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Department of Development Studies

MSc Migration Mobility and Development

Duration: One calendar year (full time). Two or three years (part time, daytime only). 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). Relevant work experience may also be considered.

Start of programme: September intake only

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 course 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
  • Colonialism
  • Nations, states and territory
  • Globalisation
  • (Illegal) workers in the global economy
  • Place and emplacement
  • Assimilation/acculturation/discrimination
  • Transnational migrants & mobile lives
  • Trafficking
  • 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.

Please see Postgraduate courses or 'Structure' below for further details on core and optional courses.

Structure

Overview

There are four main components to this degree: three taught courses and a 10,000 word dissertation. All students take a core course,  Migration, Mobility and Development. A distinctive feature of the core course is that students work together in small groups to produce a migration related research report. They then select one of two further courses: Political Economy of Development or Theory, Policy and Practice of Development or follow an alternative specialized core course which may be offered by the department. Through these courses students build their analytical skills and knowledge of the main issues and debates in Development Studies.

Specialisation

Students also take optional courses (one full course or two half courses), 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 courses may run in a given year. Courses at other institutions are not part of the approved programme structure.

Core Courses

All students take Migration, Mobility and Development. Then select either Political Economy of Development or Theory, Policy and Practice of Development. The dissertation is compulsory.

Non-Assessed Courses

All MSc students in Development Studies are eligible to attend the one-term , non-assessed course, Economics for Beginners,which introduces students to basic concepts in microeconomics, macroeconomics, development economics, and statistics and econometrics.

Optional Courses - Development Studies

Students may choose optional courses (one full course or two half courses) from the list below. Please check to ensure that any course in which you have a special interest is running in the year that you wish to study. In addition, access to relevant courses in other departments may be negotiated subject to the agreement of both Convenors.

Open Options in Other Departments
Economics Department
Politics and International Studies Department
School of Law
Anthropology and Sociology Department
Centre for Gender Studies
History Department
Study of Religions

Programme Specification

Teaching & Learning

Materials

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 courses (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 courses 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.

Destinations

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.

A Student's Perspective

SOAS seems to attract students who are both intellectually engaged with the world around them, and committed to making an impact in that world. I wanted to be a part of that magic. For example my cohort group of MPhil/PhD students represent some of the most humble and committed practitioners, activists, and intellectuals I’ve come across in one setting.

Robtel Neajai Pailey