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Fees and Funding

Here's the fees and funding information for each year of this course


Our internationally recognised course will give you a comprehensive understanding of the complex nature of global refugee movements, the processes which lie behind the search for protection and asylum and the diverse local, national and international responses to forced displacement.

You will gain interdisciplinary knowledge of the gendered, economic, political, legal, socio-cultural, and psychological processes related to forced migration.

You will also develop the skills to plan, organise and carry out independent research to inform professional practice and policy-making.

Learning about forced migration on this course is participatory, mutual and draws from real life experiences, including from our students, who come from diverse backgrounds and some are refugees themselves.

A master's degree in Refugee Studies is a qualification that is internationally valued. Our students typically go on to pursue a wide range of exciting and challenging careers in community, non-governmental and governmental organisations. Those interested in pursuing postgraduate research degrees have been successful in gaining places and scholarships nationally and internationally.

What makes this course different

Students in a classroom

A distinctive refugee-centred approach to learning about forced migration

We consider people who are forced to move to be social actors with agency and the course foregrounds their experiences and voices. Our academic team have refugee-like or immigrant experiences, and extensive professional experience in the refugee field.

Person working on computer

UEL is home to the Refugee Council Archive

The Refugee Council Archive is one of Britain's largest collections of materials on refugees and forced migration. It is a treasure trove of information on displacement, flight and exile and on refugee community life.

Person in an office

Placement and professional engagement opportunities

We focus on employability and our programme includes an integrated internship in community, non-governmental or governmental organisations. This provides an opportunity for critical learning and reflexive approaches to practice. Likewise, civic engagement projects carried out at UEL will offer you the opportunity to support and advocate on behalf of asylum seekers and refugee communities.


We consistently review and develop our courses and modules to ensure they are up-to-date with sector and industry graduate skills demands. Course structure, modules and options are subject to change.

The core modules give you a wide-ranging introduction to forced migration and a detailed study of research methods. You will also have the opportunity to study specialist options on social, cultural, political, legal and psychosocial aspects of refugee studies and community development. 

A distinguishing feature of the course is its emphasis on the lived experience of refugees and of refugee communities. You will develop a full appreciation of refugee experiences, achievements and needs.

You will study refugees from the point of view of the law, politics and anthropology and you will analyse their experiences on a global and local scale.

The course looks at how NGOs and the United Nations work with refugees and also how some people have sought to criminalise them.

The course will equip you with advanced skills in interdisciplinary analysis and research.

You will learn from the first-hand experience of refugees and people who have worked with refugees.

Your studies will focus on four core modules: Forced Migration in Global Era, Research Methods, Policy and Practice of Humanitarianism and Independent applied research/dissertation and two specialist option modules in the area of social, cultural, political, legal and psychosocial aspects of refugee studies and community development. This will prepare you to begin a dissertation during the summer term for submission in September.



  • Core Modules

    Forced Migration in the Global Era

    As part of this module you will critically examine key issues associated with forced migration and the refugee experience. It will engage you with evaluation of the socio-political processes of construction and production of a range of categories labelling people on the move: forced migrant, refugee, asylum seeker, irregular migrant etc. This will enable you to develop your intellectual position on important contemporary issues ranging from human rights, securitization of migration and their global and local dimensions, such as protracted displacement, to the processes of inclusion, exclusion and identity politics in receiving societies.

    By completing this module, you will be able to evidence both the crucial level of relevant knowledge as well as critical thinking skills required for future engagement in evidence-based assessment and evaluation of the situation of marginalised and vulnerable groups in society - something future employers will look for in your portfolio.


    Research Methods for Social Science

    This module equips students with an understanding of how to take up and use a range of research methods to inform evidence based policy making with a view to them putting these into action to enhance their employability.


    Independent Applied Research Project

    This module consolidates the knowledge acquired and skills developed in earlier modules intended to prepare you to execute a piece of independent and original work. The module aims to support you in the research and development process suitable for conducting an appropriately managed project, whilst improving your research skills and refining your ability to use them productively. It also aims to help you to offer evidence of self-management in respect of planning, recording and evaluation within the original work produced.

    Optional Modules

    Introduction to Conflict, Displacement and Human Security

    1. To familiarise students with key aspects of contemporary conflicts, changing dynamics of displacement and increased human insecurity.

    2. To adopt a comprehensive approach to the understanding of the intersection of conflict, displacement, human security and development.

    3. To place emphasis on people as social actors and agents of social change.

    4. To examine strategies to prevent conflicts and to promote reconciliation and peace-building.


    International Human Rights

    This module aims to provide an overview of human rights international human rights, their enforcement mechanisms and the contexts in which they are implemented. The module juxtaposes the conceptual and normative framework for international protection of rights with the prospects and strategies for their realisation through a range of methods both formal and informal and by the agency of diverse actors. The module critiques universal and regional human rights regimes as well as domestic approaches through examination of a range of human rights issues. Throughout the module, emphasis will be placed on examining the procedural and substantive provisions to examine good practices and testing tools and strategies.


