Migration Studies

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Course overview
(MA) Master of Arts
Migration Studies
University of Essex
University of Essex
Colchester Campus
MA L31124

Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

A 2:1, or international equivalent in a social science, humanities or other discipline which must include at least two humanities or social science modules (this can include the research project/dissertation).

Applications from students with a 2:2 or equivalent or a non-social sciences degree will be considered dependent on any relevant professional or voluntary experience, previous modules studied and/or personal statement.

For MA Migration Studies only, you may be required to attend an interview/Skype interview as part of the application process.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

If English is not your first language, we require IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 6.0

Course qualifiers


Rules of assessment

Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.

Additional notes

Please refer to the full time version of this course for information on Core and Compulsory modules.

External examiners

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 27 January 2020 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory You must take this module.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Optional You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.

Year 1 - 2019/20

Exit Award Status
Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits PG Diploma PG Certificate
01 Option(s) from list Optional 0 Optional Optional

Year 2 - 2020/21

Exit Award Status
Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits PG Diploma PG Certificate
01 SC981-7-FY Dissertation Core 60 Optional
02 Option(s) from list Optional 0 Optional Optional

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

To provide students with a systematic understanding of the diverse range of sociology of migration approaches.
To provide students with advanced knowledge of key theoretical traditions in migration studies.
To provide students with a critical awareness of the problems of, and responses to, migration within cultural, economic, moral, social and political contexts.
To provide students with an advanced understanding of the distinctive character of the sociological research process.
To provide students with an up to date knowledge of the main traditions of migration and sociological research
To establish a critical understanding of integration of theory, concepts, data, and analysis
To train students in the design and conduct of original qualitative research
To provide students with the knowledge and skills to enable them to proceed to further independent, self-directed learning
To enable students to enhance their intellectual, sociological and generic skills in preparation for further academic and/or professional work.

Postgraduate Diplomas are identical to those for MA Schemes with the exception of the Learning Outcomes of the Dissertation. Diploma Students do not write a dissertation.

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A1: An advanced knowledge of the intellectual foundations of criminological debate

A2: A systematic awareness of the latest theoretical developments in criminology

A3: An ability to critically evaluate current research and advanced scholarship in criminology

A4: An advanced comprehension of the principles of research design and strategy, such as the formulation of research problems and appreciation of alternative approaches to research

A5: A critical understanding of the relationships between criminological theory and empirical research

A6: An understanding of a range of qualitative and quantitative methods and skills

A7: An appreciation of the centrality of research questions to criminological enquiry

A8: A practical understanding of how to address the ethical and political dimensions of research

A9: A critical understanding of the significance of competing epistemological and ontological positions for sociological research

A10: In depth knowledge of a chosen field through independent original research

Learning methods

The course provides one foundation module in sociology of migration and a foundation module in sociological research design, which is supplemented by additional specialised methods training to focus on key issues in migration research. In addition, students choose from a range of options in Sociology and other departments to pursue their own specific interests in the field in following three further modules or four half options. The MA Course Director liaises with students before the course begins to advise on possible pathways. The Department uses lectures to present material, ideas, data and arguments, in a clear and structured manner using examples, mapping the field and the contours of debates. Lectures are also used to stimulate students’ interest in learning the methods for sociological analysis. In each module the issues, arguments and methods are covered in lectures are explored further through classes, seminars and workshops for which students have to prepare through either hands on practice or assignments. The course is designed to involve clear connection between the foundational theories and principles in the modules and the specific demands emerging from migration studies. In addition, there is a strong emphasis on developing students’ theoretical understanding of migration through the structuring of the material in SC982 and SC985, which provide an advanced understanding of the intellectual foundations of the discipline with a systematic study of social integration in relation to children of immigrants. Classes and seminars provide the opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the content of the modules. In addition student learning takes place through the work they do preparing essays and assignments.

