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Course content

The new African Studies degrees at UCL draw on world-leading research and expertise from across the university, and offer a unique opportunity to choose one of four distinct pathways. In the African Studies with Education MA students will come to understand some of the challenges surrounding education in contemporary Africa - including poverty, inequality, gender, education and employment, education and technology; vernacular education and the diaspora.

About this degree

The degree pathways share a common core, comprising modules on the continent’s political and economic past and present. In addition, the Education pathway explores aspects of education and learning, through a bespoke 'African Studies and Education' core module and a range of advanced optional modules drawn from the UCL Institute of Education and other UCL departments. 

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of three core modules (45 credits), three optional modules (45 credits), and a dissertation (90 credits).

Core modules

  • Africa: Dialogues of Past and Present
  • Debating Africa's Future
  • African Studies and Education

Optional modules

Students choose three from a range of optional modules including but not limited to the following:

  • Education and International Development: Concepts, Theories and Issues
  • Planning for Education and Development
  • Education, Conflict and Fragility
  • Learners, Learning and Teaching in the Context of Education for All
  • Education in Muslim Communities
  • Gender, Education and Development
  • Promoting Health and Wellbeing: Planning, Practice and Participation
  • Cultural Heritage, Globalisation and Development
  • Cultural Memory and Identity
  • Research Methods in African Studies
  • Performance, Visual Media and Popular Culture in Africa
  • Archaeology and Education


All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words. This dissertation must focus on a research question related to educational issues in or about Africa.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars and guided independent research. Assessment is through essays, portfolio, research proposal and examination.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: African Studies with Education MA


Graduates will be well placed to take up diverse positions within education-related organisations, national and international policy-making bodies, non-governmental development organisations, or within national ministries and the public sector. 


Students will develop skills in a wide range of areas related to education in Africa, including theoretical and practical concepts concerning the challenges of researching and delivering education in Africa. Graduates will be well placed to go on to jobs in the enducation, NGO or policy sphere. Students will also have the option to choose a research methods module which will introduce them to transferable skills, including research ethics, participatory research skills, data analysis and GIS, archival work, ethnographic field techniques and presentation skills.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL offers a unique teaching and learning environment in which to study education as it relates to the continent of Africa. More than 35 permanent members of UCL academic staff focus their research primarily on Africa and their field activities span the continent. This expertise is combined with that of the world-leading UCL Institute of Education to provide unparalleled insight into education policy and practice.

African Studies marks the first time existing expertise on Africa at UCL has been combined to offer an interdisciplinary degree. The new African Studies and Education pathway has been co-developed with the UCL Institute of Education and draws on the university's core strengths in teaching and reseach on education in Africa.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.

Visit the African Studies with Education (MA) page on the University College London website for more details!




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