Master of Arts in African Studies

Course content

The Master in African Studies at UGent is the only Master’s programme in Belgium uniquely focusing on the academic study of the African continent. The programme starts from a truly interdisciplinary perspective as its courses take on a deep-time perspective on Africa’s peoples, cultures, literatures and languages, focusing on Central and Eastern Africa. It combines broad thematic courses and specialised seminars allowing students to become trained in disciplines as diverse as anthropology, history, literature studies and linguistics. This unique multidisciplinary programme will stimulate your critical thinking about Africa’s position in the world with a true sense of appreciation for cultural diversity.

Course structure

The Master in African Studies consists of three central courses at 5 ECTS each, 4 courses at 5 ECTS each selected from a list of specialist Africanist courses, 10 ECTS worth of courses freely chosen from the university’s course catalogue, and an Master’s thesis at 15 ECTS.

Central courses
The Master in African Studies has a special focus on central and eastern Africa. This area is studied from different academic subdisciplines in the three obligatory central courses: ‘Language, History and Identity in Central and Eastern Africa’, ‘Literature, Media and the Arts in Central and Eastern Africa’, and ‘Politics and Globalization in Central and Eastern Africa’.

Elective courses
Students enjoy a great degree of freedom to shape their own curriculum by choosing courses from various subdisciplines, based on their individual research interests. Students select four out of the following courses: ‘Medical Anthropology: Africa and the Diaspora’, ‘Area Study: Sub-Saharan Africa’, ‘Poverty, Development and Inequality in Modern African History’, ‘History and Theory of African Urbanism and Architecture’, ‘Bantu Corpus Linguistics and Lexicography’, ‘Bantu Grammar in a Comparative and Contrastive Perspective’, ‘Gender and Identity in African Literatures’, ‘Postcolonial Literature in English’.
In addition, students choose an additional 10 ECTS’ worth of courses either from these listed Africanist courses, or freely from the courses offered by the various academic programmes of the university, including courses on Swahili and Lingala, the two most important languages of central and eastern Africa.

Thesis
The MA programme is concluded by writing a Master’s thesis. This thesis is based on independent, empirical research, preferably (but not necessarily) through fieldwork in Africa. By writing an Master’s thesis, students prove their ability to do independent research, their mastering of a methodological framework and their thorough knowledge of a specific Africanist topic.

Career perspectives

In a globalising world, where Africa is playing an increasingly important role, our society needs graduates with academic expertise on Africa. A thorough understanding of African cultural frameworks, languages and history provides students with the knowledge and skills to build bridges between cultures. Graduates in African Studies find jobs in the NGO-sector or cultural sector, in development co-operation, academic research, immigrant support programmes, tourist industry or business world, both in Europe and in Africa.