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African Studies (MA)

Career prospects

Create a world of opportunities with a master's degree from Leiden University.

What our graduates do

The Master’s programme in African Studies offers outstanding preparation for high-level positions in the international job market. Your degree prepares you for roles in cultural organisations, education, policy-making, tourism, development, publishing, public relations, and journalism.

Some of the positions of our alumni include:

  • Policy officer for agriculture and trade at an embassy in Ghana
  • Teacher of African languages
  • Journalist
  • Curator at a cultural institution
  • Manager of a translation and/or interpreting agency
  • Project Manager at an NGO in Africa
  • PhD candidate at the Centre of African Studies in Edinburgh
  • Team leader at a human rights organisation
  • Digital marketing manager at a translation agency

A Leiden University degree

Leiden University Master's graduates are sought-after employees at (inter)national organisations. Our graduates are known for their combination of robust academic training, in-depth and relevant knowledge, and critical, multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving.

Eline Sleurink

Graduated in MA African Studies

Eline Sleurink

"Upon graduating with my master’s, I was employed as a Research Assistant at the African Studies Centre. This was an excellent short-term opportunity (5 months) to expand on the knowledge I acquired during my Master’s and develop valuable research and proposal writing skills. Since then, I have been working at a social enterprise incubator in London, as a Business Development Manager for several east African ventures. My current responsibilities include fundraising, marketing and partnership building. In the future I hope to pursue either a research or practical career, depending on the opportunities which become available!"

Successfully securing my future project work

"The Master’s in African Studies has been extremely valuable in building up knowledge and expertise on matters relating to African development, allowing me to apply this to both my current position as well as successfully securing my future project work. I was also able to build up a network of key stakeholders within the industry (through attending conferences and seminars, amongst others) which has been extremely useful."

Passion and dedication

"I chose this Master’s as I was determined to become a specialist in the field and carve out a niche for myself. The quality of teaching from the professors is excellent on account of their passion for and dedication to the world of African Studies. Furthermore, this Master’s programme was highly appealing to me as it allowed a unique opportunity to combine classroom learning with a research and work experience placement in Africa."

Titus Sauerwein

Graduated in MA African Studies

Titus Sauerwein

"After having finished a Master in International Relations at the University of Amsterdam, I felt that I wanted to specialize myself in African development policies. The one-year curriculum of the MA African Studies brought together all the aspects of a challenging program that would enable me to specialize in this direction. The small and personal setup of the program, the incredibly diverse expertise of the academic staff and the possibility of doing an internship in Africa convinced me to apply for the master."

Personal style of teaching

"While the program was very challenging, the wide range of topics and the personal style of teaching inspired and encouraged me to identify my own specialisation within African Studies: natural resource governance. This interest brought me to Ivory Coast, where I did an internship and researched the artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector in the country."

Continue my research in Ivory Coast

"Looking back at my choice for the MA African Studies, I cannot think of a better decision, since the program has enabled me to start a PhD at the University of Surrey in October this year. Under the supervision of the global authority in artisanal and small-scale mining, I will continue my research in Ivory Coast, building on my already established network in the country."

In which sector do our graduates 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 % Teaching
  • 14 % Culture, sport and recreation
  • 14 % Health and welfare

How successful are our graduates in finding a job?

  • 57 % found a job within two months
  • 86 % found their first job at academic level

Academic job level

In our 2020 Job Market Survey (conducted by the Humanities Career Service) we asked alumni who graduated between 2016 and 2020 about their current position. Of all respondents, 89% indicated that they held a position at an academic level.

Career preparation

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

The Master’s in African Studies programme at Leiden University aims to equip you with a range of key skills and knowledge. Whichever your area of specialisation, you will graduate with a global and comparative context to your knowledge and the critical-thinking skills to shed new light on established ideas.

Your internship at an organisation in Africa gives you a real-world arena in which to apply your new knowledge. Working and communicating in a professional environment and in a foreign culture is highly valued by (international) organisations. It is also a chance to test-drive a role or organisation you may be considering for your future career. Our students have taken internships at organisations in various countries in Africa, including in Ghana, the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso.

Sustainable Humanities Internship Fund
For your internship in Africa, you will receive funding from the Sustainable Humanities Internship Fund. Please refer to this page for information on this fund.

Our staff can help you identify both the career that is right for you, and the necessary steps to get you there. Our team at Humanities Career Service provide all Leiden University humanities students with professional advice and guidance on everything from internships and career planning to job applications. Humanities Career Service also organises regular workshops on topics such as effective interview skills and creating a successful CV.

The Humanities Career Service offers you various (online) workshops, webinars and info sessions. Check our overview of career activities

The Leiden University Career Zone is an online career portal that helps you to prepare for the job market. Here you can find information, tools and tips to help you gain more personal insight, learn about the job market, develop your application skills, plan your academic and professional career, find job vacancies and discover what the Career Service can do for you.

Join the Mentor Network to contact alumni with experience on the labour market and ask them for advice. More than 1200 alumni are happy to help you!

Jelle on finding an internship via Leiden University's Mentor Network

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