Certificate Approved Courses


Graduate Seminar in Human Rights and International Justice

Participatory Action Research: Gender, Race, and Power

     *may count as an out of discipline course for all academic disciplines; registration preference given to certificate students needing the course in their final academic year at BC


Critical Race Theory/Intersectionality

*this course cannot be combined with LAWS7850 - Introduction to Critical Race Theory toward the certificate

HIST4250Human Rights as History
HIST4291War Crimes Trials
HIST4292War and Genocide
LAWS3341Advanced Immigration Law Seminar
LAWS6673Law of War in Historical and Political Contexts
LAWS4420International Criminal Law
LAWS4436International Human Rights
LAWS7729Global Poverty and Human Rights

Immigration Law

     *When taught by Prof. Kanstroom, he will reserve class seats for non-law certificate students who wish to take the class as the out-of-discipline course


Immigration Law Clinic

   *although a six-credit course, may only count as one course towards the certificate

LAWS7862Human Rights and Inequality
LAWS3961Business and Human Rights
LAWS3345Movement Lawyering

Introduction to Critical Race Theory

*this course cannot be combined with EDUC/APSY8923 - Critical Race Theory/Intersectionality toward the certificate

LAWS8265International Human Rights Practicum

Global Public Goods and Cooperation in International Politics

APSY6461Psychological Responses to Humanitarian Crises: Human Rights, Gender Violence, and International Justice
APSY7549Psychology of Trauma: Cross-Cultural & Social Justice
EDUC/APSY8912*Participatory Action Research: Gender, Race, and Power

     *may count as an out of discipline course for all academic disciplines; registration preference given to certificate students needing the course in their final academic year at BC

APSY8915Critical Perspectives on the Psychology of Race, Class, and Gender
Interdisciplinary Approaches to Borderlands and Human Mobility
Services to Migrants: A Border Perspective
SCWK7728Global Perspectives on Gender Inequalities
SCWK7794Immigrant and Refugee Issues in the United States
SCWK7797Frameworks and Tools for Global Practice
SCWK8806Global Policy Issues and Implications
SWCK8822The Impact of Traumatic Victimization on Child and Adolescent Development
SCWK7723Cross-Cultural Issues/Social and Behavioral Research
THEO7535Ethics of War and Peacemaking
TMCE8059Social Justice and the Bible
TMCE8518/THEO7817Global Health and Theological Ethics
Christian Ethics and Migration
NB: Only one of the following three reconciliation-related courses may be counted towards the certificate for a given student:  
Peace, Justice and Reconciliation
Conflict Resolution and Transformation
Reconciliation in A World of Conflict

Course Descriptions  


Critical Race Theory/Intersectionality

This doctoral course explores the epistemological, methodological, and pedagogical uses of Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality (CRT/Int), and Settler Colonialism, in the examination and deconstruction of institutionalized and race-based disparities and inequalities in societal institutions, including, but not limited to, K-12 education, higher education, psychology, and the law. Course texts and student work will utilize both academic and popular culture texts. The course assumes and builds upon a foundational knowledge of social theories, and the ways in which self, institution and society are connected.


Human Rights as History

One of the major developments in world history since WW II has been the rise of a universal human rights culture. This course will explore this development in historical perspective, tracing the origins of the language of human rights back to the eighteenth century and the French Revolution and interrogating its development in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will examine the potential of "human rights" in international politics but also the limitations of human rights claims. We will ask who has rights and when, and who the major actors are in pushing rights claims: governments, revolutionaries and NGOs.

War Crimes Trials

The twentieth century has proven to be one of the most murderous in human history. The massive and in many ways unprecedented use of systematic atrocities in this century have provoked an equally unprecedented response--so-called war crimes trials. In reality, this tem covers a broad range of legal responses to systematic mass atrocity international trials, domestic trials, and truth and reconciliation commissions. We will consider examples of all of these and the advantages and disadvantages of each approach before concluding with a general consideration of the limits and possibilities of the law in confronting such enormous crimes.

