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. 

It enables students to acquire a rigorous legal, practical and theoretical understanding of refugee protection and forced migration, whilst developing expertise through a choice of elective modules. It is designed and run by the academic staff and wide network of experts at the Refugee Law Initiative and delivered through the renowned University of London International Programmes which has over 54,000 students in every corner of the globe studying on more than 180 different courses.

Students hone self-reliance in using and critiquing law, policy and practice in the field, and learn how to gather, organise and deploy evidence to form balanced judgements and develop policy recommendations. They complete methodological training in researching refugees and have the opportunity to develop practical field skills in advocacy, campaigning and fund-raising.

Programme Content

Core modules are:

  • Protecting Human Rights, Refugees and Displaced Persons in International Law
  • An Introduction to Refugee and Forced Migration Studies
  • Dissertation, including Researching Refugees taught component

The cutting-edge elective modules include:

  • Securing Refugee Protection in Practice
  • Asylum Law in Europe: Towards Regional Harmonisation of International Protection
  • Asylum and Refugees in Africa and Latin America: Refugee Protection in the Global South
  • Advanced International Refugee Law
  • Internal Displacement in Law and Policy: War and Beyond
  • Statelessness, Nationality and the Protection of Stateless Persons
  • Gender, Sexual Identity and Age in the Refugee Context
  • Displacement, Healthcare and Humanitarian Action
  • Disasters, Climate Change and Displacement

Each module of the MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies is developed and run by specialists in the field. View the video below for an overview of studying on the programme, with Programme Director Dr Sarah Singer.

Who is it for?

The programme is designed for anyone who wishes to pursue or advance their career in a range of professional contexts in the refugee, human rights or humanitarian fields. Graduates of the programme have gone on to work for international organisations such as the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), international and local NGOs, academic research centres and government ministries. A number of our graduates have also gone on to pursue PhD study in the forced migration or related fields. 

Find out more about studying on the programme from our graduates Sylvester Chapotera and Vlora Shemsidini.

Available Scholarships

The University of London has established two prestigious scholarships for the MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies to support outstanding students who might not otherwise be able to gain access to the MA in Refugee Protection. As such, we particularly welcome applications from candidates who are nationals of and residing in low- and middle-income countries.

The first award is named the Guy S. Goodwin-Gill Scholarship to celebrate the achievements of the renowned refugee law expert Professor Guy S. Goodwin-Gill, a close friend and supporter of the Refugee Law Initiative at the University’s School of Advanced Study since its inception. The second award is named the Sadako Ogata Scholarship to celebrate the achievements of Sadako Ogata, former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (1991-2000), and an inspiring role model for practitioners and students of refugee protection worldwide.

For the past three years the programme has also secured a number of scholarships from the Commonwealth Scholarships Commission.

Click for further details of the scholarships, including how to apply and deadlines

Distance Learning

The MA is unique in that it is the first ever postgraduate course on refugees to be offered by distance-learning. Students study this online programme part-time, from the comfort of a home computer and access the course content through a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

  • The distance-learning format has various benefits.
  • Students can flexibly combine postgraduate study with ongoing professional and personal commitments. No requirement to travel to London or even be online at set times.
  • Students are able to connect with an engaged and experienced cohort of fellow students all across the world, including students currently working in different capacities in the field
  • Students are taught by tutors who are leading experts and/or subject specialists currently working in academic and practitioner institutions across the globe
  • Students have maximum flexibility in choosing to enter the programme in one of two annual in-takes (October and March)

As the most established programme on forced migration by distance and online learning, the MA in Refugee Protection benefits from a wealth of expertise both in the field of refugee protection and in delivering a high-quality educational experience by distance-learning. The programme draws on the Refugee Law Initiative’s wide network of leading experts in the refugee field to deliver all components of the programme, and combines rigorous learning with a format which can be adjusted to suit students’ individual experiences. This programme consistently scores some of the highest student satisfaction ratings in the biannual student experience survey, and in 2019 was awarded the prestigious Roger Mills Prize for Innovation in Learning and Teaching.


To find out more or to apply, please visit https://london.ac.uk/courses/refugee-protection-and-forced-migration-studies