    War and Human Rights

    • You will consider the nature and development of contemporary armed conflicts, followed by an analysis of the constraints that international humanitarian law and human rights law place upon actors in both internal and international armed conflict.
    • You will consider the increase of internal armed conflicts and the participation of non-state actors, mainly armed groups, and the challenges for the application of international law in such contexts.
    • You will study the scope and effects of the human rights violations committed in the context of contemporary armed conflicts and their legal qualification.
    • You will consider the responses that have been taken in the wake of armed conflict to punish violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law, through prosecutions and other procedures at international level, including the ad hoc tribunals, hybrid tribunal and the International Criminal Court, and also in domestic courts of countries that have experienced conflict and distant countries.



    International Refugee Law

    This module aims to provide an overview of contemporary international protection framework and practice relating to refugees and Internally Displaced Persons. It explores the theoretical, philosophical, political and socio-cultural dimensions of the refugee crisis from an interdisciplinary perspective. The module focuses on the global and regional institutional mechanisms redressing human rights violations through case studies. It also discusses domestic application of international refugee standards by reviewing the legislative developments in the field of UK Immigration and Refugee practice and policy trends in Europe: and its impact on domestic refugee policy.


    Global Development Now

    This core module will introduce you to the current debates in development. It situates global development within the key literatures in development theory and its critiques, helping you to examine the implications for contemporary development debates. It enables you to engage with and apply the informed practitioner focused skills to problems in global development.


    Global Environmental Politics

    To develop an in-depth and critical understanding of the theoretical debates, institutional processes and political practices associated with the international politics of the environment and environmental change and the ways this is contested and represented in the media and by social movements.


One of the most rewarding elements of the course is that it attracts students from diverse origins and with widely differing experiences, including refugees from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Americas and Western and Eastern Europe.

In addition to lectures and seminars, you will benefit from access to workshops and conferences organised by the Centre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging, the Centre for Social Justice and Change, the Feminist Research Group and other university-wide groups.

This means you have the opportunity to link up with key researchers in the area and gain an insight into the latest thinking on critical issues.

You will also benefit from access to the Refugee Archive at the University of East London, which is one of the largest collections of materials on refugees and forced migration.

The archive contains materials on refugees in all parts of the world, with special emphasis on the UK. For more than 30 years it was housed at the Refugee Council – the lead organisation in Britain on refugee issues.

As an optional extra, you may also be involved in internships with local and international organisations and agencies working with refugees. 

Our academic staff are actively involved in some of the key international research and are therefore well connected with major bodies such as UNICEF as well as government departments and NGOs.


We assess you by your coursework, which includes essays, reports, presentations, research proposal and your dissertation. All modules will be assessed and the final award takes account of all module marks.


Stratford Campus

Stratford Campus, Water Lane, Stratford


The teaching team includes qualified academics, practitioners and industry experts as guest speakers. Full details of the academics will be provided in the student handbook and module guides.

Giorgia Dona

Giorgia Doná is Professor of Forced Migration and Refugee Studies and Co-director of the Centre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging.

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Afaf Jabiri

Dr Afaf Jabiri is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education and Communities.

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I found it to be an immensely interesting, well-taught and worthwhile Master's course. The knowledge I gained, through access to some excellent teachers and the Refugee Archive collection was exactly what I hoped to get out of the course, which concerns issues that are globally important. I appreciated the fact that the modules were all taught from a refugee-centred point of view and enabled students to understand research methods from different perspectives.

Jane Greenstock, MA Refugee Studies

What we're researching

You will be taught by internationally recognised scholars who have published extensively in the fields of forced migration and refugee studies, peace and conflict studies, gender studies, migration, and development.

Our academic team are engaged in innovative research on the key issues of today's globalised world such as: new ways of thinking about refugee rights to protection; digital diasporas and refugee voices; transit migrations and borders; gender power systems of conflict and gendered processes of building peace; the role of social capital in social inclusion. 

We are actively engaged in research that makes a positive social change in the geographic areas of our research and beyond. Our staff have regional expertise and contacts in Africa, Latin America, Middle East, Europe and Western Balkans.

Our research centres and groups regularly run research seminars and events, and we invite our postgraduate students to be actively involved in our vibrant research community.

University of East London

MA Refugee Studies


This course is suited to people who are working in areas concerned with human rights, legal representation of refugees, counselling, education, social and community issues and refugee welfare.

If you are already working in this area, the course will give you the confidence and experience to apply for more senior positions.

If you are aiming to enter the field for the first time, it will give you the skills to apply for roles with NGOs, government departments or other organisations working closely with refugees. 

Our course will also prepare you to undertake further research in the fields of forced migration and diasporic studies, legal studies and social policy.  You will benefit from working closely with experienced academics in the field. If you are interested to continue to PhD level, our course gives you the opportunity to apply for ESRC funding through the UBEL Doctoral Training Partnership Programme

Explore the different career options you can pursue with this degree and see the median salaries of the sector on our Career Coach portal.