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In this course students learn about the impact on social transformation and cultural identity when vulnerable people move from one geographical location to another, circumstances in which human rights may be violated and sources of support and protection.

This block study programme focuses on Belgian and European legislation by contrasting the developments and responses to the opportunities and challenges connected with migration today.

Do you want to combine this semester with more practise experience? Do you want to study for a full year? Be sure to ask about our one-year “Migration & Refugees IN ACTION” programme and combine your international semester with a three month placement during the spring semester.

Who is the course for?

This course is suitable for all, as it is enriched by the diversity of its participants and it is ideal for anyone looking to expand their knowledge and skills in this valuable and rewarding area of work. In addition, it provides an ideal foundation for anyone with a future interest in working in support services for migrants or wider international development.

Why take this course?

Due to the rapidly increasing worldwide displacement of people, the topic of migration & refugees has never been more relevant! This postgraduate provides you the essential knowledge and experience to work within a super diverse and intercultural world. Due to lessons taking place on 3 fixed days/week, it’s easily combined with a part-time job or other commitments.

Howest - postgraduate / international semester: Migration & Refugees

What will you learn?

Cultural and socio-economic introduction to Belgium (3 ECTS)

In this module you will learn about Belgian and Flemish politics, culture and socio-economic data, all in comparison to the socioeconomic data of your home country. This module includes a survival course Dutch and visits to several important Belgian cities.

Intercultural learning and identity (3 ECTS)

Working with Refugees and Migrants means working with people with another cultural background. Social Workers need to be aware of their own cultural identity to be able to overcome the differences. In this Module we will see frameworks to understand group cultures, especially their values and standards. As every human is unique and can make choices in their life, we’ll focus also on personal cultural identity. We will use Non Formal Education methods to work on issues such as stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination. We will work in interaction with migratns, refugees and Belgian students.

Global Social Work (3 ECTS)

The international semester is developed based upon the Social Work program. A clear framework and vision of Social Work is necessary to be able to work within the Migration domain. Basing ourselves on the universal human rights and the global definition of Social Work, we will approach migration from an ethically point of view.

Integration in different fields (6 ECTS)

Introduction of the history and demography of migration in the Europe and worldwide . We will present an overview of integration projects in Flanders in the form of case studies. We will also conduct several field visits in multiple domains (housing, employment, culture, sport, youth, education, …). The result of this module will be comparative learning by analysing the situation in your own country and comparing it with the Flemish situation and other European countries.

Project Work (6 ECTS)

This module contains experience-based learning. We will organize a placement for you (eventually in pairs) in an organization that works with migrants or refugees. For students Migration & refugees in Action, this module is an introduction to social work and theoretical preparation for placement in sem 2.

Introduction to social work in practise (only for MRA) (6 ECTS)

This module prepares Migration & refugees in Action students for their placement in semester 2 and replaces the module Projectwork.

International & national policy and (legal) frame work (3 ECTS)

In this module we will discuss the vision of international policies, treaties and institutions at European and global level.
The legal policy and human rights for migrants in the Flanders and within Europe will form the basis of discussions in the work field.

Cultural Frameworks in Health (3 ECTS)

This module is organised together with our “Applied Heath Sciences” program and includes an introduction into health literacy. Together with Belgian students you will learn how to expand your cultural references. We will focus on cultural patterns in Health and Intercultural communication and disturbances, both in theory and practice (through organisational visits, guest speakers and case studies). You will also learn about Health Promotion with people with a migration background.

Psychological aspects of migration (3 ECTS)

In this module we will explore the impact of migration on the mental health of people. We will learn about trauma with the aim to understand the psychological impact of the painful experiences of refugees. We explore techniques used in the psychological counselling of children, adolescents and adults who have migrated to the Flanders.

Migration and refugees - optional module (3 ECTS)

English for non-EU students - optional evening course - 3 ECTS

This course provides non-EU students with an intensive training in speaking, listening, reading and writing skills with the focus on their ongoing or upcoming academic career. The lecturer will aim to take the diversity of academic areas of the participants into account, by addressing a range of topics and choosing subjects relevant to the attendees. The course is provided at the B2 proficiency level and uses the IELTS methodology. We strongly recommended this course to all non-EU students who have not fully achieved the B2-level in English at the time when they applied for their mobility project. For the more proficient students, we recommend the course as a useful immersion experience in the English language.

Course Unit Descriptions for All English-taught semester programmes (if not available yet for the upcoming academic year please select the current year)
Next to ‘Taal’ select ‘English’
Next to ‘Opleiding’ select ‘Migration and Refugees – ETS SW MR’

Learning outcomes

  • The Migration and Refugees student promotes and applies human rights and social justice, as the ethical framework and theoretical perspective for his/her actions regarding the position of migrants and refugees.
  • The Migration and Refugees student familiarises themselves with intercultural and psychological characteristics of migrants and refugees in order to embed this understanding into their perspective and practices to instigate social change.
  • The Migration and Refugees student applies verbal and non-verbal communication skills, demonstrates intercultural sensitivity and adapts interaction appropriately to the processes of social change.
  • The Migration and Refugees Bachelor student informs the vulnerable person and/or significant others of relevant legislation and refers them to the appropriate organisations, services and initiatives that can support them.
  • The Migration and Refugees student designs and supports social change processes, including those involving complex and unfamiliar situations.
  • The Migration and Refugees student mobilises individuals, groups and structures to support social justice and challenge intolerance.
  • The Migration and Refugees student adopts a professional identity and develops competence, through self reflection, comparative learning and group work activities.

Dates and location

This course starts in September with classes taking place on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

The course takes place in Bruges (Sint-Jorisstraat 71 - 8000 Brugge)

Time investment

This course includes 30 credits. 1 credit is equivalent to 25 hours of study time.

