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Refugee Studies (MSc)

Course Description

Taught by internationally recognised members of staff with a range of innovative research experiences, the course is interdisciplinary. It requires the use of theoretical and methodological insights, knowledge and perspectives of different disciplines. This provides opportunities for in-depth understanding and explanation of the problem of Forced Migration and its interface with other social science disciplines, such as development studies, law, sociology, anthropology, political science and psychology.

Starting in either January or September this programme aims to develop your critical engagement with the theories and practices of forced migration and development studies. In-depth knowledge of both disciplines is critical to understand and explain the causes and consequences of forced migration, analyse, critique and evaluate host governments, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) and NGO's policies on protection, reception and settlement strategies, as well as the short and long-term responses of inter and non-governmental organisations.

MSc Refugee Studies is led by Professor Gaim Kibreab, an internationally recognised expert on forced migration, resettlement, repatriation and development, conflict, environment, water resources governance, post-conflict reconstruction, gender and development, livelihoods, governance and civil society.

See the website http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/courses/course-finder/refugee-studies-msc


- International refugee law

- Asylum policy in the EU and member states
This module begins with a brief history of the EU and traces trends and transformations in the post-war period, before focusing on five case studies and then examining of the different but related processes of harmonisation and convergence between EU member states. The links between sending and receiving counties and new initiatives linking development (aid) and asylum policy will also be considered. The course will also spend several weeks examining the asylum policies of the Americas and Africa. We will look into the differences between the systems and the causes behind those differences. Are those systems better than the Common European Asylum System? If so, why? Can we learn from other systems or are there too many fundamental differences.

- Forced migration and human rights
This module examines the inter-relationship between international human rights standards and forced migration. It will familiarise the student both with internationally and regionally protected human rights standards (civil and political, economic social and cultural) whose violation gives rise to forced migration and with the human rights issues in the host states to which the forced migrants move. It will introduce students to the UN and regional systems governing these issues and to specific themes which bring human rights and forced migration together.

- Forced migration and development
The module introduces the key concepts in Forced Migration and Development and different categories of forced migrants--asylum-seekers, refugees, IDPs, oustees and disaster victims. It examines the multiple and complex nature of Forced Migration, evaluates the responses of the international, inter-governmental, non-governmental and governmental responses to the short-medium and long-term needs of forced migrants and the poor sections of the host population. It critically analyses and evaluates the positive and negative impacts of forced migrants on host commmoduleies. How forced migrants (re)-construct their commmoduleies and livelihoods in countries of asylum and places of destination, as well in countries and places of origin in the context of post-conflict reconstruction are also examined in detail.

- Contemporary issues in development
The module aims to provide a comprehensive and detailed introduction to the contemporary challenges facing developing countries in the coming years. Topics vary from one year to the next, but currently the focus is on issues of poverty and poverty reduction; aid and its effectiveness; debt and debt servicing; governance and transparency; the environmental impact of development; patterns of inequality; the impact of urbanisation; and more generally, on changing economic relations within the world economy following the 2008-9 global crisis and subsequent events. The module also assesses the main developing strategies followed by selected middle and low-income countries, with detailed case studies drawn from Asia, Africa and Latin America. It also examines these topics from a gender perspective.

- Research methods for development
A series of lectures introduces students to the main epistemological approaches to research and key research strategies, and focuses on mixed-methods research (MMR). In parallel, students will participate in tutor-led workshops to develop data summary and analysis skills with specific computer-based packages.

- Dissertation (triple module)


The course is interdisciplinary and designed for graduates who wish to pursue careers with governments (eg immigration authorities), immigration lawyers, lobbying groups, national and international NGOs, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and other international humanitarian and development organisations.

Some graduates of the MSc Refugee Studies programme have established their own NGOs and are serving asylum seekers, refugees and internally displaced persons in their countries of origin.

LSBU Employability Services

LSBU is committed to supporting you develop your employability and succeed in getting a job after you have graduated. Your qualification will certainly help, but in a competitive market you also need to work on your employability, and on your career search. Our Employability Service will support you in developing your skills, finding a job, interview techniques, work experience or an internship, and will help you assess what you need to do to get the job you want at the end of your course. LSBU offers a comprehensive Employability Service, with a range of initiatives to complement your studies, including:

- direct engagement from employers who come in to interview and talk to students
- Job Shop and on-campus recruitment agencies to help your job search
- mentoring and work shadowing schemes. You'll be taught by academic staff with a wide range of theoretical, practical and research experiences of refugee studies in the EU, Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Teaching and learning

Study hours:
Year 1 class contact time is typically 16 hours per week plus individual tutorial time and independent study. This accumulates to typically two days and two evenings a week.


All modules apart from the dissertation are assessed by 5,000 word pieces of coursework.

Visit the Refugee Studies (MSc) page on the London South Bank University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

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