Universiteit Leiden

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African Studies (research) (MA)

Career prospects

Where do our graduates work?

Having successfully completed the research master’s programme, you will be qualified to undertake PhD research or work at research institutes, work as a policy maker, journalist, or practitioner for Africa oriented organisations worldwide.

Examples of the diverse roles of our graduates include:

  • PhD researcher in Malawi at the University of Edinburgh, UK;
  • Team lead Gender research area, United Nations Women’s Programme, Harare, Zimbabwe;
  • PhD researcher in South Africa at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Sara de Wit

Graduated in African Studies (Research Master)

Sara de Wit

"Among the things that I cherish the most has been the possibility to share in the outstanding expertise and devotion of the lecturers. Their longstanding experience in the field of African Studies – with varying disciplinary backgrounds and a wide range of thematic interests – allowed us to dwell in enthusiasm and continued to spark my curiosity."

Contemporary issues

"Also the in-depth exchange with my classmates, a relatively small group of students coming from different parts of the globe, made it such a worthwhile journey. Of course, a two-year track can never exhaust all the constituents that the broad field of African Studies has to offer, but the immersion in historical research enabled me to put things into context and to shed critical light on contemporary issues. It was during this masters that I all the more realized how flawed, one-sided and biased the history is that we are being taught at high-school in The Netherlands. It dawned on me how important it is to keep retelling our history through the eyes of the people who have been left out of our history books for too long."

Independent research

"The training in ethnographic methods and the six months of fieldwork have been a good preparation for carrying out independent research during my PhD. The greatest merit of having followed this trajectory, in my view, is that it allows you to develop a particular sensitivity and ‘meta approach’ towards the knowledge that we generate – an invaluable lens to think critically and creatively. I feel that the overall programme is comprehensive enough to give you a good idea of the past and current research developments, while at the same time allowing for an in-depth engagement with a topic of one’s own preference. That being said, it's not something you can easily do ‘on the side’. Given the intensity of the programme, it's wiser to allow yourself to be engulfed by it and get carried away. As a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Oxford I look back at this research masters with joy and gratitude."

Miriam Ocadiz Arriaga


Miriam Ocadiz Arriaga

“After receiving a scholarship to undertake this two-year Master, I had the freedom to develop my own research interest guided by the outstanding support of my supervisor from the African Studies Centre Leiden. This can be described as an equally challenging as enjoyable process that culminated in a solid ground towards an academic career. As soon as I graduated, I was employed as a junior researcher at the ASCL, and within less than a year I got a fully-funded PhD position at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam on engaged scholars and the social inclusion of refugees in South Africa.”

In which sector do students find jobs?

The graphs below are based on alumni data from the MA and Research MA African Studies 2016-2020.

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

Career preparation

Find out how this programme prepares you for your future career and check our career preparation activities.

The development of in-depth knowledge in the field, and the ability to think critically and analytically are key goals of this programme. The African Studies (Resarch) programme will introduce you to the concepts and academic approaches current in the interdisciplinary field of African Studies.

You will learn to use these concepts and approaches in researching and analysing source material. Your fieldwork and thesis  will give you the opportunity to apply these methods in your own research.

Do you consider to put your knowledge into practice during your studies? Determine whether an internship could be an option for you. Start orientating your possibilities by visiting an internship information session. This way you can receive information about the internship procedure and listen to tips of former interns.
Notice that you will search for an internship yourself to find a place of your interest. Do you need some help with this or the application process? Do not hesitate to 
contact the Career Service. When you have found an internship, inform us. Then, the internship coordinator advises you how to proceed and provides your internship plan with feedback so it can be submitted for approval to the board of examiners.

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