SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

MA Migration and Diaspora Studies and Intensive Language

2 years full time, 4 years part time

Fees 2018/19

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

Fees for 2018/19 entrants. This is a Band 1 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

2018 Entry requirements

  • Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent)

Featured events

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Apply


Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time

Who is this programme for?:

  • Students who wish to know more of the transnational nature of the modern world;
  • Students who wish to continue their anthropological study at a postgraduate level and engage in critical contemporary theory;
  • Students who wish to understand cultural transformation from a global perspective;
  • Students who come from other disciplines, such as Law or Politics, and now wish to incorporate an anthropological perspective on issues of migration and diaspora.
  • Students with a degree in social anthropology wishing to pursue more specialist migration and diaspora related topics along with regional or language-based study
  • Students without a previous degree in Anthropology looking for an MA conversion degree to serve as a qualification for pursuing a further research degree in issues relating to migration and diaspora.

The two-year intensive language pathway is directed at students who want to engage with a country in a professional as well as academic way, as the intensive language courses will enable them to reach a near proficient knowledge of the language.

The MA in Migration and Diaspora Studies is a broad-based degree for students who want to receive specialized research training in Migration and Diaspora Studies, including a relevant language, which will prepare them to proceed to advanced postgraduate research in Migration and Diaspora Studies at SOAS or elsewhere.

The programme encourages a transdisciplinary approach to issues of migration and diaspora, providing historical depth as well as perspectives from anthropology, sociology, and postcolonial studies. The programme also works closely with a number of departments across the school, such as Development Studies, the Centre for Gender Studies as well as Law and Politics, which also run migration and diaspora related courses. Most of these courses are available as options on the programme, making it a unique MA in terms of both its breadth and depth.

The MA in Migration and Diaspora Studies is considerably enriched by the SOAS Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies, which runs seminars, films and public lectures and also hosts a number of international scholars. The Centre is also a part of a migration research network of London colleges including LSE and UCL. Students on the programme therefore have unparalleled access to a critical body of scholars and scholarship on migration and diaspora related issue.

It can also be taken with an intensive language pathway over two years, therefore making this programme unique in Europe.

The Japanese pathway is available for students who have an intermediate level of Japanese. Students will be required to take a placement exam in the week before classes begin in order to determine if their level is suitable. Please contact Professor Drew Gerstle ( for further information.

The Korean pathway is designed for beginner learners of Korean. Students with prior knowledge of Korean are advised to contact the programme convenor, Dr Anders Karlsson ( Students will take four course units in the Korean language, one of them at a Korean university during the summer after year 1.

The Arabic pathway is designed for beginner learners of Arabic. Students will take four units of Arabic, one of them at the Qasid Institute in Jordan or another partner institution during the summer after year 1.  Programme convenor: Dr Mustafa Shah (



Core course:
  • Students choose their remaining unit (or two units if not taking Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology) from the Option Courses list.  A language course from the Faculty of Languages and Cultures may also be included.


In the two-year language pathway, students take 2 intensive language units and African and Asian Diasporas in the Contemporary World (1 unit) in their first year.  During the summer, they will participate in a summer school abroad (location dependant on language).  Upon their return, they will take one intensive language unit in their second year and two optional  anthropology units.  In the intensive-language pathway, the same rules apply as for the usual MA.


This is the structure for 2017/18 applicants

If you are a current student you can find structure information on Moodle or through your Faculty.

Programme Specification


Teaching and Learning

Year abroad

Yes (summer)

Teaching & Learning

Contact Hours

All Masters programmes consist of 180 credits, made up of taught modules of 30 or 15 credits, taught over 10 or 20 weeks, and a dissertation of 60 credits. The programme structure shows which modules are compulsory and which optional.

As a rough guide, 1 credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. Most of this will be independent study, including reading and research, preparing coursework, revising for examinations and so on. It will also include class time, which may include lectures, seminars and other classes. Some subjects, such as learning a language, have more class time than others. At SOAS, most postgraduate modules have a one hour lecture and a one hour seminar every week, but this does vary.

More information is on the page for each module.

Aims and Outcomes

  • To introduce students to important areas of contemporary social theory which deal with issues of migration, globalisation, the postcolonial world, and cultural transformations.
  • To ground students in the historical basis of these issues
  • To encourage transdisciplinary thinking on issues of migration
  • To enable students to translate theoretical perspectives for practical application in the material world.
  • To provide students with a near proficient ability in a language.
  • Students will be expected to grasp the key debates in migration and diaspora studies from a critical perspective
  • To understand the global/historical/political and cultural background within which issues of migration and diaspora occur.
  • A critical understanding of the ways that migration has shaped the modern world, and the implications of this for future research.
Intellectual (thinking) skills
  • The development of analytical and theoretical skills based on a detailed understanding of the social science literature on migration and diaspora.
  • To approach theories and debates from a critical and reflexive basis.
  • To develop their presentation skills and their ability to articulate arguments coherently in order to promote class discussion and critical engagement with ideas and practices.
Subject-based practical skills
  • Communicate effectively in writing, in academic English
  • Retrieve, sift and select information from a variety of sources including print and other forms of mass media
  • Listen to and discuss ideas introduced during seminars.
  • Students with no knowledge of media technologies will have the opportunity to learn photographic and film making techniques through the Media unit.
  • Practice research techniques in a variety of specialized research libraries and institutes
  • In the two year intensive language pathway, to acquire/develop skills in a language to Effective Operational Proficiency level, i.e., being able to communicate in written and spoken medium in a contemporary language
Transferable skills

Students will be expected to learn to:

  • Plan, organise and write masters’ level essays and dissertations.
  • Structure and communicate ideas effectively both orally and in writing.
  • Understand unconventional ideas.
  • Present (non–assessed) material orally.
  • Function as a student and researcher in a radically different environment.
  • Be able to apply for funding to do a PhD.
  • Be prepared to enter a Social Science PhD programme.
  • An ability to work, and be at ease in, a multicultural environment

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 1 tuition fee.

Fees for 2018/19 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 2 year full-time programmes have 2 years of full-time fees - the fee in the second year will be higher than the fee for the first year (the full time fee below is for the first year only).

£9,225 £18,980
Felix Non- Indian Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2018-01-29 00:00

Felix Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2018-01-29 00:00

Sasakawa Postgraduate Studentship

Application Deadline: 2018-02-20 17:00

Tibawi Trust Award

Application Deadline: 2018-06-05 00:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section


Find out more

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