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This MA is the only programme of its type to be offered by distance learning, and has quickly become one of the largest programmes on forced migration anywhere in the world.

The programme provides a solid legal, practical and theoretical understanding of refugee protection and forced migration. You will become more independent in managing and critiquing law, policy and practice, and also in gathering, organising and deploying evidence to form balanced judgements and develop policy recommendations.

Contact the institute

If you have specific questions about the degree, please contact rli@london.ac.uk or the online contact form.

Degree overview

The MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies has its foundations in the teaching and research of a leading centre in refugee law, the Refugee Law Initiative (RLI), the leading national academic centre in the United Kingdom dedicated exclusively to International Refugee Law. It is part of the Human Rights Consortium of the University of London’s School of Advanced Study.

The programme directors for the MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies are Dr David James Cantor, Director of the RLI and a recognised specialist in the field, and Dr Sarah Singer, academic at the RLI and Lecturer in Human Rights Law at the School of Advanced Study. Each module of the MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies is developed and run by specialists in the field.

Modules and structure

MA: 6 modules (two core, four elective) plus a dissertation

The MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies is designed to be studied part-time over a two year period. In the first year it is recommended that you take the programme’s two core modules, whilst in the second year you have the opportunity to develop expertise through a choice of four elective modules. You will have the option of studying elective modules in both the Autumn and Spring study sessions. If you are aiming to complete the programme in 2 years, you should choose 2 elective modules per session. The dissertation is divided into four study sessions and includes the (non-assessed) research methods and methodology course, ‘Researching Refugees’.

Each module of the MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies is developed and run by specialists in the field.

Core modules

  • Protecting Human Rights, Refugees and Displaced Persons in International Law
  • An Introduction to Refugee and Forced Migration Studies
  • Dissertation

Autumn study session

Elective modules

  • Asylum Law in Europe: Towards Regional Harmonisation of International Protection
  • Asylum and Refugees in Africa and Latin America: Alternative Models for Refugee Protection
  • Internal Displacement in Law and Policy: War and Beyond
  • Gender, Sexual Identity and Age in the Refugee Context

Spring study session

Elective modules

  • Securing Refugee Protection in Practice
  • Advanced International Refugee Law
  • Statelessness, Nationality and the Protection of Stateless Persons
  • Displacement, Healthcare and Humanitarian Action

Assessment

Each core module is assessed via a final seen open-book examination, which comprises 70% of the overall grade, and four online assessments (E-tivities), which make up 30% of the overall grade.

Elective modules are assessed via two E-tivities (30%) and the submission of a piece of coursework of 3000-4000 words, depending on the module.

The Dissertation is assessed in two parts. Submission of a research proposal will count towards 15% of the overall dissertation mark and 85% will be made up by the submission of the dissertation thesis. The Dissertation modules include completion of the research methods and methodology course ‘Researching Refugees’ (non-assessed).

You do not have to come to London to take your examinations. Examinations are held twice a year in exam centres around the world as well as in London. 

Lecturing and teaching

Distance learning is much more flexible than traditional face-to-face teaching. It allows you to study whenever and wherever is convenient to you, and to fit your studies in around professional or personal commitments. You can study wherever you live in the world - if you move country with your job, for example, you can still continue with your studies.

Studying by distance learning requires you to be highly motivated, disciplined, and able to master complex problems independently. Many students do find self-directed study to be challenging, but the outcome is incredibly rewarding.

Distance learning requirements

Mode of Study

The MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies is designed to be studied part-time over a two year period. In the first year it is recommended that you take the programme’s two core modules, whilst in the second year you have the opportunity to develop expertise through a choice of four elective modules. You will have the option of studying elective modules in both the Autumn and Spring study sessions. If you are aiming to complete the programme in 2 years, you should choose 2 elective modules per session. The dissertation is divided into four study sessions and includes the (non-assessed) research methods and methodology course, ‘Researching Refugees’.

Distance learning is much more flexible than traditional face-to-face teaching. It allows you to study whenever and wherever is convenient to you, and to fit your studies in around professional or personal commitments. You can study wherever you live in the world - if you move country with your job, for example, you can still continue with your studies.

Studying by distance learning requires you to be highly motivated, disciplined, and able to master complex problems independently. Many students do find self-directed study to be challenging, but the outcome is incredibly rewarding.

Time Requirements

Core and elective modules are run in two study sessions (16 weeks) throughout the year, while the dissertation module (30 weeks) is divided into four study sessions. You register for one core module or up to two elective modules per session of study and should expect to devote between 15-20 nominal hours a week to your studies during these periods.

Library

All registered students have free access to the University of London’s excellent online library, which currently has a collection of over 6 million electronic items (ejournals and ebooks).  

About the institute

The Refugee Law Initiative is the only academic centre in the UK to concentrate specifically on international refugee law. As a national focal point for leading and promoting research in this field, the Refugee Law Initiative (RLI) works to integrate the shared interests of refugee law scholars and practitioners, stimulate collaboration between academics and non-academics, and achieve policy impact at the national and international level.

Entry requirements

What qualifications do you need?

You need an undergraduate degree (e.g. bachelor) that is comparable to a UK upper second class honours degree. You can still apply without this, and we will consider each application on its merits.

English Language requirements

You need a high standard of English to study this programme. You will meet our language requirements if you have achieved the following within the past three years:

(IELTS) International English Language Testing System - overall score of at least 7.0 with at least 6 in reading and writing.

Tests from other providers will be considered on an individual basis. Even if you have not formally met these requirements, the University may still consider other evidence.

Computer requirements

We set minimum basic computer requirements because your study resources are accessed via the Student Portal and it is vital that you can access this regularly. For this degree, you will also need Adobe Flash Player to view video material and a media player (such as VLC) to play video files.

Find out more about entry requirements here.
 

How to apply

Fees, funding and scholarships

Careers

This MA enables you to combine your studies with your ongoing professional and domestic commitments. This programme is designed for those who wish to pursue careers in a range of professional contexts in the refugee, human rights or humanitarian fields.

Potential employers include international agencies, such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), governmental bodies and non-governmental organisations.