This paper reflects on how refugee studies has developed and identifies areas for future research. First, the paper sets the scene through an overview of refugee protection regime and on patterns of displacement. Second, the development of theories that try to explain refugee movements are explored. Third, the policy focus of refugee studies and the inherent tensions are examined. This is followed by an exploration of three areas for further research: durable solutions, borders and bordering practices and the intergenerational impacts of refugee migration. These areas allow for multi-level analyses, expose the tensions between structure and agency, power and resistance and the post-colonial world order, and place emphasis on everyday lived experiences. The paper argues that social science disciplines have an important role to play in the field of study but need to include historical analyses and engage in inter-disciplinary alliances to enable shifting paradigms.