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MA African Literature

Course Description

The MA in African Literature enables students to engage critically with varied aspects of oral and written literatures in Africa. The programme is unique in the way it encourages exploration of relationships between indigenous African aesthetics and contemporary literary theories. The module ‘Theories and Techniques of Comparative Literature’ provides theoretical and methodological skills while the programme’s other units focus on specific areas such as literatures in African languages and contemporary African literature in English.

Visit the website http://www.soas.ac.uk/africa/programmes/maaflit/


All students are required to write a 10,000-word dissertation in the field of their major course, which allows them to carry out a substantial piece of independent academic work on a selected topic. The dissertation is taken in either the core module or in the module ‘Selected Topics’.

Students must take the core module plus two modules from list A or B. List B modules assume a linguistic competence in the chosen language equivalent to that acquired in a first degree.

Not all modules listed below may be offered every year, and new modules may become available. For an up-to-date list of modules on offer, please visit the relevant departmental website or contact the Faculty office. Some modules may be taught in other departments of the School.

- Core Module
Literatures in African languages - 15PAFC124 (1 Unit) - Full Year

- List A: Pan-African Modules
Travelling Africa: Writing the Cape to Cairo - 15PAFC139 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2016/2017
Theory and techniques of Comparative Literature - 15PCSC002 (1 Unit) - Full Year
The Story of African Film: Narrative Screen Media in Africa - 15PAFH006 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
Aspects of African film and video 2 - 15PAFH007 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2016/2017
Research Methods In Translation Studies - 15PLIH046 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2016/2017
African Philosophy (PG) - 15PAFH008 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
Realism and Magical Realism in the Afrophone Novel (PG) - 15PAFC146 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2016/2017
Afrophone Philosophies (PG) - 15PAFH009 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2016/2017

- List B: Language-specific Modules
Practical translation from and into Swahili - 15PAFC029 (1 Unit) - Full Year
Directed Readings in an African Langauage - 15PAFC147 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2016/2017

Programme Specifications 2012/13 (pdf; 26kb) - http://www.soas.ac.uk/africa/programmes/maaflit/file80692.pdf

Teaching & Learning

The taught part of the course consists of core lectures introducing basic concepts, theory and methodology; and additional seminars that extend the core material into other areas. At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work where students may be expected to make full-scale presentations for units they take.

A 10,000-word dissertation written over the summer offers students the opportunity to develop original research in an area of special interest. The course is formulated within two tracks:

- 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 Literature 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, history, cinema, politics, economics or law. Graduates of this programme will develop their ability to engage with and explore relationships between indigenous African aesthetics and contemporary literary theories.

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. A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse
range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.

Some 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. The MA African Literature can lead to further study and research, however there is also a range of opportunities in fields such as:

- Education
- Publishing
- Archive work
- Arts Management
- Media

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website (http://www.soas.ac.uk/careers/graduate-destinations/).

Find out how to apply here - http://www.soas.ac.uk/admissions/pg/howtoapply/

Visit the MA African Literature page on the SOAS University of London website for more details!

Student Profiles

Canon Collins Scholarships - No. of awards TBC

These scholarships are for Masters study in any subject field.
The application process normally opens in December and closes in February, for study commencing in September the following year. Please go to the Canon Collins website and click "Apply for A Scholarship" and then "Canon Collins Scholarship for Masters Study in the UK" for further information on how to apply.

Value of Scholarship(s)

See website


Country/Nationality: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Application Procedure

See the website

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Minimum upper second-class honours degree

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