The Master’s programme in African Studies at Leiden University is an advanced area studies qualification that combines world-class scholarship with practice-based learning.
This multidisciplinary programme offers you the opportunity to explore the African continent from a wide range of perspectives: historical, literary, cultural, socio-economical and political. At Leiden, relevance and real-world issues are at the fore. During your programme you will analyse current events as they unfold and explore issues from a broad, comparative and global perspective. You will be able to pursue the issues and subject areas that interest you most by designing your own project and thesis.
Taught by top scholars from the African Studies Centre (ASC), the Master’s programme in African Studies has a genuine area studies profile. During your studies you will gain access to the African Studies Centre’s extensive international network and high-profile events that will connect you to the leading researchers in the field.
An important part of this Master's programme is a three-month internship at an organisation in Africa. This is your opportunity to test your new skills and ideas in practice while gaining invaluable cultural and professional experience. For your internship in Africa, you will receive funding from the Humanities Faculty’s Sustainable Humanities Internship Fund.
This is an established and highly regarded programme that offers an intensive introduction to the study of Africa.
The MSc in African Studies provides the analytical tools and the empirical knowledge to understand some of the fundamental forces that are shaping Africa in the twenty-first century. It is the longest running programme offered by the Centre of African Studies, one of the world’s leading centres of Africa-focused knowledge and research, and has recently been restructured to meet growing student demand.
It retains its core strengths of anthropology, politics and history, but it now offers students a greater Africa-focused research component, along with a suite of exciting new option courses to better suit diverse research and employment interests. It also provides the research training necessary to progress to PhD study.
The programme is suitable for those students with some existing knowledge of the continent and who want to enhance their Africa-specific research skills. It is equally appropriate to those students whose existing knowledge of Africa is more limited.
You will complete three compulsory courses and three option courses (offered either by the Centre of African Studies, other subject groups in the School of Social & Political Science, or other Schools within the University). A weekly seminar series and other events will enhance your learning.
After the taught courses, you will work towards your independently researched dissertation.
Past students have continued on to doctoral programmes in the UK and overseas, and to careers related to, or in, Africa with non-governmental organisations, international organisations, governments, universities and in the private sector.
In addition, you will develop a range of highly transferable skills, such as communication and project management, and research skills, which can be applied to roles in any field.
The research master's programme in African Studies at Leiden University is unique in continental Europe for the interdisciplinary range of subjects offered and the variety of perspectives.
The research master in African Studies at Leiden University bridges the often artificially drawn boundaries between the humanities and the social sciences. The programme combines disciplines from the humanities, such as history and literary studies, with disciplines from social sciences, in particular: political science; anthropology; and economics. As a result you have the opportunity to develop in-depth knowledge about different aspects of the African continent and its peoples, at the same time you are not bound by boundary constraints of any of the more traditional disciplines focusing on Africa.
Within this research master you will focus on developing your research skills, and you will have an entire year (of which six months consists of fieldwork) to execute your own research project which offers you outstanding opportunities to get insights into working and conducting research in Africa and to enhance your job prospects. You will take in-depth courses that will guide you through social theory, methodology development, and proposal writing; you will write a scientific publication, and practice your debating and presentation skills. This will enable you, upon graduation, to initiate independent PhD or policy research, advise and participate in policy development and implementation, or offer training to businesses.
During your studies you will gain knowledge on the different regions on the African continent and contextualise and embed your regional knowledge in a broad set of theoretical and thematic perspectives. This will make you well-prepared to subsequently design your own research project on a topic of your liking. The programme is taught by leading African Studies scholars from all the relevant institutions in the Netherlands, including the International Institute of Social History (IISH) and the Universities of Wageningen and Amsterdam (UvA and VU).
During your studies you will have access to the excellent facilities of Leiden University, and in particular those of the Africa Studies Centre Leiden (ASCL) and its research library. The network of the ASCL, regular seminars, conferences and projects on Africa will provide international orientation and embedding for your MA research.