MA Migration and Diaspora Studies and Intensive Language


Programme Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or part-time

Our MA in Migration and Diaspora Studies is a broad-based degree for students who want to receive research training in Migration, and Diaspora, as well as Humanitarian and Refugee Studies, including a relevant language as part of the specialisation.

The degree prepares you to proceed to advanced postgraduate research or to work as practitioners in fields related to Migration, Refugees and Humanitarian relief.

This two-year intensive language pathway is directed at students who want to engage with a country in a professional as well as academic way, as the intensive language courses will enable them to reach a near proficient knowledge of the language.

This MA Migration and Diaspora Studies is designed for students who:

  • Wish to know more of the transnational nature of the modern world.
  • Wish to engage with critical theories to understand the management of mobility and the impact of humanitarian relief.
  • Wish to understand the role of migration in the major political and cultural processes of the contemporary world.
  • Come from other disciplines, such as Law or Politics, and now wish to incorporate an anthropological perspective on issues of migration and diaspora.

The degree offers students a chance to pursue their specific areas of interest by selecting from optional modules. You will have the option of studying the degree from either:

  • A broad-based perspective enhancing your knowledge in light of continuing contemporary research;
  • A specific area, allowing you to study diaspora and migration issues in-depth in relation to a particular discipline or region.

The MA in Migration and Diaspora Studies is considerably enriched by the SOAS Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies, which runs seminars, films and public lectures and also hosts a number of international scholars. The Centre is also a part of a migration research network of London colleges including LSE and UCL. Students on the programme, therefore, have unparalleled access to a critical body of scholars and scholarship on migration and diaspora related issues.

This programme has a first-rate graduate employability record, with graduates moving on to find employment in lectureships and professorships throughout the world in areas such as information and technology, government service, the media and tourism.

Prospective students are encouraged to contact the Programme Convenor, at an early stage of their application to seek advice on the most appropriate options for study.

May be combined with:

The following Intensive Language pathways are available with the MA Migration and Diaspora Studies

  • Arabic
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Persian
  • South-East Asian Languages: Burmese, Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese
  • Swahili
  • Turkish


A Masters in Migration and Diaspora Studies helps you to understand the world, other peoples’ ways of life and how society is organised.

This programme will endow you with a specialist understanding of producers, audiences, and other cultural and social aspects of mass media. Over the years the SOAS department has trained numerous leading anthropologists who have gone on to occupy lectureships and professorships throughout the world. Equally, students gain skills during their degree that transfer well to areas such as information and technology, government service, the media and tourism.

Postgraduate students leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek, including analytical and critical skills; ability to gather, assess and interpret data; high level of cultural awareness; and problem-solving.

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.


Students must take 315 credits in total, comprised of 255 taught credits (45 of which are taught abroad as part of a Summer School) and a 60-credit dissertation as outlined below.

In their first year, students on the two-year Intensive Language programmes take 60 credits of intensive language instruction and 60 credits in the discipline. During the summer, they participate in a Summer School abroad. In the second year, they take another 30 language credits as well as 60 credits in the discipline; they also complete their dissertation in the discipline.

Students are also required to audit 15PANH002 Ethnographic Research Methods, i.e. to attend lectures for this module (without attending seminars or submitting any assessments). The module does not count towards the total of 315 credits.

Year 1 (two years full time)

Discipline Component

  • African and Asian Diasporas in the Contemporary World


15PANH002 Ethnographic Research Methods (non-credit bearing component)
This will not count towards the total of 315 credits, but students are required to audit this module, i.e. to attend lectures (without attending seminars or submitting any assessments).

Language Component

Students take 60 credits in the selected language.

Summer Abroad

Students participate in a Summer School abroad for the selected language.

Year 2 (two years full time)

Discipline Component

Modules from the list of Anthropology & Sociology options below or from the list of options in other departments below to the value of 60 credits.

Language Component

Students take 30 credits in the selected language.


  • Dissertation in Anthropology and Sociology

List of Modules (subject to availability)

Anthropology and Sociology

  • African and Asian Cultures in Britain
  • Culture and Society of China
  • Culture and Society of East Africa
  • Culture and Society of Japan
  • Culture and Society of Near and Middle East
  • Culture and Society of South Asia
  • Culture and Society of South East Asia
  • Culture and Society of West Africa
  • Religions on the move: New Currents and Emerging Trends in Global Religion
  • Anthropology of Globalisation (PG)
  • Anthropology of Human Rights (PG)
  • Anthropology of Law
  • Media Production Skills (Group B)
  • Tourism and Travel: A Global Perspective

Modules in Other Department

  • Borders and Development
  • Civil society, social movements and the development process
  • Gendering Migration & Diasporas
  • Indian Cinema: Its History and Social Context
  • Indian Cinema: Key Issues
  • International migration and diaspora politics
  • Issues in Forced Migration
  • Migration and Development
  • Migration and Policy
  • Modern Film from Taiwan and the Chinese Diaspora (PG)
  • Music, Place and Politics in Cuba
  • Persian for Readers of Arabic Script (PG)
  • Postcolonial Theory and Practice
  • Transnational Communities and Diasporic Media: Networking, Connectivity, Identity
  • Migrant Labour in the Global Economy

Important notice

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.

Entry Requirements

Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent).

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.

International students

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.

Last updated Nov 2019

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SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues.

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues. Read Less
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