps and return to their villages.
“When we leave, we can come together and form women-led cooperatives putting to use the business management and craft-making skills we learnt. We can make some real changes in our lives,” says Adut.
Adut, who was born with congenital upper limb reduction, says that she has never been one to depend on others to do things for her because of her disability.
“I guess, being born with a disability, you are also born with an inherent sense that you have to push harder to show the world that you can,” says Adut. “That is why when I was selected for the workshop, I did not think twice about joining.”
“Sure, I may need help putting the thread through the needle, but the rest I can learn and do by myself,” says Adut.
The Women Participation Project (WPP) is supported by the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) under the global “Safe from the Start Initiative” through which IOM’s CCCM team facilitates women’s access to income-generating activities.
To find out more about the Women’s Participation Project, visit https://womenindisplacement.org/
Written by Liatile Putsoa, Media and Communications Officer.
Observatory on smuggling of migrants
The Observatory on Smuggling of Migrants is a research initiative funded by the Governments of Denmark, Canada, Japan and Italy, and is being implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime since 2019. The website of the Observatory was launched in May 2021.
Smuggling of migrants is a complex crime involving the facilitation of the irregularly entry of people into a country for profit. Migrants are smuggled across borders with the financial or material gain. In establishing an Observatory on Smuggling of Migrants, UNODC seeks to gather information, collect, analyze and disseminate data to enhance the knowledge on this crime and inform evidence-based policy and law enforcement responses.
The UNODC Observatory on Smuggling of Migrants gathers data on key areas including migrants’ plans and preparations for the journey – particularly in relation to contact with smugglers, key smuggling routes and experiences on the journey, profiles of migrant smugglers and networks of organized crime, prices for smuggling services and mode of payment, and the types of abuses suffered in the context of smuggling.
Building on data collected in Nigeria and other countries in West and North Africa as well as in Europe, the Observatory has already published findings on smuggling of migrants along the Central Mediterranean Route. Upcoming findings will cover the use of migrant smugglers by Nigerians on the move.
Moreover, UNODC is partnering with the Mixed Migration Centre to collect data in transit and destination countries in West and North Africa to gain specific data on Nigerian use of smugglers in the region. MMC has produced a snapshot of emerging findings based on this research partnership.
Risking it all crossing the Darien Gap, a treacherous trek no one should tackle
Stitching hope: Empowering women in South Sudan towards self-reliance
Observatory on smuggling of migrants
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