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Department of Development Studies

Issues in forced migration

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Term 1

This course provides an introduction to the study of forced migration in the developing world, and aims to provide students with a broad understanding of various types of forced migration, the causes and consequences of displacement, and key contemporary questions in the field. The course draws on a range of theoretical approaches to understand the structural, historical, and political nature of forced migration, and highlights the relationship between underdevelopment and forced migration.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

By the end of the course, students should have:

  • Familiarity with the terms and principles of international refugee law and with changing patterns of forced migration over the second half of the 20th century. 
  • A critical understanding of the workings of the international refugee regime and its principal actors, including UN agencies (especially UNHCR), NGOs and Governments.
  • Awareness of the social and political dynamic negotiated by forced migrants and of the agency of such communities
  • Insight into debates surrounding the interface between humanitarian aid and development aid in refugee and returnee affected areas.
  • Understanding of the search for solutions to refugee situations, as well as of challenges to these.
  • Familiarity with a relevant body of the main information resources and refugee related literature, and a firm grasp of the concepts and debates in the field.


Teaching takes place through a weekly 2 hour lecture and 1 hour tutorial.

Method of assessment

100% coursework. Each student will be expected to submit one essay of no more than 1500 words (worth 30% of the final grade) and one essay of no more than 3500 words (worth 70%). Resubmission of coursework regulations apply.