MSc Global Development (Politics, Governance and Development Policy) / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Migration and Development

Course unit fact file
Unit code MGDI60742
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Development and migration have always been intimately linked and it is hard to envisage change in society without also thinking of the movement of people. Social, economic and political changes inevitably affect patterns of migration, whether at the local, national or regional level. Likewise, changing the distribution of the population will affect the social and economic potential of a region. Academic debate on the relationships between migration – both internal and international – and development has ebbed and flowed over many decades: among other things contesting the impacts of urbanisation, rural depopulation and the ‘brain drain’. In the last twenty years there has been a great surge of interest, focusing on the potential for international migration to make a positive contribution to local and national development in origin areas, and support for development that might reduce the need for people to migrate. The aim of this course will be to introduce students to these ongoing academic and policy debates, illustrated with examples of migration practices, development interventions and policy initiatives from different regions of the world.


The course aims to:

  • Provide a broad understanding of the different theories proposing causal relationships between migration and development
  • Analyse different forms of migration and their relationship to development and social change
  • Examine the impacts of migration for those moving, their families and wider communities at national and local level in areas of origin and destination.
  • Critically evaluate migration policies and their relationship to development

Learning outcomes

 Successful completion of the course should equip students to:

  • Critically evaluate the relationship between different forms of migration, development and social change and analyse the claims and counter-claims in contemporary academic debates
  • Show a good understanding of current migration trends and key definitions of different forms of mobility
  • Demonstrate knowledge of different approaches to migration and understand the contradictions and challenges of incorporating migration into the analysis and practice of development.
  • Analyse the impacts of migration at different levels of analysis

Teaching and learning methods

The course unit will be delivered in nine weekly sessions complemented by three tutorials. Each session will broadly outline the key theoretical issues and debates on the themes, followed by or interspersed with class discussion or other activities.  The tutorials are designed to allow critical thinking and argument based on key readings, class presentations, films and other group activities focused around different case studies. Through guided reading students are expected to develop knowledge of migration theories, experiences and policies and their relationship with development.


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Recommended reading

This general list gives you some essential references for the module. You will find most of these books and papers in the University Library. During each lecture session important readings relevant to that session will be pointed out to you. However, you are expected to do the essential reading (usually two articles) prior to the lecture.

Appleyard, Reginald T. (1989) “Migration and Development: Myths and Reality”, International Migration Review, 23(3): 486-499.

Castles, Stephen, Hein de Haas, and Mark J. Miller. 2014. The Age of Migration: international population movements in the modern world. Fifth edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

de Haan, Arjan. 1999. "Livelihoods and poverty: The role of migration - A critical review of the migration literature."  Journal Of Development Studies 36 (2):1-47.

Glick Schiller, Nina, and Thomas Faist. 2010. Migration, Development, and Transnationalization: a critical stance. New York: Berghahn Books.

Kothari, Uma. 2002. Migration and Chronic Poverty. Chronic Poverty Research Centre Working Paper 16. Manchester: Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester.

Massey, Douglas S., Joaquín Arango, Graeme Hugo, Ali Kouaouci, Adela Pellegrino, and J. Edward Taylor. 1998. Worlds in motion: understanding international migration at the end of the millennium, International studies in demography. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Phillips, Nicola, ed. 2011. Migration in the Global Political Economy, International Political Economy Yearbook Series. Boulder, CO and London: Lynne Rienner Publishers. [section The Migration-Development Nexus]

Skeldon, Ronald. 1997. Migration and Development: a global perspective. London: Longman.

Sørensen, Ninna Nyberg, Nick Van Hear, and Poul Engberg-Pedersen. 2002. "The Migration-Development Nexus: Evidence and Policy Options State of the Art Review." International Migration 40 (5):3-48.

UNDP. 2009. Human Development Report 2009 - Overcoming Barriers: Human Mobility and Development, Human Development Report. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 16
Tutorials 6
Independent study hours
Independent study 128

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Tanja Bastia Unit coordinator

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