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"Migration 101"

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What is "Migration 101"?

Migration 101 is an introduction to the topics that will be covered in the EMMIR programme and that are important for prospective students and already-accepted students to know. EMMIR builds on previous knowledge from a first degree in a related field, such as Social sciences, History, Cultural studies, Educational sciences, Law, Economics, Development Studies and Journalism.


Migration studies as a social scientific field draws on fields such as anthropology, history, economics, law, sociology and postcolonial studies. As such, we recognise that migration studies is a very interdisciplinary field -- in EMMIR combining cultural studies and social science perspectives -- and thus our students can bring many different skills and knowledge to the table. We welcome diversity in the backgrounds of our students.


Applying to EMMIR

​As a requirement for this programme, prior knowledge of migration studies, intercultural relations, and empirical methods are an important part of your application. This prior knowledge is evaluated through your CV, your Statement of Purpose, and via a question in the online application asking for details regarding your experience and knowledge of these topics. 

Those who have studied an unrelated field are still welcome to apply to EMMIR as long as you appropriately and convincingly justify why you are changing fields and want to pursue a degree in Migration and Intercultural Relations. This can be done in your statement of purpose and in the online application portal, EConsort. It would benefit your application to display knowledge of migration or intercultural relations through other experiences such as volunteering, internships, or work experience.


For those who do not have access to migration studies as a discipline in their higher education institutions, and thus have not been exposed to various social scientific theories that EMMIR builds on, this page can serve as a gateway into the world of migration studies. Those who want to improve their application can use these materials to do so.


Please note: we highly recommend against repeating the content found here or writing an academic paper, using citations, or stating simple facts about migration studies in your application. We do not advise you to write your Statement of Purpose or other texts directly citing these resources. Instead, we encourage you to use them to find topics within migration studies/intercultural relations that you're interested in, find common themes, synthesise and analyse information, and link specific topics and resources to your broader questions and interests. You may use these resources to develop your own ideas, positioning, and reflections about migration and intercultural relations. These ideas you form may inspire you while writing you statement of purpose and online application for EMMIR.  

After EMMIR acceptance

This list of resources functions as more than an aid in the applications of prospective students. After being accepted to the EMMIR programme, we recommend our future students to read up on migration studies and intercultural relations as disciplines, as many of these topics will be quickly covered during the Intensive Phase in September. While the IP serves as a basic introduction to the discipline of migration studies and to EMMIR, there is basic knowledge of the social sciences that is assumed. In order to keep up with the rigorous academic standards and expectations during the first semester, we highly recommend prospective students to utilise to orient yourself in some of the key theories and contemporary approaches to migration studies as a field and discipline. 

What is included here?

We have compiled a list of open-access resources for your personal use. If you have no academic or practical knowledge of migration studies intercultural relations, or empirical methods, or if you would like to increase your existing knowledge of these topics, you may use the following mini-database.

Resources below include website with databases, research articles, online courses, videos, and more. 

"Migration 101": Introduction to Migration Studies,
Intercultural Relations, and Empirical Methods.

An EMMIR open-source database


Please note that this database comprises of many open-source (free to use) resources, but this can change depending on the owner of the resource. If you are interested in a specific resource that is not available, please reach out to the EMMIR team to see if they have it.

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Online Courses

There are several types of online courses that can be beneficial to young academics and those early in their careers.

Introductory Videos & Courses

Migration Matters, a non-profit organization that was created in response to media coverage about the so-called "refugee crisis". Their bite-size videos cover topics such as nationalism and othering. 

The Migration Matters course "Migration 101" may also be a very good jumping-off point for prospective and accepted EMMIR students. The Migration Matters videos covering nationalism are also part of the Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange which provides courses for anyone interested in joining for free. 


MOOCs ("Massive Online Open Classes") are are free online courses available for anyone to enrol in. MOOCs provide an affordable and flexible way to learn new skills, advance your career and deliver high quality courses. MOOCs are often offered by very high-level and renowned educational institutions, such as some of the best universities in the world. MOOCs can be found on websites such as Coursera and EdX, where it is usually free to enrol but a payment may be required for a certificate. 

As for EMMIRians, MOOCs can offer benefits to potential and accepted students. Firstly, for those unsure of what to write about in their application, MOOCs can give insight into some pressing issues in this field that may inspire your own ideas. Secondly, if you choose to buy the certificate, these may look good on your CV. Thirdly, the topic of your courses may inspire students to focus on different topics during their studies with EMMIR, such as focusing on gender and queer issues, law, health, humanitarianism, urbanisation, development, etc.

Some relevant MOOCs that can be helpful to prospective and accepted EMMIR students are: 

International Migrations: A Global Issue offered by SciencesPo on Coursera

International Women's Rights and Health offered by Stanford on Coursera

• International Human Rights Law offered by UCLouvain on EdX. 

