About the course
Do you or are you looking to work with refugees, asylum seekers or other displaced groups of people? How can you care for these people more effectively? How can therapeutic dimensions of care and psychosocial perspectives help to understand the multi-dimensional complexities of the refugee experience?
The multidisciplinary expertise of our university and the therapeutic professionalism of the Tavistock Centre combine to bring you this innovative twin-site Masters (two modules are taught at the Tavistock Centre in London and two modules at our Colchester campus) in the study of refugee care.
The central focus of our MA Refugee Care is to introduce a therapeutic dimension and a psychosocial perspective to working with this group of people, and is the only postgraduate course to offer a combination of modules with this emphasis, making a clear distinction between being therapeutic in working with refugees, instead of offering psychotherapy to them.
The course includes a thoughtful combination of practical and experiential elements, such as placements and institutional observations, to support a sound theoretical framework to understand the complexities of the refugee experience, such as family and societal factors, interactions with various services, institutions and organisations, and the inter-personal dynamics involved between refugees and their workers.
Our course is offered one year full-time, two years part-time or modular (up to five years), and teaching is for 25 weeks (over two and a half terms from October to mid-May). It is also possible to apply for a doctoral programme in refugee care, completing this MA first (without the dissertation) and then continuing to work on your PhD thesis (for an additional two years full-time or four years part-time).
"Having worked for many years with refugees in different contexts, I wasn’t expecting to be exposed to so many new ideas and perspectives. The MA Refugee Care is an amazing course which has allowed me to exchange views with people from all over the world. I would recommend it to anyone who is intending to work with refugees."
Arij Bou Reslan, MA Refugee Care
Our expert staff
The course team, directed by the founder Professor Renos Papadopoulos, is further enhanced by other international experts from a variety of relevant fields. One of the strengths of this course is that the staff team are actively engaged in academic, research and field work within this area.
The course is located in the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies and associated with the Department of Sociology, which consistently achieves top ten rankings in the UK's research assessments, most recently in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.
Being part of the UK’s leading university of the study of social sciences means you are surrounded by strong departments that fully support and enhance our work. This allows you to gain the opportunity to work with and be taught by top world-class scholars and top professionals in their fields.
The course is closely associated with the internationally renowned Centre for Trauma Asylum and Refugees (CTAR) that is involved in many training, research and intervention projects in many parts of the world. The course also has strong links with the prestigious Human Rights Centre and the Transitional Justice Network of our university.
A unique feature of the course is the annual visit to an Asylum Tribunal where students attend hearings and have the opportunity of speaking with the judges about the specific cases observed as well as about their work and wider asylum issues.
Our Albert Sloman Library is well stocked with books, journals, electronic resources and major archives relevant to our work and, in addition, we have our own library of specialist books and journals.
The field of refugee work is not only topical but is expanding and developing rapidly, creating new employment initiatives and opportunities. This course is unique in equipping students to work directly in this field.
Accordingly, our graduates make an impact by applying the innovative approach that our course offers in a variety of contexts and disciplines. Many of our graduates go on to play a leading role in many spheres e.g. education, social and community work, human rights, emergency and humanitarian aid, national, international and non-governmental organisations.
Postgraduate study is the chance to take your education to the next level. The course values the multidisciplinary background of the students and offers the flexibly of allowing each one of them to personalise her/his learning within the context of the masters programme. This is done by developing a co-ordinated direction within a cluster of essays, dissertation and placements. The combination means that our modules help you develop extensive knowledge in your chosen discipline, whilst providing plenty of freedom to pursue your own interests.
Our research and practice-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore, to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible, your core module structure may be subject to change.
Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current postgraduate students, including details of all optional modules.
What is the unconscious? And how does it influence the behaviour of groups? Explore how a psychoanalytic approach can illuminate the dynamics of groups and organisations. Understand the classic theories of Freud and Bion, then develop perspectives on how psychoanalytic ideas explain individual and group behaviour.
What are the relevant contexts of the refugee experience? How can academic disciplines help us understand the refugee experience in a deeper way? How can we grasp the multidimensional aspects of the refugee phenomena? Study the multidisciplinary nature of Refugee Care from a unique combination of both academic and professional perspectives.
What psychological complexities are involved when working with people whose human rights were violated? How do you, as a worker, interact with them? In what way do wider contexts impact on these interactions? Explore the psychosocial parameters of human rights violations. Engage with issues, debates and literature on psychosocial perspectives of human rights.
What interests you? Do you want to deepen your knowledge, build relevant research skills and develop your future professional direction? Your dissertation lets you study a topic of your choosing, in depth, with supervision and guidance from our world-leading experts.
How can we be 'therapeutic' in working with refugees, as opposed to 'offering psychotherapy' to them? What is the range of therapeutic dimensions in working with refugees? Learn from experienced practitioners who use a variety of different approaches in their work. Engage in class discussions with themes that are relevant to you.
How can you put theory into practice in working with refugees or other involuntarily dislocated persons? Placements in well established agencies, organisations and services are arranged to fit in with your background and future professional direction. You will be supervised by practitioners in the placement and in a group setting at the Tavistock Centre.
- Teaching takes place in relatively small seminars and fora, with a focus on group discussion
- You also have a personal tutor who advises you about your work on an individual basis
- For most modules, assessment is by coursework only, typically an essay of between 3,000-5,000 words
- You develop a dissertation of 12,000 words, in which you define and research into an area of special interest to you
- We provide you with advice and guidance on researching and writing your dissertation
- Your dissertation is submitted mid-September in your final year of study
UK entry requirements
We will consider applications with an overall grade of 2:2 and above.
International and EU entry requirements
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries.
for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the
undergraduate qualification you have already completed or are currently taking.
IELTS entry requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5
We hold postgraduate events in February/March and November, and open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:
- tour our campus and accommodation
- find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
- meet our students and staff
If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.
You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.
There is no application deadline but we recommend that you apply before 1 July for our taught courses starting in October. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.