The MA thesis African Studies is a compulsory element of the MA African Studies and only open to students that have been admitted in this programme.
The MA thesis is written based on 5 weeks of independent field research in Africa. Students develop the research proposal for their projects during the course Researching Africa in the 21st Century in the first semester. The topic of the thesis should be linked to the internship project.
Students are encouraged to select the topic of their thesis themselves, based on a seminar in the Master programme, that they followed.
The thesis for the African Studies MA programme carries 15 ec, and as a rule will not exceed a maximum of 17,000 words including notes, bibliography and appendices. The thesis is supervised by a lecturer of MA programme of African Studies.
A thesis is an academic essay, written by the student in consultation and under supervision. The thesis must show that the student is capable of analysing existing literature in a critical manner, and of conducting independent research. Moreover, the thesis must show that the student is capable of reporting on research in an academically sound manner.
Knowledge and understanding
1. Multidisciplinary knowledge of and insight into societies and cultures of Africa at an advanced level.
2. A thorough understanding of the societal relevance of the study subject.
3. General knowledge of and insight into current issues within the overall field and main disciplines of African Studies
4. Advanced knowledge of at least two of the following disciplines in relation to African Studies: Linguistics, Culture Studies, Anthropology, Geography, Political Science, History or Economics.
Applying knowledge and understanding
5. The ability to apply knowledge, insights, concepts and research methods relevant in African Studies in independent research
6. The technical and cognitive skills to collect, select, analyse and critically evaluate data and academic literature 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 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 work in an unfamiliar country and professional environment and with stakeholders of a different nature
Ability to formulate judgements
10. formulate judgements in the field of African Studies
11. Take into account social and cultural, academic and ethical aspects relevant to the analysis of complex questions and the formulation of judgements.
12. Reflect on methodological, historical and ethical-social aspects of African Studies.
13. Written skills to clearly communicate the outcomes
14. Has the learning skills to continue further study at a professional level / start a PhD
15. Is able and aware of the necessity to keep abreast of relevant developments in the academic and practitioners field.
16. Is able to assess where his/her own research/work can contribute to academic or practioners’ fields.
Mode of instruction
- Thesis MA
Total course load 15EC x 28 hours= 420 hours
- Other components: Individual writing-up of thesis and supervision: 420 hours
In assessing the quality of the thesis, the following aspects play an important role:
Formulating and analysing the research question;
Structure of the thesis;
Integration of secondary literature into the argument;
Good argumentation of student’s own arguments;
Style, use of language and lay-out;
The student’s independency.
Multidisciplinarity is a knock out criterium for the thesis.
Blackboard will be used for:
- submission of Thesis
Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website
Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs
Coordinator of Studies: P.C. Lai LL.M. MSc
Education Administration Office: van Wijkplaats