Cell migration is a key feature of virtually every biological process, and it can be studied in a variety of ways. Here we outline a protocol for the in vitro study of cell migration using a ring barrier-based assay. A 'barrier' is inserted in the culture chamber, which prevents cells from entering a defined area. Cells of interest are seeded around this barrier, and after the formation of a peripheral monolayer the barrier is removed and migration into the cell-free area is monitored. This assay is highly reproducible and convenient to perform, and it allows the deduction of several parameters of migration, including total and effective migration, velocity and cell polarization. An advantage of this assay over the conventional scratch assay is that the cells move over an unaltered and virgin surface, and thus the effect of matrix components on cell migration can be studied. In addition, the cells are not harmed at the onset of the assay. Through computer automation, four individual barrier assays can be monitored at the same time. The procedure can be used in a 12-well standard plate allowing higher throughput, or it can be modified to perform invasion assays. The basic procedure takes 2-3 d to complete.