Global: Politics and Governance of Migration

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

Migration and its governance are one of the most fiercely debated phenomena of our times. Contestation is not just observable in the field we as scholars study (including asylum reception, labour migration programs, or different concepts of citizenship); scholarly work on the politics and governance of migration itself remains deeply contested: To what extent do nation-state centric analyses - often with a focus on the Global North of so-called "receiving" states - reproduce existing global power relations and inequalities? How have orthodox perspectives shaped our concepts of migration governance and potentially biased the analytical frameworks scholars use for their research? What blind spots do dominant analyses of migration politics and governance produce and how can these be overcome? Which theoretical and analytical tools do we have at our disposal for critically reframing theories and concepts of migration governance?

This elective course tackles these questions through deep reading and individual as well as joint discussion of selected chapters from the Handbook on the Governance and Politics of Migration (2021). We approach discussion of the readings in a dialogue-oriented seminar structure, based on students' regular preparation of a short research brief (which summarizes three key readings per session before class) and with rotating responsibility for moderating the discussion. Willingness to prepare the session readings in-depth is thus essential for successful participation in this course.

Learning Outcomes

A student who has completed the course should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student knows

  • major debates on migration as a global challenge
  • key lines of conceptual-analytical contestation about how to study the governance and politics of migration
  • key empirical insights on the variable governance and politics of migration from across the Globe.


The student can

  • evaluate, synthesize, and critically appraise existing social science research on the governance and politics of migration
  • develop and apply their own conceptual-analytical approach to the politics and governance of migration as a global challenge
  • identify and analyse relevant empirical cases of migration governance independently and in a nuanced manner.

General competence

The student can

  • identify and present complex phenomena in the field of global migration governance in a nuanced and critical manner
  • develop, present, discuss and defend own arguments about scholarly readings and empirical phenomena in dialogue with peers
  • structure and moderate group discussions in an inclusive manner

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Spring, irregular
Required Previous Knowledge
Students must have completed a bachelor's degree in political science or equivalent (subject to approval by the administration of the Department of Government), or a bachelor´s degree in social sciences, psychology or law.
Recommended Previous Knowledge
A background in social science theory and methods recommended.
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
Access to the Course

The course is open for students who have been accepted to Master programmes at the Department of Government, and from other Master's programmes in the Social Science Faculty.

The course gives priority to students accepted to the Master programmes at the Department of Government. Students accepted to other master's programmes in in the Social Science Faculty can sign up if there are places left. Maximum students per course is fifteen (15) students.

Exchange students at master level and master students from other departments may be accepted upon application. Applications may be rejected due to capacity.

Teaching and learning methods
Approximately 6 sessions (including one introduction and one concluding session and four sessions on different thematic blocs), organised as student-led discussions of key readings.  
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

The compulsory assignment includes two research briefs (2-3 pages each) delivered before the respective session based on the assigned readings and some guiding questions to be shared by the teacher. In addition, each student must take co-leadership for moderating one seminar discussion.

Attendance of 4-6 sessions is compulsory.

The compulsory assignment must be approved in order to take the exam. Approved compulsory assignments are valid in the current and following two semesters.

Forms of Assessment

Research essay of 2500 words (+/- 10%, excluding the title page, table of contents, references, tables, and all attachments) on the politics and governance of migration. The teacher will share guiding questions for the task.

The exam will be given in the language in which the course is taught. 

The exam answer can be submitted in English.

Grading Scale
Graded A-F
Assessment Semester

Assessment in teaching semester.

A retake exam is arranged for students with valid absence according to § 5-5 in the UiB regulations.

If there is a retake exam, this will be available for students with the follow results/absences:

  • Medical certificate/valid absence
  • Interruption during the exam
  • Fail/failed

If you have the right to take a retake exam and a retake exam is arranged for students with valid absences, you can sign up yourself in Studentweb after 1. August.

Reading List
The reading list will be ready before 1 July for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester.
Course Evaluation
All courses are evaluated according to UiB's system for quality assurance of education.
Programme Committee
The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses. 
Course Administrator
Department of Government at the Faculty of Social Sciences has the administrative responsibility for the course and the study programme.