War and Genocide

Genocide has been one of the most tragic and disturbing global phenomena of the twentieth century. It has been truly global in scope, striking Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe. In this course, we will explore the history of genocide and its relationship to to war in global perspective, from the colonial genocides of the 19th century, the Armenian genocide in WW I, the Holocaust in WWII and the potcolonial genocides since 1945. We will also ask what might be done on an international level to combat genocide - either through military intervention or through legal prosecution.



Advanced Immigration Law

Prerequisite: Immigration Law (LAWS749)
This course examines selected topics in advanced immigration law. The readings address not only the historical and philosophical underpinnings of applicable statutes and case law, but also the practice of immigration law including deportation defense and affirmative applications. We will start by focusing on asylum and refugee law. In later sessions, we will examine in depth the immigration consequences of criminal conduct; bond and detention; and waivers of removability. The course also addresses special visas for victims of violent crimes, human trafficking, or domestic abuse. We will approach the readings as advocates, considering counsels' strategic alternatives and the courts' likely policy goals. Students who have not taken Immigration Law (LL749) are required to enroll in the Immigration Practicum Seminar (LL375) to participate, and must also obtain advance permission from the instructor. Students will complete a 20 page research paper, which constitutes 60% of the grade and fulfills the ABA writing requirement.

Law of War in Historical and Political Contexts

This course is divided into two parts: (1) an introduction to the use of force in international law, first through a historical study of the origins of jus ad bellum in Greco-Roman thought and just war theories of the late Middle Ages through the Religious Wars, and next through a look at contemporary law governing the commencement of hostilities; and (2) jus in bello or the law of armed conflict, covering topics in international humanitarian law, the law of genocide, and U.S. law of war.

The majority of this course will be devoted to the law of armed conflict as topics are discussed in their legal, historical, and political contexts. We will consider what is lawful in combat and treaty protections for civilians, the wounded, prisoners of war, and other noncombatants. After a study of the Nuremberg Trials, we will turn to the topics of detention, interrogation, and torture, considering historical examples and the policies of the Bush and Obama administrations post 9/11. We will then discuss the regulation of weapons in warfare and analyze case studies of how specific new technologies like remotely controlled unmanned aircraft (drones) and autonomous weapon systems challenge traditional understandings of the law of armed conflict.

Later in the course we will cover the subject of genocide how it is defined, historical and contemporary examples, applicable law, and how the International Criminal Courts have applied the law. Our final topic will be cyberwar, AI, and the future of the law of war.

International Criminal Law

International Criminal Law criminalizes violations of human rights and the laws of wars. Compared to the seriousness of such violations, the claims of exclusive national jurisdiction, absolute national self-determination, and cultural distinction pale. The course asks how ICL defines and prosecutes war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, aggression, torture, terrorism, trafficking, and other large-impact violations. At stake are the conditions for lasting peace, global cooperation, international justice, and universal respect for human dignity. The course has no pre-requisites and does not assume familiarity with human rights, criminal law, or public international law. However, those who have completed studies in these fields will find that ICL complements them well. Students will be graded on a question requiring a dissertative answer. They may elect to take the course for 4 credits, additionally writing a 20-pages paper. The course can be taken pass/fail. Students from across the university are welcome to enroll or audit.

International Human Rights

This course is an introduction to international human rights law. We will explore: --the philosophical and historical origins of the general Western idea of human rights and how that idea differs both from non-Western conceptions and the particular U.S. idea of civil rights. --the customary international law, treaties, instruments, etc. that create and protect human rights, economic and social rights, rights against racial, ethnic, religious, and gender discrimination, rights to self-determination, etc. --the institutions that monitor and enforce human rights law, including in particular regional systems such as that of Europe --the relationship between international human rights law and humanitarian laws of war, the prosecution of international war crimes, and U.S. law. All of these issues and more will be examined through close study of actual cases and through simulations. Students may also have the opportunity to participate in the work of organizations involved in international human rights issues.

Corequisite: These three offereings are corequisites (LL674, LL670, LL621)
International and Comparative Law;Clinical Education Please see description at "International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia: Theory & Practice Seminar" (LL674).

