Degrees & Courses Overview

Degrees and Courses

Academic information on ACMS degrees

PhD applications are considered on a rolling basis throughout the year. More information on the PhD degree is below.

1. Master of Arts (MA) in Migration and Displacement by Coursework and Research Report (AC000).

Intended to advance candidates’ critical engagement with the theory and practices of migration and displacement, this degree is suitable for those who would like to advance their scholarly training in migration studies. Successful applicants to the MA in Migration and Displacement need to have a good Honours or four-year undergraduate degree (typically with an average of 65% or above) in any social science or related discipline. Candidates with relevant professional experience will also be considered.

Requirements: Students are expected to complete two mandatory courses, an additional course and a research report.

The Mandatory Courses

  • Introduction to Migration and Displacement (First Semester)
  • The Logics and Methods of Migration Research (First Semester)

Additional Course (choice of 1 course)

  • The Psychosocial  and Health Consequences of Migration and Displacement (Second Semester);
  • Labour Migration in a Global and Regional Context (Second Semester);
  • Migration and Human Rights (Second Semester); and/or
  • Another course offered in the second semester at the University.

Required Submission:

Research Report Submission 12 months after enrollment (Mid February the following year)

2. Master of Arts (MA) by Research – Dissertation Only (AR000).

The MA by research is intended to advance candidates’ critical engagement with the theory and practices of migration and displacement. The Masters by Research is intended for advanced students with prior social-science research experience and a background in migration studies. Evaluation is based solely on the successful completion of a research report of around 50 000 words. Limited fellowship opportunities are offered to exceptional students from other countries in Africa, while South African students are encouraged to apply for support from the University, the School of Social Sciences, and the National Research Foundation.

Requirements: Submission of a research report based on substantial primary source research is normally expected 12 months after enrollment for full-time students. Part-time students have up to two years to complete the projects.

2. PhD (AD002).

The PhD in Migration and Displacement is suitable for those who intend to have a career in research either inside or outside the academy. The degree generally requires no coursework. Successful applicants for the degree must have a strong undergraduate degree and Masters qualification; a substantive background in a migration-related field; and a demonstrated ability to conduct methodologically sound, independent research (academic or otherwise). Strong students who do not meet all of these qualifications may be admitted on the condition that they register for a research methods course and/or the core course of the MA by coursework, or complete a Masters degree through the programme. Full-time students have two years – and part-time students four years – to complete the degree.

Masters Courses offered by ACMS

Details on units/courses taught by the African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS) follow.

Please note that ACMS students are encouraged to explore the many other courses offered offered in the second semester throughout the School of Social Sciences and elsewhere in the University. A copy of the annual Graduate Centre Handbook can be obtained from the Humanities Graduate Centre.

The following are provisional descriptions intended to provide students with a general overview of the units/courses on offer. Students are encouraged to contact the course co-ordinators directly for further information and to click on the names of each course below for links to detailed descriptions.

Semester 1

SOSS 7082: Introduction to Migration and Displacement

Unit presenters: Prof Loren Landau and Dr Jean Pierre Misago

Human migration and displacement affect societies around the world. Nowhere are the impacts more visible than in Africa, where movements of people in search of profit, protection and passage continue to shape the continent’s political, economic and social configurations. Beyond mobility’s practical and political importance in an era of globalization and urbanization, this course builds on migration’s analytical utility. As an empirical phenomenon and heuristic, people’s movements may be simultaneously destabilizing and empowering: they challenge not only the organization of socio-economic and political structures, but our presumptions about them. Course material focuses primarily on African experiences, but draws from, questions, and problematizes core concepts and broader debates within the social sciences.

SOSS 7026: Logistics and Methods of Migration Research

Course Coordinator: Dr Rebecca Walker

Presenters: Prof Ingrid Palmary, Dr Rebecca Walker, Dr Bent Steenberg Olsen, Prof Jo Vearey and
Dr. Alexandra Hiropoulos

This course is intended to strengthen your understanding of, and capacity to conduct, social research on issues related to migration. The focus is on developing an understanding of what social research is, the various methods employed and their logics and the challenges and questions different kinds of social research presents. You will also work to develop your skills is evaluating the merits of published material, analysing data and developing strategies for conducting methodologically sound and theoretically relevant research in the environments in which migrants are typically found.

Semester 2

SOSS 7027: The Psychosocial and Health Consequences of Migration and Displacement

Unit presenter: Prof Jo Vearey

This course provides a critical introduction to the health and psychosocial consequences of migration. The primary purpose of the course is to examine the intersections of humanitarianism, vulnerability and displacement from a health perspective. In order to do this, the course introduces fundamental concepts and analytical tools to understand the interaction between health, disease and illness in social contexts. It investigates the differential impacts of integrated public health responses on migrants with respect to ethnicity, gender, age and legal status. Case studies are provided of a number of common interventions with migrant populations including HIV/AIDS interventions (particularly access to services and treatment), psychological and psychosocial interventions and the provision of basic services such as water, sanitation and immunization. Throughout the course, the focus is on the complexity and politics of humanitarianism and the assumptions that underpin such interventions.

SOSS 7083: Critical Perspectives of Labour Migration and Livelihoods

Unit presenter: Dr Zaheera Jinnah

While the vast majority of international migration is motivated by economic reasons, and mostly for work related purposes, recent scholarship and public interest in migration in developing countries have often inadequately accounted for this dimension of mobility. Yet, labour migration remains a key component of contemporary mobilities, particularly as it intersects with a range of development issues: political economy, regional integration, governance, statecraft, dependency, etc. This course will help students understand the origins, scope and current dynamics associated with labour migration globally and more specifically in the southern African region. The course is structured around 5 key themes destined to equip students with a robust theoretical, historical, and contemporary understanding of labour migration globally and in Africa. While the content of the course will be essentially academic, it is intended to allow students to understand the key orientations of and appraise critically global and regional policy positions.