Refugee care (M35)

Course Overview 

This course will help enhance your understanding and skills in working with refugee people, using your own experience as context.

Using systemic and psychodynamic approaches, you will examine the complexities of the refugee experience from a holistic and more rounded perspective. You will consider therapeutic, clinical, theoretical, organisational, social and political viewpoints among others.

It is the only course of its kind that includes a relevant placement and placement group within an organisation related to working with refugee people, and is the longest running course in this field in the UK.

If you experience any issues accessing our secure application and payment system, please visit the issues with your application page.

Home/EU: £3975 (PT) International: £7475 (PT)
MA / Masters
Course Length 
1 yr (FT), 2 yr (PT)
Course Type 
On site
Study Attendance 
Part - time
Who is this course for?

Our course is multidisciplinary and open to all professional and non-professional workers who are engaged in, or want to, work with asylum seeking/refugee people in different capacities, such as:

  • voluntary workers
  • social workers
  • managers
  • mental health workers
  • teachers
  • psychologists
  • community workers
  • GPs
  • public sector workers
  • psychotherapists
Course outline

The course consists of the following elements:

  • seminars
  • a placement with asylum seeking/refugee people or in a context working with/on behalf of refugee people
  • a placement group which combines theory and practice
  • coursework and research dissertation

You will have opportunities to explore the social, cultural and political contexts relevant to asylum seeking/refugee people and families, using frameworks that are therapeutic and empowering and that will assist you in working directly with these groups.

In addition to the course tutor, specialists from other institutions participate as guest lecturers.

This course is available to study full-time over one year, part-time over two years, or on a credit-accumulation basis for up to five years.

The MA includes four modules and a dissertation, and is taught on two sites. Two courses are offered on Tuesdays at the University of Essex (50 minutes by train from London Liverpool Street station), and two other courses at the Tavistock Centre on Mondays.

In addition, you are expected to undertake a systematic observation of an organisation and a placement in a relevant refugee institution/service. This means that, depending on the arrangements for the observation and placement, you may be involved either for two days (minimum) or for four days (maximum) for most of the duration of the academic year.

Why study with us?

This course will:

  • prepare you to work as a competent, reflective and pro-active worker with asylum seeking /refugee people in a variety of different work settings and with a variety of different remits
  • help you to meet the challenges imposed by wider societal parameters (eg changing legislation, political priorities, public opinion, discrimination and prejudice) that affect asylum seeking/refugee people directly and indirectly
  • help you to conceptualise and formulate refugee-related projects (for research and/or service purposes)     

In order to achieve the award of an MA, you need to submit and pass coursework and submit and pass a research dissertation.


Teaching and attendance timetables for academic year 2016/17 are not yet set. Please check back for updates.


FULL TIME: One year

PART TIME: 2 years

OR: up to five years on a credit-accumulation basis.

Academic award

On successful completion of this course you will be awarded an MA accredited by the University of Essex.

Entry requirements

You need a university degree (or equivalent) in any subject, and a record of relevant work/experience or serious intent to work in relevant settings with refugees/asylum seekers.


The fees for academic year 2016/17 Year 1 enrolment are:


  • Home/EU students: £3975 per year
  • International students: £7475 per year


  • Home/EU students: £7950 per year
  • International students: £15,900 per year


Please see guidance on the definition of an international student.

Read more information on fees and funding  and fee regulations.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Course dates

The academic year will begin on Monday 26th September 2016.

Please see term dates for full information.

What students say?

"This course was different from any other refugee studies programmes that I have seen. It focused on the essential issues relating to refugees and the refugee experience, as well as emphasising therapeutic practices. I now have a clearer understanding of how to work in therapeutic settings with refugees which will aid me in my future career specialising in working with this group."

M35 graduate


"The course helped me to connect my work with the relevant theory. It made it possible for me to relate five years of experience in the field that I already had with the theoretical frame of psychosocial support for refugees."

M35 graduate


This course is delivered in partnership with the University of Essex

Professor Renos Papadopoulos [VIDEO]

Professor Renos Papadopoulos, from our Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, tells us about the MA and PhD courses in refugee care at Essex.

Closing date for applications

Course applications will close in July 2016, please contact the course administrator for further information.