DPhil in Migration Studies

About the course

The DPhil in Migration Studies offers the unrivalled opportunity to undertake an interdisciplinary in-depth project focused on a specific and important contemporary challenge facing the world by drawing on world class research departments, centres and scholars.

The Centre on Migration Policy and Society (COMPAS) and the Oxford Department of International Development (ODID) now offer a new DPhil in Migration Studies from October 2019 (full time and part time).

You will be admitted initially as a Probationer Research Student (PRS), with full-time students transferring to full DPhil status by the end of their first year and part-time students transferring by the end of their second year.

During the probationary period, you will develop and begin work on your thesis topic. You will be offered training in relevant research methods, language, computing and other skills, and have the opportunity to attend lectures, seminars and classes in your general topic area. Full-time students are expected to be resident in Oxford for the PRS period.

In terms of research methods training you are likely to have already completed appropriate research training at Master’s degree level, either within Oxford or (when recognised by appropriate research councils) another University. There is a joint ‘Quantitative Research Methods for Migration Studies’ course for Masters students on the MScs in Migration Studies and Refugee and Forced Migration Studies and separate ones in qualitative methods. Graduates who have followed this route will therefore have completed the necessary training. Students new to Oxford will be expected to attend and pass this course unless they can demonstrate equivalent research training or experience, assessed and approved.

As a DPhil student you will undertake your own original research project under the guidance of your supervisor, with whom you will typically meet two to three times a term. The supervisor will help develop and guide your project and, at later stages, provide feedback on chapter drafts. However, you will work to a significant extent on your own, and you will need a high level of motivation and self-discipline.

Academics from COMPAS and ODID can offer supervision in a wide range of subjects, including: linking newly emergent economies in China and India to new flows of people, the multiple dimensions of mass mobility at the heart of Europe’s ‘migration crisis’, or the interface of new urban science and the dynamics of migrant settlement.

You will also benefit from long established research and teaching programmes on migration, each with particular focus on collaborating with non-academics and generating research ‘impact’. The DPhil programme offers the opportunity to link research training to research practice at the two research centres.

Why study at COMPAS?

COMPAS offers a supportive, high quality, interdisciplinary research environment. Our staff represent a range of disciplines and research interests, and students are encouraged to take part in a variety of COMPAS-sponsored activities and events. We believe students are very important to the research and learning environment at COMPAS and that they in turn benefit by improving their academic and other professional skills.

Read a blog by DPhil Course Director, Carlos Vargas-Silva here.


12 noon UK time (midday) on:

  • Friday 16 November 2018
  • Friday 25 January 2019

Full details on the University of Oxford’s Graduate Admissions page