Master of Science by Coursework in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies

  • 1. Candidates will be expected to attend such lectures and seminars as their supervisor/course director shall recommend.

  • [For students starting before MT 2018: 2. Candidates must present themselves for an oral examination if requested by the examiners.]

  • [For students starting before MT 2018: 3. The examiners may award a distinction for excellence in the whole examination. ] [For students starting from MT 2018: 2.] Every candidate will be required to satisfy the examiners in three papers and two essay papers as follows:

    • Paper I: International Legal and Ethical frameworks

      International legal and ethical framework in relation to refugees and displaced persons. International and domestic application of individual and group rights to displaced persons and refugees. Activities and involvement of the relevant international organs, governments, and intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations relevant to forced migration. Concepts of migration and intervention and their justifications. Ethical issues raised by migration.

    • Paper II: Political and Anthropological frameworks

      Theories of the causes of forced migration and humanitarian crises. Historical dimensions, political and social dynamics of forced migration. Social, political and cultural constructions of place and space. Impact of forced migration on gender relations and age structures. Coercion and conflict. Implications of forced migrants for conceptualising the modern state and the international order. Security and stability of states. States responses to refugee movements and immigration. Comparing political forms and their response to refugees. Cooperation and the refugee regime. The lived experiences of refugees and forced migrants through displacement, encampment, resettlement and asylum. The formation of refugee identity, notions of home and belonging. Interactions between forced migrants and aid agencies, governments and the UNHCR. The process of flight and displacement. The experience of encampment and its effects on social systems, memory and identity. Anthropology of humanitarian citizenship, integration and exile.

    • Paper III: Contemporary issues in the study of Forced Migration 

    • Environmental and development-induced displacement. Poverty and vulnerability. Impact of forced migrants on host populations and governments. Agency, coping mechanisms and survival strategies of affected populations. Nationalism, ethnicity and group identity. Consequences of resettlement programmes for livelihood and economic autonomy. Repatriation and local-level social reconstruction. Institutional responses to forced migrants. Refugees and regional politics. The history and politics of humanitarian aid.

    • Multidisciplinary Thesis

      Each student will be required to write a thesis of not less than 10,000 and not more than 15,000 words on a topic relevant to forced migration. The purpose of this thesis is to ensure that the students have engaged in a multidisciplinary analysis of a single issue in forced migration to gain an awareness of the complex interrelations in the field.

      The topic of the thesis will require approval by the chair of examiners. This thesis must be the work of the candidate alone and aid from others must be limited to prior discussion as to the subject and advice on presentation. The thesis (three copies) must be typewritten and delivered to the Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford, not later than noon on Thursday of Week Eight of Trinity Term. An electronic copy must also be submitted to the MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies Coordinator, again by the date and time specified above. The thesis must be presented in proper scholarly form, in double-spacing and on one side only of quarto or A4 paper, each copy bound or held firmly in a stiff cover. The examiners shall retain a copy of all candidates’ theses that achieve a distinction for deposit in the Social Sciences Library.

    • Research Methods Group Essay

      Each student must display an understanding of research methods relevant to forced migration. This will be in the form of a group essay of approximately, but no more than 5,000 words, based on directed field research conducted during a four-week period in Hilary Term. The essay will present findings and engage with topics which include: epistemology of social science; social science paradigms; ethics and values; quantitative, qualitative, and participatory methods of data collection; the presentation of statistical information; research design; sampling theory; hypothesis testing; questionnaire design; participant observation; participatory learning and action; and evaluative research.

      The essay must be presented in a proper scholarly form and delivered to the Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford, no later than Friday noon in Week Seven of Hilary Term.

      A candidate who fails the examination will be permitted to retake it on one further occasion only, not later than one year after the initial attempt. A candidate who has reached a satisfactory standard on any of the three components of the examination: (i) the thesis; (ii) the three written papers; (iii) the research methods group essay, will not be required to retake that part of the examination. Candidates may also be required to attend an oral examination, which may be on one or more of the candidate’s written examinations, thesis or group essay. Any candidate who fails a group assignment may be considered for a pass on the basis of an oral examination.

  • [For students starting before MT 2018: 4.][For students starting from MT 2018: 3.]Candidates may be provided with selected international legal materials for use during some examinations, as published annually in the Course Handbook.