MSc African Studies

African Studies students outside the Radcliffe Camera

The MSc in African Studies is a three-term, nine-month course designed both as a stand-alone interdisciplinary introduction to current debates about Africa, and as a preparation for doctoral research on Africa. This advanced degree programme provides an excellent foundation for those who wish to expand their knowledge of African Studies, prior to working for NGOs, the civil service, international organizations, and the media, or in other professional capacities.

There are four components to the MSc degree in African Studies:

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. All optional papers are formally assessed by a 4,500 word extended essay. 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 submit an examined essay for Core Course One and sit written examination for Core Course Two in Trinity Term.

Students who complete the degree to a sufficient standard may transfer to doctoral programmes in disciplinary departments, such as Area Studies, Politics and International Relations, Development Studies, Modern History, Anthropology, or Geography. 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.

Oxford's new DPhil in Area Studies, introduced in 2017, provides new opportunities for inter-disciplinary doctoral research across one or more of the regions in which the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies specialises. See for further information.

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

For more information about the course take a look at our brochure

Related Documents

The application deadlines for 2019/20 entry are 16 November 2018, 12 noon UK time and 25 January 2019, 12 noon UK time.

How to apply

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Fees and Funding

Further Information