This course will run again in March 2025 - watch this space for more information after summer 2024.

Hear from Dr Nicholas Maple about our new short course

This one-week short course, run by the Refugee Law Initiative (RLI), covers research methods and ethics relating to the interdisciplinary study of refugees and forced migration.

This intensive research methods course provides high-quality training in methodology and ethics, by drawing on the extensive teaching experience and networks of the RLI. The course is aimed primarily at early PhD students working on forced migration issues in the fields of social and political sciences and law. Nevertheless, it is also pertinent to early career researchers, humanitarian and development workers, civil society, and consultants working on issues relating to displaced persons.

The course will:

  • Introduce you to qualitative and quantitative research methods, with a special focus on their applications in refugee and forced migration contexts
  • Expose you to recognised best practice and ethical standards related to the study of forced migration
  • Develop your intellectual and independent research skills so you will become more confident in designing and running your own research projects

Further Information

Course Programme

This course comprises 10 modules (two per day). The course will give you a strong grounding in qualitative research methods and the fundamentals of quantitative research methods. Each module introduces a core area of research methods in social science, with particular focus on application in the refugee/ forced migration contexts.

The first half of the course introduces fundamental research principles and design in the social sciences, particularly focused on forced migration contexts. This includes the ethical considerations that must be taken into account when conducting research with refugees, and different forms of interviewing.

The second half of the course explores further research methods and tools with particular application in the refugee/forced migration context. This includes advanced qualitative research techniques such as oral history and participant observation, and quantitative research methods such as surveying and sampling. In addition to methods of data collection, this part of the course will also consider how to analyse data and the writing up of your research. In the final module, you will be provided with an opportunity to present your preliminary research proposal and receive feedback from your tutor and fellow students.

You can download the programme here.

Key Dates

Application Deadline: 4th February 2024

Course Dates: 4-8 March 2024, 10am to 5pm

How you study

This on-campus taught course will be run by RLI staff and other leading experts in the refugee and forced migration field. The course adopts a mixed teaching methods approach, which involves a range of formative learning activities. This includes lecture style, group work, peer to peer review, student-led sessions, feedback on presentations, and practice activities where appropriate.

Classroom learning will be fully supported by a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), as well as study materials and help from academic staff.

Study materials

You will receive a course guide and digitised readings, and a primary text on the ethics of researching forced displacement which will be useful reference points throughout your studies.

For each of the ten modules, you will be able to discuss your work with fellow students and tutors. Supplementary information and materials will be available via the VLE, including as links to podcasts, short articles, and videos.

You will also be given access to Senate House Library during the course. This is the central library for the University of London and one of the UK's largest academic libraries for arts, humanities & social sciences. [link:]

Time commitment

The course involves 35 hrs (one week) in teaching and classroom time (10am to 5pm each day).

Optional introductory texts will be provided via the VLE but there is no obligation to read these before the course starts.

Learning outcomes

Having completed the course, you should be able to:

  • Explain, synthesise and critique fundamental qualitative research principles methods in relation to the study of refugees and other displaced persons
  • Design, develop and justify an independent research project on a/your? chosen topic, selecting from the research methods learnt on the course
  • Take into account the potential ethical dimensions of any proposed research


There are no summative assessments, although there is an opportunity to present your research ideas on the final day of the course. Certificates of completion will be given on request at end of the course.

Entry Requirements

No specific academic qualifications are required to register for the course.

You will need a good standard of English to complete the course. Suggested level:

  • (IELTS) International English Language Testing System - overall score of 7.0 with at least 6 in reading.
  • (TOEFL) iBT Test of English as a Foreign Language with an overall score of 95 or above, including 24 attained on the reading skills sub-tests and 25 attained on the speaking sub-test and 22 attained on the listening sub-test.
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English.
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (at grade C or above).

Computer requirements: You will need to bring a laptop/tablet with you to the course. We suggest a minimum basic computer competency because your study resources are accessed via a VLE.


The fee for the Research Methods in the Refugee and Forced Migration Field Short Course is:

  • Standard | £1,100
  • SAS/UoL PhD Students/RLI Affiliates/ those with a displacement background | £950

Please note:

  • Bookings cannot be made for individual days of the courses. Attendance is for the full five days
  • Bookings are non-refundable once course materials have been shared
  • The fee does not include accommodation or food
  • You will need to bring a laptop/tablet with you to London

Apply here

To apply for a place, simply email your CV with a cover email to by 4th February 2024.

