Taught course

Refugee Care

University of Essex · Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies

Entry requirements

A 2:2 degree or equivalent.

With your online application you must submit a personal statement; this should detail the reasons for wanting to study the course, including any relevant experience (work or voluntary) that may support your application.

Successful completion of the course is subject to a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check (carried out by your placement provider).

Months of entry


Course content

This unique course brings together people from diverse walks of life and parts of the globe to explore how we can care for refugees more effectively. Through lively seminar discussion we unpack refugee experiences as multi-dimensional and complex, and explore psychosocial perspectives and different types of intervention and activism. We discuss how we may become more therapeutic in our work with refugees, beyond merely offering psychotherapy. Through our course, you gain skills in challenging negative and limiting stereotypes of asylum seekers and refugees as traumatised, passive recipients of help. You also gain new insight into effective humanitarian work with refugees and have a special opportunity to visit an Asylum Tribunal and learn from judges about how the UK asylum system operates. This programme is closely associated with Centre for Trauma Asylum and Refugees.

Using an innovative twin-site programme, our course staff are made up from the multidisciplinary practitioner expertise of the Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies Department and the therapeutic provision of the Tavistock and Portman Clinic. Two modules are delivered on Monday afternoons and evenings at the Tavistock Clinic in London and four modules are delivered on Tuesdays at the University of Essex (Colchester campus). Whilst full-time students attend the course on both sites, part-time students attend modules at the Tavistock Clinic in London in year 1 and at Colchester in year 2. You will also have guest speakers who are activists, academics and world experts in the field. You will learn our unique, innovative and proven approach enabling you to work directly with refugees, combining theory and practice. We offer valuable opportunities to gain first-hand experience in this field through supportive work placements in London, Colchester and beyond.

Students often come with a wealth of voluntary and professional experience in fields such as education, psychology, therapy, medicine, nursing, social work, human rights, law, politics, philosophy, art, literature and media studies. We also welcome people coming to the field of Refugee Care anew, with an interest in working directly with refugees, asylum seekers or other involuntarily dislocated groups of people, or conducting conceptual or empirical research in this area. Students may successfully combine study on our course with part-time work with charity sector organisations.

Topics include:

  • Psychosocial meanings of home and the implications of loss of home
  • Systemic and dynamic complexities of the refugee condition
  • Refugee needs and therapeutic responses to them
  • The therapeutic dimension of refugee care
  • Theory and scope of the psycho-social approach to refugee care
  • Psychodynamic and systemic approaches to refugee care
  • Theories of trauma, PTSD, resilience and adversity-activated development
  • Wider parameters in which the refugee condition is located and constructed
  • Organisational dimensions
  • Psychosocial perspectives to human rights interventions
  • Conceptualising research in this field

Information for international students

IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Graduate Administrator
+44 (0)1206 874 554