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Understand how and why groups of people move on a global scale.

Offered through Clark University’s International Development, Community, and Environment Department (IDCE), the refugees, forced migration, and belonging certification combines a local and global perspective to explore effective ways to support displaced populations in North America, Europe, and other key refugee-receiving regions. You gain a grounded understanding of displacement and forced migration issues, taking into account the complex social, political, economic, and environmental factors shaping population movement.

Rather than focus solely on emergency management or international refugee policy, we believe that understanding global migration — voluntary or forced — requires a comparative and historically-grounded approach that weighs the perspectives of different actors. In our refugees, forced migration, and belonging program, we take a participatory, community-based and refugee-centered approach to our work: We prioritize the experiences of affected populations, including migratory and settled groups, and we work with them to identify strategies to remake belonging.

Why a Certificate in Refugees, Forced Migration, and Belonging at Clark University

  • Study refugees and forced migration challenges through a low-residential, flexible mix of issues-oriented short courses and online courses.
  • Earn a head start in your IDCE master’s degree program by applying 100% of your certificate course credits toward the full degree graduation requirements.
  • Foster connections through our global network of partners.
  • Assist with projects that produce tangible public benefits.
  • Benefit from a culturally rich, diverse, international learning community.

The Essentials

Program Overview

You can gain hands-on experience and perspective consulting with a variety of agencies or joining research projects that connect you directly with organizations or communities you’re passionate about. Clark University offers one of the few programs that is focused on humanitarian and policy work with refugees and other forced migrants. We take a “refugee-centered approach” that places the experiences of people who have personal knowledge of forced displacement at the heart of learning. Our flexible, intensive curriculum includes short courses, field-based research, and summer institute offerings with January or May start dates.

We encourage you to pursue specific issues of interest to you, such as:

  • LGBTQ people’s experience as migrants.
  • National or international immigration and political asylum policy.
  • Undocumented and hidden populations.
  • Resettlement and return policy and programming in post-conflict or post-disaster displacement.
  • Communication, migrant remittances, and kinship networks.

You learn within a global network of researchers, scholars, practitioners and activists who help you find opportunities to put what you learn to use in our urban community, across the country and around the world. Students and faculty investigators pursue provocative, far-reaching questions such as:

  • How the boundaries and borders that shape movement emerge, and how they are maintained, controlled, and transformed.
  • How policies and organizations designed to manage or assist migrants, refugees, and displaced people intersect with ideas about citizenship, integration, sustainability, gender, development, and belonging.
  • The role of ethnic, racial and religious identities in spurring movement and in shaping the reception of newcomers by societies.
  • Displacement and Development in the Contemporary World
  • Research Methods for Forced Migration
  • Urban Refugees
  • Using Testimony for Refugee Advocacy
  • People on the Move Research Studio

Worcester is a gateway city for refugee resettlement and integration, so you have the opportunity to learn directly from local refugee services community through research opportunities and internships. Our students have investigated topics such as refugee participation in community development initiatives, refugee access to higher education, and refugee livelihoods in the city of Worcester.

One of our key areas of focus is connecting migration, forced migration, and refugee studies to debates about development and environmental change. Our partnerships with refugee stakeholders help you develop a complex understanding of refugees as locally sited but globally situated. They include:

  • Participate in experiential research with refugee organizational partnerships in Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Casablanca, Thessaloniki, Athens, and Kampala.
  • Produce important data and information for Worcester stakeholders.
  • Work with refugee organizations to identify best practices for service organizations to address their needs and priorities.



3 Course Units

  • 2 core courses
  • 1 elective

Course Catalog

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