Date of Graduation

Winter 12-15-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International and Multicultural Education (IME)


School of Education


International and Multicultural Education (IME)

First Advisor

Melissa Canlas


The purpose of this study is to determine the efficacy of accredited online diploma programs within refugee camps. When individuals are confined to camps and unable to work and travel in search of economic opportunity, does completing an accredited diploma program improve their quality of life and contribute to their human capital? Can higher education in refugee camps produce sustainable social service projects that benefit residents? There is a demonstrated value in a liberal arts education, but which aspects of this learning schema are most beneficial in the refugee camp context have yet to be explored.

The study conducted in Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi, found that an accredited liberal arts course of study has had a significant impact on both alumni and the greater camp community. Alumni have experienced a significant transformation related to their personal empowerment and human capital. Program graduates demonstrated hard skills related to business development, teaching practice and conflict resolution/negotiation. Interviews with alumni and community members confirmed that the diploma program produced valuable projects, community-based organizations, and offered social services that are vital to improving the well being of the Dzaleka community.