Loyola University Chicago

Migration Studies Sub-specialization

The United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees reported that the number of displaced people is at its highest ever, surpassing even post-World War II numbers, with one out of every 113 persons in the world displaced in 2015. Similarly, the number of international migrants is greater today than at any other time in history, approximately one in nearly every 30 persons worldwide living outside their country of birth in 2015. Nowhere is the trend of international migration more marked that in the United States, the country with the largest immigrant population in the world. Thirteen percent of the U.S. population is foreign born and immigrants and their children constitute one–quarter of the nation’s population. In response to these global trends and the associated human, social, political, and spiritual and challenges that migration presents, the Loyola University School of Social Work has responded with the development of a Migration Studies Sub-Specialization. This sub-specialization is designed to prepare social work professionals for international, transnational, and domestic practice with internally displaced persons, immigrants, and refugees.  ​

Application for the sub-specialization program is required, deadline to apply is December 1st. Migration courses are taken in conjunction with specialization requirements.  Students must complete the requirements of a main specialization i.e. Health, Schools, LDSS, Children and Families, or Mental Health. This program is compatible with all of the aforementioned specializations.

Required Courses: 

3 courses are required and can be taken during any year of study.

  • SOWK 730: Migration Dynamics and U.S. Social Policy (Spring only)
  • SOWK 731: Social Work Practice with Refugees and Immigrants (Spring only)
  • SOWK 732: Migration, Social Justice, and Human Rights (Fall only)
  • SOWK 733: North American Migration Dynamics & Policy (Summer in Mexico only; course is taught in English by a SSW professor and is the equivalent of SOWK 730)

Students pursuing Mental Health or Children and Families specializations do not have to take SOWK 610H or SOWK 610F. SOWK 730 or SOWK 733 substitute for the required policy courses for these tracks. However, students must complete all 3 courses for the sub-specialization in order to receive credit for the specialization’s required policy course; students who drop the sub-specialization are required to take SOWK 610F if they are in the Children and Families specialization or SOWK 610H if they are in the Mental Health specialization. Students pursuing Health, Schools, or LDSS must take all required specialization and sub-specialization courses. However, students who are LDSS will have both policy electives and their clinical course requirement upon completion of this sub-specialization (SOWK 730/SOWK 733 & SOWK 732 are equivalent to policy courses; SOWK 731 is equivalent to the clinical course).

Study Abroad Internship (Optional):

The study abroad program in Mexico (classes and field) compliments this sub-specialization but is not required. For information and application forms see Study Abroad: Mexico.

The Mexico internship can be used as a 1st or 2nd year internship (except for students pursuing a Schools specialization; a school internship must be taken in the U.S.). Interested students will need to complete the application materials and be interviewed by Dr. Maria Vidal de Haymes. Information and application materials can be retrieved from: Study Abroad: MexicoA minimum of conversational Spanish is required.  

Hilary Gilway manages all internships therefore, all field work applications should be directed to her at hgilway@luc.edu. Students who want to pursue an internship in Mexico will meet for a second in-person interview with Dr. Vidal de Haymes.