MA Migration and Development

Program level: 


Program starts every semester.



Duration in semesters: 

4 semesters


The Department of Migration and Development under AIGAD at Ethiopian Civil Service University is designed for MA students from African countries, particularly member states of IGAD. It aims at becoming a centre of excellence in academic studies, research and documentation dealing with migration and development focusing on Africa but also encompassing broader concerns. The course work of Migration and Development Program consists of nine modules which are offered in two semesters of the first year. In the first-year, students will learn different theoretical and applied aspects through analytical grounding in understanding of migration and development and the nexus thereof. In first semester of the second year, the students of will do preliminary research as part of a seminar accompanied by rigorous presentations on areas related to migration and development. Concurrently, the students shall prepare a proposal for the thesis required for their graduation. Finally, during the second semester of the second-year students shall write up their theses, submit reports and present as part of the thesis defense and evaluated as per the university legislation.

Prerequisites & Requirements

ECSU is unique higher education institution in Ethiopia in addressing the challenges of civil servants delivering services in their respective National Regional States with due attention to the emerging regions. In order to address the needs for delivering training in new scientific areas of Migration and Development study, it aim is to address the most challenging issues of the complex nature of migration and the associated costs in both at individual and national levels affecting nations, nationalities and peoples in Africa. The continent suffers very much from brain-drain, due to migration of highly educated citizens. This phenomenon directly affecting the already scarce qualified human capital; and has moved prominent academic figures, state actors and citizens at large to start a reflection on sustainable socio-economic development strategies which can bring about stability, peace, and prosperity, thereby reducing the pressures that contribute to migratory movements. To this effect, many initiatives are already undertaken at the regional (Inter-governmental) level to promote regional co-operation to mitigate the root causes of migration, by curbing rural poverty and to strive toward sustainable development. Moreover, the issues of concern are: the low levels of urbanization in the region, migration development nexus, and the high level of internal displacement that is related with heightened ethnic conflict and development project induced displacement and issues of resentment and spatial population distribution.

The establishment of the AIGAD has been seen by many people around the regions as a way to galvanize and catalyse the efforts of Africa towards a comprehensive and sustainable development path. This creative and innovative MA programme under the AIGAD offers students the opportunity to combine study and analysis of critical perspectives on Migration and Development nexus. The MA Migration and Development focuses attention on major trends in migration theories, migration & development nexus, political economy of migration from a historical perspective, and different forms of and approaches to the study of migration and displacement. The programme draws on the expertise of the AIGAD staff in development, migration and forced migration contexts and encourages interdisciplinary dialogue with other relevant institutes and colleges within ECSU.

Programme Aims

 The program of Migration and Development will give students an opportunity to achieve the following objectives:

  • Thorough analytical grounding in understanding the migration and development nexus, including impact on the countries of origin and on receiving countries. Special topics including brain drain, gender issues, as well as the differential impact on rural and urban areas will be covered. The study will also assist in understanding internal displacement and cross border movements; the role of conflict and insecurity in migratory movements; as well as the impact of environmental factors, livelihood issues and climate change. The impact of immigration on receiving countries will also be examined, including aspects of social integration, question regarding citizenship, and the economic impact, including through remittances from migrants.
  • Development of specialized knowledge through particular case studies, as well as an understanding of overall trends.
  • An understanding of the political economy of migration from a historical perspective, major trends in migration theories, and different approaches to the study of migration.
  • Understanding population dynamics including births, deaths, age structure of populations, gender balance through a “starter kit” in demography. Reviewing the historical evolution of the population in Africa, with special attention to the Horn of Africa.
  • Develop hands-on plans (strategic and project) leading to the development of programmes and services to address migration and development.

Exit Level Outcomes


  • Knowledge of migration and responses to human movement and migration.
  • Understanding of the main historical, political economic and sociological anthropological theories of human movement and migration.
  • An ability to conceptualize migration in relation to political and economic regimes of powers processes of globalization and development, and as an experiential, social and symbolic category.
  • Knowledge of data sources on incidence of migration including diverse forced and voluntary forms.
  • An awareness of the main international institutional responses (analytical, policy and political) to global migration.
  • An ability to critically analyse case study data using relevant theoretical approaches.
  • A specialized knowledge and understanding complementing that provided by the core courses by researching for and writing the thesis.

Intellectual Skills

  • An ability to be precise and appropriately cautious in their assessment of evidence, and understand the strengths and weaknesses of different datasets, of claims made on the basis of various kinds of evidence, and of methodologies used to arrive at substantive claims.
  • A tendency to question interpretations, however authoritative, and reassess evidence for themselves.
  • The ability to engage in contemporary academic and policy debates in relevant fields including the migration-development nexus; the political economy of migration; agrarian development, food security & rural poverty and immigration; sedentary and mobility; integration, assimilation and discrimination; seasonal and labour migration; Transnationalism and diasporas; forced migration across and within national borders.
  • The ability to demonstrate an interest and confidence in thinking in interdisciplinary ways, drawing insights, questions and evidence from a variety of perspectives.
  • Familiarity with how to formulate research questions and to work independently towards addressing those questions.

Subject-based Practical Skills

  • Research techniques in using specialized research libraries, institutes, and databases, and drawing on data and analysis available on the web.
  • A developed initiative and capacity to define one’s own thesis research question/hypothesis, and to adjust hypotheses and approach in the light of work undertaken for the thesis.
  • The ability to read regularly and rapidly a variety of types of reports, papers, articles and books, incorporating different types of evidence, methodology and disciplinary perspectives.
  • An understanding of unconventional ideas and the ability to question common evidence-based claims about social and economic development and especially about the relationships between migration and development.
  • An ability to engage in debate and discussion in seminars, including presenting seminar papers and listening to and discussing ideas introduced during seminars.
  • Project management and strategic planning techniques to transfer research and theoretical content into programmes and services.
  • How to use data, including:
  • Awareness of data problems in the Horn of African countries.
  • Awareness of different research methodologies, including case studies, qualitative and quantitative analysis, surveys.
  • Development of skills in asking critical questions of commonly used datasets and evidencebased claims.
  • Understanding roots of conflicting estimates and interpretations.
  • Knowledge of main relevant data sources.

Transferable Skills

  • Ability to structure and communicate ideas effectively both orally and in writing:
  •  Knowledge of how to retrieve, sift, select, analyse and synthesize information from a variety of sources.
  •  Familiarity with working effectively in and contributing to groups to marshal and present evidence in both oral and written arguments.
  •  Ability to engage in meetings by presenting, discussing, and constructively critiquing ideas introduced during meetings.
  • Ability to develop project plans and strategic plans for programmes and services.



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