The degree has been developed to meet the needs of people working, or hoping to work, in international agencies, humanitarian organisations, and NGOs and students intending to go on to carry out PhD research.The programme attracts applicants with a variety of academic and working backgrounds. We welcome those who have worked in the field of migration and / or development, but we also welcome applications from students without relevant work experience who can demonstrate a strong interest in the major themes of the programme and a strong first degree, preferably in a social science.
This innovative new programme in the Department of Development Studies offers students the opportunity to combine study and analysis of critical perspectives on development and the increasingly important and related field of migration studies.
The MSc in Migration, Mobility and Development will focus attention on the political economy of migration from a historical perspective, major trends in migration theories, and different forms of and approaches to the study of migration and displacement. The programme draws on the expertise of staff in development, migration and forced migration contexts from the Development Studies department, and encourages inter-disciplinary dialogue with other relevant departments and centres within SOAS.
The programme’s 20-week core modules will focus on the migration–development nexus, broadly conceived and defined. It will also expose students to a range of interlocking theoretical approaches which set out to account for constructions of and responses to migration and migrants, as well as to the scope and scale of migratory processes. Broadly, Term 1 provides analysis of the institutional, political, social and economic contexts where migration takes place and considers differentiated/mitigated effects. Term 2 builds on this to discuss types of migration via case study and other material, placing more emphasis on migrants’ perspectives and how these are mitigated by ‘contexts’.
Topics and themes include:
Sedentarism and the study of migration Polities & economies of migration Colonialism Nations, states and territory Globalisation (Illegal) workers in the global economy Place and emplacement Assimilation/acculturation/discrimination Transnational migrants & mobile lives Trafficking Development and migration Diasporas and development Refugees and internally displaced persons Development-induced displacement Environment and refugees/displacement Climate change-related migration Policy responses to migration Transformations North and South
The MSc in Migration, Mobility and Development will provide a thorough analytical grounding in international migration including different types of forced and voluntary migration, facilitating the development of specialized knowledge of particular case studies, as well as overall trends and theoretical frameworks. A rigorous academic programme, it will also give students the confidence to think in policy relevant terms and will be equally valuable to those proceeding to professional employment in the sector with international organizations, NGOs and government bodies, and for students intending to go on to carry out PhD research.
- Overview There are four main components to this degree: three taught modules and a 10,000 word dissertation. All students take a core module, Migration, Mobility and Development. A distinctive feature of the core module is that students work together in small groups to produce a migration related research report. They then select one of two further modules: Political Economy of Development or Theory, Policy and Practice of Development. Through these modules students build their analytical skills and knowledge of the main issues and debates in Development Studies.
- Specialisation Students also take optional modules (one full module or two half modules), allowing them to specialise in particular areas of development and possibly use them to develop a dissertation in a related theme. By tying these to their individual dissertation topic, students design their degree to suit their own interests and career development goals.
Students should be aware that not all optional modules may run in a given year. Modules at other institutions are not part of the approved programme structure.
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Teaching & Learning
The MSc programme consists of three taught modules (corresponding to three examination papers) and a dissertation. Courses are taught by a combination of methods, principally lectures, tutorial classes, seminars, collaborative research projects and supervised individual study projects.
Most modules involve a two hour lecture as a key component with linked tutorial classes.
At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work. Students make full-scale presentations for each unit that they take, and are expected to write papers that often require significant independent work.
A quarter of the work for the degree is given over to the writing of an adequately researched 10,000-word dissertation. Dissertation work requires students to make use of theoretical and empirical material and relate this to a migration related topic.
A postgraduate degree in Migration, Mobility and Development from SOAS provides graduates with a portfolio of widely transferable skills sought by employers, including analytical skills, the ability to think laterally and employ critical reasoning, and knowing how to present materials and ideas effectively both orally and in writing. Equally graduates are able to continue in the field of research, continuing their studies either at SOAS or other institutions.
An MSc in Migration, Mobility and Development is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.