Evaluation method

A mixture of written assignments, oral presentations and written exams.


Successful completion of the postgraduate course leads to a certificate if you have a associate, bachelor's or master's degree. If you do not meet these requirements, you will receive a certificate of attendance.

Admission requirements

Minimum of a bachelor’s degree in humanities or social work and experience in working with migrants and/or refugees is required. This needs to be confirmed by an official letter of employment or reference letter.

As a part of the application process, you will be invited for an interview to explain in more detail your experience and your motivation to follow this programme.

Click here for Howest language expectations.

Selection will be based on:

  1. Your motivation letter
  2. An essay describing your work/volunteering experience to serve as the basis for the selection interview
  3. An interview
  4. Demonstrated work and/or volunteering experience with migrants/refugees

All students should bring their own laptop, with the necessary and officially licensed software. The course overview above mentions the specific software (if any) necessary for the course unit. Howest applies a strict policy on the use of legal software.

EU students can only attend the international semester as a postgraduate certificate programme. They need to have completed at least a bachelor’s degree in social work or the humanities and provide solid proof of experience via a reference.

What is an English-taught semester?

An English-taught semester is a coherent package of course units which Howest bachelor's programmes offer in English. It offers an option for semester exchange to students from partner universities abroad and a study abroad option for other international students.

Read more

Tuition fee

The tuition fee for this specific Postgraduate Certificate study semester in autumn/fall is €1.150. If you would like to combine this study semester with an internship during the spring semester, the tuition fee is €1.750 for the full academic year. Tuition fees are non-refundable.


Sarah De Vriendt - [at]


You can complete your registration for the 2024-2025 academic year starting 1 July 2024 at the info days on campus, online and during working hours (by appointment) at the student secretariat of the Howest campus where your course takes place.

Online enrolment is done through our online system. Upon completion of your registration, you will pay the accompanying tuition and fees for the postgraduate course. Withdrawal before the actual start of the course allows a partial refund of the tuition fee. 20% of the tuition fee is a non-refundable administrative cost. Once the programme has started, no refund will be made, regardless of whether certain course units are offered in the first or second semester.

What documents should you have in hand?

  • A copy of your ID (front and back) will be requested during online registration.
  • You will also need to upload a copy of your higher education diploma.

Online registration

After registering

  • After completing your online registration, you will receive an e-mail with all the information needed to complete your enrolment.
  • After your file has been checked and processed by Howest, you will receive your contract and a request for payment of tuition fees and extra study costs, delivered electronically.
Info days
Read more

Meet Howest Academy

Strengths of the programme

Links with the professional field

Throughout your course of study at Howest Academy, you will work on cases and challenges from the professional field. Howest's teaching team is further complemented by leading guest speakers and experts in the field, guaranteeing practical, real-life demonstration of the content being taught.

Strong teachers

Choosing Howest Academy, is choosing quality. Our teachers are not only experts in their field, they are also solid in their teaching, translating lesson content into practical learning experiences.

Beyond up-to-date

Not only does this programme respond to the changes and challenges of today, it remains one step ahead through its links to the practice-based research conducted at Howest.

Official certificate from Howest

You will receive an officially recognised certificate from the Howest University of Applied Sciences, which will help you build a sustainable career.

Register now!

Have you decided? We look forward to welcoming you to our Howest community! 
You can find all information about registering via the link below.

Apply now

Studenten in pauze met koffie op de campus


Do you have questions? Don't hesitate to contact us!

Sarah De Vriendt

Sarah De Vriendt

Postgraduate contact

Completing the online registration implies that you are officially enrolled and commits you to paying the registration fee. After your file is processed, you will receive an email with an invoice for payment of the registration fee.

Most advanced programmes (such as micro degrees and post-graduate programmes) are not eligible for scholarships or reduced fees. That type of financial assistance is reserved for students within the standard programmes (bachelor's). However, there are other possibilities offered by the Flemish government such as Flemish educational allowance, KMO-portefeuille and study vouchers.

Yes, it is possible. Please send your account number and billing details to howestacademy [at] (howestacademy[at]howest[dot]be). The refund for the originally paid registration fee will only be made after registration of payment with the SME-wallet. You will therefore temporarily have a double payment pending.

If your training is partially or fully funded through financial assistance (SME, Flemish training leave, Flemish educational allowance, Flemish training vouchers), it is important to check the terms of the financial assistance programme concerning compulsory attendance. Students are responsible for having their attendance formally registered by the lecturers.

The coordinator of your course will indicate which platform will be used for short-term courses. For long-term programmes, your course material can be found on You can log in with the details you received from the registrar’s office after enrolment.

Send an e-mail to howestacademy [at] (howestacademy[at]howest[dot]be) and you will get a quick reply.

For short-term postgraduate courses, direct registration via the webpage is final and binding. For diploma and credit courses such as bachelor’s, associates and microdegrees, pre-registration is not binding, but it assures you a place in the programme.

  • For associates degree:
    You are officially enrolled once you have completed your pre-registration online and signed it digitally. After processing and approval of your online registration by the registrar’s office, you will receive login details and an invoice for payment of the registration fee.
  • For microdegrees:
    You are officially enrolled after your pre-registration has been processed by the student registrar and after you have signed your programme contract. This can be done manually or digitally via the digital student learning platform: (shortcut at the bottom -> ibamaflex -> important information).

Payment of the registration fee must be made no later than 1 October or - if the course starts at another time - within 15 days of registration. For payments made by invoice, the latest payment date mentioned on the invoice applies. Only in exceptional cases will instalment payments be allowed and only if an instalment plan has been submitted and agreed to by Howest's financial officer. Please contact us at howestacademy [at] (howestacademy[at]howest[dot]be) for more information.