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MA Thesis African Studies


Admission requirements

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.

Course Description

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.

Course Objectives

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

  1. The ability to apply knowledge, insights, concepts and research methods relevant in African Studies in independent research
  2. The technical and cognitive skills to collect, select, analyse and critically evaluate data and academic literature to formulate an answer to research questions
  3. The ability to work with a complex body of sources of diverse nature and to report on this analysis in written form
  4. The ability to apply academic knowledge and insights to other professional domains, such as policy, development, business or journalism.
  5. The ability to work in an unfamiliar country and professional environment and with stakeholders of a different nature

Ability to formulate judgements

  1. Formulate judgements in the field of African Studies
  2. Take into account social and cultural, academic and ethical aspects relevant to the analysis of complex questions and the formulation of judgements.
  3. Reflect on methodological, historical and ethical-social aspects of African Studies.


  1. Written skills to clearly communicate the outcomes

Learning Skills

  1. Has the learning skills to continue further study at a professional level / start a PhD
  2. Is able and aware of the necessity to keep abreast of relevant developments in the academic and practitioners field.
  3. Is able to assess where his/her own research/work can contribute to academic or practioners’ fields.


The timetable is available on the website of the MA African Studies
ResMA African Studies

Mode of instruction

  • Thesis MA

Course Load

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

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.


Coordinator of Studies: P.C. Lai LL.M. MSc

Education Administration Office: van Wijkplaats