Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies


The Centre aims to foster and promote a supportive research and teaching environment for scholars concerned with issues of migration and diaspora, drawing on the skills and expertise of academics situated in disciplines such as anthropology, history, development studies, politics, religion, music and art history. The Centre covers not only the traditional SOAS heartlands of Asia and Africa, but also issues of migration and diaspora in Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean.

Since its inception in 1916, SOAS has built a worldwide reputation for its specialisation in regional scholarship, establishing a long tradition of research which is inherently transnational in character. Through the years, SOAS has built on this strength, and the school has attracted a growing number of academics from a variety of disciplines with interests in issues of transnationality, migration and diaspora.

In 2003, the school began one of the first interdisciplinary MA programmes in Migration and Diaspora Studies in the country, and in 2007, the Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies was established in order to co-ordinate activities across the school and establish collaborative links with other institutions both nationally and internationally.

Centre Activities

The Centre hosts an annual lecture by a scholar/public figure of international renown who speaks on issues of current interest in the field of migration and diaspora. In addition, weekly seminars are held during term time. Invited speakers include academics, policy makers, and those involved in the arts and media. The Centre also hosts workshops, conferences, and films, which aim to challenge current orthodoxy and expand our understanding of a world no longer defined predominantly by the borders of nation-states. Most events are open to the public.

Modules and Degree Programmes

SOAS offers a range of innovative courses on issues of migration and diaspora at both undergraduate and postgraduate level across a variety of disciplines. In addition it currently offers two degree programmes, the MA in Migration and Diaspora Studies, which is run from the Department of Anthropology and Sociology and the MSc in Migration, Mobility and Development, offered by the Department of Development Studies. Both one year programmes ground students in relevant theoretical and practical understandings of issues in migration and diaspora, equipping them with a range of skills which will enable them to proceed to work with NGOs, government bodies or private institutions, to name a few, concerned with the field of migration and diaspora.

In addition the Centre facilitates the supervision of migration and diaspora related MA dissertations and PhD theses, helping match prospective PhD students with supervisors in the school, and also supports applications for postgraduate research funding.

Visiting Scholars

Every year, the Centre aims to act as host to Visiting Scholars of Migration and Diaspora Studies. Visiting scholars will be invited to participate in the Centre’s seminar series, as well as other events sponsored by the Centre, and be encouraged to be an active member of the migration and diaspora research community at SOAS.

The Library

SOAS holds a range of resources to support research on issues of migration and diaspora. This library provision is an expanding resource at the school, aiming to offer not only classic texts but also to keep abreast of the plethora of current publications on relevant topics, both in books and journals.


The Centre welcomes donations from people wishing to support its activities. If you are interested, you may wish to consider funding MA or PhD studentships, or events hosted by the Centre such as workshops, lectures or conferences. Please contact the Centre chair to discuss any possibilities further.

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