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In a world characterized by unprecedented global mobility, the complexities of international migration and refugee issues have transcended geographical boundaries, profoundly impacting political, economic, cultural, and social landscapes. In response, Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, is offering the Master of Arts in International Migration and Refugees degree. This cutting-edge program addresses the pressing challenges arising from population movements and prepares a new generation of professionals to navigate the intricate intersections of migration, displacement, and policy-making. With migration shaping diverse industries and societies worldwide, this immersive 36-credit program, offered by the Institute for the Study of International Migration (ISIM), equips students with the expertise needed to understand, respond to, and positively impact the lives of those on the move. Embrace this unique opportunity to become an influential advocate for global change and human rights in the realm of migration at Georgetown University.

The new Master’s in International Migration and Refugees will prepare you by providing specialized expertise in migration and displacement in a world where migration is on the rise.

Core Curriculum

Over the course of three full semesters(-fall-spring-fall) and one summer practicum experience, you will take 5 core courses and 3 concentration courses (total of 36 credits) in one of two tracks: migration analytics or humanitarian practice. You will produce a capstone project in your final semester, working closely with an international migration or refugee agency in the U.S. or in another country. You will also demonstrate communication skills in a second language by taking advanced foreign language classes and passing an oral language proficiency exam by the time of graduation.

  1. Five required core courses (13.5 credits)
  2. Three concentration courses (9 credits)
  3. Elective courses (13.5 credits)
  4. A summer in-person practicum
  5. Competency in a foreign language
  6. A capstone project on a timely refugee or migration issue

The table below shows what scheduling courses over the three semesters might look like.

First semester (Sept-Dec) Second semester (Jan-May) Third semester (Sept-Dec)
Global Overview (core) Environmental displacement (core) Capstone (core)
Research Methods (core) Policies (core) Humanitarian action (Humanitarian concentration)
Intro to Humanitarian Crises (Humanitarian concentration)
Or Migration & Development (Migration concentration)
Humanitarian seminar (Humanitarian concentration)
Or Big data (Migration concentration)
Economics of Migration (Migration concentration)
Or Humanitarian action (Humanitarian concentration)
Elective Elective Elective
1 skills class (1.5 credits)
2 core courses
1 concentration course
1 elective
12 credits
2 core courses
1 concentration course
1 elective
12 credits
1 core course (Capstone – 1.5 credits)
1 concentration course
2 electives
1 skills class (1.5 credits) recommended not required
12 credits

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Core Courses Anchor

Core Courses

Global Overview of Trends in International Migration (3 credits) 

This gateway course provides the conceptual and theoretical foundations for students in the M.A. program. It covers global trends in mobility, theories of migration and displacement, normative frameworks, and examines differences among internally displaced persons, refugees, and other migrants. It will have a strong focus on the ethics of the global migration regime and will also cover related topics such as, the global management of talents and resources, global supply chains, and trafficking and forced labor.

Methods in Refugee and Migration Studies (3 credits) 

This course introduces students to the methods used in the social sciences to understand the causes and consequences of people on the move. Students will learn different methods of data collection including surveys, interviews, and ethnographic research, and become familiar with their strengths and weaknesses. The course will also cover ethical issues in research on refugees and migrants.

Refugee and Migration Policy: Local, National and Global (3 credits) 

This course examines global, national and local refugee and migration policies. It will focus on how national law and politics create and/or sustain different policy regimes and their consequences, consider the impact on municipal and state authorities and examine regional and global policy-making processes.

Environmental Migration and Displacement (3 credits)

This course provides an overview the relationship between environmental change and mobility, focusing on the effects of climate change, natural disasters, and environmental degradation on migration.  Presently more people are displaced every year by disasters than conflict – a trend which is likely to grow given the realities of climate change.  The course will cover how environmental conditions intersect with social, economic and political drivers of migration and discuss policy implications. 

Capstone Supervision (1.5 credits) 

The capstone will be a written project designed and implemented by each student under faculty supervision.  Faculty will assist students in finding organizations willing to work with our students for their capstone projects.  The organizations will identify major questions for which further work is needed, such as how to measure when displacement ends or how US policy on temporary agricultural workers compares with other countries?

Students will meet every other week to support each other and to raise and answer questions arising from their work on their projects. Students will discuss their specific approaches, how they plan to structure the final capstone project, and receive feedback from peers and faculty.

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Concentrations Anchor


You may choose to concentrate their course work in either Migration Analytics or Humanitarian Practice and will take 3 required courses in your concentration: 

The three courses required for the Migration Analytics Concentration are:

  • Big Data in Business, Economics and Society (GBUS401) 
  • Migration and Development (ISIM 6648) and 
  • Economics of Migration (ISIM 601) 

For the Humanitarian Practice concentration, students will take:

  • Introduction to Humanitarian Crises (ISIM 6698) 
  • Seminar on Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies (ISIM 6694) and 
  • Humanitarian Action in Practice (GHDP 622). 
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Electives Anchor


You will also take elective courses from ISIM and SFS offerings. There are many courses to choose from; here is a sampling of possible electives: 

ARST 523 Displacement in the Arab World

HIST 484: Inventing the Illegal Alien

CGES 502: Gender and Migration in Europe

AFSP 5575 Politics of African Migration

ISIM 5570 US Refugee Policy

ISIM 5573 Migration in the Americas

ISIM 5503 Migration and Human Rights

LAW 440 Refugee Law and Policy

LAW 037 Immigration Law and Policy

MSFS 5548 Human Rights, Humanitarian Crises and Refugees: Ethical and Religious Responses

There are also a number of 1.5 credit courses which students may take to pursue particular migration issues or to acquire specific skills.

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Language Proficiency Anchor

Language Proficiency

All students are required to pass an oral proficiency exam in a language other than English before they graduate from the MIMR program, and will be provided with language scholarships for one class per semester until they pass their exam. Students can take classes in the language they hope to take their proficiency exam in. Note that language courses do not factor into the 36 credits required to graduate from the MIMR program.

Georgetown University offers a number of languages for students to take, however, your language of proficiency is not limited to these languages. For more detailed information about the languages offered at Georgetown and the oral proficiency exam, visit the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics.

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Practicum Anchor


During the summer between your first and second year, you will complete an in-person practicum at an organization working on refugee and/or migrant issues. The practicum can be with any international or U.S. organization/employer, and it will be designed to give you international migration and/or refugee work experience. The program provides you with financial assistance to support your practicum experience.

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Outcomes Anchor


The Master’s in International Migration and Refugees will prepare you for a career in international development and human rights. After graduating with this degree, you can expect to make your career in the public, private or multilateral sectors. 

Top employers for recent SFS graduates in this field are:

 USAID, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the U.S. State Department, The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, Chemonics, Dahlberg Global Consulting and Deloitte, and many non-governmental organizations.

98%  of the School of Foreign Service Graduate Class of 2022 are employed or continuing education

$95,500+ is the average salary range for School of Foreign Service Graduate Classes working in development and relief or human rights and international law sectors

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