Migration Studies Certificate

Migration is at the core of human history. People have always moved in search of opportunities, and to escape hardship and threats to well-being. In the modern era migration at the national and international levels changes the demographic and ethnic compositions of cities and nations, and challenges and transforms national identities and political cultures. The Certificate in Migration Studies, offered by the Population Studies and Training Center (PSTC) in partnership with the Department of Sociology, promotes a multidisciplinary understanding of migration and competency in a range of research methodologies. It accomplishes these goals by linking students to diverse learning resources spread across departments and centers at Brown University, and by building community among students and faculty with shared interest in migration, immigration, and the immigrant experience.

The Migration Studies Certificate is part of a larger Migration Studies Initiative at the PSTC. Click here to learn more about the initiative.


As with all undergraduate certificates, students may only have one declared concentration and must be enrolled in or have completed at least two courses toward the certificate at the time they declare in ASK, which must be no later than the last day of classes of the antepenultimate (typically the sixth) semester.


The program places particular emphasis on research methods, research experience, and rigorous approaches to the study of migration. The required introductory course covers the central features, concepts and foci of international migrations studies, and the two elective courses selected from the lists of preapproved courses expose students to diverse substantive concerns and disciplinary approaches. A required methods course from a list of preapproved courses exposes students to methods beyond their concentration requirements. Finally, students complete a thesis, project or an experiential learning requirement. Students who undertake a senior project or thesis for their declared concentration are required to have a migration related topic as the central focus of the project or thesis. Proposals for projects/theses need program approval for migration content. As an alternative to a project or thesis, students may participate in a faculty research project with a focus on migration, or complete an internship or volunteer with a community organization that primarily services immigrant communities. 

1. Required Migration Course

SOC 0315 International Migration (Fall 2023)

2. Elective Migration Course (Choose one)

AMST 1611A Making America: Twentieth-Century U.S. Immigration/Ethnic Literature
EDUC 0405 New Faces, New Challenges: Immigrant Students in U.S. Schools (Spring 2024)
ETHN 1750A Immigrant Social Movements: Bridging Theory and Practice
SOC 1128 Migrants, Refugees and the Mediterranean
SOC 1155 Borderlands (Spring 2024)
SOC 1281 Migration in the Americas (Spring 2023)

3. Elective Migration Course

Choose one from the list of preapproved courses. 

4. Elective Methods Course 

Choose one from the list of preapproved courses. 

The elective methods course cannot be a required course in a student’s declared concentration. Information about opportunities for undergraduates to enroll in non-credit mini-methods courses offered at the PSTC will be available shortly. 

5. Capstone

Students must complete a senior project or thesis as part of their concentration with a migration related topic as the central focus, or they may participate in a faculty migration related research project, or complete an internship or volunteer with a community organization that primarily services immigrant communities. Course credit for a senior project or thesis should be arranged through the student’s declared concentration. Proposals for projects/theses need program approval for migration content at the time that proposals are due to the student’s concentration. Participation in a faculty research project, internships or volunteer work can be completed at any time between the end of the fourth semester and graduation, but needs program approval before it can count towards the certificate requirement. Course credit is not awarded for internships or volunteer work.


Please direct any further questions to program director, Prof. David Lindstrom ([email protected]).