Refugee related Master Programmes at University of East London (UEL)

About the programme

The MA in Refugee Studies Programme has developed in the context of increasing concern about forced migration. It recognises the importance of
(forced) migration at the global level and of the multiple factors associated with refugee crises – the interplay of economic, political, social, cultural, and environment pressures which stimulate the search for asylum. The MA in Refugee Studies enables students to examine forced migration as a global phenomenon. It familiarises students with the relevant theories in the fields of (forced) migration studies, law, sociology, anthropology, psycho-social and cultural studies. The course equips students with advanced skills in interdisciplinary analysis and research, and enhances their career prospects and development.

The programme acknowledges that forced migrants confront major obstacles in their attempt to find sanctuary. Although the majority of refugees are in countries of the developing world, structures of exclusion are most fully developed in the post-industrial societies, notably within Europe. The programme highlights problems associated with limitations of asylum rights in the European states and the climate of hostility towards refugees from countries outside Western Europe. The programme considers alternative, positive, approaches to asylum rights.

MA Refugee Studies and Community Development at UEL
About the programme

UEL’s innovative new MA in Refugee Studies and Community Development focuses on the increasingly important and highly relevant area of social care and refugees, and the communities to which they belong. Drawing on elements of our successful programmes in Refugee Studies and International Social Work, the MA offers a unique programme that builds on UEL’s expertise in this important field. The programme examines key issues in the field of refugee studies and the communities in which refugees live.

Our unique programme in Refugee Studies and Community Development uses a multi-disciplinary approach, with insights from politics, international relations, development studies, sociology, anthropology, social policy, psychology, and cultural and legal theory. It examines key issues concerning forced migration, as well as social, cultural, political, legal and psycho-social aspects of settlement and community development, with special reference to refugee communities in East London, as an important historic place of settlement.

Special features of the programmes

Refugee-Centred approach

A distinguishing feature of the programmes is their emphasis upon the lived experience of refugees and of refugee communities. It aims to develop a fuller appreciation of refugee experiences, achievements and needs, by approaching refugees as gender social actors. As such, the programmes will interest those who wish to undertake further research in the fields of
(forced) migration and diasporic studies; ethnicity; social, psycho-social and cultural theory; legal studies; and social policy. The programmes will also interest those professionally concerned with human rights; legal representation of refugees; counselling; education; social and community issues; and refugee welfare. They will assist those who wish to enter employment in these fields.

The Refugee Council Archive at UEL

The Refugee Council Archive at the UEL is one of the largest collections of materials on refugees and forced migration. It is a source of information and analysis on displacement, flight and exile; on legal, political and social issues; and on refugee community life. The Archive contains materials on refugees in all parts of the world, with special emphasis on Britain. For over 30 years it was housed at the Refugee Council, the lead organisation in Britain on refugee issues. In 2002 the Archive was moved to the UEL’s Docklands Campus, where it is maintained and developed by the two MA Programmes. It serves students, academics, researchers, policy makers, agencies and community groups, and in particular refugees, for whom access to dedicated materials on forced migration is often difficult.

Internship Opportunities

In addition to having well established links with universities and research centres in Britain and abroad, the two MA Programmes have close relations with numerous national and local agencies and refugee organisations, based on which they operates an internship programme with a range of organisations.
These provide an excellent opportunity for students to acquire hands-on work experience in their field of studies, and enhance their employment prospects.


The two MA Programmes attracts students of diverse origins and experiences, including refugees, from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, South-East Asia, the Americas, Western and Eastern Europe. They bring together academics and those who work professionally in the refugee field, including teachers, counsellors, welfare workers, legal advisers and community workers. Such diversity encourages productive exchange of ideas and enhances the learning environment.

Among sponsors of students on the programme are leading human rights organisations, refugee support bodies, overseas development organisations, academic study centres, law firms, local authorities, colleges and schools, race equality and equal opportunities committees, charities and aid groups, as well as refugee community organisations.

Programmes structure

Core modules: Introduction to Forced Migration, Introduction to International Social Work and Community Development and Research Methods

Option modules include specialist options on social, cultural, political, legal and psychosocial aspects of refugee studies and community development.

Students begin the Dissertation during summer semester and submit in September

Career opportunities

The two MA Programmes develop general conceptual and analytical abilities, as well as research skills. They enhance generic skills which are appropriate to both further academic research and professional employment.

The MA in Refugee Studies Programme provides a theoretical and practical grounding for those who wish to advance academic work and progress to doctoral research in the fields of migration; diasporic and ethnic studies; legal studies; as well as in social and cultural theory. It also prepares students for employment in areas related to refugee and migration issues, notably in the fields of immigration and asylum law, advocacy, education, health and employment, as well as local government..

The MA in Refugee Studies and Community Development will appeal to professionals and practitioners interested in refugees and community development, both locally and internationally. Graduates could expect to work in non-governmental organisations, social service departments, and local and international charities.

For further information please check

or contact Diane Ball, Programmes’ Administrator, or +44(0)20 8223 2770.

About University of East London (UEL)

UEL rated in the top five of the modern universities for research by the Guardian, is a dynamic and vibrant university offering a wide range of courses and programme to over 19, 000 students. Our diverse and innovative learning environment has seen UEL become one of the most multicultural and forward thinking universities in London.

UEL’s School of Law and Social Sciences (LSS) offers a wide range of interdisciplinary programmes covering a wide range of research interests, including Refugee Studies and related fields. Drawing upon the law and social sciences it creates a vibrant academic and intellectual environment. The School is based at the University of East London’s new Stratford and Docklands Campuses – one of the greatest metropolitan areas of Europe.

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