nl en

Research internship (Field assignment)


Admission requirements

In order to be admitted to the Field Assignment, students need an approved internship plan.
This course is a compulsory element of the MA African Studies and only open to students that have been admitted in this programme.


Students will spend 12 weeks on a field assignment (research internship) in Africa or an Africa related setting in the Netherlands/Europe. Students will be based at a host organization (internship provider) and conduct a research on a topic of joint interest. The research data will feed into the Master’s thesis. Host organizations can be NGOs, CBOs, local or central government agencies, media, art or business agencies, as well as scientific institutes or think tanks.
The goal of the research internship is to gain research experience with an Africa-related non-academic professional organization. In this way, students will also become acquainted with working with non-academic stakeholders and sharpen their critical thinking on Africa-related issues.

Students should organize and prepare for their internship placement themselves, but are assisted and advised in this process by lecturers in the seminar series Africa in Practice and by Career Service. The research internship plan needs approval from Career Service and the Board of Examiners. For the field assignment (research internship) students are supervised by their Master’s thesis supervisor at Leiden University and a local supervisor at the host organization (internship provider).

Course objectives

1. Knowledge and understanding
The student has:

  • Multidisciplinary knowledge of and insight into societies and cultures of Africa at an advanced level.

  • A thorough understanding of the societal relevance of the study subject.

2. Applying knowledge and understanding
The student has:

  • The ability to coherently understand knowledge insights of relevant issues in African Studies, key concepts, and research methods of the mentioned disciplines in African Studies and to apply this in independent research, as well as in other professional settings to complex problems.

  • The technical and cognitive skills to collect, select, analyse and critically evaluate data and academic literature, in order to formulate and test working hypotheses and to formulate an answer to research questions.

  • The ability to work with a complex body of sources of diverse nature and to report on this analysis orally, visually and/or in written form.

  • The ability to apply academic knowledge and insights to other professional domains, such as policy, development, business or journalism.

  • The ability to develop, arrange and execute a project in an Africa-related setting, to liaise with various stakeholders of a different nature, and the ability to work in a (culturally) unfamiliar professional environment.

3. Ability to formulate judgements
The student is able to:

  • Formulate judgements, based on a question or problem in the field of African Studies, even when the student has limited information due to lacunae in the data available

  • Take into account social and cultural, academic and ethical aspects relevant to the analysis of complex questions and the formulation of judgements.

  • Reflect on methodological, historical and ethical-social aspects of African Studies.

4. Communication
The student has:

  • Oral, audio-visual and written skills to clearly communicate the outcomes based on the student’s own academic research, knowledge, motives, and considerations to professionals as well as the broader public.

5. Learning Skills
The student:

  • Is able and aware of the necessity to keep abreast of relevant developments in the academic and practitioners field.

  • Is able to assess where his/her own research/work can contribute to academic or practitioners’ fields


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Research internship

Assessment method


The assessment is done by the academic supervisor in consultation with the local supervisor and will be based on three components:
1. Output provided by the student to the host organization as was described in the internship plan prior to departure (50%). For example, a policy brief, a contribution to a website, or a report. Course objectives assessed: 1-12;
2. The student’s performance and functioning within the organization during the internship (50%). Course objectives assessed: 3, 5, 6, 8;
3. Final written report (‘internship report’ or reflection report) by the student. Course objectives assessed: 1-7, 9-12. The report, which also needs to be submitted at Career Service, will be assessed by the course coordinator (PASS/FAIL).


Not applicable

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Not applicable.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


For questions related to the content of the course, please contact the lecturer, you can find their contact information by clicking on their name in the sidebar.

For questions regarding enrollment please contact the Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats
E-mail address Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats:

For questions regarding your studyprogress please contact Annelies de Koning the Coordinator of Studies