African Studies (MA)
About the programme
Within the time frame of one year, you will take six months of courses, do a ten-week research internship, and write your MA thesis. Learn the newest insights from established researchers.
- Researching Africa in the 21st Century (5 EC)
- Africa in Practice (7 EC)
- Intensive Methods Clinic (3 EC)
- African Postcolonial Theories and Literary Criticism (5 EC)
- Economy, Geography and Society in Africa (5 EC)
- Communication in Africa: the Power of Language & Media (5 EC)
- History and Politics in Africa (5 EC)
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.
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-internship.
At the beginning of the second semester you will go to Africa or an Africa related setting elsewhere for a field assignment. The field assignment includes a period of internship linked to the research topic of your MA thesis. 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 course Communicating Research.
Research internship in Africa
Your research internship in Africa 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 internship from the Sustainable Humanities Internship Fund.
In preparation for your internship 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.
Read the experiences of some of our students doing an internship in Africa:
- Christen Faver (South Africa)
- Marly van den Boom (Ethiopia)
- Donna de Weijer (Uganda)
- Erik van der Zanden (Uganda)
- Eline Sleurink (Ghana)
- Titus Sauerwein (Ivory Coast)
- Rik Jongenelen (Zambia)
Mirjam de Bruijn
Professor of Contemporary History and Anthropology of Africa
"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."
"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."
Internship in Africa
"Students do an internship in Africa as part of the programme. They arrange their internships in Africa themselves. This requires them to use their own initiative and communications skills to get in touch with organisations. However, we do offer students some guidance in this process. I sometimes use contacts within my network to help students and guide them in the right direction. At the start of the programme we also match students with the right lecturer depending on their specific interests."
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 six months of courses, do a ten-week research-internship, and write your MA thesis.
Admission and Application
Do you want to find out if you are eligible for this Master's Programme?
The principal modes of learning during your master's are:
- Internship in Africa
We assess your progress through:
- Peer feedback and assessment
- Essays and reports
- Oral presentations
- MA thesis
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.
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.