Global Poverty and Human Rights

This seminar examines the ways in which the challenge of global poverty is understood, and addressed, as a challenge of human rights. We will consider: the historical origins and animating philosophies of the human rights framework; the so-called second generation economic and social rights to food, health care, housing and education; a rights-based approach to markets, aid and development; the enforcement problem and human rights; the role of litigation in social change; the international and domestic law divide; and the Global South as a special case for human rights. Readings are drawn from law, philosophy, history, anthropology and economics. For 2 credits, students will complete an examination distributed the last day of class and present on an assigned topic in class discussions. For an additional credit, students may complete an additional research paper (20 pages).

Immigration Law

U.S. immigration law involves much more than such technical questions as how to obtain a visa, a "green card," or who is subject to deportation. It is, as one writer put it, "a magic mirror" in which the highest aspirations and the deepest biases of American legal culture and history are still reflected. This course explores both aspects of this complex area of law: the technical/legal and the political/philosophical. We will use a variety of instructional methods. There will be traditional lectures, class discussions, outside speakers, films, YouTube videos, etc.

Immigration Law Clinic

Students in the Immigration Clinic represent noncitizens in removal proceedings before the Immigration Court, which involves arguing bond motions for detained clients, conducting examination of witnesses, raising evidentiary objections and arguing points of law. Students represent noncitizens in applications for legal status before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) office. Cases vary, but may include asylum and relief based on fear of persecution in the country of removal, waivers of deportation for long-term residents of the U.S., adjustment of status for noncitizens with U.S. citizen or permanent resident family members, visas for victims of violent crimes who have assisted in the prosecution of such crime, relief for noncitizen victims of domestic violence and visas for juveniles who have been abused, abandoned or neglected. Students conduct "Know Your Rights" presentations for noncitizens who are detained by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).   

Human Rights and Inequality

Economic and social rights include the rights to food, housing, health care, and education. This course examines the capacity of economic and social rights to respond to problems of poverty, inequality, and market failure. Country case studies will be drawn from constitutional developments in South Africa, Colombia and India respectively, and these will be compared with State and federal law in the U.S. The course has no prerequisites and does not assume a familiarity with international human rights law, comparative law or international law. However, students with an interest in these areas, as well as public interest law, law and politics, and/or the globalization of law, are encouraged to register.

Business and Human Rights

Human rights are traditionally thought of as a set of norms and practices to protect individuals from threats by the state as a result of a state's duty to secure the conditions necessary for people to live a life of dignity. Gradually, obligations under this regime were extended to individual persons, including heads of state, seeking to hold them to account for conduct that rises to the level of international crimes. The1990s marked an effort to expand these norms to business enterprises, particularly multinational corporations. In 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council unanimously endorsed the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). Key elements of the UNGPs have also been adopted by numerous other international and national standard setting bodies, individual companies and business associations, workers organizations and civil society actors. This course will look at the governance gap prior to the UNGPs and their emerging doctrine, along with the three pillars they present, the state duty to protect, the business responsibility to respect, and access to remedy. In addition, participants will simulate an experience in developing a human rights impact assessment and advocacy strategy for holding corporations accountable. Students will be evaluated on two projects throughout the semester and a final paper along with class participation.

Movement Lawyering

This is a course about the complex relationship between lawyers, social movements, and social and legal change. We are living through a moment of instability and possibility where legal norms are eroding and transforming all around us. As lawyers (or at least soon-to-be lawyers) we are faced with the question of what roles we should or can play either in upholding, challenging, or remaking the systems that we operate within. This course offers an opportunity to reflect on this question by thinking deeply and critically about how and whether lawyers can play a role in social movements. While we will be reading and studying together as a class, we'll also be interacting with (and reading alongside) law students and lawyers from around the country. Students in the course will have the chance to learn from and question practicing lawyers. In addition to the traditional modes of engagement (reading and writing), students will have the chance to lead class meetings, do individualized field research in their areas of interest, and engage with law students from around the country.