Assessment methods

Outcomes A1 to A9 are assessed through coursework, which includes oral presentations and practical skills based assignments (SC985), as well as essays. In addition, the assessed work for all MA students includes a dissertation, which specifically assesses A10.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1: An advanced ability to search, summarise and critically review criminological literature

B2: A critical ability to comparatively review competing theories and explanations

B3: An ability to construct an original criminological argument

B4: An advanced ability to formulate researchable questions

B5: An ability to creatively evaluate, analyse and interpret empirical evidence

Learning methods

Students enhance the above intellectual skills primarily through the work they do for their modules, although lectures and classes provide a means of teachers demonstrating these skills through example. Preparation for classes involves the reading, interpretation and evaluation of sociological texts and the collection and analysis of empirical data to hone methodological skills. Class tutors provide feedback on all student work through comment and discussion. In addition, tutors also engage students outside the classroom during office hours, appointments, and by email. Similarly the preparation of essays and other assignments also develops the listed intellectual skills. Students are provided with feedback on all assessed work and this is crucial to their intellectual development. Their dissertations are used to demonstrate self direction and originality in tackling and solving research problems, whilst also acting to advance their capacity for self-directed knowledge and understanding. Additionally, MA students, along with PhD students will participate in an international Colloquium on Migration which will be held at the University of Essex in March. In addition MA students and staff, are encouraged to attend the two-day annual residential Graduate Conference, which is held in February off-campus. Addressing a different topical theme each year, it provides a stimulating forum for intellectual debate and discussion.

Assessment methods

Outcomes B1, B2 and B3 are judged and evaluated by essays in SC982 and SC905, B1 and B4 are assessed through both practical skills based assignments (in SC905) and essays. All five outcomes will be assessed once more in the MA dissertation. Demonstration of advanced intellectual skills is a key criterion in awarding distinctions for essays and dissertations.

C: Practical skills

C1: An advanced ability to retrieve relevant socioloical literature using library and online searches

C2: A practical ability to summarise, evaluate and review criminological arguments, texts and findings

C3: A practical ability to summarise, evaluate and review sociological arguments, sociological texts and sociological findings

C4: A comprehensive understanding of the principles of research design, and an understanding of the merits of different methods

C5: An ability to choose and apply an appropriate method of research

C6: A capacity for self-direction and originality in the planning and conduct of a piece of research

C7: An ability to make judgements about the best use of time and data in meeting their research objectives

C8: An ability to plan, conduct and present a medium scale piece of research

Learning methods

In SC905 students learn to conduct literature searches and reviews and to work on various aspects of the sociological process, typically found in a research proposal. Throughout the degree practical skills are developed through preparation for classes, preparing essays and other assessed assignments, and giving presentations. Students receive detailed feedback on all their coursework and presentations. In addition the dissertation is particularly valuable in developing students’ practical sociological skills. Students who have a particular interest in extending or deepening their practical sociological skills may do so by choosing from a range of further methods modules (such as SC504, SC523, SC520, SC620) when deciding on their optional modules.

Assessment methods

Skill C1 and C3 are specifically assessed in assignments for SC905, but also forms part of the assessment of almost every piece of assessed module essays. C2 is specifically addressed in assignments for SC982 and SC985. While all the modules assess an understanding of C3 through C7, the full range of these skills is assessed in the marking of the MA dissertation.

D: Key skills

D1: An advanced ability in presenting ideas and evidence to others orally, in a clear and concise manner and an advanced ability to present ideas and evidence to others in writing, in a clear and concise manner

D2: An ability to collect and present materials using information technology

D3: A good self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems

D4: An ability to refine understanding through discussion and present findings in a collective way

D5: An essential understanding of how to plan, set appropriate time schedules and assess the feasibility of projects; a keen awareness of the need to reflect on their own work and to respond constructively to the comments of others

Learning methods

Key skills are taught and learned throughout the course through a range of strategies, such as requiring students to give oral presentations, through giving them specific assignments such as carrying bibliographic and web searches, through specific writing assignments and essays, and through class discussion and class and essay preparation. Issues of dissemination are discussed in SC905. Students learn to manage their own research projects through the support and advice of supervisors. They are given feedback on all their coursework and on their dissertation research and are encouraged to reflect on their own work and improve on it. Students also have the opportunity to develop skills in working in groups through their participation in the classes for every module.

Assessment methods

Key skills are assessed throughout the degree through continuous assessed coursework. Oral communication skills (D1) and IT skills (D2) are specifically assessed on SC905, and written skills (D1 and constructive response (D6) by coursework and the dissertation. The MA dissertation is an overall assessment of all skills, namely communication, research management, problem solving skills and improving learning and performance.


The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

Should you have any questions about programme specifications, please contact Course Records, Quality and Academic Development; email: crt@essex.ac.uk.