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This programme is unique in offering students the chance to study the main characteristics of modern forms of slavery and human trafficking, causes/roots, impacts, and methods (legal and otherwise) of prevention. 

  • Students will have access to the resources of the Centre for the Study of Modern Slavery
  • Students will also have access to cutting edge research and lectures by high profile experts in the field

Why study Human Trafficking, Migration and Organised Crime?

This master's programme provides an advanced critical insight into current developments in the study of migration, organised crime and human trafficking. It is unique in offering students the chance to study the main characteristics of modern forms of slavery and human trafficking, causes/roots, impacts, and methods (legal and others) of prevention.

The degree is unique in examining, in an interdisciplinary manner, the intersection between human trafficking and migratory flows, and forced labour, and organised crime.

The programme combines vocational and theoretical components. You'll study the social conditions in which human trafficking occurs, including wealth, social and gender inequalities; migration due to political instability, war and poverty; and the role of criminal gangs and organised crime groups in the proliferation of this crime in recent years. The modus operandi of traffickers and their networks will be explored as will the challenges raised by the role in family members and communities in this increasingly complex issue. 

You'll also engage critically with existing legal frameworks and policing in place to combat human trafficking. The degree also offers te chance to examine different discourses used to analyse the issue including debates about terminology, media representations, effectiveness of anti-trafficking policies and the efficacy of rescue and rehabilitation programmes.

Why St Mary's?

The MA programme is part of a wider commitment to addressing modern slavery and human trafficking through the work of the Centre for the Study of Modern Slavery, established at St Mary’s in 2015. The Centre was founded to develop an evidence based response to addressing the current intensification of human trafficking and slavery cases globally.

The Centre is part of the Santa Marta Group and has links to many external partners including Kevin Hyland (former Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and Visiting Professor at St Mary’s University), policy-makers, police, other academic institutions, safe houses, campaigners, international organisations and NGOs.

Students on the MA in Human Trafficking, Migration and Organised Crime will have access to the resources of the centre, including cutting edge research and lectures by high profile experts in the field.

An inaugural conference, which took place in February 2017, was the first of an annual event, organised by the Centre for the Study of Modern Slavery. With the aim of using research to fill the knowledge and evidence gaps experienced by policymakers and practitioners, the conference provides a space to promote debate and encourage collaboration on addressing the subject of human trafficking and modern slavery, with contributions from UK and international experts.

Discussions between policymakers, practitioners and researchers will identify evidence gaps and tailor research to these needs. All MA students will be encouraged to engage with and contribute to future conferences and may choose to evaluate the experience and learning as part of their assessed work.

Please note: Human Trafficking, Migration and Organised Crime is subject to revalidation.

Course lead

Neena Samota headshotNeena Samota
Programme Director - Criminology and Sociology

Entry requirements

2:2 Previous degree

A minimum 2:2 honours degree (or equivalent) in arts, humanities or social sciences. Undergraduate degrees in other disciplines may be considered.

Additional requirement information

Applicants with two years of relevant non-certified learning and professional experience in a relevant field of work, such as health, social services, police and third sector organisation will also be considered.

January entry requirements

In addition to the above standard entry criteria, for the January intake you will need to demonstrate relevant work experience through a CV/personal statement. Offers will be subject to an interview with the Programme Director.

International requirements

International students should check our country-specific pages for equivalents. If English is not your first language you will need to achieve an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with no less than 6.0 in any section (or equivalent).

We now accept IELTS Indicator test results as proof of your English language level.

Further information

For more information about entry requirements please email

Course content


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Please note: it is possible that a module listed on the website will not be able to run due to reasons beyond our control. For more information please refer to our course information disclaimer.

Career opportunities

This course will interest students who wish to pursue careers in the voluntary sector (in organisations that work with migrants and people who have been trafficked), in the public sector dealing with crime control and criminal justice, in law and human rights, and in campaigning and media.

It will also appeal to people employed in professional and third sector organisations, such as police, health professionals, social workers and frontline support workers as part of their continuing professional development.

It will provide a critical and methodological platform for students who aim to extend their studies to doctoral level. And it will appeal to students who want to investigate the historical, social and cultural factors that contribute to the intersection of criminal justice, human trafficking and migration.

The Careers Service has more information on graduate careers and part-time work available during your course.

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How the degree is taught

Teaching methods

You'll be taught on our beautiful and historic campus located in Twickenham, London.

Most modules are taught through a series of lectures and seminars. The final dissertation/professional practice independent project will be completed between June to September.

You will also be expected to attend the annual conference organised by the Centre for the Study of Modern Slavery as part of one of the modules: Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking: Policing, Policy and Practice.

Assessment methods

Assessment includes a variety of methods such as written coursework, policy reviews, case studies and presentations. 

Modes of study

The programme is available either as a full-time programme over one year or part-time over two years. The duration of the full-time course is three semesters (one calendar year starting in September).

You will attend weekly lectures and seminars during term time from September to December and February to May.

Course qualifications

The course has three possible exit points:

  • Postgraduate Certificate: successful completion of 60 credits
  • Postgraduate Diploma: successful completion of 120 credits without the dissertation
  • Master's Degree: successful completion of 120 credits, plus 15,000-word dissertation/work-based research report


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Fees and funding

Tuition fees

September 2022

  • Home: £8,490
  • International: £14,550

The tuition fees listed are for the duration of the course. Students will be charged for the modules undertaken per academic year. Module prices are calculated as a percentage of credits against the total credits and cost of the degree. Please see clause 5.15.2 of the Tuition Fee Regulations for further information.

Tuition fees are subject to an inflationary increase each year, meaning if your course runs over more than one academic year you may pay an increased fee per module for each subsequent year of study. Tuition fee increases for returning students will be capped at the higher of 5% per annum or the rate of Consumer Price Index inflation in the United Kingdom.

Alumni discount

A 20% tuition fee discount is available for our alumni (undergraduate and PGCE) planning to study this Master's degree. Those studying for a PGDip of PGCert are not eligible for the discount.


Government-funded loans of over £11,000 are available to many Home postgraduate students.

For guidance about financing your studies, including information about the government-funded loans, please check out Fees and Funding section.

Home and International students may also be eligible for external sources of funding. Please check our alternative postgraduate funding for more information about external scholarships and grants for postgraduate taught and postgraduate research programmes.

International Students should check their eligibility for our International Scholarship.

Additional costs

Your tuition fees will cover the cost of all mandatory elements of your programme.

Additional costs could be incurred depending on optional modules chosen and other projects undertaken. For further information about additional costs please submit and enquiry.

Further information