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Course content

Migration is increasingly a high-priority issue for governments and organisations around the world. Explore the social, economic and political drivers and consequences of forced and voluntary migration.

Drawing on several disciplines, including political science, geography and history, you'll discover why and how migration happens and gain an in-depth understanding of the challenges and opportunities it creates. You can choose to examine topics such as the refugee crisis in Europe, labour migration, multiculturalism and immigration as an election issue.

Learning across disciplines

You'll not only gain an in-depth understanding of migration issues, you'll develop your critical thinking, communications and research skills.

If you're a Master's student, you may have the opportunity to do an internship with an organisation involved in migration policy, research or practice. Or you can choose to complete a 60-point research project instead. Take the opportunity to contribute your own perspectives to the study of migration.

Qualification family structure

The Master of Migration is part of a tiered family of qualifications:

  • Master of Migration Studies
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Migration Studies
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Migration Studies

Choose the qualification that suits your career goals, time constraints and financial situation.

Staircasing allows movement in both directions—if you begin by enrolling in the Certificate or Diploma programme you can continue on to complete your Master's. Or if you enrol in the Master's but can't complete it, for whatever reason, you may be awarded the Certificate or Diploma.

What you'll study

The Master of Migration is divided into Part 1 and Part 2.

In Part 1 you'll complete four 30-point courses and you'll have some choice in what you study. In the core course—Approaches to Migration Studies POLS 488—you'll examine how migration is analysed, study the main concepts, theories and debates and prepare a research proposal. In your elective courses you might focus on a particular historical migration flow, explore the challenges of refugee resettlement in New Zealand, study the international or domestic politics of migration or choose to complete an individual research project.

In the second half of your studies, or Part 2, you'll complete a 60-point research essay that builds on your research proposal in Part 1 of the programme. Alternatively, you may have the opportunity to complete an internship and research at a workplace involved in migration.

If you're doing the Diploma, you'll complete Part 1 of the Master's.

Certificate students complete the core course in Part 1 and choose one further course from the MMigS programme.

How you'll learn

For most of your courses you'll attend one three-hour seminar each week that will include classroom discussions and sometimes student presentations.

You'll also complete your own self-directed research under the guidance of your supervisor. You'll meet with them regularly to discuss your progress.

Duration and workload

The MMigS can be completed in one calendar year of full-time study, or in two years part time. You'll need to finish the degree within three years of enrolling.

The PGDipMigS takes two trimesters of full-time study or can be studied over four trimesters part time.

You can complete the PGCertMigS in one trimester, or over two trimesters part time.

If you are studying full time, you can expect a workload of 40–45 hours a week for much of the year. Part-time students doing two courses per trimester will need to do around 20–23 hours of work a week. Make sure you take this into account if you are working.

In the heart of it

In the capital city of Wellington, you'll be at the centre of immigration policy and decision-making. Take advantage of Victoria's links with national organisations that deal with migration such as the Office of Ethnic Communities, the Asia New Zealand Foundation and Immigration New Zealand.


Postgraduate study at Victoria will help you build valuable relationships and networks with peers, university staff and future colleagues.

You'll have opportunities to attend events, workshops, social functions and seminars such as the Student Learning Postgraduate Seminars skills sessions.

The Postgraduate Students' Association can give you information and provides a voice for you on campus.


People with an in-depth knowledge of migration issues are increasingly in demand in governments, NGOs, media and research organisations. You'll be able to apply your understanding of migration in a wide range of professions such as policy analysis, research, international development, community development and refugee resettlement.




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Recipient: Victoria University of Wellington

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