Universiteit Leiden

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African Studies (MA)

About the programme

Within the time frame of one year, you will take five months of courses, do an Embedded Research Project in Africa, and write your MA thesis. Learn the newest insights from established researchers.

Programme structure

Semester 1
The first semester is devoted to group teaching and serves to both broaden and deepen your knowledge of Africa as well as to prepare you for the research project.

Semester 2
At the beginning of the second semester you will go to Africa or an Africa related setting elsewhere for your Embedded Research Project. From April onwards, when you have returned from your field trip, you will start writing your MA thesis which is based on your own original research, whilst also following the Thesis Seminar.

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.

Embedded Research Project in Africa

Your Research Project in Africa (or Africa-related setting elsewhere) will equip you with a host of new skills that are valued by prospective employers, from communication skills to experience of field research. You will also receive funding for your Research Project from the Sustainable Humanities Internship Fund.

In preparation for your research project in Africa, you have the opportunity to study a specific language (like Swahili or French) that will help you communicate more easily with the people in the country you visit.

Mirjam de Bruijn

Professor of Contemporary History and Anthropology of Africa

Mirjam de Bruijn

"We have a very large number of researchers available at Leiden University who work in various disciplines – from humanities to medicine – related to Africa. This means that we have an enormous wealth of expertise available and we are always able to successfully match our students with a researcher who shares their specific interest."

65 languages

"As Leiden University teaches around 65 languages, our students have the opportunity to study a specific language that will help them communicate with the people in their chosen country."

Current world issues

"A lot of the issues we study in African Studies are essential to understanding current world issues. One of the fields I am interested in, for example, is security and radicalisation. To understand the current debates in Europe about migration and radicalisation you need a good understanding of the developments in Africa."

Job market after African Studies

"Where our students end up working after graduation depends a lot on their personal area of interest. We have alumni working in journalism, but also as policy officers for the EU government. I also know of some alumni who are working in Africa at NGOs. One of our alumni is now working in Mali for the Dutch Ministry of Defence, for example."

Within the time frame of one year, you will take five months of courses, do an Embedded Research Project, and write your MA thesis.

Educational methods

The principal modes of learning during your master's are:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Self-study
  • Embedded Research Project in Africa or Africa-related setting elsewhere

Assessment methods

We assess your progress through:

  • Exams
  • Peer feedback and assessment
  • Essays and reports
  • Oral presentations
  • MA thesis

Small classes

Teaching generally takes the form of small-scale seminars and tutorials, during which lively and engaging discussions are encouraged. Small class sizes ensure you enjoy a high level of direct contact with both your lecturers and fellow students.

Latest Research

The courses are not only taught by academics who are active researchers, but also with guest lecturers from practitioners. Course content is constantly updated to reflect contemporary academic debates and the very latest insights, many from the research conducted by lecturers on the programme. Our lecturers also play an active role in every individual's education, acting as mentors and community builders.

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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