Universiteit Leiden

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African Studies (research) (MA)

About the programme

This multidisciplinary programme offers you the opportunity to study the African continent from many different angles. As a result, you will acquire solid knowledge and understanding of the major historical, cultural, socio-economic and political factors at play in Africa.

Programme stucture

First year
You will start with an introduction to current debates on African Studies through three interdisciplinary courses in the first semester (September-December): The Theoretical Foundations and Interdisciplinary Nature of African Studies, History and Politics in Africa, and Reflexivity and Methodologies in Africanist Research.

During the second semester (February-June) you will acquire an in-depth understanding of theoretical and methodological perspectives in different thematic fields of African Studies through participation in the thematic course Theoretical and Experimental Explorations, and study the various regions of the African continent from a comparative perspective through the course Africa in Cross-Regional Perspective. In addition, you will start developing your own research project through the course Writing Research Proposal, and gain knowledge on reflecting on methodological implications with a strong fieldwork orientation through the course Methodological Specialization.

Second year
This is a research year. The first six months you will spend doing research in Africa. After your return, you will start writing your thesis. During the fieldwork and writing up, you will work under the supervision of two senior researchers from your chosen field. In addition, hands-on research seminars will guide you through the writing-up phase.

For more information about the programme structure, see the Prospectus.

Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.

Small class sizes

The teaching generally takes the form of small-scale seminars and tutorials, in which lively and engaging discussions are encouraged. The small class sizes gives you a high level of direct contact with both your lecturers and fellow students.

Latest Research

All courses are taught by academics who are active researchers. Course content is constantly updated to reflect contemporary academic debates and the very latest insights, many from the studies conducted by lecturers on the programme. Our lecturers also play an active role in every individual's education, acting as mentors and community builders.

Mayke Kaag

Senior researcher/associate professor in African Studies

Mayke Kaag

“One of the main assets of our Research Master in African Studies is the six months’ period of field research in Africa. After a first year of intensive course and group work and developing their own research project, the students are well prepared to start their fieldwork at the beginning of the second year. It is truly rewarding to see how they leave as students, eager to learn but also often somewhat nervous, and come back as young researchers, self-confident and enriched by their experiences.”

Prof. Chibuike Uche

Stephen Ellis Chair for the Governance of Finance and Integrity in Africa

Prof. Chibuike Uche

“Leiden University has a proactive teaching and research approach aimed at helping our students to understand Africa from both the inside and the outside. Our long-standing African Visiting Scholars Programme has expanded our African network substantially. This great resource helps our students gain treasured research and internship experience across diverse sectors and the countries of their interest in Africa.”

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