Migration studies

Migration and human mobility

Migration studies

In this minor, we pay special attention to interactions between migrants, nation-states and borders, and supranational institutions and organizations. What does it mean to be a migrant or a refugee? What causes migration? How does it impact societies? How does migration complicate state authorities’ understandings of ethnic identities, multiculturalism and citizenship?

Introduction to Migration Studies
How have scholars in the humanities, law and social sciences dealt with migration and human mobility in modern history as topics of research? This introductory course provides insight into the conceptual tools prevalent in contemporary migration studies.

In period 1, you also choose one of the following two courses:

Migration, Ethnicity and the Economy
How do economics and culture operate as determinants of the incorporation and exclusion of immigrants? This course addresses topics such as ethnic entrepreneurship, diaspora and development, the internet as a new market, and markets and social exclusion of immigrants.

Human Rights and Migration: the Border
How do borders work out in practice? In this course, you will learn about the law on asylum, internal and external border controls, and current issues such as the safety of boat migrants. You then connect these insights from law to social reality, by participating in an excursion to for example a border detention centre or a border post of the KMAR.

Period 2

Nation and Migration
In this course, students learn to critically assess issues of ethnicity, identity and the politics of identity, issues that are often central in migrant lives. 

Human Rights and Migration: Citizenship
What is a citizen? Which rights do migrants have? In this course you investigate which rights can be invoked by nationals and by migrants and you reflect on the different understandings of citizenship, nationality and integration.

Period 3

Research paper
The minor is completed with an individual research project in one of the sub-fields of the minor: history, social sciences or law. Students are encouraged to make an original contribution to the field of migration studies, either by conducting an archival or ethnographic research project in the fields of migration history or the anthropology of migration, or by studying and analyzing cases from EU or international migration or refugee law. Students are supervised by migration experts from the departments of history, anthropology and migration law.

For specific information about each course, please visit our study guide.

Admission and registration

This minor is open to students from all study backgrounds at university level.
All students are kindly requested to register for the minor before June 1 by sending an e-mail to the minor coordinator. Students should register for the courses via VUnet or via register.vu.nl (external students) at the beginning of September. External students should mind that they need permission from their examination committee at their home institutions.

Foreign students: see the website Semester in Amsterdam.

Please see the application procedure for more information.

Questions about the programme

If you have detailed questions about the contents of the programme, please contact

Norah Karrouche | n.f.f.karrouche@vu.nl 

Samenvatting Migration studies




1 semester (30 EC)


1 september


Economie, Recht en Bestuur
Gedrag en Maatschappij
Kunst, Cultuur en Geschiedenis
Talen en Communicatie