Universiteit Leiden

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African Studies (research) (MA)

The research master's in African Studies at Leiden University is unique in continental Europe for the interdisciplinary range of subjects offered and the variety of perspectives.

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Why study African Studies (research) at Leiden University?

The two year’s research master’s programme in African Studies at Leiden University bridges the often artificially drawn boundaries between the humanities, such as history and literary studies, and the social sciences, such as anthropology, political science and economics. As a result you have the opportunity to develop in-depth knowledge about different aspects of the African continent and its peoples, at the same time you are not bound by boundary constraints of any of the more traditional disciplines focusing on Africa. Small classes ensure that you have plenty of direct contact with your lecturers and a high level of guidance and support throughout your studies.

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Develop and practise your research skills

An important aspect of this programme is developing your ability to conduct original and interdisciplinary research. You will have the opportunity to spend an entire year (of which six months consists of fieldwork in Africa) to execute your own research project. This will provide you experiences into working and conducting research in Africa. You will take in-depth courses that will guide you through social theory, methodology development, and proposal writing; you will write a scientific publication, and practice your debating and presentation skills. This will enable you, upon graduation, to initiate independent PhD or policy research, advise and participate in policy development and implementation, or offer training to businesses wanting to do trade in Africa.

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Choose your area of interest

During your studies you will gain knowledge on the different regions on the African continent and contextualise and embed your regional knowledge in a broad set of theoretical and thematic perspectives. This will make you well-prepared to subsequently design your own research project on a topic of your liking. The programme is taught by leading African Studies scholars from all the relevant institutions in the Netherlands, including the International Institute of Social History (IISH) and the Universities of Wageningen (WUR) and Amsterdam (UvA and VU).

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Access resources from the Africa Studies Centre Leiden

During your studies you will have access to the excellent facilities of Leiden University, and in particular those of the African Studies Centre Leiden (ASCL) and its research library. The network of the ASCL, regular seminars, conferences and research collaborations on Africa will provide international orientation and embedding for your MA research, all of which will help you forge an outstanding start to your career.

Admission and Application

Do you want to find out if you are eligible for this Master's Programme?

Check the admission requirements

In which sector do students find jobs?

  • 29 Research
  • 29 Government and semi-government
  • 14 Culture, sport and recreation
  • 14 Health and welfare
  • 14 Teaching

The graph above is based on alumni data from the MA and Research MA African Studies 2016-2020.

African Studies (research) degree

African Studies (research) at Leiden University is an accredited degree programme. After successful completion of this programme, you will receive a research master’s degree in African Studies and the title Master of Arts (MA).

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