SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

MSc Migration Mobility and Development

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.

Fees 2016/17

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

This is a Band 3 fee. The fees are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found in the Fees and Funding tab on this page or in the Registry Postgraduate Tuition Fees page

2017 Entry requirements

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

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  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Employment
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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 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
  • 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 modules or 'Structure' below for further details on core and optional modules.




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.


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.

Part-time Study

Part-time students are required to complete two of the core modules during their first year, then one unit or two half unit options plus the dissertation during the second year.

Core Courses: List 1

FOUR units required: three core modules – two from list one, one from list two and one optional module from list three.

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Migration and development 15PDSC006 1 Unit Full Year
Dissertation in Development Studies 15PDSC999 1 Unit Full Year
Optional Core Modules: List 2

Pick 1 Module from List 2

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Political economy of development 15PDSC002 1 Unit Full Year
Theory, policy and practice of development 15PDSC001 1 Unit Full Year
Non-Assessed Courses

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

Optional Modules: List 3

Pick 1 Module from List 3

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Agrarian Development, Food Policy and Rural Poverty 15PDSH026 0.5 Unit Term 2
Aid and Development 15PDSH027 0.5 Unit Term 1
Borders and Development 15PDSH023 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Civil society, social movements and the development process 15PDSH001 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Development Practice 15PDSH013 0.5 Unit Term 2
Environment, Governance and Development 15PDSH050 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Extractive Industries, Energy, Biofuels and Development in a Time of Climate Change 15PDSH048 0.5 Unit Term 2
Famine and food security 15PDSH022 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Fundamentals of research methods for Development Studies 15PDSH017 0.5 Unit Term 1
Gender and Development 15PDSH010 0.5 Unit Term 1
Global Commodity Chains, Production Networks and Informal Work 15PDSH024 0.5 Unit Term 2
Global Health and Development 15PDSH051 0.5 Unit Term 2
Issues in Forced Migration 15PDSH015 0.5 Unit Term 2
Marxist Political Economy and Global Development 15PDSH053 0.5 Unit Term 2
Migration and Policy 15PDSH029 0.5 Unit Term 1
Natural resources, development and change: putting critical analysis into practice 15PDSH031 0.5 Unit Term 2
Neoliberalism, Democracy and Global Development 15PDSH054 0.5 Unit Term 2
Problems of Development in the Middle East and North Africa 15PDSH019 0.5 Unit Term 2
Security 15PDSH020 0.5 Unit Term 1
The working poor and development 15PDSH030 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Understanding Economic Migration: Theories, Patterns and Policies 15PDSH032 0.5 Unit Term 2
Water and development:conflict and governance 15PDSH049 0.5 Unit Term 2
Open Options in Other Departments
Economics Department
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Economic development in Africa 15PECC203 1 Unit Full Year
Economic dynamics of the Asia-Pacific region 15PECC334 1 Unit Full Year
Economic problems and policies in modern China 15PECC035 1 Unit Full Year
The political economy of development in Africa 15PECH004 0.5 Unit Term 1
Politics and International Studies Department
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Government and politics in Africa 15PPOC205 1 Unit Full Year
Government and politics of modern South Asia 15PPOC003 1 Unit Full Year
Taiwan's politics and cross-strait relations 15PPOC252 1 Unit Full Year
School of Law
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Human Rights in The Developing World 15PLAC111 1 Unit Full Year
Water Law: Justice and Governance 15PLAH044 0.5 Unit Term 1
Anthropology and Sociology Department
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
African and Asian Diasporas in the Modern World 15PANH010 0.5 Unit Term 1
Therapy and Culture 15PANH027 0.5 Unit Term 1
Centre for Gender Studies
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Gendering migration & diasporas 15PGNH002 0.5 Unit Term 1
History Department
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Environmental History of Asia 15PHIH023 0.5 Unit Term 2
Study of Religions
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Religions and Development 15PSRH049 0.5 Unit Term 1

Programme Specification


Teaching and Learning


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.


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


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.


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.

Pre Entry Reading

Bakewell, O., 2010. 'Some Reflections on Structure and Agency in Migration Theory', Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 1-20 Available through Informaworld

Bartram D., Poros M., and Monforte P, 2014. Key concepts in Migration London: Sage

Castles S. & Miller M., 2009. The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World, 4th edition. New York: Guilford Press. Available in SOAS Library.

Chant, S. (ed.), 1992. Gender and migration in developing countries. London: Belhaven Press. Available in SOAS Library.

Cohen R., 2006. Migration and its enemies. Global Capital, Migrant Labour and the Nation-State Aldershot: Ashgate

Cortina J, Ochoa-Reza E., 2014. New Perspectives on International Migration and Development. Columbia University Press: New York

Faist T., Fauser M. & Kivisto K, 2011. The migration-development nexus: A transnational perspective. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh E., Long K., Sigona N. (eds), 2014. The Oxford Handbook of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies OUP: Oxford

Gardner, K. and Osella, F. 2003, ‘Migration, modernity and social transformation in South Asia’, Contributions to Indian Sociology, Vol. 37, No. 1-2, pp. v-xxviii Available through SAGE Premier

Glick Schiller N. & Faist T., 2010. Migration, development, and transnationalization: A critical stance. New York: Berghahn Books

Harvey D., 1982. The Limits to Capital. Oxford: Blackwell

Harzig C. and Hoerder D., 2009. What Is Migration History? Cambridge: Polity Press.

IOM World Migration Reports

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

Full details of postgraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Postgraduate Tuition Fees page.

This is a Band 3 tuition fee.

The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 

Full-timePart-time 2 YearsPart-time 3 Years
£10,470 £17,895 £5,235 £8,948 £3,490 £5,965


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

I think the friends I’ve made are the most gratifying part of the study abroad experience. Some of my favourite memories of SOAS come from the late night conversations shared over mugs of tea with my flatmates. Though classes and academics are an important facet of studying at SOAS, I am just so impressed with a number of other SOAS students

Jason Hill, Tufts University


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