EU464      Half Unit
International Migration: EU Policies and Politics

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr. Eva Polonska-Kimunguyi


This course is available on the MSc in Culture and Conflict in a Global Europe, MSc in Culture and Conflict in a Global Europe (LSE & Sciences Po), MSc in European and International Public Policy, MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Bocconi), MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in International Migration and Public Policy, MSc in International Migration and Public Policy (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Political Economy of Europe, MSc in Political Economy of Europe (LSE and Fudan) and MSc in Political Economy of Europe (LSE and Sciences Po). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course has a limited number of places (it is controlled access). In previous years we have been able to provide places for all students that apply but that may not continue to be the case.


A good knowledge of EU institutions and EU policy-making is required.

Course content

This course examines the management of ‘unwanted migration’ to Europe.  In particular, it deals with the European Union’s governance of migratory flows such as asylum seekers and irregular migrants whose immigration states often seek to prevent or discourage.  As the willingness of sovereign states to advance global governance in the area of immigration policy remains very low and unilateral national policy-responses are limited in their effectiveness, interest in regional governance has grown.  The European Union is without any doubt the front-runner in developing such regional governance initiatives. 


The course provides an in-depth treatment of the origins, evolution and major policy issues within this policy field which has been the fastest growing EU policy area since the 1990s. The course will normally focus on the following three policy areas: (1) the emerging EU asylum and refugee determination system; (2) border management, detention and deportation; and (3) responsibility allocation (the ‘Dublin system’), burden-sharing and solidarity.


Those taking the course will learn how to systematically examine the origins and impact of EU policy instruments and judgments by the European Courts.  After completion, students will be able to answer questions such as: Why have Member States intensified cooperating on asylum and immigration issues? What is the relationship between international human rights law and EU law? Given the influence of the EU’s supranational institutions, do the Member States still effectively control policies on asylum and immigration? Has EU policy-making lead to a convergence of “lowest common denominator” policies or to higher human rights standards in the Member States? 


For their assessment, students will have the opportunity to conduct a policy case-study, allowing them to apply the analytical skills developed in this course to analyse a specific EU immigration policy of their choice.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars totalling a minimum of 25 hours across Winter Term.  This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Winter Term.

Formative coursework

A prospectus for the assessed research project (policy case study).

Indicative reading

  • Zaun N. (2019) EU Asylum Policies: The Power of Strong Regulating States, Palgrave;
  • Chetail V. and P. De Bruycker (2016) (eds.), Reforming the Common European Asylum System: The New European Refugee Law, Brill;
  • Peers, S (2016) EU Justice and Home Affairs Law, Oxford University Press;
  • Geddes A and Boswell C (2010) Migration and Mobility in the European Union, Palgrave/Macmillan;
  • Geddes A. (2008) Immigration and European integration: Towards fortress Europe, Manchester University Press;
  • Thielemann E R (ed.) (2003) "European Burden-Sharing and Forced Migration", special issue of the Journal of Refugee Studies, Vol.16, No.3.


Project (100%, 5000 words) in the ST.

The summative assessment takes the form of a research project (policy case study). 

Key facts

Department: European Institute

Total students 2022/23: 25

Average class size 2022/23: 12

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication