Prof Nissa Finney

Prof Nissa Finney

Director of Research

Professor of Human Geography

Researcher profile

+44 (0)1334 46 3944



My work is concerned with residential experiences (where people live and where they move to/from), their drivers (individual migration decision making and structural constraints such as housing markets) and their consequences (for life chances and outcomes of individuals, for neighbourhood composition and cohesion, and for governance). Much of my work examines ethnicity in relation to these themes. My work is broadly, and theoretically, framed by my interest in inequalities and social justice.

My approach is shaped by training in Geography followed by over a decade in an interdisciplinary context. I am an advocate of combining qualitative and quantitative research methods. My current work involves collaboration with academic partners in the UK (Manchester, Glasgow, Sussex, Edinburgh), Belgium (VU Brussels), the Netherlands (NIDI, TU Delft) and Spain (Girona); and non-academic partners, particularly the Runnymede TrustJoseph Rowntree Foundation and MigrationWorkCIC.

I joined the University of St Andrews in August 2015 having previously worked at the University of Manchester (2006-2015) where I was Lecturer, Hallsworth Fellow, ESRC Fellow and member of the Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research. Prior to that I worked in the Department of Geography at the University of Liverpool and at the University of Sheffield. I obtained my PhD in Geography (2004) from the University of Wales Swansea.

I am a founding member of the ESRC Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity, a member of the ESRC Centre for Population Change. I am Chair of the RGS-IBG Population Geography Research Group, and Associate Director of the Centre for Minorities Research at St Andrews. I am a Visiting Scholar at TU Delft.


I teach at sub-honours, honours and postgraduate levels on migration, ethnicity, integration, inequalities, neighbourhood, population change, research methods, and mixed methods, including:

  • GG3273 Scrutinizing Segregation: Geographies of Diversity and Inequality
  • GG2011 Geographies of Global Change (Population Geography block)
  • GG1001/2 and GG2011/12 tutorials
  • SG4221 Review Essay in Geography
  • GG5101 Being a Social Scientist
  • Honours Dissertation supervision

Research areas

I am currently working on several research projects:

  • Within the ESRC Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity I am leading the development of a new national survey to document the lives of ethnic and religious minorities in a time of crisis (2020-2021). This is a collaboration with collagues at the Universities of Manchester and Sussex, Words of Colour, Ipsos MORI and a number of Voluntary and Community Partners.
  • As part of the ESRC Centre for Population Change I am leading a project examining changes in the residential mobility experiences of young adults (2020-2022). On this project I work with Vivian So, David McCollum and Hill Kulu.
  • As Chair of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Population Geography Research Group I am leading the 'Archiving Population Geography' project to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the group (2019-2022).
  • With Helen Packwood (Edinburgh), I am writing a text book on Mixed Methods in Social Sciences (to be available from Palgrave Macmillan, 2022).
  • As an International Collaborator on the ERC MyMove Project (PI Helga de Valk) I am working with Julia Mikolai and Michaela Kyclova to write a book chapter on the residential mobility of children of immigrants. 

PhD supervision

  • Michaela Stastna
  • Rowan Milligan
  • Mengxing Joshi
  • Michaela Stastna

Selected publications


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