Introduction to Critical Race Theory

As civil rights gains were rolled back in the 1970s & 1980s, a group of scholars, beginning with the late Derrick Bell, sought to critique the notion of formal equality and colorblindness under law that pervade American conceptions of "equality" and "justice." This course explores the body of theory he pioneered, now called Critical Race Theory (CRT), and some of its many interdisciplinary directions. In it, we will consider the history of race and racial inequality in the United States, in ways which recognize the tendency of both to intersect with other axes of inequality including gender, sexuality, class, and disability. We will also consider the many ways that formal equality under law obscures continuing racial inequality through purported race neutrality. Specifically, we will examine, understand, & theorize how American conceptions of liberalism, with their attendant reliance on individual responsibility and meritocracy, serve as consistent and effective alibis for racial inequality. Finally, we will consider how CRT has been taken up by non-legal disciplines and in popular culture, particularly in ways which allow us to hone strategies for achieving radical equality & social justice by building on the theoretical insights of the past. The major assignment for this writing and discussion driven course will be a substantial, analytic paper which takes the theories that we discuss and applies them to a contemporary or historical problem of formal equality under the law.

International Human Rights Practicum*

*Currently open to law students only

This course focuses on appellate submissions to regional and international courts and other legal organizations that address international human rights issues. For spring 2020, students will work on submissions to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). The Inter-American System for the protection of human rights (IASHR) is the regional system responsible for monitoring, promoting, and protecting human rights in the countries that are members of the Organization of American States (OAS). Currently, it is one of the strongest regional human rights protection systems in the world. This clinic will include two components. (1) The practicum will provide students with practical experiences in advocacy for the promotion of international protection of human rights through amicus briefs before the IACtHR; drafting of legal reports, protocol proposals, and hearings before the IACHR; and the possibility of submissions to other human rights tribunals around the world. (2) The accompanying seminar will provide an overview on the study of the IASHR, including its normative framework, mechanisms, rights protected and its principal entities. Possible practicum fieldwork at the IACHR (Washington DC) or the IACtHR (San José, Costa Rica) during spring break. Previous course work in International Law, International Human Rights, and/or International Legal Research is not required, but may provide an enriched perspective.


Political Science

Global Public Goods and Cooperation in International Politics

Some of our most urgent challenges, from global warming and international financial crises to nuclear proliferation, global epidemics or disruption of the internet, can be understood as "global public goods." These require international actors to bargain, coordinate and collaborate in reaching effective responses. This seminar investigates the nature of public goods and collective action in order to help understand these pressing challenges, possible responses to them, and how politics both limits and opens opportunities for policy formation. It begins with prevalent theories about the production of public goods, from the local to transnational and global, and analysis of their governance. It then studies in depth three case studies, providing international financial stability, slowing the spread of nuclear weapons worldwide, and mitigating global climate disruption. It concludes by examining the implications of rising socio-economic inequality in major countries worldwide.


Psychological Responses to Humanitarian Crises: Human Rights, Gender Violence, and International Justice

This course develops a critical framework for understanding the psychological and social effects of selected natural and unnatural disasters and current responses to them. Course goals include: the development of a critical understanding of gendered oppression in contexts of war and humanitarian crises; an analysis of selected psychosocial interventions in the context of development and humanitarian aid; a critical analysis of international human rights as potential resources; and, the formulation of programmatic responses for mental health and human rights workers seeking to creatively respond to women and child survivors in collaboration with community-based indigenous workers and advocates.

Psychology of Trauma: Cross-Cultural & Social Justice

The focus of this course is on the biopsychosocial aspects of traumatic stress. The course involves an exploration of psychological sequelae of various types of interpersonal violence, such as physical abuse, sexual assault, and political trauma across diverse populations. Assessment and clinical and community-based interventions concerning traumatic stress will be discussed with attention to cultural and linguistic diversity. The course includes a special emphasis on the examination of social justice and human rights in the context of interpersonal and collective violence.

Participatory Action Research: Gender, Race, and Power

This course will introduce students to theoretical and practical issues in the design and implementation of field-based participatory action research. We will review theories and practices that have contributed to community-based knowledge construction and social change. Ethnographic, narrative, and oral history methodologies will be used as additional resources for understanding and representing the individual and collective stories co-constructed through the research process. We will reflect collaboratively and contextually on multiple and complex constructions of gender, race, and social class in community-based research.