Humanitarian Response to Conflict and Disaster offered by Harvard on EdX.

Methods and Statistics in Social Sciences offered by the University of Amsterdam on Coursera.

Anthropology of Current World Issues offered by the University of Queensland on EdX.

Introduction to Intercultural Studies: Crossing Borders offered by University of Leeds on FutureLearn.

Migration and Cities offered by European University Institute on FutureLearn. 


JMDI e-Toolbox on Migration and Local Development "is a flexible and comprehensive e-course for stakeholders working on migration and development at the local level (local and national authorities, civil society, migrants’ associations, academia, international organizations, etc.) on how to better mainstream migration into local governance for enhanced local development and protection of migrants."


Websites & Other Resources

Many academics and researchers are currently striving to make their knowledge open access for everyone. This is often in response to criticisms that academia is elitist and an "ivory tower". Thus, many great resources are slowly but surely becoming available online. 


• The Center for Intercultural Dialogue publishes their Key Concepts in Intercultural Dialogue on their website. 

The Meaning of Migrants is a website with the purpose of explaining what the meaning of 'migrants' is and why it matters to use the word correctly. There are videos and infographics which are very helpful for introductory and experienced scholars of migration. 

Age of Migration is the companion website for the book,The Age of Migration 5th Edition by Stephen Castles, Hein de Haas, and Mark J. Miller. The website also includes a web-only chapter of the book.

Refworld is a vast source of information, run by UNHCR, that can help to inform quality decisions on refugee status. Refworld contains a vast collection of reports relating to country information, legal information, and policy documents.

• "Researching Forced Migration: A Guide to Reference and Information Sources" is a website dedicated to students in a higher education setting who require an introduction to the main research tools and information sources in their subject area of interest.


• Jorgen Carling is a main voice in contemporary migration studies. He is a Research Professor in migration and transnationalism studies at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). On his blog, he writes about topics such as "Who is Who in Migration Studies: 108 names worth knowing" and "Thirty six migration nexuses and counting". 

• The blog of COMPAS (the Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society at the University of Oxford) has posts such as "2018 best books on Migration" and "The Speed of Fright: Sharing EU migration research in a flash".

• WorldBank has a blog which covers topics such as "Making remittances work for the poor - 3 lessons learned from 3 Greenback 2.0 Remittance Champion Cities in Southeast Europe" and "Migrants and diaspora have contributed to the outcomes of the Russia’s 2018 Football World Cup". 


• 'Talking Migration' is a podcast that covers various thought-provoking issues such as Should there be no borders?, and What does it mean to stand in solidatiry with refugees?. Their episode What is the Global Compact for Migration? is an introduction for those who don't know much about this topic.

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Academic Sources

In the course of the EMMIR programme, many academic texts will become accessible to you through the required readings on the syllabus as well as through the various library catalogues at our partner universities

In order to prepare for the intensive phase and the rest of the EMMIR programme, it can be very useful for prospective and accepted students to acclimate themselves to the often difficult language and jargon of articles published in academic journals.

Here is a list of open-source articles that provide a glimpse of the vast amounts information about themes and contemporary approaches to migration studies, intercultural relations, and research methodology. Topics such as integration, transnationalism, methodological nationalism, and more appear in various EMMIR modules.

• Audebert, C., & Doraï, M. (2010). International migration in the twenty-first century: Towards new research perspectives. In Audebert C. & Doraï M. (Eds.), Migration in A Globalised World: New Research Issues and Prospects (pp. 203-212). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. Retrieved from

• Faist, T. (2010). Transnationalisation: Its conceptual and empirical relevance. In Audebert C. & Doraï M. (Eds.), Migration in A Globalised World: New Research Issues and Prospects (pp. 79-106). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. Retrieved from

• Kainz, Lena / Betts, Alexander (2020): Power and proliferation: Explaining the fragmentation of global migration governance. Migration Studies:

• Krause, Ulrike (2017): Researching forced migration: Critical reflections on research ethics during fieldwork. Refugee Studies Centre. Working Paper Series 123, 1-39:

• Schiller, N. (2010). A global perspective on transnational migration: Theorising migration without methodological nationalism. In Bauböck R. & Faist T. (Eds.), Diaspora and Transnationalism: Concepts, Theories and Methods (pp. 109-130). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. Retrieved from

• Sontag, K. (2018). Trends in Migration Studies. In Mobile Entrepreneurs: An Ethnographic Study of the Migration of the Highly Skilled (pp. 123-128). Opladen; Berlin; Toronto: Verlag Barbara Budrich. doi:10.2307/j.ctvbj7k27.14

• Saharso, S., & Scholten, P. (2013). Comparative Migration Studies: an introduction. Comparative Migration Studies, 1(1), 1-6. doi: 10.5117/cms2013.1.saha


• Khalid Koser "International Migration: A Very Short Introduction" 2007. 

Last update: August 30, 2022

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