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Department of Anthropology and Sociology

MA in Migration and Diaspora Studies

Duration: One calendar year (Full-Time) Two or three years (Part-Time, daytime only) The expectation in the UK is of continuous study across the year, with break periods used to read and to prepare coursework. We recommend that part-time students have between two and a half and three days free in the week to pursue their course of study.

Overview

Minimum Entry Requirements: Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent)

Start of programme: September only

Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time

The MA in Migration and Diaspora Studies is a broad-based degree for students who want to receive specialized research training in Migration and Diaspora Studies, including a relevant language, which will prepare them to proceed to advanced postgraduate research in Migration and Diaspora Studies at SOAS or elsewhere.

This MA is designed to appeal to students from a variety of backgrounds who:

  • Wish to know more of the transnational nature of the modern world;
  • Wish to continue their anthropological study at a postgraduate level and engage in critical contemporary theory;
  • Wish to understand cultural transformation from a global perspective;
  • Come from other disciplines, such as Law or Politics, and now wish to incorporate an anthropological perspective on issues of migration and diaspora.

The degree offers students a chance to pursue specialist interests by a considered selection of courses to suit their individual needs. It provides:

  1. A broad-based MA for students who wish to enhance their knowledge in light of continuing contemporary research;
  2. A special interest MA, enabling students to study diaspora and migration issues in depth in relation to a particular discipline or region.

The programme attracts students from around the world. It encourages a transdisciplinary approach to issues of migration and diaspora, providing historical depth as well as perspectives from anthropology, sociology, and postcolonial studies. The programme also works closely with a number of departments across the school, such as Development Studies, the Centre for Gender Studies as well as Law and Politics, which also run migration and diaspora related courses. Most of these courses are available as options on the programme, making it a unique MA in terms of both its breadth and depth.

In the recent past, our students have been highly successful in going on to further study and a number have received scholarships for research degrees at SOAS and elsewhere. Many have also gone on to work with NGOs and in the public sector as well as arts organizations. We have a good staff-student ratio, which ensure the best support for personal academic development and training which enhances future career prospects.

The MA in Migration and Diaspora Studies is considerably enriched by the SOAS Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies, which runs seminars, films and public lectures and also hosts a number of international scholars. The Centre is also a part of a migration research network of London colleges including LSE and UCL. Students on the programme therefore have unparalleled access to a critical body of scholars and scholarship on migration and diaspora related issue.

Prospective students are encouraged to contact the Programme Convenor, Dr Parvathi Raman at an early stage of their application to seek advice on the most appropriate options for study. The programme consists of four elements, three examined courses and a 10,000-word dissertation on an approved topic.

Structure

Learn a language as part of this programme

Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.

Programme Overview

The course is designed to offer students a chance to pursue specialist interests by a considered selection of courses to suit their individual needs. It provides:

  1. a broad-based MA programme for students with some background in issues of migration and diaspora who wish to enhance their knowledge in the light of continuing contemporary research.
  2. a special interest MA, which will enable students to study diaspora and migration issues in depth in relation to a particular discipline or region.

Prospective students will be encouraged to contact the Programme Convenor, Dr Parvathi Raman, at an early stage of their application in order to seek advice on the most appropriate options for study. The programme consists of four units, comprised of three examined courses and a dissertation.

CORE COURSES:
FOUNDATION COURSE
OPTION COURSES
  • Students choose their remaining unit (or two units if not taking Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology) from the Option Courses list.  A language course from the Faculty of Languages and Cultures may also be included.
    • At least one half or one full unit course must be taken from List 1.
    • If fewer than two courses are chosen from list 1, students must take not more than one course from list 2

Programme Detail

Core Courses
Foundation Course
Option Courses
List 1

At least one course must be chosen from this list.

List 2

If fewer than two courses are chosen from list 1, students must take not more than one course from list 2. May also be an Asian or African language from the Faculty of Languages and Cultures.

Programme Specification

Teaching & Learning

Teaching & Learning

During the academic year, teaching is centred mainly around lectures and seminars. For the core course in the first term, there is a one hour thematic lecture, followed by a two hour seminar, where students are encouraged to develop their ability for critical analysis and reflexivity. Students will occasionally be required to give a group presentation, encouraging collaborative work and the creative exchange of ideas, and in selected classes there will also be an in depth reading of a particular text by the whole class. Each week, students will share the responsibility for reading other selected texts, ensuring that a range of arguments and perspectives are discussed.

In the second term, teaching is framed around a two-hour student led seminar session, where a small group of students are responsible for leading each class. They will be guided by pre distributed lecture notes from the class tutors and selected readings from the reading list, and the objective will be to initiate an informed and lively discussion on the week’s topic. The class tutor will mediate the discussion

The teaching format is designed to help students progress intellectually over the year, advance their writing skills, and instil confidence in forming opinions and developing the ability to express their views articulately.

Assessment is by class participation and written assignments.

SOAS also has a large range of options on migration and diaspora related issues across the school. Teaching methods and assessment vary across these options, and their availability will depend on appropriate staff being available in the relevant academic year.

In addition, students are required to attend the weekly seminars held by the Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies, where they will hear international scholars give papers on a variety of migration and diaspora related topics. The seminars provide an invaluable backdrop for the transdiciplinary approach of the programme overall.

The student learning experience is also be enhanced by the public lectures, films and workshops the Centre organises.

SOAS library also houses an array of texts which complement the course to help fuel independent thinking and learning. 

Destinations

Studying an MA in Migration and Diaspora Studies at SOAS develops students’ understanding of the world, other peoples’ ways of life and how society is organised.  This programme with give students specialized research training in Migration and Diaspora Studies, including a relevant language.  Over the years the SOAS department has trained numerous leading anthropologists who have gone on to occupy lectureships and professorships throughout the world.  Equally, students gain skills during their degree that transfer well to areas such as information and technology, government service, the media and tourism.  

Postgraduate students leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek, including analytical and critical skills; ability to gather, assess and interpret data; high level of cultural awareness; and problem-solving.  A postgraduate degree 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.

A Student's Perspective

The programme is structured so that students are given a huge choice of options covering a wide geographic, thematic and conceptual scope. This breadth and the inter-disciplinary nature of the programme guarantee that students bring diverse academic knowledge and professional experiences to tutorials and the postgraduate community. Further, the seminars and events organised by the Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies really complement the course, convening scholars and students from various disciplines to discuss migration and diaspora issues.

James Ingram