NB: Preference in registration for Participatory Action Research: Gender, Race, and Power will be given to those certificate students needing the class to complete certificate requirements in their year of graduation.

Critical Perspectives on the Psychology of Race, Class, and Gender

Using a social psychological framework, introduces multiple strategies for thinking culturally about select psychological constructs and processes (for example, the self, family and community relations, and socio-political oppression). Also pays particular attention to race and class as sociocultural constructs important for the critical analysis of the relationships of culture and psychology. Explores the implications of these constructs for intercultural collaboration and action.<




Social Work

SCWK6609 Interdisciplinary Approaches to Borderlands and Human Mobility

This course will analyze borderlands dynamics, their impact on international human mobility, and different disciplinary approaches to create effective interventions and/or regional analysis. Recently, global border regions have taken front and center in discussions of migration and forced migration. Emerging nationalistic sentiments have fostered policies and dynamics to increase surveillance, control, and conflict along border regions. The "Remain in Mexico'' and Title 42 policies are some examples of how the United States government externalizes its borders and enforces policies that impact peoples' lives at different levels. Furthermore, border regions remain lively, as local and foreign populations interact and try to navigate the unfolding dynamics of human mobility. This course offers the opportunity to understand and analyze different contexts in border regions, as well as the opportunity to interact with students from different disciplinary backgrounds. It also allows students to identify vulnerable populations in these settings, and to reflect on the impact their particular discipline has in understanding and participating in borderland dynamics. This course is a travel course that requires the completion of two on-line modules, participation in two on-line sessions before departure, 8 days of immersion during the Spring Break in the San Diego, U.S.-Tijuana, Mexico region, and one additional session upon return.

Participants will need to cover their transportation costs and the course fee.


The days for the immersion will comprise different sessions and encounters with organizations on the ground. Due to the current pandemic, some sessions may have to be online while either in San Diego or Tijuana. Participants need to have a current passport and required visas to travel.

SCWK7777 Services to Migrants: A Border Perspective

The right to migrate and protective stance of sovereign nations creates an inevitable conflict. Along the US border with Mexico there has arisen a variety of responses by government, religious and community organizations that seek to address various aspects of migration. This field based study of policy and services will seek understanding of the conflicts, explore the wants and needs of migrants, pursue the social policies that impact migration north from Central America and assess the range of human services and their outcomes in the Nogales AS corridor.

Global Perspectives on Gender Inequalities

A course designed to investigate cross-cultural perspectives of gender inequalities and how these inequalities affect women's health, mental health, economic status, families, and their general well-being. Beginning with a framework for studying gender and ethnicity that will enable comparative analysis of women's issues among different cultures, the course focuses on basic concepts and theories that help our understanding of gender and culture. In addition, students will learn how to access cross-national data and statistics on women's social, physical, and psychological well-being.

Immigrant and Refugee Issues in the United States

A seminar designed to familiarize students with prominent theories, major issues, and controversies in immigration policy and social work practice with immigrants and refugees. While immigration has become a crucial concern of the American social welfare system as well as an issue of global urgency, immigration controls the fate of growing numbers of asylum seekers The adaptation problems of the children of immigrants have important practice and research implications for social workers. Students are encouraged to understand immigration issues in comparative and interdisciplinary perspectives.

Frameworks and Tools for Global Practice

Prerequisite: SW 762 and SW 800
Required for, and restricted to, Global Practice Field-of-Practice Concentration.
An advanced course that prepares students for effective practice in a global context and covers three broad areas: a framework for the rights-based perspective; rights-based programming with reference to vulnerable groups; and building sustainable systems. Students will be exposed to rights-based approaches to social work practice mainly in countries of the global south. Areas of focus include working with vulnerable populations such as children in a variety of settings, gender issues, migration as well as working with various NGOs, governmental and United Nations systems. Emphasis will be placed on working with diverse client populations in each practice setting.

