Mode of Attendance: Full-time or part-time
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
- Nations, states and territory
- (Illegal) workers in the global economy
- Place and emplacement
- Transnational migrants & mobile lives
- 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.
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 social science.
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 coordination.
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
- 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
- PAWA254 Art Rising
- RAND Europe
- Refugee Action
- Refugee Support Network
- U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
- UN Development Programme
- UNHCR - UN Agency for Refugees
- UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency)
- World Relief
- World Vision
- Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México
- University of Yonsei
Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:
- Campaigns Officer
- Case Worker
- Centre Co-Ordinator
- Civil Servant
- Communication and Documentation
- Company Director
- Consular Assistant
- Field Officer
- Film Producer
- Humanitarian Worker
- Policy and Advocacy Manager
- Program Coordinator
- Project Co-ordinator
- Resources and Development Officer
- Service Manager
- Social Worker
Students must take 180 credits per year comprised of 120 taught credits (including core, compulsory and optional modules) and a 60 credit dissertation.
- Dissertation in Development Studies
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.
- Migration and Development
Students also take ONE of the following:
- Theory, policy and practice of development
- Political Economy of Development
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.
- Choose modules to the value of 30 credits from the Development Studies modules list below.
These are designed to help students design their own intellectual journey while maintaining a strong grasp of the fundamentals.
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)
- Agrarian Development, Food Policy and Rural Poverty
- Aid and Development
- Battlefields of Method: Approaches to International Development Research
- Borders and Development
- Cities and Development
- Civil society, social movements and the development process
- Development Practice
- Environment, Governance and Development
- Energy Transition, Nature, and Development in a Time of Climate Change
- Famine and food security
- Fundamentals of research methods for Development Studies
- Gender and Development
- Global Commodity Chains, Production Networks and Informal Work
- Global Health and Development
- Issues in Forced Migration
- Marxist Political Economy and Global Development
- Migration and Policy
- Natural resources, development and change: putting critical analysis into practice
- Neoliberalism, Democracy and Global Development
- Problems of Development in the Middle East and North Africa
- The Working Poor and Development
- Migrant Labour in the Global Economy
- War to Peace Transitions
- Water and Development: Conflict and Governance
- Water Resources: Justice and Governance
List of guided options from other Departments (subject to availability)
- Gendering Refugee Crises and Humanitarian Practice 1
- From Theory to Practice and Back. Work Placements in Migration Research
The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session.
Admissions and Applications
You can apply for this course via the online application form.
We aim to assess a complete application and provide a decision within a 5-week time frame. Overseas students who require a Tier 4 visa and wish to join SOAS should bear in mind visa applications can take several weeks, so you should apply as soon as possible.
Consideration of Application
The whole application, including transcript and references, is considered before a decision is reached. You are therefore advised to submit a complete application including references and transcript (where required). An incomplete application will add considerable delays to the decision-making process.
Students will receive an acknowledgement of their application. Each application is carefully considered and although we try and respond as quickly as possible, we do ask that students should expect to receive a response within five weeks of receipt.
Candidates who are available in the United Kingdom may be called for an interview. The absence of academic members of staff (or instance on study leave) may affect the timing of decisions.
Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent). Relevant work experience may also be considered.
English Language Entry Requirements
You must be able to show that your English is of a high enough standard to successfully engage with and complete your course at SOAS. Please note that we take our English language requirements seriously and failure to meet them exactly may well result in your application to SOAS being rejected. It is not possible to negotiate if your scores are below our required levels, with the expectation that because they are 'close enough' they will be accepted. It is important that you plan appropriately, well in advance, so that your English language test comes in good time and so that you have time to retake the test if necessary. We do not accept reasons of inconvenience or financial hardship for not submitting or retaking an English test.
For EU and International students who need a visa, if unconditional entry scores are achieved we accept qualifications from several countries, as well as a range of international qualifications and tests.
If a Tier 4 entry visa is required then a SELT, such as UKVI IELTS may be needed. For this reason, we recommend all Tier 4 visa students to choose the UKVI IELTS Academic test as the test of first resort.