African Studies MSc Course Description


The teaching on the MSc programme is built around the two Core Courses. The first Core Course examines research methodologies and strategies, including the politics of researching and writing on Africa, and is taught in Michaelmas Term. The second is a weekly lecture and seminar over two terms (Michaelmas and Hilary) covering key questions in African History and the Social Sciences, giving close attention to critical debates and current issues. The Core Courses form compulsory elements of the degree programme, and are open only to students taking the MSc in African Studies.

In addition to the two Core Courses, students take an Optional Paper on a particular theme and within a specific discipline. A wide selection of optional papers is available each year. Finally, students write a research dissertation of 15,000 words on a research topic of their choosing, which must include discussion of the comparative reading, historiography, or theory relevant to the dissertation. Supervision for this element of the programme runs through the year, the dissertation being submitted near to the end of Trinity Term. Students sit written examinations in the Core Courses and in their chosen Optional Paper in Trinity Term.

Students who complete the degree to a sufficient standard may transfer to doctoral programmes in disciplinary departments, such as Politics and International Relations, Development Studies, Modern History, Anthropology, or Geography. (There are currently no doctoral programmes in any Area Studies region at the University of Oxford). Staff with expertise in African Studies supervise doctoral theses across all of the main disciplinary departments of the university, and students can continue to work with the same supervisor who has guided their MSc work, where this is appropriate. Students who wish to progress from the MSc to doctoral studies can begin their doctoral research over the summer following completion of the MSc

Teaching on the MSc degree is conducted by more than 20 staff across the various departments of the University, including post-doctoral Fellows attached to the African Studies Centre. For all of the staff involved, Africa is their specialist area of interest. Further details of staff research interest, and recent publications, can be obtained from the Centre’s web site, or from other departmental web sites. Please address your enquiries concerning the MSc in African Studies to: