The MA in African Studies provides an unrivalled programme of advanced modules on Africa; one of the world’s most fascinating and challenging regions. The opportunity for interdisciplinary study of the continent is a particular advantage of the degree. Students can choose from a range of about 30 modules in fourteen disciplines. Our former students have chosen to study Africa at this level for a wide range of reasons. For some a deep interest in the history and culture or political economy of a particular region is sufficient motivation, but for many students the programme has, in addition, been followed with the intention of furthering their career opportunities. Some go on to work either in Africa or in fields related to Africa. The opportunity to combine study of particular African subjects with an African language is very useful, although some evidence of competence in learning a foreign language is usually required.
Students take three taught module units, one of which is considered a major, and complete a 10,000-word dissertation related to the major.
As the emphasis in the Regional Studies programmes is on interdisciplinary study, students are required to select their three module units from more than one subject. One module unit may be made up of two 0.5 unit modules. The subjects of the programme are: Anthropology, Art, Economics, History, Law, Literature, Media, Politics, Religious Studies, and Language.
The two minor module units can be taken in the same subject (but different to that of the major), or two different ones.
A language module can only be taken as a minor, and only one language module can be taken.
Candidates who wish to take a language at other than introductory level will be assessed at the start of term to determine which is the most appropriate level of study.
When applying, applicants are asked to specify their preferred major and minor subjects, and asked to give alternative choices as practical considerations such as time tabling and availability of modules may limit freedom of choice.
Once enrolled, students have two weeks to finalise their choice of subjects and have the opportunity of sampling a variety of subjects through attending lectures etc.
Teaching is normally provided by lecture or seminar and students are required to attend such classes. Each student will be assigned a supervisor in connection with his or her dissertation.
- Lectures and Seminars Most modules involve a 50-minute lecture as a key component with linked tutorial classes. At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work where students may be expected to make full-scale presentations for units they take.
- Dissertation The 10,000-word dissertation on an approved topic linked with one of the taught modules.
- Learning Resources SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.
A postgraduate degree in African studies from SOAS provides students with competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the region will have been developed through a combination of the study of language, literature, history, cinema, politics, economics or law.
Postgraduate students gain linguistic and cultural expertise enabling them to continue in the field of research or to seek professional and management careers in the business, public and charity sectors. They leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek, including written and oral communication skills; attention to detail; analytical and problem solving skills; and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources.
Some MA African Studies graduates leave SOAS to pursue careers directly related to their study area, while others have made use of the intellectual training for involvement in analysing and solving many of the problems that contemporary societies now face. Among a variety of professions, career paths may include: Academia; Charity; Community; Government; NGOs; Media; Publishing and UN Agencies.
Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including: BBC News British Embassy Canon Collins Educational Trust for Southern Africa Goal Nigeria Government of Canada Hogan Lovells International LLP International Institute for Environment and Development Kenyan Government Mercy Corps Migrant Resource Centre Mo Ibrahim Foundation The London MENA Film Festival The University of Tokyo The World Bank Think Africa Press U.S. Embassy United Nations University of Namibia World Vision UK Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts
Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include: Development Producer Africa Editor Copywriter Director of Trade and Investment Projects and Fundraising Manager Head of Desk, Africa Senior Investment Manager Sports Writer Knowledge Management Projects Coordinator Project Director Presidential Advisor Commodity Manager Publisher Tutor Creative Consultant Lecturer in African Arts and Cultures East Africa Analyst Youth Volunteer Advisor Southern Region Educational Manager Head Specialists Giving + Insights