SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Migration and Policy

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Term 1

While there has long been a high level of academic and policy interest in immigration policy in the global North, in this module we explore a wide range of policy processes around the world that shape the dynamics and impacts of migration. The module provides students with the opportunity to engage critically with the complex configurations of institutions, politics and normative claims that underpin migration-related policy (with an emphasis on contemporary policy developments, although these are situated in an historical perspective). It also challenges students to explore alternative policy approaches. In particular, we consider debates and initiatives relating to urbanisation and internal resettlement projects; international labour migration and migrants’ rights; education, skills and mobility; and various forms of economic and political transnationalism. Students investigate the positions taken by a variety of stakeholders, from migrant associations, employers and trade unions, to emigration states, host states, regional bodies and international development agencies.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of this module, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate awareness of the ways that migration and related interactions have been an aspect of development processes around the world; understand, apply and evaluate the usefulness of different theoretical frameworks used to analyse migration;
  • Demonstrate awareness of the role of a wide range of policy processes in mediating the relationship between migration and development; identify the configurations of institutions, politics and normative claims underpinning particular policy measures; critically assess the aims and impact of migration-related policy initiatives; explore alternative policy approaches;
  • Think in inter-disciplinary ways about the impact of migration and relevant policy processes, drawing questions and evidence from a variety of perspectives and sources; demonstrate awareness of the challenges of assessing the impact of migration and migration-related policy and be able to ask critical questions about methodological approaches; and be able to illustrate their discussions with appropriate empirical examples.


Teaching takes place through a weekly 3 hour seminar

Method of assessment

100% Coursework. Each student will be required to submit a Briefing Paper no more than 1500 words worth 30% of the overall grade and an Essay of no more than 4000 words worth 70% of the overall grade. . Resubmission of coursework regulations apply.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules