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MSc Migration Mobility and Development

Course Description

Who is this programme for?:

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
Nations, states and territory
(Illegal) workers in the global economy
Place and emplacement
Transnational migrants & mobile lives
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.

Visit the website http://www.soas.ac.uk/development/programmes/prog/


- 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.

Programme Specification

Programme Specification 2015/16 (pdf; 78kb) - http://www.soas.ac.uk/development/programmes/prog/file101784.pdf


SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.

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.

- Lectures

Most modules involve a two hour lecture as a key component with linked tutorial classes.

- Seminars

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.

- Dissertation

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.

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website (http://www.soas.ac.uk/careers/graduate-destinations/).

Find out how to apply here - http://www.soas.ac.uk/admissions/pg/howtoapply/

Visit the MSc Migration Mobility and Development page on the SOAS University of London website for more details!

All Available Videos:

Student Profiles

Canon Collins Scholarships - No. of awards TBC

These scholarships are for Masters study in any subject field.
The application process normally opens in December and closes in February, for study commencing in September the following year. Please go to the Canon Collins website and click "Apply for A Scholarship" and then "Canon Collins Scholarship for Masters Study in the UK" for further information on how to apply.

Value of Scholarship(s)

See website


Country/Nationality: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Application Procedure

See the website

Further Information



SOAS Master's Scholarships - Faculty of Law and Social Sciences - 16 Awards

There are six SOAS Master's scholarships available in the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences. Each is valued at £16,765 each in total. Fees will be deducted from this amount and the remainder will be used toward maintenance. In addition to these six SOAS Master's scholarship, the Faculty will offer an extra 10 scholarships, each valued at approximately £1,500.Candidate Assessment:
- Candidates will be assessed on academic merit by an Advisory Panel consisting of at least three academic members of the Faculty. - The assessment of your application will be based on the information provided in your scholarship application and in your on-line admission application for admission. Selectors will be looking at the degree results and also at academic references, statement and other relevant information.Scholarship Application Deadline
- Scholarship applications must be received no later than 17:00 (UK local time) on 24 February 2016. - In order to be considered for this scholarship, you must ALSO submit a complete online application to the degree programme as soon as possible and then submit an application for the scholarship. Applicants applying for scholarships must also submit an application for admission well in advance. Please note that complete applications for admission can take up to 4 weeks to be considered by the Department, although this duration can vary depending on the time of year. - You should prepare to wait up to 6 weeks in busy periods.

Value of Scholarship(s)



- Applicants must possess or expect to be awarded a First Class Honours Degree or equivalent. Students with a non-UK degree to be adjudged in the top rank by their referees and transcript.
- This scholarship is open to UK/EU applicants only.
- Applicants must have an offer of admission to pursue one of the eligible full-time masters programmes at SOAS by the scholarship application deadline.
- The scholarship cannot be held along with any other major scholarship or studentship.

Application Procedure

You must apply for this scholarship via the on-line scholarship application form

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent). Relevant work experience may also be considered.

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