The MA in Migration and Diaspora Studies is a broad-based degree for students who want to receive research training in Migration, and Diaspora, as well as Humanitarian and Refugee Studies, including a relevant language as part of the specialization. The degree will prepare students to proceed to advanced postgraduate research or to work s practitioners in fields related to Migration, Refugees and Humanitarian relief.
This MA is designed to appeal to students from a variety of backgrounds who:
- Wish to know more of the transnational nature of the modern world;
- Wish to engage with critical theories to understand the management of mobility and the impact of humanitarian relief;
- Wish to understand the role of migration in the major political and cultural processes of the contemporary world;
- Come from other disciplines, such as Law or Politics, and now wish to incorporate an anthropological perspective on issues of migration and diaspora.
The degree offers students a chance to pursue specialist interests by a considered selection of courses to suit their individual needs. It provides:
- A broad-based MA for students who wish to enhance their knowledge in light of continuing contemporary research;
- A special interest MA, enabling students to study diaspora and migration issues in depth in relation to a particular discipline or region.
The programme attracts students from around the world. It encourages a transdisciplinary approach to issues of migration and diaspora, providing historical depth as well as perspectives from anthropology, politics, sociology, and de-colonial 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 program seeks to facilitate a bridge between academia and work realities including advocacy, relief, arts and culture, as well as activism on the ground.
In the recent past, our students have been highly successful in going on to further study and a number have received scholarships for research degrees at SOAS and elsewhere. Many have also gone on to work with NGOs and in the public sector as well as arts organizations. We have a good staff-student ratio, which ensure the best support for personal academic development and training which enhances future career prospects.
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 issues.
Prospective students are encouraged to contact the Programme Convenor, Dr Ruba Salih, at an early stage of their application to seek advice on the most appropriate options for study. The programme consists of four elements, three examined courses and a 10,000-word dissertation on an approved topic.
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: September only
Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time
- Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent)
- One calendar year (Full-Time)
Two or three years (Part-Time, daytime only)
The expectation in the UK is of continuous study across the year, with break periods used to read and to prepare coursework.
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.
- UK/EU fees:
- Overseas fees:
Fees for 2020/21 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
Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.
The programme consists of 180 credits in total: 120 credits of modules and a dissertation of 10,000 words at 60 credits.
Students are expected to take all the core and compulsory modules listed below.
All students must audit the compulsory module, Ethnographic Research Methods during term 1. This will not count towards the 180 credits. Students will be expected to attend only lectures and do not attend seminars or submit any assessments. Students may choose to take this module (worth 15 credits) as part of their 120 credits from the option lists.
All students are required to take 30 credits from the Department of Anthropology and Sociology list.
The remaining credits can be selected from the relevant lists in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology or relevant options from other departments or a language module. See below for a detailed programme structure.
Students must complete a Dissertation (10,000 words) worth 60 credits.
Guided Module(s) from the Anthropology and Sociology list below, to the value of 30 credits.
Guided Module(s) from any of the lists below, OR from the Postgraduate Open Options List, to the value of 60 credits.
List of Modules (subject to availability)
Anthropology and Sociology
Modules in Other Department
The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.
Teaching & Learning
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.
During the academic year, teaching is centred mainly around lectures and seminars. For the core course in the first term, there is a one hour thematic lecture, followed by a two hour seminar, where students are encouraged to develop their ability for critical analysis and reflexivity. Students will occasionally be required to give a group presentation, encouraging collaborative work and the creative exchange of ideas, and in selected classes there will also be an in depth reading of a particular text by the whole class. Each week, students will share the responsibility for reading other selected texts, ensuring that a range of arguments and perspectives are discussed.
In the second term, teaching is framed around a two-hour student led seminar session, where a small group of students are responsible for leading each class. They will be guided by pre distributed lecture notes from the class tutors and selected readings from the reading list, and the objective will be to initiate an informed and lively discussion on the week’s topic. The class tutor will mediate the discussion
The teaching format is designed to help students progress intellectually over the year, advance their writing skills, and instil confidence in forming opinions and developing the ability to express their views articulately.
Assessment is by class participation and written assignments.
SOAS also has a large range of options on migration and diaspora related issues across the school. Teaching methods and assessment vary across these options, and their availability will depend on appropriate staff being available in the relevant academic year.
In addition, students are required to attend the weekly seminars held by the Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies, where they will hear international scholars give papers on a variety of migration and diaspora related topics. The seminars provide an invaluable backdrop for the transdiciplinary approach of the programme overall.
The student learning experience is also be enhanced by the public lectures, films and workshops the Centre organises.
SOAS library also houses an array of texts which complement the course to help fuel independent thinking and learning.
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 2020/21 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Fees go up each year, therefore, your tuition fee in your second & subsequent years of study will be higher. Our continuing students, on the same degree programme, are protected from annual increases higher than 5%.
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Intensive Language only
For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section
Studying an MA in Migration and Diaspora Studies at SOAS develops students’ understanding of the world, other peoples’ ways of life and how society is organised. This programme with give students specialized research training in Migration and Diaspora Studies, including a relevant language. Over the years the SOAS department has trained numerous leading anthropologists who have gone on to occupy lectureships and professorships throughout the world. Equally, students gain skills during their degree that transfer well to areas such as information and technology, government service, the media and tourism.
Postgraduate students leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek, including analytical and critical skills; ability to gather, assess and interpret data; high level of cultural awareness; and problem-solving. A postgraduate degree 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
During the MA, I had the opportunity to supplement the food courses with fantastic modules on migration studies, which provided a human and historical context for my dissertation and appreciation for the SOASian spirit.