Global Policy Issues and Implications

An advanced policy course that introduces approaches, issues and competencies of global social work policy interventions. This course focuses on policy analysis in the context of world-wide poverty, underdevelopment, and sustainable development. In the context of social justice, equality, universal human rights and international collaboration (partnerships), it perceives global systems and their policies as both a challenge for a sustainable planet and for the growth of its interdependent national/local communities.

The Impact of Traumatic Victimization on Child and Adolescent Development

An advanced seminar addressing psychological, sociological, legal, and ecological aspects of family violence in its varied forms, especially in the sexual, physical, and psychological abuse of children and adolescents. Theories of and research on intrafamilial and extrafamilial abuse are discussed. Counter-transference phenomena are identified and alternate forms of treatment are explored.

Cross-Cultural Issues/Social and Behavioral Research

This course explores how the increasing diversity of America presents both challenges and opportunities to social and behavioral researchers. The course explores current scholarship relevant to age; gender; immigration; race-ethnicity; and social class. It examines these concepts as processes that impact on multiple levels of social and behavioral functioning. The multicultural concepts are analyzed in relation to their theoretical and empirical base with the purpose of identifying social and behavioral research methods that are both cross-culturally sensitive and consequential.



Ethics of War and Peacemaking     

This course will study the many ethical questions that arise in a Christian assessment of war and peacemaking in the modern age. The course will include historical development and moral analysis of various theories of just war and non-violence. Among the applied ethical questions to be examined are humanitarian intervention, targeted killing, economic sanctions, pre-emptive and preventive wars.

Peace, Justice and Reconciliation

This course will consider theological and philosophical questions posed by the ethics of reconciliation in the social and political realms: In what respects are the reconciliation of peoples related to the themes of justice, liberation, reparation, and forgiveness? What are the appropriate forms of moral discourse invoked in assessing genocide, "ethnic cleansing," institutional racism, or the systematic rape of victims? In what respects are distinctively theological interpretations possible or necessary? This course explores the ethical dimensions of reconciliation, examining the interrelated aspects of justice, reconciliation, reparation, historical memory, and forgiveness. It gives special attention to recent attempts at public reconciliation.

Reconciliation in A World of Conflict

The twentieth century's legacy is marked by social conflict and war: more than 200 million people killed because of political repression, ethnic or religious wars. Enlisting a theological lens, this seminar examines the Christian resources and contribution to the problem of reconciliation. After examining the most important secular approaches to the problem of personal and social conflict, we will focus on the main Christian theologies of reconciliation, including the works of Robert Schreiter, Miroslav Volf, John de Gruchy, and Jon Sobrino. Their theologies will be examined through individual case studies of the Balkan region, South Africa, and El Salvador.

Social Justice and the Bible

This course builds on the rich tradition of Catholic social teaching found in the papal, Vatican, and conferences of bishops documentary history and brings the insights of Catholic social ethics and biblical studies to bear on current social justice realities. Attention will be given to primary source documents in the prophetic and wisdom literature traditions of scripture and the social encyclicals found in CST. The course a) presents the concerns of justice making/justice breaking in the primary literature of these traditions, b) explores the social, economic, and educational conditions of those who are vulnerable or otherwise marginalized, and c) considers how to realize the preferential option for the poor as the Gospel demand for justice.

Global Health and Theological Ethics

The Course engages theological ethics in promoting global health as an urgent good and right that is integral to a vision of just society. Global health challenges (from HIV/AIDS to poverty and underdevelopment) are studied by highlighting international examples (from Asia, Africa, and the Americas) that help to identify the theological agenda and to implement it. Public health concerns and universal health coverage are part of this agenda worldwide. The Course’s theological analyses and proposals rely on Catholic and Protestant insights (from social doctrine to philosophical and theological bioethical discourse).

Christian Ethics and Migration

The phenomenon of intensified migration has emerged as one of the defining characteristics of the contemporary era. This seminar will take up interdisciplinary reflections on the scope and impact of migration, with particular attention to ethical dimensions of displacement, membership, and the plight of migrants and their communities. The course presumes a fairly advanced background in theological ethics and is intended primarily for doctoral and STL students. Others with appropriate background may participate with the permission of the instructor.