SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

MSc Migration Mobility and Development (2021 entry)

Select year of entry: 2022 2021

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Employment


Overview and entry requirements

This innovative new MSc in Migration, Mobility and Development 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.

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MSc Migration Mobility and Development

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 our 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

See Department of Development Studies

Why study MSc Migration, Mobility and Development at SOAS

  • we are ranked number 5 in the QS World University Rankings in the subject of Development Studies
  • SOAS is ranked in the top 5 universities in the UK for producing a CEO or Managing Director, according to new research
  • 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
  • the department has a Migration, Mobility and Development Research Cluster
  • 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


Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time

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.

Entry requirements

  • We will consider all applications with 2:ii (or international equivalent) or higher. In addition to degree classification we take into account other elements of the application including supporting statement and references.

Featured events

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.




Students must take 180 credits per year comprised of 120 taught credits (including core, compulsory and optional modules) and a 60 credit dissertation.

Core modules: A core module is required for the degree programme, so must always be taken and passed before you move on to the next year of your programme.

Compulsory modules: A compulsory module is required for the degree programme, so must always be taken, and if necessary can be passed by re-taking it alongside the next year of your programme.

Optional modules: These are designed to help students design their own intellectual journey while maintaining a strong grasp of the fundamentals.

Module Code Credits Term
Dissertation in Development Studies 15PDSC999 60 Full Year
Core Modules
Module Code Credits Term
Migration and Development 15PDSC006 30 Full Year

Students also take ONE of the following: 

Module Code Credits Term
Theory, policy and practice of development 15PDSC001 30 Full Year
Political Economy of Development 15PDSC002 30 Full Year
Compulsory Modules
  • Choose modules to the value of 30 credits from the Development Studies modules list below

Optional Modules

Choose module(s) to the total value of 30 credits from:

  • module(s) from the Development Studies list below to the value of 30 credits
  • module(s) from the guided option list below from another department to the value of 30 credits
  • open option modules to the value of 30 credits from another department
  • module from the Development Studies list below to the value of 15 credits
  • module(s) from the guided option list below from another department to the value of 15 credits
  • open option modules to the value of 15 credits from another department
List of Development Studies Modules (subject to availability)
Module Code Credits Term
Agrarian Development, Food Policy and Rural Poverty 15PDSH026 15 Term 2
Aid and Development 15PDSH027 15 Term 2
Borders and Development 15PDSH023 15 Term 1
Cities and Development 15PDSH072 15 Term 2
Civil society, social movements and the development process 15PDSH001 15 Term 2
Contemporary India: development challenges and perspectives 15PAIC003 15 Term 1
Development Practice 15PDSH013 15 Term 1
Environment, Governance and Development 15PDSH050 15 Term 2
Energy Transition, Nature, and Development in a Time of Climate Change 15PDSH048 15 Term 2
Famine and food security 15PDSH022 15 Term 2
Feminist Political Economy and Global Development 15PDSH073 15 Term 2
Fundamentals of research methods for Development Studies 15PDSH017 15 Term 1
Gender and Development 15PDSH010 15 Term 1
Global Approaches to Peace 15PDSH074 15 Term 2
Global Commodity Chains, Production Networks and Informal Work 15PDSH024 15 Term 1
Global Health and Development 15PDSH051 15 Term 1
Issues in Forced Migration 15PDSH015 15 Term 1
Marxist Political Economy and Global Development 15PDSH053 15 Term 2
Migration and Policy 15PDSH029 15 Term 1
Natural resources, development and change: putting critical analysis into practice 15PDSH031 15 Term 2
Neoliberalism, Democracy and Global Development 15PDSH054 15 Term 2
Problems of Development in the Middle East and North Africa 15PDSH019 15 Term 2
Security 15PDSH020 15 Term 1
The Working Poor and Development 15PDSH030 15 Term 2
Labour, Activism and Global Development 15PDSH032 15 Term 2
War to Peace Transitions 15PDSH018 15 Term 2
Water and Development: Commodification, Ecology and Globalisation (Development Studies) 15PDSH049 15 Term 2
Water Justice: Rights, Access and Movements (Development Studies) 15PDSH041 15 Term 1
List of guided options from other Departments (subject to availability)
Module Code Credits Term
797B From Theory to Practice and Back: Work Placements in Migration Research 15PGNH010 15 Term 2


Programme Specification

Important notice

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 and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Our teaching and learning approach is designed to support and encourage students in their own process of self-learning, and to develop their own ideas, responses and critique of international development practice and policy.

We do this through a mixture of lectures, and more student-centred learning approaches (including tutorials and seminars). Teaching combines innovative use of audio-visual materials, practical exercises, group discussions, and weekly guided reading and discussions, as well as conventional lecturing.


In addition to the taught part of the masters programme, all students will write a 10,000 word dissertation. Students develop their research topic under the guidance and supervision of an academic member of the Department. Students are encouraged to explore a particular body of theory or an academic debate relevant to their programme through a focus on a particular region.

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.

SOAS Library

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.

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



MSc Migration, Mobility & Development students leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek. These include analytical skills, presentation skills, the ability to think laterally and employ critical reasoning, and knowing how to present materials and ideas effectively both orally and in writing.

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.

Our alumni have gone on to work in a range of different organisations, including international development, humanitarian, social policy and human rights organisations; government immigration and international development departments and embassies; and private sector organisations. They work in different roles involving research, policy, communication and campaigns, casework, journalism, fundraising, administration and co-ordination.


SOAS Development Studies graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:

  • British Red Cross
  • Commonwealth Secretariat
  • Coram Children's Legal Centre
  • Danida - Danish Embassy
  • David Lammy, MP
  • Developing Markets Associates
  • Economic and Social Research Council
  • Embassy of Japan
  • Embassy of the Czech Republic
  • Environmental Justice Foundation
  • Fahamu Refugee Programme
  • Flemish Refugee Action
  • Fondazione Marcegaglia
  • French Committee for Sustainable Development
  • Glen Ellyn Children's Resource Center
  • Home Office
  • IFAD - International Fund for Agricultural Development
  • Ikwro
  • International Catholic Migration Commission
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • International Organisation for Migration
  • JICA - Japan International Cooperation Agency
  • Kentish Town Community Centre
  • Médecins Sans Frontières
  • Ocampo Duque Abogados Consulting
  • Oxfam
  • PAWA254 Art Rising
  • Progressio
  • RAND Europe
  • Refugee Action
  • Refugee Support Network
  • Santander
  • ShantiRefugees
  • U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
  • UN Development Programme
  • UNHCR - UN Agency for Refugees
  • UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency)
  • Videre
  • World Relief
  • World Vision
  • Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México
  • University of Yonsei


Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:

  • Analyst
  • Campaigns Officer
  • Case Worker
  • Centre Co-Ordinator
  • Civil Servant
  • Communication and Documentation
  • Company Director
  • Consular Assistant
  • Consultant
  • Field Officer
  • Film Producer
  • Journalist
  • Fundraiser
  • Humanitarian Worker
  • Policy and Advocacy Manager
  • Program Co-ordinator
  • Project Co-ordinator
  • Researcher
  • Resources and Development Officer
  • Service Manager
  • Social Worker

Visit SOAS Careers Service

A Student's Perspective

I had studied in an international school in India that focused a lot on extracurricular activities, and going to SOAS seemed like a natural continuation of my studies.

Mia Eskelund Pedersen

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