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Masters in Africa - an Overview

From the ancient scholarly heritage of Egypt, to the emerging modern university systems of countries like South Africa and Senegal, Masters study in Africa has plenty to offer adventurous and well-informed students.

Though many African countries are only just beginning to develop their higher education sectors, they provide a wide range of unique research and training opportunities.

Whether you’re interested in tackling pressing conservation challenges, researching the rich human history of ancient and modern civilisations, or tackling the political and economic difficulties posed by globalisation and international relations, a Masters in Africa can place you at the cutting edge of various academic fields.

You can find out more about studying abroad in Africa below, or, if you’d like to get started searching for African Masters degrees, simply select a country from the menu on the left.

How popular is Masters study in Africa?

Africa has a proud history as a destination for international scholarship, with the Ancient Library of Alexandria, in Egypt, having been one of the most important centres of learning in the ancient world.

Modern students still come to Africa in large numbers. Egypt itself attracts nearly 50,000 international students, many of them studying in historic cities such as Cairo and Alexandria.

The Republic of South Africa is also becoming established as an international study destination, with over 42,000 people studying abroad at its universities. Meanwhile, Morocco and the Democratic Republic of Congo host over 8,000 and 2,000 foreign students, respectively.

Other African university systems are at an earlier stage of development, but already offer the chance to tackle local and international education and research challenges.

International universities and branch campuses in Africa

Like other emerging study abroad destinations (such as Asia), Africa is home to a number of international universities and overseas branch campuses.

These offer internationally-orientated Masters degrees (often following a US or UK model). Their programmes represent an opportunity to take advantage of Africa’s research and training opportunities whilst studying in a familiar format.

You can read more about Masters study at international branch campuses in our guide.

Are African universities well ranked?

Several African universities feature in international rankings systems. South Africa is the best represented, with three universities in the Times Higher Education top 400 (including the University of Cape Town in the global top 150).

Just as importantly, South Africa also features strongly in the dedicated BRICS and Emerging Economies ranking – with three of its universities identified as some of the best in this rapidly developing category.

Other African countries are also home to globally recognised universities. Morocco has one institution in the Times Higher Education top 350 and two Egyptian universities are included within the QS world top 600.

Whatever the ranking of the institution or course you’re interested in, remember that there’s more to postgraduate study than university league tables. If you’re considering studying a Masters abroad in Africa you’ll want to consider other important factors, including the unique research and training opportunities offered in African countries.

Do rankings matter for Masters degrees?

International rankings use all sorts of metrics to assess universities and they aren't all equally relevant to postgraduate study. That's why we've put together a guide to university rankings for Masters students.

How expensive are Masters degrees in Africa?

Because higher education in Africa covers such a broad spectrum – from centuries-old universities in Egypt, to much newer institutions in the Gambia or Senegal – the cost of a Masters degree in Africa can vary considerably.

As a rule though, Africa is not a particularly expensive study destination and some courses can be much cheaper than their counterparts in other countries.

Fees for some programmes may be as little as $2,500-5,000 per year, whilst others may be closer to $10,000-15,000. The actual amount you’ll pay will depend on your university and course – as well as its policy on international student fees (see below).

The best way to find out the cost of a Masters programme in Africa is to search for courses and get in touch with prospective institutions.

Fees for international students in Africa

Some universities may charge slightly higher fees for international students in Africa, either to offset subsidies local applicants pay through taxation, or to reflect additional administration and foreign-language teaching costs.

These additional costs may be included in quoted tuition fees, or they may be a separate charge as part of your application or registration process.

International students from elsewhere in Africa may sometimes pay additional fees at a lower rate. It’s best to check with the university you’re applying to and confirm the full cost of your course.

Are Masters degrees in Africa taught in English?

Africa is an extraordinarily linguistically diverse continent, with speakers of various native African languages as well as European languages (and their descendants).

This is reflected in the language of study at African universities.

Institutions in Senegal tend to teach in French (reflecting the country’s colonial heritage), whilst programmes in Egypt are more likely to be offered in Arabic. South Africa is more varied, with eleven official languages including Afrikaans, English and a wide range of local Bantu languages.

Whatever their local language (or languages) most African universities will offer at least some programmes in English (international institutions are likely to do this for all of their courses). You can find out more by contacting your prospective institution.

Last updated - 11/04/2016

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