Global Trends in Demographics and Migration

Course code
Course fee
Course Level
Advanced Bachelor
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Please note: this is an online course. 

Global trends in Demographics and Migration is a two-week summer course that examines developments in global and regional changes in the population composition (declining birth rates and ageing) and migration policies today from interdisciplinary perspectives. The course aims at familiarizing students with a contemporary phenomenon that can be seen as one of the most outspoken expressions of globalization.

Some scholars stress the negative effects of main demographic shifts and migration flows, others see new challenges. E.g. aging does not progress everywhere with the same speed. Recent emerging economies will age later, but in a much higher speed than developed countries did. This relates to migrant and refugee flows which are highly divers in push and pull factors and therefore not easy to predict. Demographics, economic pull centers, poverty and wars, all play a role. National and local governmental organizations prepare, anticipate and try to mitigate the aging, migration and economic issues with an array of policies, leading to regulations, provisions and lawful policies as well as populism. The UN is one of the players in the international arena, but local municipalities have their own issues to deal with increasing migrant groups and aging communities. Shifts in demographic structures either by migration or by aging will bring macro, meso and micro challenges of economic growth, urban planning, public welfare policies and cultural dilemmas. The course will address academic research and debates as well as policies dilemma’s, which are framed in e.g. pro versus anti-globalization, human rights versus own people first populism or Christianity versus Islam.

The half day programs are partly lecturing, partly discussions and working groups. By inviting a number of guest lecturers – both from academia as from practice – the course allows for the dissemination of the latest insights on problems interrelating demographics, migration and global aging. The working group hours can be used for working on the final paper. The lectures are supplemented by two excursions, one to the UAF in Utrecht or one to an AZC Asylum Seekers Center in the Netherlands, to get knowledge on refugee politics in practice. All excursion costs are included in the course fee.

The course aims at familiarizing students with a contemporary phenomenon that can be seen as one of the most outspoken expressions of globalization. The perspective of the course is primarily sociological, but it also leans heavily on notions from other disciplines such as social geography, demography, economics, political science, cultural anthropology and social philosophy. It attempts to illustrate the usefulness of combining insights from different disciplines for a better understanding of a social phenomenon that many consider highly problematic. Students will become familiar with the most important theories in the fields of demographics and migration, integration, and citizenship. The course also makes students acquainted with various ways in which the outcomes of academic research can be interpreted and implemented. Finally, it encourages students to reflect on ethical and practical dilemmas and to develop new ideas that may contribute to finding solutions for a very complex issue in society.

Download the day-to-day programme (PDF)
Course director
em. Prof. dr. Jeanne de Bruijn


Prof. dr. J.G.M. de Bruijn, Dr. Caroline van Dullemen,  prof.dr. M. Fennema, dr. Sarah Miellet, dr. Tihomir Sabchev

Target audience

The course is aimed at advanced bachelor students such as:

Social science students interested in studying migration, refugee crises and global aging issues and policy making, including the respective roles of the EU, US and national governments.

International relations and law students interested in learning more about (EU) policy making in the domains of demographics, migration and integration.

Aim of the course

The course will provide participants:

  1. An overview of main academic research and debates from demographic, security and gender perspectives, with a focus on comparative dilemmas.
  2. An overview of recent policies on the topics by main international institutes like EU and US organizations, UN committees, Help Age International and the International Organization for Migration.
  3. A comprehensive understanding of the interrelated issues of demographics, global aging, migration, the refugee crisis and pro or anti-globalization from a social economic perspective of societal resilience (labor market) and from policy perspectives like gender equality, violence, cultural dilemma’s and human rights).
  4. The ability to analyze challenges in global aging trends in combination with migration and refugee flows by using theoretical insights and data, for sociological, demographical or economic analysis. The course aims for the dissemination of the latest insights on dilemma’s and ways how resilient policies can address these.


Course fee:
Fee covers
Course + course materials

More information

Caroline van Dullemen | E: | T:+316 18707340

Jeanne de Bruijn | E: | T: +316 34345654


Application deadline: 
Registration deadline
20 July 2021