3 ECTS credits
90 h study time

Offer 1 with catalog number 6023921EER for all students in the 1st semester at a (E) Master - advanced level.

1st semester
Enrollment based on exam contract
Grading method
Grading (scale from 0 to 20)
Can retake in second session
Taught in
Faculty of Law and Criminology
Faculty of Law and Criminology
Educational team
Salvatore Nicolosi (course titular)
External teachers
Salvatore Nicolosi
Activities and contact hours
30 contact hours Lecture
6 contact hours Seminar, Exercises or Practicals
54 contact hours Independent or External Form of Study
Course Content

This course analyzes the phenomenon of migration from an international and European legal perspective and addresses the main challenges to the governance of migration policies. In particular, the course analyses the international (universal and regional) regimes on voluntary and forced migration and focuses on current challenges to the legal protection of migrants. Special attention will be paid to the new European Pact on Migration and Asylum and the reform of the Common European Asylum System - CEAS. In this regard, the course aims to explore cooperation mechanisms with third countries on border management (externalisation) and the rise of new institutional actors, such as EU migration agencies, like the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (agencification). Finally, migration will also be studied from a critical perspective as a global human phenomenon integrating methods, including Third World Approaches to International Law  - TWAIL. During the course, complex legal and political questions will be tackled, such as: who is a genuine refugee?; is the difference between a refugee and an economic migrant still relevant?; what is the impact of climate change on human migration?; who enjoys the right to family reunification?; to what extent does technology contribute to the border management regime and admission of migrants into Europe ?

Additional info

Study material

  • Textbook (recommended):

Basic readings will be provided inter alia but not exclusively from textbooks in International and European migration and asylum law and other sources, including:

  • Brian Opeskin, Richard Perruchoud and Jillyanne Redpath-Cross (eds.), Foundations of International Migration Law, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012 (available as ebook at VUB library)
  • Pieter Boeles, Maarten den Heijer, Gerrie Lodder, Kees Wouters, European Migration Law, 2nd ed. Antwerpen: Intersentia, 2014
  • Vincent Chetail and Céline Bauloz (eds), Research Handbook on International Law and Migration, Edward Elgar, 2014
  • James Hathaway and Michelle Foster, The Law of Refugee Status, 2nd ed. Cambridge, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014
  • Cathryn Costello, Michelle Foster and Jane McAdam (eds), The Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021
  • Guy S. Goodwin-Gill and Jane McAdam, The Refugee in International Law, 4th ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021
  • Course text (required):
  • See Course Guide on Canvas
  • Digital course material (required):
  • check Canvas for detailed information on Legislation and Case Law that will be used during the course
Learning Outcomes


- Categorise the various situations that can be considered as migration.

- Explain the difference between migration, forced displacement and asylum.

- Illustrate the international and European regulatory framework applicable to migration (legal and illegal), forced displacement, trafficking human beings and asylum.

- Evaluate the existing international and European legal regimes from a critical perspective, considering the situation of vulnerable persons in a situation of migration or displacement.

- Assess whether critical approaches to migration can feed current International and Legal regimes on migration in a way that vulnerable migrants can be better protected.


The final grade is composed based on the following categories:
Oral Exam determines 50% of the final mark.
Written Exam determines 50% of the final mark.

Within the Oral Exam category, the following assignments need to be completed:

  • Group Presentation with a relative weight of 50 which comprises 50% of the final mark.

Within the Written Exam category, the following assignments need to be completed:

  • Case Note with a relative weight of 50 which comprises 50% of the final mark.

Additional info regarding evaluation


Allowed unsatisfactory mark
The supplementary Teaching and Examination Regulations of your faculty stipulate whether an allowed unsatisfactory mark for this programme unit is permitted.

Academic context

This offer is part of the following study plans:
Master of International and European Law: Standaard traject