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SNAPSHOT: Migration Studies

Global migration is a major contemporary force. Some 258 million individuals live outside their country of birth, writes Baruch College Professor Els de Graauw, in Migration Studies. De Graauw says these immigrants and their children are “reshaping the economic, social, cultural, and political life of their host societies,” while creating “unprecedented” levels of diversity in their new communities.

With the rise of anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiment in many countries, De Graauw says there’s a need for better understanding about the “causes and consequences” of international migration. The demand for those new insights has fueled the growth of graduate programs focused on migration. De Graauw found more than 40 master’s programs and a few doctoral programs, mostly at Canadian and European universities.

A boat carrying migrants crosses the ocean

But American universities, she found, “are latecomers to developing migration studies centers and programs.” In the U.S., there are six universities with migration-focused research centers, nine with migration concentrations at the undergraduate level, and seven graduate-level migration-focused certificate programs. Only three U.S. schools have master’s programs in the field: DePaul University, the University of San Francisco, and The Graduate Center, CUNY.

The Graduate Center’s International Migration Studies program launched in the fall of 2018 with 13 students. It focuses on the integration of migrants and their descendants into their new communities, looking at cultural, linguistic, economic, civic, political, and religious aspects of their experiences and impact. The interdisciplinary degree draws on existing programs, including an Immigration Seminar Series, while meshing with CUNY’s historic mission of educating New York’s immigrants and their children. More than a third of CUNY students were born outside the U.S.