Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


10 cp from 100-level units in International Development Studies, Politics and International Relations or Sociology.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Humanitarian and development workers work with refugees and displaced communities in a range of capacities, from complex humanitarian emergencies to ongoing settlement support. 

A knowledge of the issues surrounding forced migration is therefore needed by humanitarian and development workers to support effective and ethical professional practice. This unit aims to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the key issues in forced migration and will introduce students to the major themes and tensions that currently affect the international refugee protection regime. In particular, the unit focuses on the reasons for forced migration, internally displaced populations, protracted refugee settings, climate migration, durable solutions, and the experience of vulnerable communities including children, women, the elderly and disabled. 

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Describe the underlying causes of forced migration (military conflicts and repression, natural disasters, environmental changes and others) (GA2, GA8)

LO2 - Define the rights and entitlements of refugees and forced migrants as recognised by the international protection regime (GA5, GA8)

LO3 - Analyse the consequences of being displaced from a gendered and psychosocial perspective including the experiences of vulnerable populations (including children), internally displaced populations and those in protracted refugee settings (GA1, GA5, GA8)

LO4 - Interpret, summarise and analyse durable solutions for refugee populations. (GA1, GA6, GA8)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


Topics will include: 

  • Understanding of the drivers of forced migration
  • The experiences of forced migration on vulnerable communities, including women, children, the elderly, protracted refugees and internally displaced populations
  • The psychosocial impacts of forced migration
  • Institutional responses to refugees and other forced migrants
  • International protection frameworks
  • Durable solutions to refugee displacement – repatriation, integration and resettlement
  • Climate change and forced migration

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The unit may be offered face-to-face, online or in blended mode. This unit engages students in active learning activities, such as reading, writing, discussion and problem-solving to promote analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Lectures will be used to introduce theoretical concepts and illustrate practice. These lectures may be online or face-to-face. Readings and online resources, like video or podcasts, are made available on the online learning platform or in recommended texts. Ideas from lectures, readings and other resources are explored and discussed in tutorials or through online e-activities. Students use case studies to explore how what they have learned applies to real world situations.

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video etc.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to pass this unit, students are required to achieve all learning outcomes and obtain a final grade of 50% or better as an aggregate of all points from assessment tasks completed in this unit.

A variety of assessment tasks have been designed to meet the learning outcomes of this unit and to ensure the development of graduate attributes. The assessment strategies are the same for all modes of the unit.

To assist this, the following assessments tasks have been devised:

The Case Study requires students to develop research skills in examining the reasons for forced migration, its effect on vulnerable populations and the possibilities for durable solutions.

The online learning activities allows students to engage with the knowledge and scholarship surrounding refugees and forced migration, requiring students to apply knowledge, theories, skills and attitudes appropriate to humanitarian work with displaced populations.

The essay requires students to pursue independent research using primary and secondary evidence in order to examine forced migration in the light of gendered experiences, the experiences of children, psychological and psychosocial responses, and identity and citizenship.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Online e-tivities

This assessment allows students to engage with the knowledge and scholarship surrounding refugees and forced migration


LO1, LO2 

GA2, GA5, GA8

Case Study

Develops students’ research skills in examining the reasons for forced migration, the effects on vulnerable communities and the possibilities for durable solutions.


LO1, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA6, GA8

Research Essay

Students examine forced migration in the light of gendered experiences, the experiences of children, psychological and psychosocial responses, and identity and citizenship


LO3, LO4 

GA1, GA5, GA6, GA8

Representative texts and references

Agier, M. (2011). Managing the Undesirables: Refugee Camps and Humanitarian Government. Polity Press.

Betts,A.& Collier, P.(2018). Transforming a Broken Refugee System. Penguin, Great Britain.

Betts, A. (2012). The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR): The Politics and Practice of Refugee Protection. Routledge.

Bhabha, J. (2018). Can We Solve the Migration Crisis? Polity Press, Great Britain.

Ganguly-Scrase, R & Lahiri-Dutt, K (2015), (Eds). Rethinking Displacement: Asia Pacific Perspectives. Surrey: Ashgate.

Gatrell, P. (2015), The Making of the Modern Refugee. Oxford University Press

Jones, R. (2016). Violent Borders: Refugees and the right to move, Verso, Great Britain.

Kingsley, P. (2016), The New Odyssey: The story of Europe’s Refugee Crisis. Guardian Faber Publishing, London.

McAdam, J. & Chong, F. (2019), Refugee Rights and Policy Wrongs. New South Publishing, Australia.

Qasmiyeh, E., Loescher, G., Long, K. & Lischer, S. (2014), The Oxford Handbook of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, Oxford University Press, New York.

Trilling, D. (2018), Lights in the Distance: Exile and Refuge at the Borders of Europe. Pan Macmillan, Australia.

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