MSc International Development: Migration, Mobility and Displacement / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

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Course description

The MSc International Development: Migration, Mobility and Displacement offers a coherent, interdisciplinary and applied course that analyses the interaction between migration and development.

It will provide you with strong critical analytical skills, with a good grounding in the theoretical and conceptual debates in the field. In recent years there has been a growing interest in how people's movement may contribute to economic, social and political development seen most vividly in the growing scale of remittances that outweigh official development aid.

On the other hand, there has also been a surge of interest in how supporting development may address the 'root causes' of mass (irregular) migration from the poorest regions of the world.

This course will help prepare you for future work in this politically highly charged arena where questions of global injustice and rights intersect with the social, economic, political and security interests of wealthy and poor states alike. This will course will be perfect for you, if:

  • you are interested in understanding the many interactions between the movement of people and international development;
  • you want to understand why different forms of migration, mobility and displacement are taking an increasingly important role in the international development agenda;
  • you would like to critically examine the contemporary policy responses to the challenges of migration, mobility and displacement in the Global South.

As a pathway within the overall MSc International Development, this programme will provide you with both strong foundations in the broad field of development and specialist training in migration, mobility and displacement.

A particular feature of this course is fieldwork which has normally included visits to communities and projects that are responding to the challenges and opportunities of migration.

The course will raise many new questions and equip you to start answering them.

You will have the opportunity to practice these research skills by preparing a dissertation on a topic of your choice relating to the course.


  • Provide critical insights into different theoretical and disciplinary perspectives on how migration, mobility and development can be understood, measured and explained. 
  • Provide students with a thorough conceptual framework and the skills necessary to critically analyse key theoretical and practical issues and debates relating to migration, mobility and development. 
  • Provide students with an opportunity to deepen their understanding of how ideas and assumptions about the mobility of poor people are being embedded into the formulation and implementation of development policy. 
  • Provide critical insights into the key strategies, policies and practices currently employed to make `migration work for development' and to invest in development with a view to tackling the `root causes of irregular movement'. 
  • Provide a wide range of options for advanced training in areas of specialist expertise relevant to migration, mobility and development. 
  • Develop advanced competencies in transferable areas, including developing reasoned arguments, gathering, organising and using evidence and information from a wide variety of sources, undertaking both team-based and independent work to deadlines, and both written and verbal forms of communication. 
  • Assist students in developing their specialist area of expertise in the broad field of migration, mobility and development, and in applying their understanding and skills through supervised individual research culminating in a dissertation.

Special features

  • We're Europe's largest dedicated development research and teaching institute and have been at the  forefront of development studies for over 60 years .  
  • We're ranked 7th in the UK and 11th in the world for development studies (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021). 
  • Our research was ranked first in the UK for impact and second in the UK for quality in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014). 
  • We are proud to tackle global inequalities and rank first in the UK for our impact on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2021 ( THE Impact Rankings 2021 ). Most of the course units - core and optional - are closely associated with SDGs.  
  • We bring cutting-edge insights from our research into all our postgraduate teaching. Our courses bring different development perspectives and voices to Manchester, from  activists from the Global South  to the leaders of multinational companies.  
  • We have a vibrant community of scholars working on different aspects of migration, mobility and displacement across the world - see the  Migration, Refugees and Asylum research group 
  • We are home to the internationally recognised  African Cities Research ConsortiumEffective States and Inclusive Development  and  FutureDAMS  research centres.

Teaching and learning

This course has normally included a field trip. Past locations include Uganda, Ghana, Sri Lanka and India.

Please note that field trips may be scheduled at any point during the course, including during University vacations.

You are expected to be available to attend.

Part-time students

Part-time students complete the course over 24 months.

There are no evening or weekend course units available; you should, therefore, discuss course requirements with the Programme Director and seek approval from your employer.

Timetabling information is usually available from late August.

You can discuss course unit choices during induction week with the Programme Director.

Important notice

The School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED) aim to run advertised fieldwork in the 22/23 academic year and we very much hope that students will be able to enjoy the fieldwork experience in the usual way. The ability of fieldwork to proceed, and whether any changes to proposed fieldwork might be necessary, will remain subject to the current global situation and factors such as the:

  • rules and guidance on travel and activities implemented and published by the UK and overseas governments;
  • outcome of any risk assessments conducted by the University;
  • educational value and student experience of the fieldwork, if significant changes to the proposed fieldwork would be necessary;
  • availability of appropriate insurance cover;
  • availability of appropriate travel and accommodation and any significant changes to their financial costs.

We will therefore assess on a regular basis the viability of any travel and fieldwork and communicate any decisions to our students at the earliest possible opportunity.

Any fieldwork that does go ahead will be subject to a rigorous risk assessment process and the implementation of any protective measures identified by the risk assessment to ensure the health and safety of all our students and staff.

If the fieldwork does not go ahead as planned, then the School's focus will be on seeking to offer a suitable alternative and ensure that the Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) of the programme are met.

Coursework and assessment

The taught elements of the course, carrying 120 credits overall, is continuously assessed by a variety of methods (e.g., project-based reports, essays), involving largely individual submissions, but also elements of group work.

You must also complete a 12,000-15,000-word dissertation on a topic of your choice approved by the Programme Directors.

You are encouraged to base your dissertation on topics of direct professional concern.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Development Fundamentals MGDI60411 15 Mandatory
Development Fieldwork MGDI60502 15 Mandatory
Migration, Mobility and Displacement in the Contemporary World MGDI60731 15 Mandatory
Migration and Development MGDI60742 15 Mandatory
Understanding Development Research MGDI70982 15 Mandatory
The History of Humanitarian Aid HCRI61202 15 Optional
Conceptualising the Camp HCRI62311 15 Optional
Global Political Economy MGDI60072 15 Optional
Poverty and Development MGDI60141 15 Optional
Gender Inequality: Theory and Evidence MGDI60201 15 Optional
Globalisation, Trade and Development MGDI60271 15 Optional
The Politics and Governance of Development MGDI60391 15 Optional
Conflict Analysis MGDI60451 15 Optional
Political Analysis of Development Policy MGDI60522 15 Optional
Critical Issues in Urban Inequality MGDI60531 15 Optional
Climate Change, Disasters and Responses MGDI60552 15 Optional
Citizen-Led Development MGDI60561 15 Optional
Economic Development MGDI60711 15 Optional
Environment, Climate Change and Development MGDI60801 15 Optional
Global Inequalities and Social Development MGDI61461 15 Optional
Planning and Managing Development MGDI70992 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 21 course units

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: .

CPD opportunities

The University of Manchester is proud to have the largest global alumni community of any campus-based university in the UK.

After your course, you'll join our 10,000 strong alumni network .

We'll keep you up-to-date with all the new insights and implications from our research.

International alumni groups are a great way to keep in touch with fellow Manchester graduates in your country.

It is an opportunity to build professional and social networks.

You can view the alumni networks already operating across the globe, here .