Online course in Politics & the Modern World

Why Do People Migrate? Theories

Explore theories about migration in greater depth and learn how migration is a constant phenomenon throughout human history.

  • Duration 3 weeks
  • Weekly study 3 hours

Move beyond the headlines about migration

In the second course in this two-part series, you will learn about different theoretical models that seek to explain why migration starts and why it continues. You will explore migration as a structural feature of our societies and examine individual’s choices to migrate. You will consider the role networks and institutions play in the movement of people. You will also hear from international experts about how migration theories can help us understand cases of labour migration in different world regions.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 10 secondsMigration is a fundamental phenomenon in human history. People move, since prehistoric times. Pilgrims, peddlers, merchants, colonisers-- people moved escaping war and persecutions, but also in search of land, resources, opportunities, the dream of a better life. In the 19th century, migration started to be a mass phenomenon, also made easier by faster, safer, and cheaper transportation. Today, migration is an intrinsic feature of our globalising world. So why do people move? We will guide you through the complex world of migration-- analysing the different types of migration, the main actors involved, the policies in place, the motivations behind the decision to move. With this course, we aim to address two main questions. What triggers migration? Which factors influence migrants' decisions?

Skip to 1 minute and 28 secondsIf you are interested in understanding this phenomenon and seeing how theories can explain real life cases, access anytime, anywhere, your MOOC. Watch the videos. Share ideas. Ask for feedback. Join our learning community. Enrol now.

What topics will you cover?

  • Understanding migration as a global phenomenon

  • Why does migration start?

  • How does migration continue?

  • Theoretical approaches in practice

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

  • Available now
    This course started 10 June 2019

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Identify the fundamental terminology used in theoretical debates on migration
  • Explore the main theoretical approaches
  • Explain the motivations for people to move and settle outside their home countries
  • Apply main theories to the interpretation of real case-studies

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone interested in learning about migration. It would be useful if you had completed the first course in this series Why do People Migrate? Facts.

Who will you learn with?

Anna Triandafyllidou

Anna Triandafyllidou is Professor at the European University Institute, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, where she directs the Cultural Pluralism Area in the Global Governance Programme.

Nick Dines

Nick Dines is research fellow at the European University Institute, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies.

Who developed the course?

The European University Institute offers doctoral and post-doctoral training in the social sciences. It hosts the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies and the Historical Archives of the EU.