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School of Law

Short Course in Refugee Law and Humanitarian support (SCRL01A)

NQF 5, Credits 12

The VerLoren van Themaat Centre for Public Law Studies, in collaboration with the Department of Social Work UNISA and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, offers a short course in Refugee Law and Humanitarian support.

The course

What will the course enable me to do?

The Short Course in Refugee Law and Humanitarian Support will equip me with:

  • knowledge of the challenges, backgrounds, causes and experiences of human migration and displacement;
  • the criteria of an effective, sustainable humanitarian response to the plight of refugees and internally displaced people;
  • basic knowledge about the South African, African and International legal frameworks regulating the rights and responsibilities of refugees; 
  • knowledge of the status determination process and its legal consequences.
  • the ability to respond professionally and with empathy to asylum seekers, refugees, internally displaced people, migrants and stateless people.

Who should take this course?

Any person who work with migrants, refugees, stateless people, internally displaced people, asylum seekers in any capacity eg, Home affairs officials, Social Workers, Social service practitioners, Lawyers, Local government officials, Non governmental organisations employees.

Duration of the course

This is a six months course.

Accreditation: Students will receive a university accredited certificate upon successful completion of the  course NQF level 5; 12 Credits

What does the course deal with?

The course consist of five units namely:

Unit 1:               Introduction
Unit 2:               International and regional legal frameworks
Unit 3:               The legal and contextual framework for the determination of refugee status in South Africa
Unit 4:               Basic principles of humanitarian response management
Unit 5:               Professional and empathic psychosocial support

Language medium

Tuition will be offered in English.

How will the course be taught?

This is a distance education course. This means that you will receive your study material in the post and it will be online accessible on myUnisa. The workshops will be facilitated to discuss and clarify the study material.

What are the admission requirements?

The minimum entry requirement is a Gr 12 (Std 10) certificate or appropriate experience to be approved by the VerLoren van Themaat Centre.


You will obtain a mark for the assignments you submit during the semester. You will also have to write a final examination. The examination for the first semester will be written during the May/June exams and for the second semester during the October/November exams.

How can I register?

Applications for admission to the course must be made on the attached application form. Fax or e mail your application form to (012) 429-3321 or On receiving your application form, you will be issued with a student number. You have to use this student number as reference on paying the study fees. The reference on your payment MUST be in the following format: the student number that you have been issued with, eg, 707019543101174764. Please note that there must be a space between your student number and the allocation. As soon as we receive your proof of payment, you will be registered and you will receive your study material.

What does the course cost?

The course costs R2 000.00. This amount includes all tutorial material, prescribed book and your registration and examination fees.

Payment of fees:

The minimum initial amount of R1 000.00 is payable on registration (from 21 May or 1 December ) and the balance of R1 000.00 to be paid before dates supplied  by the University. Application closing dates: 23 January, 1st semester and 25 June, 2nd semester.

Tel: 012 429 8306
Fax: 012 4293321

VerLoren van Themaat Centre
PO Box 392
0003 UNISA