We will then send you a payment link.

The University accepts Visa/Mastercard/Maestro/Solo (UK only)/Visa Debit. No other credit cards (e.g. American Express) can be accepted. If you have an issue with payment, please contact the RLI Team.

Once registered you will have access to the course’s Virtual Learning Environment:

  • See key information about the course, including overall approach and course structure
  • Optional introductory texts
  • Online forum to start engaging with fellow students
  • Links to take free online courses: the UOL Understanding Research Methods and the RLI’s ‘Refugees in the 21st Century’, and SAS’ ethics short course

Your week at Senate House

You will spend your week at Senate House, an iconic art deco building in the university district of leafy Bloomsbury, which is located in the centre of London.

You will also have access to:

  • Senate House Library: This is the central library for the University of London and one of the UK's largest academic libraries for arts, humanities & social sciences.
  • BLOOM@SenateHouse: This is a new facility for students and researchers which is based on the lower ground floor of Senate House. It offers additional study space in a very relaxed setting - to complement the historic reading rooms and their quieter atmosphere on the upper floors. It also provides a fantastic café serving food and drinks to sustain you in your studies, and relaxing lounges to take a breather and socialise.

An evening drinks event will also be organised during the week, which will be an excellent opportunity to further network with fellow colleagues and staff and affiliates of the RLI.


You will need to locate your own accommodation for the short course. There are a selection of accommodation options on the School of Advanced Study website. You are also welcome to email us if you would like further suggestions.

Food and Beverages

Tea and coffee will be provided at the start of each day. Lunch is not provided, but you will have access to the café on the lower ground floor that serves hot and cold lunches and beverages.

Why study with us

The RLI is a unique academic centre promoting interdisciplinary research, teaching and exchange on law, policy and practice in refugee and displacement contexts.

Established in 2010 at the School of Advanced Study of the University of London, the RLI works in the UK and internationally to promote research and facilitate practical impact in this field. The RLI also facilitates research through our extensive senior associate and research affiliate networks that facilitate interaction and opportunities for over 300 experts across the globe. Do please speak to us about joining the Research Affiliate network during your week in London. Innovative research projects by RLI academic staff shape national and international research agendas on refugee law, policy and practice. The RLI is also the only academic institution in the world currently hosting a dedicated research programme on internal displacement. In addition, the Refugee Law Clinic provides practical clinical legal education through pro bono representation of marginalised appeals rights-exhausted asylum seekers in London.

The RLI works with PhD students, early career and senior academics, practitioners, and civil society across the globe to develop and promote research and outputs through:


The MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies is the longest-running postgraduate programme on refugee protection and forced migration delivered by distance and online learning. This award-winning programme currently has over 240 students studying in over 60 countries all over the world including sub-Saharan and North Africa, North America, Europe, South and East Asia and Australasia.

Through the MA, the RLI has assisted hundreds of research projects across the world. The teaching staff will draw on this expertise in training as well as our own projects to deliver this short course.

Academic leaders

Dr Nicholas Maple is the course director of the Research Methods in the Refugee and Forced Migration Field short course. He is a Lecturer in Refugee Studies at the Refugee Law Initiative. His growing body of research takes a multi-disciplinary approach to investigating issues related to displacement and mobility. This includes examining state responses to refugee movement, with a particular focus on urban displacement and encampment approaches in Africa. His publications are also interested in global migration and forced migration governance issues, public health, and the ethics and methodologies involved in forced migration studies.

Professor David James Cantor, Professor of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies. Director of the Refugee Law Initiative and a recognised specialist in the field, his research addresses protection of refugees and solutions for refugees and internally displaced persons, in situations of armed conflict, disasters and criminal violence. He has a particular interest in the Americas region, where he has completed extensive fieldwork and served as Principal Advisor to UNHCR.

Professor Sarah Singer, a Professor of Refugee Law at the Refugee Law Initiative. She is an internationally recognised expert on criminality and asylum, and her contributions to the broader forced migration field include publications on European asylum law, humanitarian accountability, immigration detention and the protection of LGBT asylum seekers. She has led major collaborative interdisciplinary research projects, acted as expert commentator for various media outlets including BBC World News and is a recognised expert on postgraduate online education

Contact us

If you have any questions about the course, the syllabus and ten modules, or your week in London, do please send us an email or Dr Nicholas Maple.

Apply now

Places are offered on a first come basis.

Apply now by sending us your CV by email