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, and learn how to advance this understanding further with sound and solid research.

Programme stucture

First year

You will start with an introduction to current debates on African Studies through four, interdisciplinary courses: History and Politics; Economy, Geography and Society; African postcolonial theories and literary  criticism, and Communication in Africa: the power of language and media. In the second semester, more in-depth explorations of thematic themes and regions will provide you the solid knowledge and understanding to participate in a wide range of academic and public debates on Africa.

Alongside these thematically and regionally oriented courses, the following courses help develop your skills as a researcher: The Theoretical Foundations of African StudiesReflexivity and Methodologies in Africanist Research, and Methods and Skills in Africanist Research. In addition, in the second semester you will start developing your own research project through the course Writing Research Proposal.

Second year

The second year is dedicated to the full research cycle. The first six months you will spend doing research in Africa on a topic and in a context of your choice. You have access to two university funds to get financial support for your research project, namely the Ulhenbeck and Lustra+ funds, and are directed to more possibilities for funding if needed. After your return, you will start writing your thesis. Hands-on research seminars will guide you through the writing-up phase and process towards your first academic publication. In addition, during the fieldwork and writing up, you will work with support from two senior researchers from your chosen field.

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.”

Admission and Application

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

Check the entry requirements

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