Applications now open for the next DPhil in Migration Studies cohort

Published 3 November 2021 / By Carlos Vargas-Silva

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Do you have a great research idea on a migration related topic and think that a doctoral programme might be for you?

Applications are now open for the new cohort of students in the DPhil in Migration Studies (those looking to start their degrees in October 2022).

Here's what you need to know before you you apply. I hope it'll persuade you to join us!

Choosing a supervisor

The first step in the application process is to identify a potential supervisor. Check the websites of COMPAS and the Refugee Studies Centre for potential complementarities between you research ideas and the interests of faculty staff members.

However, you should also expand your search more broadly to all the faculty members of the Oxford Department of International Development (ODID) and the School of Anthropology Museum Ethnography (SAME).

In general, for supervision, you are looking for faculty members with the title of Associate Professor or Professor. Many faculty members who are working on migration related topics might not be based in a research centre on the topic. For instance, in ODID, Dr Maxim Bolt has a fascinating research agenda on borders, migration and displacement in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

In fact, you don’t even need a supervisor working directly on migration issues as long as your topic of interest overlaps with the interest of the supervisor in other ways. For instance, in SAME, Dr Chihab El Khachab, has conducted captivating research on the filmmaking process and broader social processes in Egypt. There are many ways in which migration can overlap with these topics.

This year we also have one additional faculty member joining us in January, and while she doesn’t appear yet “officially” on the different websites mentioned above, you could think about approaching her for supervision. Professor Madeleine Reeves will be joining Oxford, SAME and COMPAS in January. She is one of the world’s experts on migration in Central Asia.

However, please note that if you don’t get a positive response in time for a potential supervisor, you can still apply to the DPhil programme. We will match your application with the best possible supervisor for evaluation. Academics are very busy, hence do not get put off by a lack of response.


There are many scholarships available for graduate studies at Oxford and I encourage to look at all those. However, there is also an ESRC Migration Pathway, which is explicitly for students doing a DPhil on a migration related topic. Everyone can apply to this pathway, even students looking to do a master degree in migration/forced migration before entering a DPhil programme at Oxford. Those of you using advanced quantitative methods can also combine this application with an Advanced Quantitative Methods (AQM) application.

These are just a few of the things to think about when applying to the DPhil in Migration Studies. For more information about deadlines, requirements, etc. please visit the University pages for the programme.