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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's programme in African Studies at Leiden University is a multidisciplinary area study programme, which offers you the opportunity to examine the African continent in depth.

This programme combines disciplines from the humanities, such as history and literary studies, with disciplines from social sciences, in particular:

  • political science
  • anthropology
  • economics

Within the Research MA 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 also have access to the excellent facilities of Leiden University, and in particular those of the Africa Studies Centre (ASC) and its research library. The network of the ASC, regular seminars, conferences and projects on Africa will provide international orientation and embedding for your MA research.

  • Leiden University's Humanities Faculty was recently ranked 25th in the Times Higher Education worldwide ranking.

A multidisciplinary approach

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.

Develop your research skills

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..

Choose your area of interest

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).

Find out more about the career prospects

Access resources from the Africa Studies Centre Leiden

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.


Visit the MA African Studies (research) page on the Leiden University website for more details!

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