Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The conceptualisation of forced migration

The course begins by examining and assessing different conceptualisations of forced migration, including legal, anthropological and political approaches.

Causes, patterns and consequences

The course analyses links between forced migration and processes and patterns of globalisation. It considers ways of addressing the tension between a globalised world of free circulation of capital, investment and resources, and the barriers to movement facing refugees and other migrants. Optional modules and evening sessions focus on issues such as internally displaced peoples, Palestinian refugees, human trafficking and smuggling, livelihoods, and post-conflict peacebuilding and reconstruction.


Key issues raised by responses to forced migration are examined – responses that involve numerous different organisations and agencies with different and often competing interests and values. The law module considers the 1951 refugee definition and sources of complementary protection, including under EU law and under the African refugee protection system. Emphasis on the institutional dimension of forced migration is continued in the negotiation module, which enables reflection on how durable solutions for refugees are negotiated in a post-conflict setting.

Individual presentations

Time is set aside for participants to produce and present an independent piece of work. The aim is for participants to reflect on their professional practice in the context of the course, and also to consider the course in the light of personal experience. To help with this task participants have access to the Refugee Studies Centre’s unique library collection of nearly 40,000 books and documents that are vital to the study and understanding of current refugee issues.

Evening and weekend sessions

An optional programme of films and seminars on topics related to forced migration is offered, as well as various social events.

Time off

During the second week, participants have one weekday off during the course to relax, work on their own research, or sightsee (many participants travel to London).

Recent lecturers

  • Karen Koning Abu-Zayd, Former Chief-Commissioner, UNRWA
  • Susan M Akram, Clinical Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law
  • Bridget Anderson, Professor of Migration and Citizenship, COMPAS, University of Oxford
  • Alexander Betts, Associate Professor of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, and Director, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford
  • Chaloka Beyani, Associate Professor of International Law, Law Department, London School of Economics
  • David Cantor, Director of the Refugee Law Initiative, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London
  • Dawn Chatty, Professor of Anthropology and Forced Migration and former Director, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford
  • B S Chimni, Professor, Centre for International Legal Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Roberta Cohen, Nonresident Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy, Brookings Institute
  • Cathryn Costello, Andrew W Mellon Associate Professor in International Human Rights and Refugee Law, University of Oxford
  • Jeff Crisp, Senior Director, Refugees International 
  • Jean-François Durieux, Research Associate, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford
  • Alice Edwards, Senior Legal Coordinator, Division of International Protection, UNHCR
  • Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Lecturer in Human Geography, University College London
  • Madeline Garlick, Guest Researcher, Radboud University
  • Matthew J Gibney, Elizabeth Colson Professor of Politics and Forced Migration, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford
  • Geoff Gilbert, Professor of Law, University of Essex
  • Guy S Goodwin-Gill, Professor of International Refugee Law, All Souls College, University Of Oxford
  • Filippo Grandi, Former Commissioner-General, UNWRA
  • Elspeth Guild, Jean Monnet Professor ad personam, Queen Mary University
  • Anne Hammarstad, University of Kent and the South African Institute of International Affairs
  • Jason Hart, Senior Lecturer, Department of Social & Policy Sciences, University of Bath
  • Khalid Koser, Deputy Director and Academic Dean, Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Walter Kälin, Professor of Law, University of Bern
  • Hélène Lambert, Professor of International Law, Department of Advanced Legal Studies, University of Westminster
  • Maryanne LoughryJesuit Refugee Service
  • Philip Marfleet, Professor, School of Law and Social Sciences, University of East London
  • Jane McAdam, Scientia Professor of Law, University of New South Wales
  • Dennis McNamara, Senior Humanitarian Adviser, Humanitarian Dialogue, Geneva
  • Alessandro Monsutti, Associate Professor, Anthropology and Sociology of Development, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
  • Tom Scott-Smith, Associate Professor of Refugee Studies and Forced Migration, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford
  • Dallal Stevens, Professor, University of Warwick
  • John Taylor, Professor of International Development, London South Bank University
  • John David Vine, Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration
  • Roger Zetter, Professor Emeritus, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford
  • Reuven Ziegler, Lecturer in Law, University of Reading

RSC library collection

The programme provides a course pack of reading materials. Many more documents are available in the University of Oxford’s Social Science Library, which houses the Refugee Studies Centre collection.