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The nine-month MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies places forced migration in an academic framework, preparing you for doctoral study or for work relevant to human rights, refugees and migration.

discarded lifejackets piled up in North Lesvos © UNHCR/Gordon Welters
Lifejackets, North Lesvos

The master's degree offers an intellectually demanding, interdisciplinary route to understanding forced migration in contexts of conflict, repression, natural disasters, environmental change and development policy-making. It places forced migration in an historical, global and human perspective, and encourages informed reflection on international and national responses to both cross-border and internal displacement.


The master's degree aims to help you develop:

  • An understanding of the complex and varied nature of forced migration and refugeehood; of their centrality to global, regional and national processes of political, social and economic change; and of the needs and aspirations of forcibly displaced people themselves 
  • A broad understanding of the literature on forced migration and refugees
  • A better understanding of the various research methodologies and approaches relevant
  • to the field of refugees and forced migration studies
  • Original thinking, unique research skills and sound evaluative tools
  • An understanding of the contribution of various social science disciplines to the study of refugees and forced migration


The MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies enables you to explore forced migration through lectures, classes, seminars and individual and small group tutorials. During the academic year, students write a thesis, submit coursework and sit three formal written examinations.

Please refer to the course webpage on the Department of International Development website for full information on the structure of the degree, including the latest Course Handbook.

Enquiries about the MSc should be addressed to the Graduate Student Administrator:

I’ve loved my time in Oxford. I think it’s unlike any other place in the world... To come here, where you’re so easily connected to so many big names and to have so many people who are really at the top of their game is quite special.

- Kelly O'Connor, MSc student, 2012–2013

I was very drawn to the RSC because they are at the top of their field, shaping the newest debates. I really wanted to be at the core of those debates.

- Helen Leung, MSc student, 2014–2015